After reading Twilight, this is the next best thing that's ever happened to me. I know that in the beginning, there's the main character that's a stereotypical, spoiled, blond girl who's super popular and gets whatever she wants and of course first impressions would make the average person immediately have distaste for this character.
I gave it a chance though and I didn't regret my decision. She's actually quite a strong character that's deeper than she seems. She also has two great friends that are quite amusing, especially the psychic one.
The male lead of the story is this brooding vampire named Stefan and he's very similar to Edward with his "I'm a monster" self-hate attitude towards himself and his dark, sexy, and mysterious outward appearance.
The love rival is none other than Stefan's older brother Damon and he's the direct opposite of his brother. He's arrogant, selfish, and can be very cruel. He does whatever it takes to get what he wants. He does not hesitate to quell his instincts and purposefully feeds off of human blood, gaining more and more 'Power', as the book calls it.
Basically, Stefan is the new kid in school and Elena (the main blonde girl) wants to have him. So she tries her best to get to know him better. He's cold and distant to her in the beginning for his own personal, mysterious reasons and it upsets her. On homecoming night, she is humiliated by him once again and pushed over the edge so she impulsively leaves with losers from the football team on their little escapade to the local cemetary. Stefan eventually saves her from this drunk bastard who tries to take advantage of her and then they're together (kind of).
Later in the story, Stefan saves Elena again, ends up telling her his secret about being a vampire, and then brother Damon steps in. Very compelling and interesting story, even though the vocabulary isn't all that advanced. I haven't heard any stories like this in a while except for maybe in multiple manga stories/asian dramas with the two brothers being rivals, main girl is beautiful reincarnation/look alike, tragic past memories with emotionally scarred people,... etc, etc.
I've read a thread or two online that had some serious comparisons between the all popular Twilight and this book, The Vampire Diaries with speculation that Stephenie Meyer copied ideas from L.J. Smith.
I don't believe that Stephenie Meyer purposefully copied ideas from this older book. Her writing style is quite different with the advanced vocabulary and then there's the fact that her writing is is first person while L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries book is written in third person. The many side characters are also vastly different, even the love rivals.
Both themes and ideas are common knowledge in my eyes. Of course, there would be the hero (vampire boy) and the heroine who would HAVE to be human for the book to have any appeal. People who read vampire romance novels consist mainly of females who of course, are human and they'd relate to a human girl most, making the book more popular.
The vampire male hero would have to have appeal of being mysterious/angsty and have to feel guilty and hate themselves for others to have sympathy for them. Most people will feel more sympathy for a character with some virtue instead of one that's overly arrogant and selfish. I'm not surprised at the similarity with the main vampire guys of both books drinking animal blood as a substitute for human blood. The idea of synthetic blood is already common in books from Charlaine Harris, Suzan Sizemore, and the Vampire Knight manga...... (I mean c'mon! They have comparisons too but nobody bitches about their similarities).
The story plays out with:
1.) the girl taking interest in the guy/vice verse
2.) the guy saving girl who starts to speculate about what he is
3.) leads to the vampire guy revealing his secret
4.) then the love rival steps in
5.) love triangle ensues and obstacles are formed
6.) eventually they all overcome this and the main hero and heroine live happily ever after
It's all a very simple formula for a vampire romance novel genre and although it's cliche, it still has high appeal in all its various forms.
With this said, I really don't believe that Stephenie Meyer copied ideas from L.J. Smith because with the vampire romance theme so common nowadays, most writers of this genre could come up with a similar idea without even reading Twilight or Vampire Diaries.
*And Tiff if you've read this long rant, sorry that I haven't commented any of your entries of late. I've tried a couple times and for whatever reason, they never posted.
Perhaps I'll reply to you on them when we email. ;)