"Retro" is certainly a look overstated, but retro for me personally.
In the wake of finishing up Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, I have a wicked craving (pun intended) for more vampire fiction. Admittedly, I don't re-read books often (should do it more often), but L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries, is one of my favorite series. As a young'un, maybe 12'ish, I loved these books, and they remind me very much of Stephenie Meyer. They're not as long and involved, although I would argue that they're nearly as tortured and emotional.
Elena is a young woman who is used to getting everything she wants and is known as the ice queen of the school. Armed with the weapons of charm and wit, she has seduced any man that piqued her interest. That is until Stefan came along.
Stefan, the only one who seems able to resist her charms, but loves her deeply. Young, dramatic, silent, and mysterious, he's like a drug for Elena. He was born sometime in the Italian Renaissance and is the youngest of the two vampire brothers.
Damon is the eldest of the vampire brothers, brash and arrogant. He fought with Stefan over Katherine's affections centuries ago and now he intends on taking Elena. He's dark and sadistic, but also charming and seductive in a dangerous way.
Katherine is the young vampire that tore the two brothers apart in the first place. Childish and naive, she is believed to physically resemble Elena, which was the first spark between Elena and Stefan.
I just cannot tell you how much I loved these books when I was young. I've probably re-read the books five or six times, but it's been several years since I revisited these favorites. What made them so seductive and keeps me coming back for more? Standard vampire/human love triangle stuff: palpable sexual tension, tortured romance, intrigue, and adventure. It just never gets old!
L.J. Smith's books remind me of summer days curled up on my grandparents' couch reading so intensely that I could block out any and every distraction. She wrote a number of series including The Secret Circle (witches), Dark Visions (teen outcasts with supernatural powers), The Forbidden Game (one sexy Erlking). I'm happy to announce that HarperCollins has re-released some of her books, two omnibus editions of The Vampire Diaries, and The Secret Circle is on the way now. She's also writing a fifth book in The Vampire Diaries series, this time totally devoted to bad boy vampire, Damon.
If you're craving vampire fiction, or just really fun escapist reading, give L.J. Smith a try! I don't think you'll be sorry!
Visit Smith's website, http://www.ljanesmith.net, for book news, short stories, and general frivolity.
*Note: She now goes by Ljane Smith. Just for future reference if you get confused.