I didn't read The Vampire Diaries Books when they first came out (I still haven't finished The Return books). I only started reading them because I wanted to watch this show. So, its important to put the books into perspective when you read them if you do it as late as I did. These books were written awhile ago for YA's and it really shows. Things aren't as shocking or risque as they are in today's literature, and Smith's writting style is much more descriptive then I find today's authors writing styles to be. But, I mean it hasn't been that long, and the books are still good. I read Book 1 and started watching the show. This, in hindsight was probably not the best idea. Book 1 was decent, but then I started watching the show, and I like it a lot more. Book 2 seems boring. Then Book 3, 4 and The Return series as sooo drastically different from the show they are almost incomparable, but I'll try :)
This photo sums up one of the main differences in the two, Elena:
For the show, they almost COMPLETELY change Elena's family and friends as well. In the book, Elena has a little sister. She has an Aunt Judith (who is oldish) and a Uncle Robert. She has a redhead, pale friend named Bonnie, who is a wimp, and a strong willed friend Meredith. Her frenemy is Caroline. Not really like the show, hey?
Another biggie is that the show and the book don't even take place in the same town?! What is the point of that?! What was wrong with Fell's Church?!
And, Stefan and Damon are actually Italian in the books, the Katherine bit is very different (although she is in there) and some other things were just changed for no real reason as well, some better, some pointless, some worse. Like Caroline's last name, making Vicki Matt's sister, etc.
The verdict: I like each of them for their own reasons. At first I didn't think the books were going to live up to the TV series, because I love that, but again, they are SO different that it's like the books are just as good as the TV show in a completely different way. So, I feel like I can't even decide! What do you guys who have read/seen both think??
Although, one huge bonus the books can't provide: VISUAL STIMULATION!!