Written By: L.J. Smith
Dark Reunion is the last chapter in the original series of The Vampire Diaries. This book was written much later than the first three. The series was originally meant to be a trilogy and in some ways I would have liked to see it end with The Fury. It was a clean cut ending and while tragic, it served as a good ending to the story, leaving no loose ends behind.
Dark Reunion begins when Stefan gives Bonnie Elena’s diary. We read from Bonnie’s perspective as she tells us how things are now that all of the vampires are either dead or gone. It is clear things are not about to go back to normal anytime soon though. Bonnie has a terrible nightmare about Elena. It was as if something took over when Elena was trying to tell her something. She talks about the dream with her best friend, Meredith, and they figure out that the danger that took over her in the dream is coming to Fell’s Church to kill. They have no idea what they are against, but they know it is powerful and something very different than anything they have ever seen before. They figure out that Elena was trying to tell them to get outside help to fight this thing. The only people they would know to call for help are the vampire brothers and Elena’s old lovers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore. They are in Italy now and the only way to get them back to Fell’s Church is a summoning spell. One of their friends is attacked and killed and the other who witnesses this seems to have gone insane and nearly paralyzed. They decide there is no time to delay if they have a chance of surviving this creature.
The Salvatore brothers arrive in Fells Church and agree to help them. Damon is more hesitant as he claims he doesn’t care what happens to any of them, but he agrees for Elena’s sake. They try to figure out what they are fighting against, but as so many of the clues point them in opposing directions this proves to be tricky. They get in direct contact with Elena and they do learn the attacker’s one weakness. Stefan suspects he is a vampire, but many of his qualities seem strange and unknown even to him. If they can’t figure out what this creature is and what exactly he is capable of, none of them even have a chance at surviving. Elena’s soul will be overpowered, tortured, and unable to rest.
Bonnie serves as a far easier protagonist to like and really feel for than Elena was. Elena had to grow in to it and through the series built our trust that she was worth caring about. Bonnie is likeable, caring, and in many way is a normal girl, but is also very sharp and has a keen connection with the supernatural. The romance element is the least present in this book than any other in the series. The main way it is shown is through the misery of everyone, but especially Stefan and Matt as well mourning Elena and not knowing how to get on with their lives without her. They do make contact with her on a few occasions and so the romance is remembered and struggling to hang on, but it is more in remembrance than an active element.
Stefan and Damon’s relationship changes and they have declared peace between each other. They are now friends and do show that they care for each other. This shows their dedication to Elena as it was her last wish, but it makes for a far less interesting relationship between them. Damon is shown that he isn’t as different from the rest of them as he leads on and that he has some morals and concern for others deep down. Personally, I thought he was far more compelling and exciting when he was the powerful and irresistible Damon who we couldn’t begin to understand. The mystery and edge is gone from him, which was one of the elements that really added to vampire theology and myths. It is somewhat interesting to see him change from this, but the chance really started in the last book and there is far less for him to do here.
Stefan isn’t given that much room to grow from the previous books either. Basically he is indescribably miserable with no hope of escaping these feelings. Matt is like this as well, but perhaps it isn’t quite as bad since he isn’t facing eternal life trapped inside of these feelings. Meredith is almost too calm and reserved despite all of the crisis that is going on around her. Bonnie is definitely one of the most relatable characters. She shows her emotions, but also is very determined to show her strength. Tyler, who tried to take advantage of Elena and run Stefan out of town in the past, shows us a completely different side to him. This isn’t necessarily a good one, but it complements the horror around him and gives us a better idea of the types of things that go through his mind. The character that really catches you the most is the unknown creature that is eventually revealed when he has his victims where he wants them. He is cocky, and contains this dark, sick power that makes anyone else seem extremely weak.
Dark Reunion features several characters who are vampires, but this really isn’t a vampire novel. It is much more of a supernatural/ghost story. They used this to bring Elena back in small doses since she is what linked all of these people together. However, I appreciated that they didn’t try to bring her back completely since the focus certainly is only on the living (or living dead) characters. She is simply involved to warn them, for closure, and because this is her last duty before she can rest in peace. The finale is very powerful, but it was ruined at the very end of the book. We are given closure to an extent and acceptance of everything that has happened. Then all of a sudden everything is back to normal to a state that hasn’t been present for several books. It’s a bit too perfect, especially since things magically seemed to have ended up this way and with no explanation or reasoning. From the plot of the next book it seems like this was a set up for the extension of the series that does have some great potential to bring us a darker approach. Dark Reunion has a number of surprises and twists so fans of the previous books should enjoy this. Despite there not being quite as much growth and vampiric elements, the supernatural elements are elevated and there a number of new revelations.