The Vampire Diaries: The Return – Shadow Souls (Vampire Diaries 6)
Elena is forced to trust her life to Damon, the handsome but deadly vampire who wants Elena, body and soul. They must journey to the slums of the Dark Dimension, a world where vampires and demons roam free, but humans must live as slaves of their supernatural masters. Damon's brother, the brooding vampire Stefan whom Elena loves, is imprisoned here, and Elena can only free him by finding the two hidden halves of the key to his cell.
Meanwhile, the tension between Elena and Damon mounts until Elena is faced with a terrible decision: which brother does she really want to be with?
I’ve had a bit of a chequered history with the vampire diaries – the books not the TV Series. I love the series but that’s diverged from the original book long ago. I read the original four books when I was a teenager and loved them. So I was very excited when I heard LJ Smith was going to write a sequel trilogy but I was very disappointed with Nightfall. It was incoherent, the girls seemed to burst into tears every other page and there were memory losses every chapter in some sort attempt to shoe-horn the scenes into some sort of storyline. It was one of the worst books I had ever read. So I was a little reluctant to pick up Shadow Souls – and to be honest I wasn’t expecting a lot from it.
What I found was a book trying its best to resolve some of the threads from the previous book and weave them into a story. It’s not great, but it as least more coherent. Elena has regained herself (no more random floating and kissing everyone!) and you feel her being torn between brothers Stephen and Damon more as she works closely with Damon to rescue Stephen from the Dark Dimension. Her friends Bonnie and Meredith get short changed in this book and aren’t really given much to do apart hug Elena occasionally and cry. Damon is a large part of this story as are a variety of new characters – Sage is intriguing even if he isn’t given much to do.
What I find with this is that you are told so much about peoples relationships but little is seen or felt. Just be being told that the girls would do anything for each, you are expected to believe it. I’d rather have seen the Meredith or Bonnie risk something – and possibly even lost, rather than just told they were risking everything. I didn’t feel much connection to the characters and thought they behaved in a rather inconsistent way – one minute acting like a slave and the next rescuing a beaten woman.
However, despite this and some unintentionally hilarious phrases (Velocoraptor sisterhood forever!), there is enough action that moves the story along and I have to give the book an extra bonus for a surprise ending that will probably have me reading the final book in the trilogy – if only to see how it all ends.
Recommended for fans of Twilight and Fallen. 5 out of 10.