Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vampire Enthusiasts Click Here

I'm not ashamed to admit that I am a vampire enthusiast. Not now, after I've read so many other Christian authors admitting to loving Twilight. I also admit to watching True Blood (I know, I know...slap my hand) and having read all Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series featuring Sookie Stackhouse.

Recently, I've stumbled across The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith. The CW will be hosting the first season of The Vampire Diaries premiering this Thursday at 7:00 Central Time. This was the main reason I found out about it, so then I did some research.

I found I could read the first book online. I liked it, so I wanted to see if I could find the other 3, and I found a site where you can download all four of the first books (click here. Apparently some people had problems downloading them, but it took me to a site and I managed to download them all. They are .rar files, so make sure you have a program on Windows or Mac to read .rar. There are plenty of free ones. I used iArchiver's 15-day free trial for Mac.). So now I'm starting on Book Three.

If anyone else has read these books, please let me know if it escaped your attention how very similar they are to the Twilight series? Now, I suppose there aren't too many spins on the whole vampire-human love relationship thing. But seriously. L.J. Smith wrote this series in 1991. Stephenie Meyers published Twilight in 2005. Fourteen years later.

Here's my rundown of the similarities between The Vampire Diaries (VD) and Twilight, despite the very obvious similarity in the pictures below, given that I'm only through Book 2.


1) Setting: small town high school, USA

2) Vampire Stefan in VD is a mind reader. He had other Powers, too. He also "feels" the mind of Elena (main girl) differently than the rest of the high school.

3) Stefan is immediately attracted to Elena, but absolutely repels every attempt she makes at friendship (and is quite rude).

4) Stefan rescues Elena from a near rape by a high school boy when she's alone out being stupid with the guy at dark.

5) Stefan doesn't trust himself to ever be alone with Elena after they have their initial first kiss and it's so passionate they both are overwhelmed.

6) There is absolutely no sex mentioned (at least thus far). Just kissing, and not much of that.

7) Stefan's evil vampire brother Damon (sort of like the James character) wants Elena for himself, but not to drain. Damon forms the third of the love triangle (which would be like Jacob from Twilight, although Damon's no werewolf. Damon has incredible Powers b/c he's been feeding on humans all this time.)

8) Stefan is generally a "vegetarian" vamp, like Edward and the Cullens. He hunts animals to quench his thirst, although they don't help advance his Powers much (only the human life essence can really do that).

9) Elena has a "good guy friend" named Matt who absolutely is in love with her and isn't happy at all about the developments between Elena and Stefan.

10) Stefan has a thing about manners and being a gentleman, born from his birth era in the Italian Renaissance.

11) The producers of The Vampire Diaries on CW have definitely cashed in on the Edward Cullen look-alike type thing.

I'm sure there will be more just from reading the back cover copy of the next books, like how Bella eventually joins the vampire ranks, Elena does, too.

There are some typical vampire traits that L.J. Smith works with that most all vamp books incorporate: aversion to sunlight (although Smith has Stefan and Damon wear a ring like a talisman to protect them from the sun), ability to "influence" others with their mental powers, pale and cool skin, incredible physical power and prowess, increased/attuned senses, extreme sexual attraction/good looks, can't go inside a dwelling without an invitation.

So I'm curious what Twilight readers thought of The Vampire Diaries. L.J. Smith has written 3 new VD books now, and I imagine the idea was to cash in on the success vampire books are having right now. But how many Twilight readers have read VD? And who read what first? Any other vamp books you'd recommend to this enthusiast?

Wordle: signature


Terri Tiffany said...

SOrry! I don't raed vampire books-- used to watch the movies with them years ago but never read them:)

MeganRebekah said...

Yeah I had picked up on it right away, but only because I had read the Vampire Diaries as a teen, so Twilight felt familiar.
When you break down the points of the plot is it eerily the same. The biggest difference is execution. Meyer engrosses us in her world with details, where as I feel a lot of Vampire Diaries was more simple and to the point.
Another big difference is that Elena is so much more assertive and active.

A couple more comparisons:
- Bella and Elena both are pale and can't get tans, even when they live in the sun
- There's a "meadow" scene in the forest
- Both Edward and Stefan have and love fast, flashy cars (even though they want to live a low key life)
- There's a quirky female friend in the picture who can predict the future

(And there's more that I didn't mention, not knowing which book they occur in)

After reading Twilight I went online to see if other people had made the comparison as well. I remember finding a forum where people were discussing it, and the fact that Meyer claimed the book idea came to her from a dream. And someone wrote "And did this dream occur after you fell asleep reading The Vampire Diaries?" It made me laugh!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

meganrebekah - thanks for the additional similarities. how could i have missed quirky girl friend who sees future? :) and of course the love of fast cars.

i totally laughed reading that someone asked meyer if she had her dream after reading VD. that's funny....but a very relevant question.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I never even heard of VD, so sorry I can't help you in the comparison, but from what you wrote, they sure do seem similar!!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

oh, and one more thing, meganrebekah. you're spot on when you said meyer draws you into the world. Smith's world is kind of chaotically simple. but i wonder if that's not what she was going for. diaries by teen girls are generally simple. boys. rivals. boys. clothes. boys. maybe she thought teens would go for that. but i meant to say earlier how good an observation that was. :)

Cindy said...

I discovered Vampire Diaries when I was a young teenager. All my friends read them (and every other L.J. Smith book we could get our hands on). It was so long ago, I didn't notice a ton of similarities between that and Twilight. But, if I think about it, they're there!

Jody Hedlund said...

I haven't branched into Vamp yet. What do you think is attractive about these stories? I'm sure you must have a theory, right? :) I'd be curious to know why you think these stories are so attractive to people right now.

Teri said...

Hmmm, I haven't picked up the Vampire Diaries. I may have to. I enjoyed Twilight and felt that Meyer's did tell a very compelling story. I've been interested in the Sookie books, but have heard mixed reviews. Did you like them?

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

jody - as to why their attractive? my thoughts run to the side that our current world is far from what we desire. why not lose yourself in a world that is completely made up? is it any different from make believe when we were little? imaginations are so much more fun than real life. anything can happen (and usually does.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

teri - i DID love the sookie books. charlaine's world is so incredible. and the romance triangle between sookie, bill and eric is one of my all-time favorites (although i definitely root for one over the other...dying to see what happens when book 10 is released in may...SO long away!). :)

T. Anne said...

I think there was a lawsuit towards Myer's from that author. It might have been another one, but I believe it was this one.

I read secular novels as well and I do wish Christian's would write about more varied topics. Certainly a Christian world view fits in everything.

Shawna Williams said...

Really interesting. I hadn't heard of the Vampire Diaries. With Twilight it seems you either love it or hate it--unless you're like me and haven't read the series yet. (My daughter has the books and loves them. They're on my 'to read' list.) I know several people who just can't stand them, and it's not because they're about vampires. It has to do with Stephanie Meyers writing style. I wonder if they would like VD better. Curious.

Lost Boys is my favorite vampire flick.

FictionGroupie said...

I haven't read the vampire diaries yet, but plan on checking out the new show tomorrow. As for other vamp recommendations, I just started reading Molly Harper's Nice Girls Don't have Fangs and am enjoying that. Really funny. I love Charlaine Harris and True Blood as well.

Diane said...

I am also a Vampire enthusiast/fearfullist. I am blogging on my own dracula story on Saturday. Good article :O)

Katie Ganshert said...

Haven't read 'em. But LOVE Twilight.

Just as a sidenote. My brother and I used to be afraid of vampires when we were little. We'd go to sleep with the covers up to our chins, making sure our necks were covered. :)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

diane - thanks for stopping by!

katie - i think you and i should sit down and to an in-depth assessment. guess it'll be next weekend. :)

Krista Phillips said...

Ugh! y'all are giving me shivers! And Scott isn't home yet from work. GEEZ! I need garlic right?

Watched the 1st twilight movie, thought I would hate it, but actually liked it in some weird twisted way that totally shocked me. But... Yeah, I don't think I'll be reading vampire diaries. MIGHT watch the other twilight movies when they come out. (please don't hate me for not reading the books!)

I'll go back to my nice little contemporary romances where there is no drinking of, gulp, blood.


Suzette Saxton said...

Stephenie Meyer wrote the first chapter of Twilight after having a dream about Edward and Bella in a meadow - - - and I can't tell you how many times I have wondered what, exactly, Stephenie happened to be reading at the time. (Methinks it twas a vampire novel...)

Jeannie, I think you are onto something here - kudos for bringing it to light!

Lynnette Bonner said...

Interesting... I haven't gotten into any of the vampire novels yet. I've looked at Twilight a couple times and I live just a couple hours from Forks. :) But haven't read any of them. Interesting side note: had a friend who went to Forks and he said there are people from all over the world coming there to visit now because of those books. :)

Jessica said...

I heard of these books, but only because I think another blogger (maybe Megan?) posted about loving them a few months back. It is interesting about the similarities. I wonder if Meyers had read these as a teen? Or maybe certain things our so ingrained in our cultural psyche that when we write about them (ie. vampires and high school romance) there's always a similarity unless we consciously choose to make it different. (did that make sense? LOL)
Cool run-down!

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

suzette - i had heard that about her dream to. meganrebekah said she must have fallen asleep to L.J. Smith's book. :)

lynnette - i'd heard people were making pilgrimages to forks...that's crazy.

jessica - did a great post on plagiarism yesterday on that very you might internalize something so far (but the person whose stuff was plagiarized really didn't buy that!)

Heather Sunseri said...

I used to really not like vampire movies or books. I still don't like zombies. It wasn't a Christian thing, it was a "they scared me" thing. Now, I will confess, I love True Blood.

Tess said...

Seriously? Wow.

Why does this post make me so frustrated? Not you, but the idea that someone can do that and make millions and smile and wave at the crowds and ....grrr....

okay. I'm better now ;)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

heather - doesn't it feel like your vice? true blood, that is? i always feel like the worst christian ever when i watch it.

and tess - i'm with you on that.

Susanne Dietze said...

Ohhh, I love Twilight, but the similarities to Vampire Diaries (which I was not familiar with) sound too close for my comfort. Ugh.

I can't help myself, I am a sucker for this stuff (no pun intended) so I'll be watching VD tonight.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

me, too, susie. me too. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I only read the first Twillight book and not the Vampire Diaries, but WOW what similarities!
See? There is no original story. LOL!

ElanaJ said...

I've been accused of wanting to become a vampire. I'm totally going to check these books out. Thanks!