Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.
The books that inspired the TV franchise.
What is The Vampire Diaries series about?
Written by L. J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries series was originally published in 1991-1992 and introduced us to Elena Gilbert, a high school girl who finds her heart eventually torn between Stefan and Damon Salvatore, two vampires brothers.
Following the success of the TV adaptation (launch following the success of the Twilight movie adaptations), the book series came back with multiple trilogies – there are even books based on the TV series.
That said, L. J. Smith really only wrote the 7 first books of the series. After that, an unknown ghostwriter took over. Aubrey Clark was the one who wrote the Salvation Trilogy.
The Vampire Diaries Books In Order:
The “original” Vampire Diaries series
- The Awakening – Elena Gilbert is used to getting what she wants and she wants mysterious new boy, Stefan. But Stefan is hiding a deadly secret – a secret that will change Elena’s life forever…
- The Struggle – Torn between two vampire brothers. Damon: determined to make Elena his, he’d kill his own brother to possess her. Stefan: desperate for the power to destroy Damon, and protect Elena, he gives in to his thirst for human blood. Elena: the girl who can have anyone finds herself in the middle of a love triangle . . . one that might turn deadly.
- The Fury – Elena: transformed, the golden girl has become what she once feared and desired. Stefan: tormented by losing Elena, he’s determined to end his feud with Damon once and for all – whatever the cost. But slowly he begins to realize that his brother is not his only enemy. Damon: at last, he possesses Elena. But will his thirst for revenge against Stefan poison his triumph? Or can they come together to face one final battle?
- Dark Reunion – The Final Conflict…The Last Deadly Kiss. Now Elena rises from the dead to recreate the powerful vampire trio. Summoned by Elena, Stefan keeps a promise to her and fights the most terrifying evil he’s ever faced. Joining the brother he once called enemy, Damon battles this new horror with strength, cunning, and deadly charm.
The “original” Vampire Diaries series (with short stories)
L.J. Smith published multiple short stories that are available on her website. Here is the reading order of the Vampire Diaries series including the short stories:
- Matt and Elena: First Date (short story)
- Matt and Elena: Tenth Date On Wickery Pond (short story)
- The Awakening
- After Hours (short story)
- The Struggle
- The Fury
- Dark Reunion
- Blood Will Tell (short story)
- Elena’s Christmas (short story)
The Vampire Diaries: The Return
- The Return: Nightfall – Elena Gilbert is alive – again. Now Elena is not just human. She has powers and gifts that were bestowed on her in the afterlife. What’s more, her blood pulses with an overwhelming and unique force that makes her irresistible to any vampire. Stefan wants to find a way to keep Elena safe so that they can make a life together. Damon, however, is driven by an insatiable desire for power, and wants Elena to rule as his princess. When Stefan is lured away from Fell’s Church, Damon seizes his chance to convince her that he is the brother she is meant to be with. But a darkness is infiltrating the town, and Damon, always the hunter, is now the hunted; he becomes the prey of a malevolent creature that can possess him at will, and who desires not just Elena’s blood but her death.
- The Return: Shadow Souls – Elena Gilbert’s love, the vampire Stefan Salvatore, has been captured and imprisoned by demonic spirits who are wreaking havoc in Fell’s Church. While her friends Bonnie and Meredith explore the evil that has taken over their town, Elena goes in search of Stefan. In order to find him, she entrusts her life to Stefan’s brother, Damon Salvatore, the handsome but deadly vampire who wants Elena, body and soul. Along with her childhood friend Matt, they set out for the slums of the Dark Dimension, where Stefan is being held captive. It is rumored to be a world where vampires and demons roam free, but humans must live enslaved to their supernatural masters.
- The next two short stories are available on her L.J Smith’s website:
- Tumbleweeds (short story)
- Dinner Disaster (short story)
- The Return: Midnight – Elena Gilbert is back from the Dark Dimension, having successfully freed her vampire boyfriend Stefan Salvatore from imprisonment. Saving Stefan had an unlikely consequence: his vampire brother Damon Salvatore has become mortal. While the trio reels from this latest twist, they must still deal with the demons that have taken over Elena’s hometown, Fell’s Church. But the battle will take Elena, Stefan, and Damon to their darkest moments yet…
The Vampire Diaries: Evensong
L.J. Smith was supposed to continue the series after Midnight, but the publisher hired other authors to continue the series. Smith decided to continue on her own and published her work as fanfiction on Kindle Worlds. Those books are not considered official canon to the main Vampire Diaries series
- Paradise Lost – Damon is back and enjoying his vampire existence to its fullest. Elena, Bonnie, and their friends are in their third week at Dalcrest College, ordinary students aware of an extraordinary world that verges on their own campus.
- The War of Roses
- Into the Wood
The Vampire Diaries: The Hunter
Written by a ghostwriter.
- The Hunter: Phantom – Elena and Stefan can finally be together. So why can’t Elena stop dreaming of Damon? As Elena’s feelings for Damon grow, a new darkness is brewing in Fell’s Church. Elena has been to hell and back, but this demon is like nothing she’s ever seen. Its only goal is to kill Elena and everyone she loves.
- The Hunter: Moonsong – When students start to disappear from campus, every new acquaintance is suddenly a potential enemy. Panic soon spreads and the friends struggle to protect each other. Then Elena uncovers a long-hidden secret, one that shocks her to the core, and realizes tragedy may be unavoidable. Will Elena outrun her fate? And will it be Stefan or Damon who catches her if she falls?
- The Hunter: Destiny Rising – Elena Gilbert has never been an ordinary teenager. In love with the irresistible vampire brothers Stefan and Damon, she has died, been brought back to life, fought evil, and journeyed to hell and back to save Stefan. Now her most dangerous enemy, Klaus, has returned, and Elena realizes she must make a terrible sacrifice to protect her world . . . and fulfill her destiny.
The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation
Written by Aubrey Clark.
- The Salvation: Unseen – For what seems like the first time, Elena and her friends are happy. Elena and Stefan have built a home for themselves in Dalcrest, and all of Elena’s friends are as in love as she and Stefan are. Even Damon is enjoying visiting his favorite old haunts in Europe, and is more surprised than anyone that he’s traveling with Katherine. But lately, Elena’s Guardian senses are on edge, and she can’t ignore the feeling that danger is coming.
- The Salvation: Unspoken – Elena Gilbert’s entire world has shattered in a single moment. Now the only thing Elena cares about is destroying Jack and his race of scientifically created vampires. But Jack’s creations are impossible to kill—immune to sunlight, stakes, and every traditional weapon against vampires. Elena and Damon set out to uncover the mystery of Jack’s dark past in hopes of finding his weakness. As they spend more time together, Elena and Damon can’t deny that their connection is stronger than ever.
- The Salvation: Unmasked – Elena should be dead, but instead, the Guardians are offering Elena a once-in-a-lifetime chance: to start over. Ever since she met the Salvatore brothers, Elena’s love for them both has caused endless death and destruction. But if Elena can return to the beginning—her senior year of high school, when she first met Damon and Stefan—and prove that she can exist alongside them without either of them killing a human, then Elena can live.
The Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries (Prequel to the TV Show)
The Stefan’s Diaries series reveals the backstory of brothers Stefan and Damon from The Vampire Diaries TV series (not from LJ Smith Books series!).
- Stefan’s Diaries: Origins – Set in mid-19th century Mystic Falls, Virginia, three teenagers enter a torrid love triangle that will span eternity. Brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore are inseparable until they meet Katherine, a stunning, mysterious woman who turns their world upside down. Siblings turned rivals, the Salvatores compete for Katherine’s affection, only to discover that her sumptuous silk dresses and glittering gems hide a terrible secret: Katherine is a vampire. And she is intent on turning them into vampires so they can live together—forever.
- Stefan’s Diaries: Bloodlust – Stefan and Damon Salvatore are now vampires, and must deal with the consequences of their fate. They escape their small hometown of Mystic Falls—which is overrun with vampire hunters—and travel to New Orleans. While Stefan revels in his powers, Damon continues to mourn the loss of Katherine, the beautiful vampire that turned them both. But New Orleans offers temptations—and dangers. Stefan falls in love with another human, and his will power is tested. Damon ends up captured by an evil, sadistic vampire hunter. Stefan knows that he must save his brother, but will it cost him his new love?
- Stefan’s Diaries: The Craving – Stefan Salvatore has come to terms with being a vampire. The events of the past few months have sobered him, and the fog of his own blood lust has begun to lift. He travels to New York City to start a new life—one that does not require him to kill humans to survive. Instead he feeds off of animals in Central Park. But the quiet life he envisioned is jolted when he runs into his brother Damon, who has convinced New York high society that he is Italian royalty. While Stefan is regaining his humanity, Damon has completely lost his. Stefan will do whatever it takes to protect Damon from himself—but there is another villain present. A vampire that seeks revenge for a death the Salvatores are responsible for. Stefan and Damon will have to work together to fight the greatest evil yet.
- Stefan’s Diaries: The Ripper – Twenty years have passed since Stefan Salvatore last saw his brother, Damon. Now living in a remote town in England, far away from the haunting memories of Mystic Falls, Stefan is finally able to start over. But when news from London reaches Stefan of a brutal killer on the loose—who goes by Jack the Ripper—Stefan suspects that the murders are the work of a vampire…his brother.
- Stefan’s Diaries: The Asylum – Trust has never come easily to Stefan and Damon, but now that Samuel—a vampire from Katherine’s past bent on revenge—is determined to ruin their lives, the Salvatores must join forces to defeat their foe. Samuel has already ruined Stefan’s chances at a normal life, and now he’s framing Damon for the Jack the Ripper murders, too. With the help of Cora, a human girl, Stefan and Damon track Samuel from the glittering ballrooms of London to the city’s asylum, which Samuel uses for his own nefarious purposes. However, while finding Samuel is easy, Damon and Stefan quickly learn that stopping him may be nearly impossible.
- Stefan’s Diaries: The Compelled – Stefan Salvatore has always had an uneasy relationship with his brother Damon. But when Damon is taken captive by Samuel—a vampire from Katherine’s past bent on revenge—Stefan is determined to rescue him before it is too late…even if it means seeking help from the most unlikely of places. Stefan forms a tentative alliance with a coven of witches in order to save his brother, only to learn that Samuel’s end game is far more sinister then they could have imagined. With Samuel on the brink of securing unlimited power, the brothers are in for their deadliest battle yet.
If you like The Vampire Diaries, you may also want to read the House of Night series, or check out our guide to Cassandra Clare’s books. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.