I wasn’t impressed with the first book (review here) and seriously hoped things would pick up in the second one. Well, I was briefly glad that they did.
Elena seemed to have grown up. She started looking at things beyond her own self-interests. Her plans sounded less dumber. And for the first time, I did not hate Elena. But too bad, she died just when she developed into a rightful heroine. Stefan was pretty much the same. Still weak, refusing to take human-blood (at times, I found that pretty annoying!) and madly in love with Elena. Damon evolved a bit into someone who had kindness but shielded it with tough unremorseful exterior. And Damon and Elena never happened 😦 I wish there was more of Damon. He started to look like a side-kick in these last two books.
The writing picked up as well and some scenes were quite thrilling and built up a lot of excitement. But then the plot would plummet. This happened a few times. I was unable to understand Katherine, once she made an appearance. Her reasons, motives sounded way too immature for a 500 year old creature. Looks like time does not teach some people! I still gave her the benefit of doubt that maybe she was turned into pure evil by Klaus and she saw others as toys she could play with as she pleased. No rhyme or reason necessary.
And then enter Klaus. Equally irrational character with no depth in his motives either. It was like just offer some fodder to the main characters to keep them occupied. Doesn’t matter what and who. And I probably missed something in the book because Katherine mentioned she had killed Klaus but then what was he doing in the fourth book all “alive” and kicking?!
I liked Matt and his dilemmas and how he emerged from them. Meredith and Bonnie were likable as well. It was almost funny to see how Bonnie felt drawn to Stefan, Damon, Matt turn by turn. I felt sorry for Vickie. Poor girl could never come out of her delirium.
In the end, Elena comes back alive. Again, I did not get why. Why was she special to come back from death but Sue and Vickie were not?
Overall, I can give 2.5 stars for improved writing and character development. I could relate to the characters more than the previous books. But still not very pleased with the whole experience.