*Originally published on November 4, 2013*
By Brighton Hill
Summary: Devilish Games is a re-imagining of the first episode of The Vampire Diaries and the first book in the new series Devilish Games.
Elena is barely holding on. She misses her parents desperately. And the only thing she wants is to live a dangerous existence. But then, she meets Stefan. He’s sexy and mysterious and they have secrets in common. When he paints a breathtaking picture of her and saves her from a horrible experience, she doesn’t know how to deal with the intense feelings she is developing for the guy of her dreams.
Devilish Games, by Brighton Hill, is part one of a retelling, or to use the author’s words, “reimagining” of episode one/season one of The Vampire Diaries. I’d classify this as an alternate timeline or AU story. All of the same players exist in the universe, though to give the author credit Elena is certainly different.
As this was meant to be the first in a series, there isn’t much plot development. As a matter of fact, it seems as though the author took elements of the TV show and the book series, threw them into a Yahtzee Cup, shook it up a few times and then rolled them out. Elena is fragile and suicidal. Aunt Jenna is in her thirties; Stefan is wandering the words, eating animals who he calls to using the power we saw him use in the books. Damon is the charming, evil older brother minus the charming and it seems that he rapes Elena.
Which led me to this thought…Devilish Games was written for fanfiction.net with a mature rating. Too many things happen that seem to be missing significant details and while the author might have tried to be clever and coy, this is more of a cut job gone bad. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. I know from other authors, who have converted their rated M stories to fit Amazon’s criteria that it is a tedious job to rework those scenes, removing the sexiness while leaving in the sensuality and something that makes sense.
Of course, I’m making assumptions and possibly excuses for the author. I want to believe she had to butcher her story to meet the unnecessary PG rating for Kindle Worlds. If this isn’t the case, this is just a confusing story full of plot holes.
Yet, there are compelling moments, my favorite being the scenes in the cemetery where the slightly unbalanced Elena encounters Damon’s crow multiple times. Each time he taunts her with Katherine’s existence (a photo, a dress), hinting at what we could expect in further installments of the series.
Most of our favorite characters make an appearance. Caroline is a gloriously over the top mean girl, making the original seem like a nerd. Bonnie is endearingly silly, Aunt Jenna has joined what the author refers to as a cult (but is named The Friends, which is another name for the non-cultish Quakers) and though we never see Jeremy, he spends lots of time in his room, listening to loud music, smoking pot and having sex.
Elena is the standout character. She’s incredibly fragile; there are hints at earlier suicide attempts and her grief for her parents in palpable. Yet, she takes comfort in her friends, especially Bonnie who we find her laughing with at school. And, yes, she’s writing in her diary.
I’d like to see where the author takes her story, though there haven’t been any other installments published. I’d love for the author to go back and spend some time blending in the parts of the story that are just nonsensical. There is potential, chapter one was practically flawless and drew me right in with a scary, sexy dream and Elena’s grief pushing her to make decisions she can’t take back. Oh, and a really scary baby.
Favorite Part: Elena in the cemetery.
Least Favorite Part: Mention of the great artist Michael Angelo. I guess his mom was Mrs. Angelo.