The Books

LJane (Lisa Jane or L.J.) Smith is an American author. Her books are Young adult literature and combine a myriad of genres including horror, science fiction/fantasy and romance.

She has written three trilogies, two series and two companion novels. Her books are characteristically populated with unusually beautiful people, human and supernatural; most of them young, or at least appear youthful. There is usually a dark/light, good/evil conflict, revolving around a central, ambiguous character who, while trying to seduce the heroine to the darkness, ends up being himself reborn into the light and thus becoming a hero. Sometimes this scenario is flipped, or otherwise, it is a variation upon the theme. In the Night World series, the dark/light conflict is institutionalized into a reality-altering conspiracy. The dark/light tension is further played out in romantic soulmate scenarios which drive forward the plot.

Her latest book published was Witchlight, the ninth volume in the Night World series in 1998. After a nearly 10-year hiatus from writing, LJane Smith announced that a new Vampire Diaries trilogy was in the works as well as the tenth volume, Strange Fate, to conclude the Night World series. The Vampire Diaries were reissued starting in 2007, and the Secret Circle trilogy and Night World series novels in 2008/2009. The Night of the Solstice and Heart of Valor were also reissued in 2008. The first installment of her new Vampire Diaries trilogy entitled The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall was published on February 10, 2009.


The Awakening

The first book introduces the reader to Elena Gilbert, a beautiful and popular high school student in the small town of Fell’s Church in Virginia, and her friends: Bonnie, Meredith, and Matt. As their senior year begins, Elena pursues the mysterious new guy in town, Stefan Salvatore. Stefan’s resistance is met with Elena’s determination, and she eventually discovers his secret: that Stefan is a centuries-old vampire. As Elena and Stefan fall in love, strange attacks begin to happen in the town while a dark and seductive stranger appears to Elena. Elena eventually learns that the stranger is Stefan’s older brother Damon. In Renaissance Italy, the brothers both fell in love with a young vampire named Katherine, who later committed suicide after the two brothers turned against each other when she decided to choose them both as lovers and exchanged blood with them. Fueled with rage, the brothers killed each other but woke up as vampires. The Awakening ends with Elena seeking out Damon whom she believes to be the prime suspect for Stefan’s disappearance after the townspeople begin to suspect the latter to be behind a recent murder and the strange attacks.

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Pub. Date: June 2007
  • ISBN-13: 9780061140976
  • Sales Rank: 1,276
  • Age Range: Young Adult
  • 512pp

The Struggle

The second book picks up where The Awakening left, and delves further into Damon’s ongoing attempts to win Elena’s affections and Stefan’s struggle to survive. When Stefan went missing, Elena seeks out Damon and confronts him in the graveyard. Elena and her friends find Stefan in a well, near death, and Elena saves him by giving him some of her blood. Elena also exchanges blood with Damon, albeit unwillingly, tying herself to both brothers as Katherine did centuries ago. While waiting for Stefan one night, Elena feels as if a presence inside a storm is coming for her, and she frantically tries to escape by crossing the bridge over a river. Her car veers off the road and into the river, and she drowns. The Struggle ends with the revelation that, because she took enough of the brothers’ blood, Elena becomes a vampire upon her death.




The Fury

The third book deals with Elena’s adjustment to her vampirism, as well as her confusion at loving both brothers. While having to stay out of the way of the town’s new vampire hunter, Stefan, Damon, Elena and her friends search for the source of the dark presence that has overtaken the town and which they also suspect to be behind Elena’s death. Finally, they discover that the power is coming from Katherine, who faked her suicide centuries ago and is now determined to get revenge. She plans on killing Elena and the Salvatore brothers, while also tearing apart Fell’s Church and everyone in it. Elena saves everyone by pushing Katherine into the sunlight and removing her protective necklace. Both Elena and Katherine are killed from the exposure.

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Pub. Date: January 2008
  • ISBN-13: 9780061140983
  • Sales Rank: 1,231
  • Age Range: Young Adult
  • 528pp

Dark Reunion

The fourth book begins six months after Elena’s death. This book is told primarily from Bonnie’s point of view. At a surprise birthday party for Meredith, Bonnie and Meredith (along with three other girlfriends from high school) contact Elena using a Ouija board. Elena warns them there is evil in town with them, and that they are all in danger. She tells them they need to summon someone but gets interrupted, presumably by an evil spirit, before telling the girls to run. Before all of the girls can get out of the house, one girl is thrown from the second floor balcony and dies. Another girl goes insane after the ordeal. With Matt’s help, Bonnie and Meredith perform a spell to summon Stefan, who arrives back in town with Damon. The five work to find the source of evil in the town, which they eventually realize is Klaus, the vampire who created Katherine. In the end, after a battle that has brought Stefan to the brink of death, Bonnie calls Elena for help. The spirit of Elena arrives with an army of undead Civil War soldiers, who carry Klaus into the spirit world. Elena’s spirit heals Stefan and the rest of her injured friends before disappearing. After a great flash of light, Elena appears, resurrected in her previous human form.




The Return:  Nightfall

When Elena sacrificed herself to save the two vampire brothers who love her—the handsome, brooding Stefan and the sleek and dangerous Damon—she was consigned to a fate beyond death. Until a powerful supernatural force pulled her back.

Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. What’s more, her blood pulses with an overwhelming and unique force that makes her irresistible to any vampire.

Stefan wants to find a way to keep Elena safe so that they can make a life together. Damon, however, is driven by an insatiable desire for power, and wants Elena to rule as his princess. When Stefan is lured away from Fell’s Church, Damon seizes his chance to convince her that he is the brother she is meant to be with. . . .

But a darkness is infiltrating the town, and Damon, always the hunter, is now the hunted; he becomes the prey of a malevolent creature that can possess him at will, and who desires not just Elena’s blood but her death.

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Pub. Date: February 2009
  • ISBN-13: 9780061720772
  • Sales Rank: 828
  • Age Range: 12
  • 592pp