“Shadow Souls is the second part of L. J. Smith's popular Vampire Diaries Return series.
Picking up from where the previous book - The Return: Nightfall - left off, Elena Gilbert is travelling to the Dark Dimension in an effort to save her boyfriend Stefan Salvatore from his imprisonment. Along for the ride is Stefan's brother, Damon. Once at the Dark Dimension Elena, along with friends Bonnie and Meredith, have to pose as Damon's 'slaves' in order to be granted access to the dimension. Elena and gang have to find two halves of a magic key which will free Stefan from his cell. However, there's a lot of drama to live through along the way. As a result of spending so much time with Damon, Elena finds herself torn again about which of the brothers she ultimately wants to be with.
Although I very much enjoyed the previous books of the series, this one is so far my favourite. It's never short of action, with each page being essential to the overall plot. Although it could be argued that in some parts of the book this isn't the case; for instance, the descriptions of the ball gown dresses. I have to disagree though as I actually love description in books. It allows me to visualise a lot better, although I don't always need the descriptions in order to do so. I thought the previous books were a bit too compact and I actually liked the length of this book. It seemed just the right amount for L. J. Smith to include everything she did. If it was any longer, then I might have questioned if it were necessary.
We are introduced to some new characters in Shadow Souls. There's Sage, a vampire who saves Damon’s life in the Dark Dimension. It's made obvious there's some history between Damon and Sage, although what this is isn't made known to the reader. There are other new characters that Elena and gang meet on their travels such as Lady Ulma, who Elena meets as a slave.
Smith has put in a sound effort in creating the Dark Dimension and it's through her descriptions that she's able to do it so well. I thought I wouldn't appreciate the setting being moved from Fells Church but this wasn't the case. I feel the change in setting allowed the series to grow. In fact, the gripe I have with this book is the parts where the setting switches back to Fells Church. I found these parts perhaps a little unnecessary.
Overall, it's a great continuation of the Vampire Diaries series. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the fantasy genre. Plus, with a cliffhanger like the one this book ends on, you'll definitely be thirsting for more!
See more reviews at [a href="http://www.booksthatspark"]Books That Spark[/A].”