Love You to Death – Season 3: The Unofficial Companion Guide to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
If you are a fan of The Vampire Diaries (and you should be), then you will love Crissy Calhoun’s latest companion guide, Love You to Death – Season 3. This is the third volume that Crissy has published about The Vampire Diaries. She has also written companion guides for Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. You may also know Crissy’s writing from her recaps on Vampire-Diaries.net, where she has offered thoughtful analysis and review of each episode in seasons 2 and 3. When it comes to The Vampire Diaries, there are many excellent recaps and reviews, but Crissy’s stand out because she has such an elegant and effective way with words. Often when I read her posts, I’m like “Oh yeah, exactly! That’s totally what was going on … I just had no idea how to express it!” Seriously.
If you have read the first two Love You to Death books, you will have some idea what format to expect in the latest volume. However, Crissy has switched things up a bit as well. Once again, the bulk of the book consists of the Episode Guide. For each episode of season 3, Crissy provides a thoughtful recap, followed by a breakdown divided into a number of creative categories:
- Compelling Moment: Crissy chooses one moment from the episode that really stood out. I’m always curious to see which one she will pick, as so much happens in any one hour of TVD.
- Circle of Knowledge: Where she offers insight into the plot or characters that others might have missed. I especially enjoy how she points out any cultural references or recurring motifs, and often explains the significance of the episode’s title.
- The Rules: Here Crissy catalogs what the episode told us about the supernatural mythology. An important thing in this world of continually hazy and changing rules.
- History Lesson: This section is where she talks about the real and fictional history that is relevant to the episode. As a history nerd, this is fun.
- Previously on The Vampire Diaries: Since TVD is such a serialized show, this section is always relevant and helpful.
- Off Camera: My favorite section! I really like reading this paragraph about what special preparation went into filming any particular episode. Sometimes it involves a short behind-the-scenes story or something of that nature.
- Foggy Moments: I really enjoy this part too, because I like to pick things apart and often end up confused about a number of things at the end of an episode of TVD. Crissy understands.
- Questions: Questions that the episode raised, duh.
Crissy’s weekly “Vampire Diaries in Review” posts followed a similar format this season, and contain some similar material, but she has polished them up for the book and added A LOT of new stuff. Definitely worth the read.
Inserted throughout the episode guide are a number of sidebars. These include short biographies of new cast members, a list of Rebekah’s nicknames, a breakdown of all the temporary funerals in Mystic Falls so far; a discussion of “The Season of the Originals.” My favorite sidebars of the thoughtful short essays linking The Vampire Diaries to literary works such as The End of the Affair, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Moby Dick. Love love love! I hope for more of that sort of thing in next season’s guide book. I would read a whole book just about that kind of stuff. Also, a fun bonus was a sidebar entitled “Where’s Meredith,” written by Vee of Vampire-Diaries.net. As a long-time fan of the book series, Vee explains why Meredith is such an important character, and what her appearance (finally!) meant for book fans.
But wait, there’s more! I haven’t even made it to the best part. Yes, I said other things were best, but this is the very best. Love You to Death – Season 3 contains 4 excellent interviews:
- Joshua Butler (Editor and Director of many of your favorite TVD episodes, such as “Founder’s Day” and “Klaus”)
- Price Peterson (famed TV.com photo recapper)
- J. Miller Tobin (Director of many of your favorite TVD episodes, such as “The Turning Point,” “The Return,” and “Katerina”)
- Julie Plec (Executive Producer and Showrunner extraordinaire!)
I won’t tell you about all the new stuff I learned, because I don’t want to spoil the reading experience for you. But I will tell you that these interviews were all such a treat to read. I’m so happy for Crissy that she was able to talk to people so closely involved in making the show what it is, like Butler, Tobin, and Plec. And the piece featuring Price Peterson was pretty delightful.
Love You to Death also contains a guide to the music in season 3, listing each song in each episode, song by scene. Super helpful! Closing out the book is a Vampire Diaries timeline, starting from c. 975 and going until present day. Quite an impressive feat. I’m getting a headache just thinking of the work that went in to that. And finally, Crissy provides a refresher for seasons 1 and 2, with a quick blurb about each episode. The perfect tool to break out when you want to watch an episode on your DVDs or Netflix. My only complaint is that I really wish that Crissy could time travel so that she could release the book before the season started, so that I would have had all this useful information at my fingertips last season. Ugh, physics is such a drag.
While the official publication date is October 1st, Love You to Death – Season 3 is actually currently available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. You can also find it online at Barnes & Noble.com in paperback or for your Nook. The book is also available for purchase on the publisher’s website, ECW.com, where you can request a signed copy. ECW has a cool “free e-book with purchase” program, which you can find out about in the last page of your book, or here. Plus, I hear tales that the books actually exist out in the wild, on shelves in bookstores, though it’s been a few years since I set foot in one. Get yourself a copy of Love You to Death – Season 3 today, so that you’ll be ready for the season 4 premiere in October!
Full disclosure: Crissy is a friend of mine and she was kind enough to give me a copy for review. So, there is a chance my review of her latest book could be a bit biased. But that doesn’t mean I’m not also 100% right. (Spoiler alert: I am 100% right.) Crissy signed my book and wrote, “Page 146 is for you.” I can tell you that page 146 is indeed a stunner. I also highly recommend page 104.