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The Struggle by L. J. Smith
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The Struggle (1991)

by L. J. Smith

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Once I stopped comparing this book with the TV show (which is WAY better) and started treating this book series as a different story, I started liking it. It is mindless and relaxing read (or listen in my case). Yes, it is still cheesy but also packed with action (although quite predictable). Anyways, I enjoyed listening to this book while walking to work, running on a treadmill or washing dishes as it is entertaining but does not require too much concentration. ( )
  AgneJakubauskaite | Apr 4, 2014 |
Devo dire che questa volta la storia mi ha preso un po' di più!E' stato come vedere i protagonisti del telefilm vivere un'altra storia completamente diversa...Vabbeh il finale è stato un po' troppo anticipato...però Damon è sempre Damon! ( )
  Emanuela.Booklove | Oct 6, 2013 |
Stefan is missing and Elena thinks Damon is responsible – for both the missing Damon and the bodies that are starting to pile up messily around town, making the place untidy. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the town is focused on Stefan as the culprit and he has too many secrets to be put under such close scrutiny

And Elena’s own rising star is dimming with her association with a suspected murderer. Once Queen of the school, Elena is rapidly becoming a pariah and even her own family are doubtful of her ongoing relationship and wish she would end it. This newfound unpopularity just hands mean girl Caroline more ammunition with which to attack Elena.

Behind it all, there’s Damon – who is disturbingly interested in Elena and keeps appearing at random moments with a declared goal of having her – even if he has to hurt her loved ones to achieve it.



In the last book I found Elena annoying. In fact, I found her intolerable to an unbelievable degree. She was incredibly selfish, utterly self-absorbed and the way she treated the people around her was beyond contempt. I wanted very much to give Bonnie and Meredith large wet fish and encourage them to take it in turns slapping Elena around the face with them.

In this book it’s not quite as much. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s still bad. Elena is self-absorbed, incredibly selfish, treats her friends like servants, has incredible, disproportionate tantrums and epic woe-is-me sessions; but it’s not longer to an UNBELIEVABLE degree. It is to an epic degree – but it’s no longer at a level that is inconceivable for a teenager to adopt. Her behaviour is potentially real and human

Of course, not all teenagers are like this, not even close. And, if I didn’t know better, I’d put Elena down as a teenager of 14-15 by her behaviour and viewpoint rather than 17. But Elena is now a realistically possible, albeit immature, 17 year old character who we have probably all met before or something close to it, she’s not the mutant hellbeast of raging selfishness. So that’s a step up.

But I’m left with 4 issues on this.

Firstly, if she is a, rather immature, 17 year old then why, in the name of all that is sensible, are Robert and Judith encouraging her to date the college student who was polite to her at dinner one time? I get that this is the convoluted foreshadowing of the love triangle and an attempt to create conflict for Elena’s tantrums by having her guardians be so against Stefan – but they can be against the guy they suspect of murder without deciding their 17 year old niece needs to be dating college students.

Secondly – ENGAGED?! Are the readers supposed to SUPPORT this choice? Are we supposed to sigh and say “oh it’s so romantic”? Or are we actually meant to have our jaws drop in sheer horror before gasping aloud what a terrible, awful idea this is.

Thirdly – why are her friends so epicly, amazingly loyal? Why do they even like her, let alone be willing to break into houses for her? While her treatment of Meredith and Bonnie is better than it was, it’s still poor and their lives still all centre around Elena. Everything Meredith and Bonnie do is based on serving Elena – even Bonnie’s psychic gift centres around Elena! And Matt? Ye gods that man needs a spine, some self-esteem or to get out of town because Elena has some kind of spooky toxic hold on him. I think she might be his secret crack dealer because I can think of no other reason why he does what Elena and Stefan ask of him. I don’t understand why Stefan is so completely gone on her unless it’s entirely because she looks like Katherine. I don’t understand why Damon is fascinated by her unless, again, it’s because of her resemblance to Katherine.

Fourthly, and most strongly, are we supposed to like Elena? This is a major thing for me.

Now, it’s not always necessary to like the protagonist of a book – and it’s certainly a good idea to make them flawed for fear of them – but I think there needs to be some connection. On some level there’s to be a reason why I, the reader, am interested in Elena’s story – and I really don’t think “tiny possibility of seeing her eaten by monsters” really counts. To me this is a real barrier in the book because I have a strong dislike for Elena. That doesn’t make her an unrealistic character – I dislike lots of real people as well! That doesn’t mean (contrary to what reality television seems to think) I’m interested in their lives. Am I supposed to be rooting for Elena? Am I supposed to feel sympathetic when she has her tantrums or angst fests? Am I supposed to exult in her victories? Because I’m not – I just don’t find anything about this character pleasing. Again, realistic, but is that good for the book?

I can’t say I understand any of the side characters – they just aren’t developed enough for their motives to be clear. And this, unfortunately, includes the antagonists Tyler and Caroline. I get that they dislike Elena and I get that Tyler has some kind of familial grudge against the town. But they amount of time and effort they’re putting into this, Caroline apparently changing over the course of one holiday?

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  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
The second entry in L.J. Smith's four-book Vampire Diaries series, which features the story of a young woman caught up in a bitter love triangle with two vampire brothers, The Struggle picks up exactly where the first installment (The Awakening) left off. In the graveyard...

As the stakes rise, Elena finds herself confronting bad-boy Damon Salvatore - ruthlessly intent on making her his dark queen - while seeking to protect the one she loves: Damon's good-guy younger brother, Stefan. Caught in a growing web of lies, Elena must also contend with a human enemy, whose plotting could ruin her future.

Given my nostalgic fondness for L.J. Smith - whose Night World books were my introduction to vampire-fiction - I was expecting to enjoy these books far more than I actually have. It's not that I was unprepared for a healthy dose of teen cheese - something any rational person would expect to find in a work of supernatural romance. But I do expect my fantasy, whether intended for children or adults, to be at least semi-plausible - to make sense, within its own parameters. Somehow, I just found it highly improbable that Elena would be so unwilling to share the truth about the Salvatore brothers with her friends. They seemed willing enough to believe in Bonnie's psychic abilities... would supernatural creatures really have been that much of a jump? It's such a cliche - the heroine who won't speak, and won't speak, and won't speak - creating unnecessary and unconvincing drama.

On the other hand, I thought Smith did a much better job here, fleshing out some of the secondary characters, than she did in The Awakening, and I came away with a much better sense of Bonnie and Meredith. Damon remains an almost blank slate, but then, there are still two more books to go. Whatever weaknesses it may have had, there's no denying that The Struggle was highly readable. And with another cliffhanger ending, I'll be sure to continue with the series... ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 17, 2013 |
This book starts off immediately from where The Awakening lets off, which I appreciated and also found slightly funny -- it reminded me a lot of the cliffhanger endings of the soap-operas my mother used to watch when I was growing up. Still, it saved the loyal reader from the tedious recap that a lot of YA sequels suffer from and thankfully there was very little flashback or reminder scrambled into the rest of the book either.

Plot-wise The Struggle is much weaker than The Awakening, but this is mostly because all of the surprises have been given away and all you are left with in this second book is the continuing drama of the relationship between Stefan and Elena and the lingering threats of Damon and the pitchfork wielders of Fell's Church.

It is, however, a more exciting book than The Awakening. There is plenty more action and the ending of the book provides a twist that is probably meant to entice readers to purchase the third novel as soon as possible. It is successful in that way, I think, (I do plan on finishing the series but that is honestly more due to my personal issues with OCD, no really.)

Unfortunately there just isn't much else to go on for this novel. The characters are still very dry -- Elena has shown some development from The Awakening, but is still rather one-dimensional. Stefan is exhausting and Damon, though still maybe the more intriguing character in the book, is hardly enough to sustain the reader's interest through the long, winding passages of bland teenage drama. Additionally, any respect I might have had for him as a truly original character is lost as soon as it becomes obvious that he's also developed a ridiculous attachment to a normal human teenage girl. This just isn't behavior that you would expect from not one but *two* people that are several hundred years old and should expect more maturity from their partner. She is not even remarkable for her age in any sense and her interest for me lies specifically in that she is so ordinary. I can almost believe that a *single* several hundred year old vampire would be quirky enough to fall in love with a girl in highschool, but at this point she has become a flat-out Mary Sue. I'm not sure how Smith can recover, but hopefully book three turns some of these mistakes around. ( )
  vombatiformes | Jun 11, 2013 |
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To my dear friend and sister, Judy. A special thanks to Anne Smith, Peggy Bokulic, Anne Marie Smith, and Laura Penny for information about Virginia, and to Jack and Sue Check for all their local lore.
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"Damon!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The official newsletter, published monthly. Publication ended with no. 93 (March 2003).
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006102001X, Mass Market Paperback)

This is the terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them: Damon: determined to make Elena his queen of darkness, he'd kill his own brother to possess her.Stefan: desperate for the power to destroy Damon, he succumbs to his thirst for human blood.Elena: irresistibly drawn to both brothers, her choice will decide their fate.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Profiles two vampire brothers--Damon, who is so determined to make Elena his queen of darkness that he would kill his brother to possess her, and Stefan, who desperately seeks the power to destroy Damon.

» see all 3 descriptions

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