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TVD: Book Series vs. TV Show

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I recently started reading the books in the Vampire Diaries series (and hilariously, when I was visiting my parents last year, I found an old Sassy magazine from the 90s that had an ad in the back for one of these books!). I remember there was a books vs. tv thread at the old TWoP forum but I never ventured in because I hadn't read any of the books at the time.


One thing I hate about some of these teen book series is that they don't label the books clearly so that you know what order to read them (I had the same issue with the Pretty Little Liars series). I guess they figure you are going to be so hardcore that you will just know which ones to read first. I was spoiled by having all those Sweet Valley High books that had the number on the spine and cover of every book. I was afraid to google the books too much for fear of being spoiled, so as a public service announcement here are the books in order in case anyone else wants to read them:


1. The Awakening

2. The Struggle

3. The Fury

4. Dark Reunion


5. The Return: Night Fall

6. The Return: Shadow Souls

7. The Return: Midnight


8. The Hunters: Phantom

9. The Hunters: Moonsong

10. The Hunters: Destiny Rising


11. The Salvation: Unseen

12. The Salvation: Unspoken

13. The Salvation: Unmasked


{8b. Evensong: Paradise Lost}

{9b. Evensong: War of Roses}

{10b. Evensong: Into the Woods}


A little bit of background: L.J. Smith was hired by Alloy to write the first four books back 1991-1992. When the CW bought the rights to air the tv show, Alloy had L.J. Smith write an additional three book arc (The Return), the first of which was published in February 2009, a few months before the tv show began airing. In my opinion, The Return arc is the weakest arc and a complete mess, which may explain why Alloy then hired an unnamed ghostwriter to write the next three book arc (The Hunters). Those three books just say that the series was created by L.J. Smith on the cover. Alloy then hired Aubrey Clark to write the next three books (The Salvation arc). Those books say that the series was created by L.J. Smith but credit Aubrey Clark as the author. L.J. Smith then decided that she wanted to continue telling the story she envisioned, so the Evensong arc takes places immediately after the Return arc. Technically the Evensong trilogy is considered fan fiction because it wasn't officially published by Alloy as part of the series.


The tv show is based on the original first four books (even though there are definitely lots of things that were changed for the show). The stuff from the later arcs are completely separate, although some elements from the show and the later books are similar.


There is also a six book arc called Stefan's Diaries which were written after the show began airing (the books were released 2010-2012). They cover Stefan and Damon's past and follow some of the flashback history seen on the show. I haven't read them yet so I'm not sure how much they diverge from the show's canon of their past.


1. Stefan's Diaries: Origins

2. Stefan's Diaries: Bloodlust

3. Stefan's Diaries: The Craving

4. Stefan's Diaries: The Ripper

5. Stefan's Diaries: The Asylum

6. Stefan's Diaries: The Compelled


I haven't read the Salvation, Evensong, or Stefan's Diaries books yet, but I was surprised by how different the books are from the show. Aside from the obvious (Elena is blonde in the book, as we are told approximately eleventy million times), there are lots of changes with the characters. Bonnie is a little redhead. Meredith is the other best friend and she is a hunter-slayer like Buffy. Alaric, on the other hand, is not a hunter. Jeremy doesn't exist (instead Elena has a much younger sister named Margaret). Caroline is there but is a totally different character who gets pregnant with Tyler's werewolf babies. Fell's Church is Mystic Falls and instead of Whitmore, everyone attends Dalcrest, which is basically the same thing. For some reason, instead of a white oak stake, they need a white ash stake for Klaus the Original. And Katherine is

Elena's half-sister!

What the hell?! I guess that explains a lot more than just being a doppelganger?


The one thing that is definitely the same in the books and the show is Elena's special snowflake status. She is so special and strong and perfect. And she is all about I LOVE STEFAN, STEFAN STEFAN STEFAN while making goo goo eyes at Damon. Nice to know they kept the two most important aspects of the books for the show! And Matt is still Matt, so there's that.


The Return arc was just ridiculous. That's where the books really went off the rails for me. At one point as I was reading the first Return book, I started wondering if it was more ludicrous than the show. Yeah, that's how crazy and nonsensical it got.


One thing I liked about the books is that the friendship between the three girls (Elena, Bonnie, and Meredith) seems much stronger than it is on the show (where they always tell us that they're BFFs but we haven't seen much evidence of that since S1). They're much more supportive of each other in the books whereas on the show I feel like they're supportive of each other if it's convenient for them (or the plot).


So has anyone else read the books? My local library didn't have any of the Salvation books so I had to put in a request for them. I am cautiously optimistic about them. Honestly, I don't think they could be any worse than the Return books so if nothing else, the Salvation books will be better those (did I just jinx myself?).

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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