The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries Vol. 1-6

For those of you who are fans of the show, this is the series for you. These books are loosely based on the novels created by L.J. Smith and follow the story line of Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, who create The Vampire Diaries TV show. If you have not checked out the TV series, I highly recommend it. Season 4 of the show premieres on Thursday, October 11th @ 8 pm!

Volume 1: Origins tells the story of two brothers - Damon and Stefan Salvatore.  Damon is the older brother, who does what he wants regardless of what others think. Stefan is the younger, more responsible one who always does what is expected of him. Their world gets turned upside down when an orphaned border named Katherine Pierce comes to live at Veritas, their family estate in Virginia. Katherine is unlike any girl the brothers have met and she has a dark secret...Katherine is a vampire. Both Damon and Stefan fall for Katherine, both unaware of the game Katherine is playing and her plan for the future. When a series of animal attacks and attacks on fellow citizens alerts the town to the presence of vampires, Stefan's father, Giuseppe Salvatore, helps form a secret council whose goal is to eradicate the demons tormenting their home. Stefan finds himself torn - on one hand he is frightened and repulsed by what Katherine is, but on the other hand he loves her...or does he?  When Katherine's true nature is discovered, Stefan and Damon desperately attempt a rescue mission that results in both of their deaths. Both awaken to discover that Katherine has begun the process of turning them into vampires. Both brothers now face a decision - to feed and complete the transition, or to not feed and die. Stefan is the first to complete the transition and forces Damon to feed as well to complete his transition. Now the question becomes, what will they do with the eternity before them?

The series continues with Volume 2: Bloodlust. Damon and Stefan are driven from Mystic Falls and make their way to New Orleans. Stefan is lost in his bloodlust, feeding and killing indiscriminately. Upon separating, Damon finds himself taken prisoner by a freak show and Stefan is taken under the wing of Lexi, a vampire who feeds on animals. Lexi helps Stefan gain control over his bloodlust and get in touch with his human side again, which he thought was lost to him. When Stefan discovers that Damon has been captured, he sets out to rescue his brother. Along the way, Stefan meets and falls for Callie, the daughter of Damon's captor. Stephan's failed rescue attempt get him captured as well, and the two brothers are forced into a fight to the death, until Callie's intervention allows them to escape. All does not end well, however. Damon's captivity awakes a darkness in him which results in him taking revenge on Stefan and in Callie's demise. Stefan retreats from New Orleans searching for a way to atone for all his sins and appease his guilt.

In Volume 3: The Craving Stefan travels from New Orleans to New York determined to begin a new life - apart from humans and without feeding on human blood. When he comes across a damsel in distress in Central Park, Stefan cannot help but step in to help and finds himself being welcomed into the Sutherland home and family. In his desire to belong to a family, to have companionship, Stefan allows himself to become apart of this family even though he knows it is wrong. He ignores the warnings in his head and soon finds himself wrapped up in one of Damon's plots, leaving tragedy, destruction, and death in its wake. To make matters worse, Stefan and Damon are now being hunted by an old vampire seeking revenge for the death of Katherine. The Salvatore brothers barely manage to escape and make their way to Europe.

The story flash forwards 20 years to 1888 in Volume 4: The Ripper. Stefan has settled into a quiet country life in England working on a farm for the Abbott family. Stefan has finally found some semblance of the peace and companionship he so desires. When Stefan accompanies Mr. Abbott to London he learns of a serial killer, known as the Ripper, who is murdering in the slums of London. Stefan quickly recognizes the Ripper for what he is...a vampire. As he seeks the identity of the Ripper, he becomes increasingly alarmed that the Ripper may be someone close to him. Damon and Stefan's paths cross again as Stefan becomes determined to solve the mystery, and Stefan encounters others of his kind, besides the old one he met in New Orleans, with dire consequences. Stefan fears that death will always follow him, as those around him continue to suffer because of their apparent association with him. He is determined to help Damon seek revenge on the vampires who caused them so much trouble in London.

Volume 5: The Asylum is a continuation of the story from Volume 4: The Ripper. Damon and Stefan find themselves united against Samuel, a vampire out for revenge for the role the Salvatore brothers played in the death of Katherine. Samuel has successfully framed Damon as Jack the Ripper and all of London is looking for him. Stefan is determined to to help Cora find Violet and to help Damon kill Samuel and his brother for all of the harm they have caused. When Stefan discovers that Samuel is using a local asylum, under the guise of philanthropy, as his own personal feeding grounds, he and Damon with the help of Cora hatch a scheme to get their revenge. When their plan does not turn out accordingly, Stefan realizes that in order to save his brother he will need to enlist powers beyond those that he posses. One thing is for certain, he is determined to save Damon, no matter the consequences.

Volume 6: The Compelled wraps up the story from Volumes 4 and 5. Stefan is desperate to save Damon, who has been taken captive by Samuel, but knows that he does not have the power to defeat him on his own. When Stefan saves a seemingly ordinary girl, named Mary Jane, from Samuel's attack, he finds the solution to defeating Samuel once and for all, or so he thinks. Mary Jane is a witch and together they discover that Samuel's plan involves so much more than destroying the Salvatore brothers. He is seeking a power which will allow him to not only compel and control humans, but vampires as well, and Stefan becomes even more determined to destroy Samuel and save the innocent lives of London. While the side of good prevails, there is always a cost - innocent lives are always lost. At the end of the story Damon and Stefan find themselves again at a proverbial fork in the road - Damon remains in London to return to his life of privilege and indulgence, while Stefan heads to New Zealand with the hopes of starting a new chapter.

I felt like Volumes 4-6 really could have been condensed into one book and the story did seem to drag on a bit. I was a little skeptical of the whole Jack the Ripper idea. The story did not have any element of historical fiction to it and I was a little leery of how they were going to tie it in. That element of the story seemed to drag on and started to feel like a superfluous detail that kept cropping up. It makes much more sense when you get to Volume 6 and I felt like the explanation behind it should have been introduced a bit sooner.

I hope that more books in this series end up being published. They are very quick reads - most of them are about 300 pages - and I like reading more of the back story of the characters I love on the show. Stefan and Damon talk about reuniting in Mystic Falls in 1913, so I am thinking that is were the story will pick up when and if more are published. Here's hoping!

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