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Phantom is the eighth book in The Vampire Diaries novel series and the first book in The Hunters trilogy. It was released October 25, 2011.
Before buying this book be aware that it was NOT written by L. J. Smith but by an anonymous GHOSTWRITER. A regular on national bestseller lists, having sold well over three million copies, The Vampire Diaries series is a classic of thrilling paranormal romance. The Vampire Diaries series has captured the hearts and imaginations of readers—and the CW network TV show that it inspired has introduced millions more to the chills, thrills, and heart-stopping romance. Phantom begins a new trilogy in this breathtaking saga of love among vampires.
Since meeting the irresistible vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert has been to hell and back. Now that she and 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.
The story continues in The Hunters: Moonsong.
The group explores the restored Fell’s Church, but they are still sad that Damon has died. Elena is reunited with her family, which has hired Caleb Smallwood to work on their yard. He says that he’s Tyler's cousin and that he’s been staying with Tyler’s parents since Tyler “ran away.”As the friends leave to pick up Alaric and his friend, Dr. Celia Connor, at the train station, a rose that had appeared at Elena's doorstep cuts Bonnie. The blood pouring out of it spells "Celia" on her arm. At the train station, Celia is almost killed when her scarf gets caught in the train door, but Stefan saves her by ripping the scarf. The shreds spell "Meredith." Meanwhile, on the Dark Moon, Damon crawls out of the mountains of liquified ash. Sage finds him, helps Damon remember who he is, and lets him use the Mystical Elevator to return to Fell's Church. Up to this point, Damon has appeared to Elena in dreams. Elena sees him in her room one night, and he tells her that the energy from Inari's Star Ball gave him life. Elena goes to the cemetery to visit her parents and sees Caleb, who has also lost his parents.
Stefan shows up and throws Caleb against a tombstone out of jealousy that he might like Elena. He says that he discovered evidence that Caleb is evil. Later, Bonnie knocks down Mrs. Flowers' knitting, which spells "Bonnie" on the ground. She tries to do a spell to contact Damon, but ends up in a coma after being overcome by darkness. When Elena tells Damon, he investigates by letting the darkness take him. His consciousness ends up on the Dark Moon. Stefan takes Elena to the Smallwoods' shed, and they see that Caleb had collected many photos and newspapers about them. They detail both realities - of the events that actually happened and everyone's fabricated memories. Stefan and Elena conclude that the Guardians just changed these, but Caleb can see some of them for what they really are because he is supernatural. He is descended from werewolves and possesses some witchcraft abilities. Stefan and Elena go shopping, but Elena sees people from high school and becomes jealous that they have normal lives. Darkness overtakes her, and she passes out after Stefan notices a shopkeeper's hair flowing in the shape of the name "Matt." Stefan takes Meredith and Matt to the Smallwoods' house to confront Caleb. Matt faints out after he thinks about Tyler's popularity. Caleb says that he deduced that the group of friends was behind his contradicting memories and gave Elena the rose, hoping to get closer to her so that he could find out where Tyler went.
At the boarding house, Mrs. Flowers says she believes that a phantom that is feeding off of jealousy may be the culprit. They perform a spell to summon the phantom. Meanwhile, Elena meets Bonnie in the land of the flowers that can hold special spells. Matt also arrives, and Elena tells them to look for the way out, which they find. They see Sage in the nexus room and run to the Dark Moon, where Damon is battling a misty blue figure. They all start fighting it, and suddenly they end up in the garage of the boarding house. Damon says that the creature is one of the original phantoms, which is much more powerful than an ordinary phantom. The original phantoms were trapped on the Dark Moon by the guardians, but Elena destroyed their prison, and the phantom of jealousy followed them to Fell's Church. The phantom tells everyone why they should be jealous of others, pitting Stefan and Damon against each other in a brutal fight. As the rest of the group admits their jealousies and casts them away, weakening the phantom, Elena makes the brothers reconcile. Damon throws a candle at the phantom, setting it on fire, and Elena reaches into the creature's core and pulls out the rose inside, destroying the phantom. Damon gives Elena his blood to heal her burns as the fire department arrives to put out the fire. Everyone then looks forward to the future.
- After L.J. Smith wrote Phantom, Alloy Entertainment replaced her with a ghostwriter and told the ghostwriter to rewrite everything. More information is on L.J. Smith's website.
- The book has a number of misspellings and number of anachronisms, though they could be Alloy's versions of things.
- Meredith's last name is changed to Suarez, instead of Sulez–but in Moonsongit's back to Sulez.
- The book says Mrs. Flowers was a little girl in 1948 but that's accurate.
- It also says that Caroline is pregnant with a child - not twins.
- In addition, it doesn't bother to tell us what happened to Caroline or Tyler.
- The stones used in the Salvatore's talismans are changed form lapis lazuil to sapphire.
- Read the first 80 pages
- The girl on the cover is a representation of Meredith.
- The girl on the cover is Bojana Desnica, a Serbian model. 
Confessions made by the characters to defeat the phantom:
- "I’ve been jealous of other people in Fell’s Church. I saw how easy it was for other couples to be together, and after all Stefan and I—and Damon, and the rest of my friends—have been through, and even after we saved Fell’s Church and made it normal again, everything just kept on being so hard and so weird and supernatural. I guess I’ve been realizing that things aren’t ever going to be just easy and normal for me, and that’s been tough to accept. When I watched other people and was jealous of them, I fed the phantom of jealousy. I cast that jealousy away."
- And I’ve been jealous of Katherine. Damon and Stefan loved her first, and she knew them before so much happened to change them, to . . . warp them out of who they ought to be. And even though I realize that they both know I’m not Katherine and that they love me for who I am, I haven’t been able to forget that they noticed me at first because I look like her. I have fed the phantom of jealousy because of Katherine, and I cast that jealousy away."
- "I’ve also been jealous of Bonnie. I was used to being the only human Damon cared about, the only one who he would want to save. I am so, so glad that Bonnie is alive. But I was jealous that Damon cared enough to die for her. When I was jealous of Bonnie, I fed the phantom of jealousy. But now I cast my jealousy away."
- "I’ve been jealous of Matt, whose life seems so simple and good to me, who I know could have taken Elena out of the shadows and given her the uncomplicated life she deserves. I was jealous of Caleb, who seemed like the kind of golden boy who would be a good match for Elena, so much so that I distrusted him even before I had reason to, because I thought he was after her. And especially, I was jealous of Damon. I suppose I’ve always been jealous of him. The phantom was telling the truth when she said that. When we were alive, he was older, faster, stronger, more sophisticated than I was. When we died.....things only got worse. And, even more recently, when Damon and I found we could work together, I’ve resented how close he was to Elena. He has a piece of her that I’m not a part of, and it’s hard not to be jealous of that. The thing is, though, I love my brother. I do. I love you. I always have, even when we were at our worst. Even when all we wanted to do was kill each other. Elena’s right: We’re more than the bad parts of ourselves. I have fed the phantom of jealousy, but now I cast my jealousy away."
- "I have been jealous...I have been jealous...I have coveted that which my brother has, over and over again. I don’t need to go into every single detail of my past...I think there’s been enough of that here today. Suffice it to say there are things I . . . regret. Things that I would like to be different in the future. And so I admit that I have fed the phantom of jealousy. And now I cast jealousy out."
- "I've been jealous of Meredith and Elena. I always...I sometimes feel like I'm only a sidekick when I'm around them. They're braver than me, and they're better fighters, and smarter and prettier and...and taller than I am. I'm jealous because I feel like people don't respect me as much as they do then and don't really take me seriously like they do Elena and Meredith. I'm jealous because sometimes I'm standing in their shadows...metaphorically speaking, I mean. And I'm also jealous because I've never even had a real boyfriend, and Meredith has Alaric, and because Elena has Stefan, and because Elena also has Damon, who I think is pretty amazing, but who would never notice me when I'm standing next to Elena, because she's all he can see.... But I love Elena and Meredith. I know I need to stop comparing myself to them. I'm just not a sidekick; I'm useful and talented, too. And... I have fed the phantom of jealousy. But now I cast my jealousy away."
- "I’ve envied Meredith for her brains! I know I’ll never be as good at school as she is, but that’s okay. I cast my jealousy out!"
- "I’ve envied Elena’s clothes! I’m too short to look good in lots of things! But I cast that out!"
- "I’ve fed the phantom of jealousy I was jealous of Dr. Celia Connor. I love Alaric, but I know I’m much younger than he is, not even in college yet, and I’ve never really been anywhere or seen anything of the world—the human world, at least—outside of where I grew up. Celia shares so much with him—experiences, education, interests—and I knew he liked her a lot. And she’s beautiful and really smart and poised. I was jealous because I was afraid she would take him from me. But if she had been able to take him, that would mean he wasn’t mine to keep. You can’t steal a person....I cast—...I have fed the phantom of jealousy....but now I cast my jealousy away."
- "I have...I guess . . . no, I know I’ve fed the phantom of jealousy. I have always been crazy about Elena Gilbert, as long as I’ve known her. And I’ve been jealous of Stefan. All along. Even now, when Jealousy’s got him trapped in this bloody battle, because he has Elena. She loves him, not me. But, well, it doesn’t matter. . . . I’ve also known for a long time that Elena and I together don’t work, not for her, and that’s not Stefan’s fault. I’ve fed the phantom of jealousy, but now I cast my jealousy away."
- "I’ve been jealous that my friends have more money than I do! but I cast the jealousy out!"
- "I’ve been jealous....Of you, Meredith. And of your friends...God...Here I am, a graduate student in parapsychology. I’ve been dying my whole life to prove to myself that there’s something more going on in the world than what everybody knows, that some of the things we think of as supernatural are real. And then I come to this small town in Virginia because there are rumors, rumors I don’t really believe, that there might be vampires here, and when I get here I find this amazing, beautiful, confident girl, and it turns out she comes from a family that hunts vampires. And her friends are vampires and witches and psychics and girls who come back from the dead to fight evil. They only just finished high school, but they’ve seen things I’ve never imagined. They’ve defeated monsters, and saved towns, and traveled to other dimensions. And, you know, I’m just this ordinary guy, and suddenly half the people I know—and the girl I love—are practically superheroes.I’ve fed the phantom of jealousy. But now I cast my jealousy away. I’ll just have to deal with being the boyfriend of a superhero."
Dr. Celia Connor
- "I’ve fed the phantom of jealousy. I’ve been jealous of Meredith Suarez. But now I see that it’s pointless. I’ve fed the phantom of jealousy, but now I cast my jealousy away."
- "I envy the way Alaric truly believed in something unproven, and turned out to be right! But I cast it out!"