*Originally published on September 24, 2013*
TIME STRETCHING OUT TOWARDS FOREVER
BY CATHERINE HOLLOWAY
Summary: This story picks up at the end of Season Three, but with one major difference: Elena survives the car crash. She flees Mystic Falls with Stefan and chooses to remain human. Damon honors his promise to his brother and allows them to live out her life without him. She and Stefan share long, happy decades together, but there’s something she always wanted to say. Only after she’s accumulated a lifetime of wisdom and experience can she summon the courage to explain why she made that choice so many years before. There are three sides to this story of what a single lifespan means to the people who love each other too much to be selfish.
Main Characters: Elena Gilbert, Damon Salvatore, Stefan Salvatore
Secondary Character (s): Caroline Forbes
Time Stretching Out Towards Forever is one of those stories that leaves the reader speechless. When I first read this story back in the summer I had read at least a sample of each and every Vampire Diaries story published on Kindle Worlds. As of today, I’ve read a few more and I’ve got a dozen more samples to read through and wholeheartedly plan to eventually purchase, read, and review each one for this blog. Of the twenty or so KW stories for the Vampire Diaries that I have read there have been some gems, which having paid for them I can now re-read to my heart’s content. Yet, there are so many others that I’ve unwittingly spent money on only to find that they’re complete rubbish, making me want to bang my head against the wall, because, seriously who allowed these stories to be published under anything resembling The Vampire Diaries?
Then we have Time Stretching Out Towards Forever by Catherine Holloway. As I read this beautifully haunting story, I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, shake the characters until they did what I wanted them to do or if I should just revel in the sea of words that Holloway had put together to tell the bravest Vampire Diaries story I’ve ever read.
It’s a tough sell on any given day to propose that Elena live out not only a human life, but one with Stefan rather than Damon. But, damn if Holloway doesn’t just get it. She grasps that what lies at the core of The Vampire Diaries is not some silly teenage drama, but instead a story of two brothers who, at the end of a century plus of days, love each other with every bit of who they are. Add to that the lovely, mystifying Elena, that exists purely through millennia-old magic, and you have a triangle, unbroken and without a center.
And if wasn’t enough that Holloway sees through all of the angst worthy of a CW show, she also completely captures the voices of these characters as if they’d been hers long before anyone else’s.
I’ll end this with a dare. I dare anyone reading this review to read this story. It’s not all puppies and unicorns. You won’t find a traditionally happily ever after, but Time Stretching Out Towards Forever is real and true and, quite honestly, the most unforgettable story you’ll read on Kindle Worlds.
My favorite part: The relationship between Caroline and Damon.
Least favorite part: Elena maintaining her track record of bad decisions.
One of the most important things that I look for in any Kindle Worlds writer who takes on The Vampire Diaries is that the author knows the show. I’m picky, this is my show, I’ve spent endless hours watching and rewatching it, the characters live inside my head like tendrils of my brain. My expectation as a reader, fan and consumer is that you know the show and characters as least half as well as I do. Holloway falls into that category. She was gracious enough to provide me a quote for this review:
“…regardless of who gets the girl, they’re stuck with each other. All of them. Because above all, Stefan and Damon love each other. They really do. And so each two-some of the triangle has its own independent and powerful bond: Stefan and Damon, Stefan and Elena, Elena and Damon. In some ways, they’ll all be happy however it shakes out, and in some ways, they’ll all be heart-broken. It’s both a win-win and a lose-lose.” Catherine Holloway on The Vampire Diaries
**a few notes: I’ve done my best to avoid spoiling the story in my review. This will always be my policy, so please don’t be upset if I don’t give you a play-by-play of what I’ve just read. That said, I’m happy to discuss and be all spoilery in the comments section, so discuss away!!