Release Date: 25th November, 2011
Since meeting the irrestistible vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert has been to hell and back. Now that she her friends have saved their hometown from a demonic spirit, everything can finally go back to normal. But Elena should know better than anyone that Fell's Church will never be normal. In Phantom, a dangerous new threat sets its sights on Elena. And this time she can only count on one Salvatore brother to protect her.
A big thanks to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!
I admit I was a little afraid to read this book considering all the rumours that have been flying around - the ones surrounding L.J. Smith no longer being the writer of this series. To me it was a real shame for us fans and I know a lot of readers were upset by this news. But since I've already read the whole set of the Vampire Diaries series and since the last book left Damon dying (I know it was a total bummer and so wrong because we love Damon) and so on, I'd decided to continue and read this book anyway to see what would happen to our dearly beloved characters and to the storyline itself.
Supposedly L.J. Smith was 'fired' due to the whole Damon and Elena relationship thing - leading them to end up together - and to me it sounds absolutely ridiculous if that was the cause of this uproar for the author. But since we don't know the whole story, I'll have the benefit of the doubt. For those who know me well enough, I can say outright that I love Damon. Whether it's in the books or on the popular tv show that I'm a great big fan of - I love him to bits. I love the idea of Damon winning Elena's heart but I'm also a fan of Stefan, too. Especially in the books. After reading this one, you can see Stefan and Elena (or as fans put it Stelena) are meant to be. It's always the first love that truly hits home. Their relationship in THE HUNTERS VOL. 1 PHANTOM is what keeps the story going and I'm happy to say . . . despite my skeptism, the ghost author had the same writing style as L.J. Smith's and for that I was truly grateful for. Whoever wrote THE HUNTERS still managed to keep most of L.J. Smith's characters in check however there were only a couple of problems for me - mainly Damon and the overall cheesiness.
Firstly, Damon's character wasn't the same Damon I know him to be. He was just . . . different. Maybe it was just me who felt this. His character for some reason didn't have the same snark as Smith had written him but beggars can't be choosers I suppose, and after all, it's a ghost author that we're working with here. As for the cheesiness of the story, there's a lot of cheese. That being the cheesy lines (the romance and such). But that wasn't the only problem. There was too many descriptives regarding the characters looks and some bits of repetitiveness that clearly weren't needed. Also I'm kind of over the fact Elena is panting for both brothers and I want her to make a final decision soon, even though it's clear to me who she loves more than the other. But other than that, the ghost writer did a pretty good job of continuing this series and it'll be interesting where this series is heading towards, though I do hope it ends very soon and doesn't turn out like the House of Night series with far too many books in its wake.
Overall THE HUNTERS VOL. 1 PHANTOM, the first volume of this new Vampire Diaries series, was a fast-paced read and had the right amount of deceit, love and gore to keep its readers invested in the storyline. While it had a couple of flaws and a couple of ups and downs, but regardless of them, I really enjoyed this book and if you were like me with some concerns, then be sure to check this one out (give it a go with an open mind) because I was pleasantly surprised by it and how everything turned out.
The Rating 3/5 stars