With the help of charming and devious Damon, Elena rescued her vampire love, Stefan, from the depths of the Dark Dimension. But neither brother returned unscathed. Stefan is weak from his long imprisonment and needs more blood than Elena alone can give him, while a strange magic has turned Damon into a human. Savage and desperate, Damon will do anything to become a vampire again—even travel back to hell. But what will happen when he accidentally takes Bonnie with him?
Stefan and Elena hurry to rescue their innocent friend from the Dark Dimension, leaving Matt and Meredith to save their hometown from the dangerous spirits that have taken hold of Fell's Church. One by one, children are succumbing to demonic designs. But Matt and Meredith soon discover that the source of the evil is darker—and closer—than they ever could have imagined. . . .
The Vampire Diaries – The Return: Midnight is the final chapter in the kitsune related story arc. While many people were excited that the story of the kitsune were coming to an end and Stefan was finally returned home, I was feeling a bit hopeless. I wanted to believe that Damon and his influences over Elena during the book, Shadow Souls, held a grave impact on her and her now polyamourous nature; I was quickly disappointed. The love triangle is over…partly, but what is left of the trio of star-crossed lovers is more confusing than the original innocent feelings that made the books so dramatic.
While Elena managed to keep somewhat faithful to her vampire love, Stefan, through burgeoning feelings for his brother, she didn’t seem to grow a heart when it came to rubbing her relationship with Stefan in Damon’s face.
The book begins with Damon and his cat-like curiosity. Stefan was given a bouquet of flowers by one of the “good” kitsune he was imprisoned with. Unfortunately for Damon, his love of all things beautiful gets in the way and he stops to smell the flowers. Unwittingly, he unleashed some serious magic on himself that was specially created for his brother. Damon is now a human. If there was ever a vampire in history that never wanted to be anything other than what he was, it would have to be Damon, and this is the most severe setback he had ever had in his lifetime. Nothing is more detrimental to his over-confident ego than realizing he was no stronger than Elena’s ex-boyfriend, Mutt –erm- Matt. Not to mention he gets to deal with the fallout from Stefan once it is revealed that he took the humanity Stefan craved so badly.
This book deals a lot with star balls. They were introduced in the last book as a source of pure Power. That is Power with a capital “P” because it is the thing that creates the strength in every being, like a boost to their aura. Everyone has Power, but the kitsunes collect it in so much abundance that they keep it in the star balls, along with memories and other things they hold dear. I like to think of the kitsunes as raccoons that refuse to let go of a shiny quarter in the bottom of a trap. Anyways, they have Miaso’s, the female kitsune, star ball from the Dark Dimension and Damon will do anything to get his hands on it so he can go directly back to the Dark Dimension. His ultimate goal is to find an extremely powerful, yet naïve, vampire to turn him again.
His goals are achieved, but not without difficulty. This difficulty is named Bonnie. She somehow falls into the Dark Dimension portal and is swept away into an alternate dimension with Damon. He is not a very good caretaker for anyone other than Elena. He leaves her alone to finish his mission.
Meanwhile, back in Fell’s Church, things are becoming direr. Stefan is extremely weak, giving up his bunny diet to feed on the human friends and Elena in order to become a force that might do damage. He has his woman back, but there are changes in her that he is trying to ignore. She is drawn to his brother in a way he can no longer ignore, try as he might. Eventually, they find out each of them is hiding a secret or two that threatens to break up their little “Scooby Gang”.
We find out one character has a brother she never knew about. This person is also a vampire and a vampire hunter/slayer. Another character is having issues with the story of Camelot, choosing her prince over her knight. Another character is jealous of all of the supernatural entities their friends are, while this person is normal human. If that wasn’t enough for the group of friends left to deal with, they also have the most abundant evil they have ever faced wreaking havoc and ruining the town they have been fighting so desperately to protect.
The friends find unexpected help from, Obisaan, the grandmother of a girl who had pierced herself almost to death when under the influence of the demons. She helps them with charms and protection spells to save them from the growing population of evil that is knocking on their door at every turn.
The entire beginning and middle of the book had a serious disconnect for me. On one hand you are dealing with the Bonnie in the Dark Dimension, then Damon in the Dark Dimension and then Elena and the remaining friends in Fell’s Church. For a while it seemed as if there were too much going on, which is nice because it is action and reads quickly, but also bad because nothing of substance really happens.
The turning point comes about half way through the book when Stefan and Elena get a magical key they have stolen from the kitsune and travel to the Dark Dimension on their own. Bonnie, Damon, Elena, and Stefan now have to set off on a mission to find a magical location of the most large and powerful star ball in existence and only Bonnie knows where it is.
Though at times the book can become boring and redundant, the last twenty or so chapters are a must read. Things happen in chapter thirty three that if you can read it without bawling like a baby, you have no soul. The book is a roller-coaster of emotions; unfortunately, they aren’t ones you like to feel often. The scenes between Stefan and Elena towards the end are amazingly well written. The emotions all the characters can make the reader feel in the ending are simply beautiful. I went through an entire box of tissues in chapter thirty three. I’m not ashamed. I cried like a family member passed away.
All in all, I give The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight three and a half kisses. It was not the best book in the series. It was a decent read. I felt like it was missing a connection that was very evident in Shadow Souls. Although it came back by the end, it was too late. I had high hopes for this book, as I thought it would be the last one written. Although it is the last one written by L.J. Smith’s hand, it is not the end of the series. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is left to the next review.
2. The Dark Dimension is back!
3. Some very touching moments between Bonnie and Damon, as well as Elena and Stefan
4. We find out what killed Elena’s parents and what she is.
5. More kick ass wing powers!
2. Major disconnect with the characters in the first half of the book. Some of it, I will dare say, felt forced.
3. Several pointless scenarios and chapters.
4. Elena becomes as annoying as she was in the first book. Stefan’s return appeared to revoke some of the responsibility and goodness her character had acquired.
K R Y S T L E