The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle by L J Smith (July 2007, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 9780340945025)
Icy wind whipped Elena's hair around her face, tearing at her light sweater.
Review: About a month ago I read and reviewed the first book in the series, The Awakening. The Struggle carries straight on from the scene at the end of the first book.
Elena Gilbert, the most popular girl in school in The Awakening has seen her fortunes turn as a result of dating mysterious newcomer Stefan. A series of attacks which began when Stefan arrived are being blamed on him. Elena is shunned by all, with the exception of her best friends Bonnie and Meredith.
Elena's diary was stolen in the previous book and the person who has it, is taunting her and is threatening to provide evidence that could make the police arrest Stefan. Elena has to try and get the diary back, but from whom and how? Equally hard to bear is the fact that Stefan's brother Damon is in town and he wants Elena for himself. He's not above using mind-control and bribery to get Elena's attention. Elena, fearful for Stefan's life, hides the fact that Damon has been seeking her out, an omission which has unforeseen consequences.
After the disappointment of The Awakening, I was pleased to find myself thoroughly enjoying The Struggle. It's well paced and full of tense action pieces. Elena is a more sympathetic lead character, though I'd like to see Stefan come to the fore a bit more. He may be the 'good guy' (relatively speaking) but he's in the background a lot. Damon has the stronger, more dynamic personality but he has no redeeming features (so far). The Struggle ends with a shocking finale which made me begin reading The Fury straightaway.
Cover: The flowers and moon on the cover aren't particularly relevant to the story but the I still like the title font.