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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling series!

The first book in L.J. Smith's New York Times best-selling Vampire Diaries series, the basis of the hit CW TV show starring Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder.

Elena Gilbert is a high school golden girl, used to getting what she wants. And who she wants. But when the boy she's set her sights on - the handsome and haunted Stefan - isn't interested, she's confused. She could never know the real reason Stefan is struggling to resist her:

Stefan is a vampire, and Elena's in danger just by being around him. What's more, Stefan's dark, dangerous vampire brother Damon has just arrived in town. And wherever Damon goes, trouble always follows.

Fans of The Vampire Diaries TV show will find this book packed with the same kind of heart-stopping suspense, fierce romances, and jaw-dropping surprises that they know and love, all brought to life by New York Times best-selling author L.J. Smith.

Listen to more Vampire Diaries.
©1991 Daniel Weiss Associate, Inc., and Lisa Smith (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Vampire Diaries, Book 1

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Better Original

I originally read this series in the mid-nineties after it first came out. These, together with The Secret Circle followed with the Night World series made up half of my "must keep" books. Twenty years later I still have copies with the original cover art. So when I first heard they were coming out with a TV show for both, I had major reserves. The Secret Circle failed in many ways. Not only did it not follow the written narrative, but the characters and storyline they chose to go with did nothing to make up for it.

As far as TVD, the show is much different than the books. Really, you almost can't compare the two save for some of the names and the fact that Elena' s caught between the brothers. Other than that, the people and places contrast majorly. For one thing, Elena is blonde, Bonnie is a fair skinned red-headed and Meredith Fell is a forth friend. Jeremy doesn't exist and is a 5 year old sister, instead. So fans of the show may be extremely disappointed.

Please don't go into this expecting them to feel the same. You have to read/listen with an open mind. The actual writing, though, yes it is a YA novel, is very mature. However, if you LISTEN to this, none of that will come through. The narrator is horrible. She comes across as a whiny stuck up tween who over-dramatizes every sentence. And she pronounces their last name, Salvatore, as "Salvatoray". Drove me friggin nuts. Her performance, especially her accent for Stefan sounding much like Luigi from the Mario Bros, ruined the entire book.

I honestly believe given a higher-grade narrator, preferably an adult, this would be so much better and would appeal to all ages. All of L.J. Smith's original stories would. Do not read the ghost-written books. There just is no comparison.

But for this to be experienced as it should, you need to read it for yourself vs. listening unless (or hopefully until) they record another version. Otherwise you might not make it through the entire thing and that would be a shame. It was one of the first of its kind.

72 people found this helpful

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Interesting!

I have never watched the TV version before, so I can't compare it with the book. But this audiobook kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. I read so many negative reviews about this audiobook that I'd struggled whether to buy it for a long time. It turned out to be much better than I had expected. I saw (and you will too) so much of this book's shadow in Twilight. I swear some of the scenes are almost exactly the same. You'll have to say it's original because it was written twenty years ago. Anyway, just buy it if you love reading paranormal romance.

18 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story, some issues with the narrator...

I bought this because I'm a HUGE fan of the TV series. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this series is literally completely different than the TV series. I kind of like that! It's almost like a bonus series because it has most of the same characters that I love, but it's a completely different story line.

I will say that there are a few things I dislike about the narrator's performance. One of them being that she pronounces "Salvatore" with a long "E" at the end. She pronounces it like "sal-va-tor-y" versus "sal-va-tor". The latter is how they actually pronounce it in the show. I'm not sure which one the author meant to be the correct pronunciation, but I much prefer the way they pronounce it in the TV show. So that's one downside... but it wasn't enough to make me dislike her performance altogether. I do feel myself cringing every time she says Stefan's and Damon's last name for any reason though. Second, I HATE the way she does Stefan's voice! It bugs the heck out of me! I'm definitely not a fan of the awful Italian accent she attempts to do and I'm hoping the different narrators in the next few books do a better job because that one thing did almost make me stop listening and return the book.

With that being said... the story itself is great. I have somewhat of a vampire obsession. I love Twilight, True Blood, or any other vampire-related TV show, movie, or book. So this series is just another bonus to add to my collection of favorite vampire-related things. I love this "universe" because the character story lines and the way they all connect somehow are my favorite compared to all other series (such as Twilight). And each vampire-related book, series, etc. always has a different set of skills that vampires possess. For example, in Twilight, they all have a different type of skill (i.e. Edward reads minds, Alice sees the future, etc.). But I just love Damon and Stefan's skills. And the love triangle between them and Elena is an added BONUS!!

If I had to say whether or not I would recommend this audible listen, I'd say go for it. It's definitely worth the $7 it costs if you choose not to use a credit. But I wouldn't recommend wasting a credit on such a short listen (since it's only about 6 and a 1/2 hours long). Save your credits for something that's at least 10 hours long! But if you can get past the way Rebecca Mozo pronounces "Salvatore" as well as the way she does Stefan's terrible accent... then go for it. But you will probably be pretty disappointed if you're like me and you watched the show FIRST. It was hard for me to picture Stefan's face in the show and put it together with the awful accent Rebecca does. And one other small thing... I am sort of missing some of my favorite characters from the TV series that aren't in the books, but I know that's not something I can complain about considering these were written well before the TV show was. :)

Anyway... happy listening!!

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

if you are a fan of the show, yiu won't be of this

I realize the book inspired the show, and so I can imagine (as I have been before) the disappointment book fans experienced when it first aired on the CW. I am a late-comer to the books, though, and am a little disappointed. Elena's character seems immature. at first I thought she was going to be a great, arrong female character. I quickly found she is as angsty and stupid (sorry, that sounds harsh), as both Romeo and Juliet. You find yourself thinking about how foolish she is acting and can't help but be annoyed. The writing is awkward and seems immatute as well. There were parts where I found myself wondering how developed of a writer L.J. Smith was when she wrote the first book. I dislike that Elena is immediately obsessed in an unhealthy way, and wanted it to feel more natural. There is a part where Elena drinks Stefans's blood (I think?) and I found it to be very weird and ruined the moment. I could have handled insinuating some adult content instead and simply moved on to more plot. I also was a little turned off by the accents the narrator used for the Salvatori brothers. They have been around for a few hundred years and they haven't lost or changed their accent? All of this said, I am going to read the next one to see how the style of writing progresses within the story. I hope the characters become much less obsessed and are more mature moving forward. This was not a terrible book, but not on the same level as some other YA literature that has been popular in recent years. I should also out out that I am well beyond the YA years, so maybe I am finally at the point where I am just too far removed to identify with younger protagonists. Read away, YA-ers! I might be the exception with my slight disappointment!

5 people found this helpful

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Wrong Narrator

Narrator should have been a mans voice, lacks confidence and wish the voice was more like Nina Dobrev. Story is completely different from CW series. I liked it but wish it wasn’t so mushy and more intense rather than Elena being so focused on doing anything to be with Stefan.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Well read

Well read by the actress. The book is sort of interesting, though it is completely different from the TV show, the reason I got interested in the first place. Much, much better than the Twilight saga, there's really no comparison between the two: The Vampire Diaries is more compelling, better written and overall more agreeable.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great

Enjoyed it so much i have downloaded the next two books. Highly recommend it for you fellow vampire lovers.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Much better then the TV series.

It took me a while to get into it, but once I did I was hooked. It's not at all like the TV series. It has the same characters and the same struggle for Elana, but the story is very different. I watched the TV series but so far I like the story in the books MUCH better. On TV, just like they did with TrueBlood, they took the characters and some of the basics and then re-wrote it. Personally in both cases the books have the best stories. Definately worth listening to!!!

16 people found this helpful

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Annoying

This book was really just annoying I couldn’t get pst 1 hr without being completed turned off by the main characters horrible monologue. The writing was fine, the book was just annoying!!!

1 person found this helpful

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Fun, but a little rushed w the plot

Comparing this to the TV show is not really fair, so don't expect it to be the same. No points docked for that. However, I found the plot (especially the romance) to be kind of jerky and fast without any real development. Overall story is engaging and fun, and I'll be continuing the series. Also I'm sure this isn't her fault, but the narrator's fake Italian accent for Stefan and Damon is absolutely grating.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Frances D. Young
  • 06-16-10

Vampires delight

Absolutely fantastic, a gripping tale of a love triangle but also incorporates action and suspense. I would highly recommend all the books in this series and definitely read the books before you watch the series.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Seraph
  • 11-17-18

Not a patch on the TV show

The writers of the TV show did a great job of turning this book into an interesting premise because I wouldn't have had the vision based on this.

Elena is an unbearable queen bee who everyone adores for some reason. Her friends are forgettable and there are too many of them making it hard to distinguish them. The TV show blends two characters into one, leaving us just Bonnie and Caroline, which works much better.

The narrator sounds like Nina Dobrev, which is cool, but she does this terrible accent for Damon and Stefan which kills it.

However, the main issue is there is no plot, so nothing happens. It's dull. Watch the show instead.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elle
  • 05-09-16

On par with the tv show

If you could sum up The Vampire Diaries, Book 1 in three words, what would they be?

Just as good

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bonnie, because she seemed nicer than tv bonnie

Which character – as performed by Rebecca Mozo – was your favourite?

All of them. You could tell between the characters who is who. Even with male characters. Would like to hear her narrations again.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Stefan saved Elena and took her to his house.

Any additional comments?

It is VERY different from the show. Of course this book came out waayy before. But I like both the show and this book. I like the different characters and the storylines. Elena seemed to fall in love fast but you do that in real life.I like how Stefan is written in the book more than the show. I have read the books up until they were re done by aubrey. Dont know if I will purchase them because L.J Smith's work is better and much less predictable.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-01-20

love it and hate it

The narrater is really annoying when reading Stefans lines. First she reads his lines in normal english, but after one scene with the father who apparently speaks like a mafia. She changes stefans way of talking and english. Its so bad and horrible. But the story itself is great.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • miss laura-jayne ashman
  • 11-13-19

Fantastic book

Although I’ve read the physical book this was fantastically narrated and I couldn’t stop listening

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • chloe
  • 04-15-16

much prefer the book to the tv series

books such a better story to the tv serise and also much faster pace than the first season they didn't need to change the story so much

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nadia
  • 11-12-09

Here it begins

This book is the start of a brilliant series. Dark and intense, the novel sucks the reader in from its opening sentence and doesn't let up. Sensitively written, with characters that leap to life the moment they come into being, The Awakening starts an emotional roller coaster that doesn't let up for the entire series. The cliffhanger ending for each book sets the scene up for the next and the series isn't finished yet. A must-listen for any lovers of teen vampire sagas.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Ali
  • 04-22-11

Vacuous drivel!

Utterly shallow and vacuous, with a lead character that is virtually impossible to like. Elena is the popular 'queen' of the school, she seems to have every other commoner in the school fawning all over her (for which they deserve ridicule and derision apparently) and following her about the place. The only basis for judging someone's worth, according to this book, is their looks and whether or not they're wearing this season's designer clothes. Horrible. Unless you're 14, don't read this book. Although I wouldn't like any 14 year old to think that the lifestyle or attitude of these characters was something to aspire to in life!

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-07-21

It was bad

Save your credits. So the love story is between Elena and Stefan and yet the narrator decided to be « realistic » and use an « Italian » accent for Stefan. He’s supposed to be this sexy vampire dude but he sounds like an old man with dementia. Horrible. Also the story is boring and so basic. The author doesn’t go into any detail at all about what it’s like being a vampire, or about why Elena and Stefan like each other at all. Completely shallow.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-14-21

Not at all what I expected

After watching TVD I expected much more. Barely anything happened in this book. Just when it would've got interesting, it ended.
The way the narrator said Salvatore annoyed me immensely and the accent she did for Stephan was also bothersome.
Would not recommend.

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  • Brendon Anderson
  • 04-22-21

the book is a good lead up to the series

the book is a good lead up and setting the scene and and covering the backstories into what I hope will be a good series

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  • CairoQueen
  • 08-14-20

All But the Narrator

I’m always reading autobiographies so thought I would switch to something a little lighter and having seen the TV series that seemed like a good option. Personally I felt the writing was a little clumsy and it gave me the impression the author was and inexperienced [I could be wrong]. But I have heard these books get better so I have just purchased the second book. The book is quite different to the TV series but still good, my only criticism would be the storyteller. I still haven’t warmed to her voice and tone and find the expense of the brothers a little irritating and far from Italian, they sound more like cheesy Eastern European vampire accents from a bad movie. Get past this and you all enjoy the book

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-05-19

Didn't really enjoy it

It's sad to say but I actually liked the TV show a LOT more. The story lacked romance and I didn't like Elana

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stacey
  • 09-03-18

Good overall

Good overall audiobook. Would be better if the narrator could tell the difference between Italian and Russian accents. Story isn’t bad and holds up reasonably well given it was written in the 90s to appeal to 90s teenagers.