Book Review: Destiny Rising (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #3) by L.J. Smith

8960483Title: Destiny Rising (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #3)

Author: L.J. Smith

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 1 stars

Destined for danger . . .

Elena has faced countless challenges—escaping the Dark Dimension, defeating phantoms, discovering she’s a Guardian. But nothing compares to choosing between the two loves of her life: Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Elena has reunited with Stefan, while Damon, hurt by the rejection, has become dark and unpredictable. Now Elena’s torn between saving Damon’s soul and staying true to Stefan.

But before Elena can decide who her heart belongs to, Dalcrest College’s campus is overrun with vampires determined to resurrect Klaus, the wicked Old One who will stop at nothing to destroy Elena—and everyone close to her.

As Elena learns more about her destiny as a Guardian, a protector against evil on earth, she realizes that before she can defeat Klaus, she has to sacrifice someone close to her. Elena must decide how much—and who—she’s willing to give up before it’s too late. . . .

To start right off the bat, I pray to God and all that is holy in this world that there will never be another Vampire Diaries book, except if it were one to set right every crap-tastic thing that happened in this one. As you probably know from my previous reviews, I’m a huge Delena fan, and this book completely ruined every chance Damon and Elena ever had. Very well, I could’ve lived with that. What I can’t live with is that in the nine or more books this series has taken, nothing ever changed. Elena starts out falling for Stefan, knight in shining armor, but ever since that moment, her life has been a rollercoaster of action and disaster, yet at the end she comes up with these amazing, over the top, unbelievable powers, a stronger connection with her friends that has turned into an almost unbreakable bond, and yet she’s still in love with Saint Stefan. I thought they were gross in the first book, but that was nothing for what comes up in this book.

The story is pretty simple. Klaus and Katherine come back from the death, because why would someone come up with original villains if they can just summon the old ones back? Originality is so overrated anyway. In the previous book, this Ethan fellow came up with a ritual, and the purpose of said ritual was to bring back the Old Ones. Klaus is still the epitome of all evil, but apparently now he’s also developed some crazy weird crush on Elena, because at some point he kisses her in a totally pscyhopathic way. Can we say “ewww”? Katherine comes back as well, but not to kick some ass, instead she’s regained her sanity by, you know, dying, and is now working for the good squad. There’s a large bomb dropped on us at the end involving Katherine, a bomb I saw coming about seven books ago, but who’s keeping count. Stefan makes some crazy assumptions as to how Katherine doesn’t really resemble Elena completely since her hair is paler, and Elena is this beautiful shining golden orb. I was ready to puke.

The amount of pages wasted on Elena telling Stefan how much she loves him and the other way around, is astonishing. The amount of WTF-moments is almost hilarious. The only good thing is that Elena has finally chosen a match for life, and of course, it’s Saint Stefan. Because the only logical choice – of actually trying to date Damon first, and figure out her feelings for him, since she literally admits she has feelings for him several times over the course of the book – would be too difficult for our little nitwit to understand. While Elena and Stefan are ready to live happily ever after, of course Damon is up to no good again. Being angry because he’s lost the supposed love of his life TWICE to his own brother, he starts drinking human blood. I doubt I was the only one screaming ‘about time!’ and jumping up and down in my chair hoping to see a glimpse of the old Damon Salvatore. Ah, no luck so far. Damon is still a goody-two-shoes, and in the end, as opposed to letting Elena wither and die like he should if he was half the man he was back in the first book, he still goes out of his way to save her, risking himself over and over again. I was sort of hoping he’d open up his eyes and see that girl really isn’t worth the trouble. Heck, even Katherine would make a more suitable match.

Bonnie is barely mentioned, but she does seem to get more useful screentime now she’s dating this werewolf fellow who is so uninteresting I always forget his name. Caroline and Tyler make a brief but disturbing appearance. Matt falls for this girl, Chloe, who gets turned into a vampire and eventually walks into the sunlight, turning into ashes. Damon leaves town, with no plans or hopes for the future. WTF, ghostwriter? So nobody except Stefan and Elena get their happy ending? I’m feeling sorry for poor Matt who finally finds another girl to pine over that isn’t Elena, and then you decide, on a whim, to let her kill herself? Not that Matt was terribly sad – which makes no sense, and shows sloppy writing – but still, did you have to hand him the bad card again? Then next comes Meredith. At some point, I wanted to rip her neck off. When Damon is off feeding on humans again and re-earning some of his lost self-respect and dignity, Elena and the gang stumble upon him and his latest feed. Then Meredith goes all heroic and mentions how next time, she’ll kill him.


No, seriously, what?

You just made me laugh out loud and rip out the page at the same time. Meredith may be a skilled vampire hunter, but in all previous books it was mentioned time and again she was no match for experienced, century-old vampires like Damon, Stefan and Katherine. So what the hell is this? Since when has Meredith, boring old Meredith become the most powerful member of the gang? So Damon, instead of doing the only sensible thing – which would be, rip her head off, or at least threaten to kill her, and then perhaps make a move to kill Alaric since he’s so bloody useless anyway – does absolutely nothing, because he’s reduced to a puppet, like the rest of the gang. Queen Elena rules with an iron fist, especially now she’s supposedly a Guardian. Another great joke. Who in their right mind would want the earth to be guarded by a teenage girl who took seven books and more to decide between which vampire brother she wanted to date for, oh, all eternity? Right. Not me, in any case.

Strange to say my favorite character in this madness-galore, was Katherine. At least she had some dignity. Except at the end, she should’ve ripped Elena’s head off. All right, I may be a bit in a murderous mood today, but at least it would’ve been a better, more happy-ever-after ending for everyone. Or at least, go off into the sunset with Damon or something. But once again, for the ghostwriter and the publisher or whoever orchestrated that L.J. Smith be kicked out and replaced, has decided it’s for the best if nobody except Stefan and Elena have their happy ending. May I note that this is Stefan, the Ripper, who goes ten thousand times more berserk than Damon whenever he doesn’t get what he want? Hypocritical Saint Stefan who dotes over his little Elena and is willing to sacrifice anyone standing in their way to be together, including his own brother, but isn’t honest enough to fess it up. And Elena, superficial high-school prom Queen who doesn’t care if her best friend Meredith lost her vampire hunter buddy, or Damon lost his will to be alive, or Matt lost his new-found girlfriend, as long as she and Stefan are together for all eternity.

I can’t believe I paid ten bucks for this crap. I know I shouldn’t have bought it, since after the disaster called Moonsong, I wanted nothing more to do with these books. But there weren’t many books in the bookstore, and I wanted an ending, and I hoped that, by some Godly miracle, the ghostwriter had redeemed himself/herself and managed to make this into something halfway readable. Not so. The plot has been used before (same old evil to fight, with the same old traits and function, namely next to none). Klaus is hardly as powerful as he appears. The “epic fight” is anything but epic. In fact, I would have had more fun watching YouTube advertisments than reading through those scenes. The characters are cardboard figures meant to annoy us to death. Elena is the most awful, horrible, annoying main character I’ve ever read about. Stefan’s only purpose is to tell her how much he loves her. He’s even more annoying than ever before, and that’s saying something. I could live with the guy, if only he had a personality. So far, I’ve seen nothing.

Even Damon doesn’t manage to keep up appearances. He falls down to the same cardboard-figure level of the rest. His usual plans and schemes and manipulations have vanished, and he’s just a broken, rejected little vampire boy without any real purpose. Pathetic. I wish Katherine had an ounce of evil left in her and had told him to man up, and who knows, maybe they could go kill some humans together. Damon eerily reminded me of Spike from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, when he was stripped of all his awesome vampire-qualities and reduced to a whining wreck in the name of great, almighty love. Ugh.

This series has turned from something that was mildly interesting, even if the characters were cliché and Elena a superficial maggot, into an abomination, a disgrace for the YA genre in general. This book is garbage. It’s not worth the stars I gave it. It’s not worth whatever money you want to waste spending on it. Go buy something else. Give your money to charity. Hell, throw it in the garbage bin, it has more purpose there than being wasted on this book.