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5.31.2009

Review: Night World No.1 by L.J. Smith

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Night World No. 1: Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness, Spellbinder (Night World #1) by L.J. Smith
Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Vampires, Witches
Trade Paperback (SIMON PULSE, 752 pages, $8.99)
ISBN# 1416974504
Vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters -- they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.
In Secret Vampire, Poppy thought the summer would last forever. Then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now Poppy's only hope for survival is James, her friend and secret love. A vampire in the Night World, James can make Poppy immortal. But first they both must risk everything to go against the laws of Night World.
Fugitives from Night World, three vampire sisters leave their isolated home to live among humans in Daughters of Darkness. Their brother, Ash, is sent to bring the girls back, but he falls in love with their beautiful friend.
Two witch cousins fight over their high school crush. It's a battle between black magic and white magic in Spellbinder.

Author Site:
www.ljanesmith.net


Lukewarm Love Stories for Tween Paranormal Fans (3 stars)

Reprinted into three story volumes, L.J. Smith's Night World series is back for a new audience of paranormal fantasy fans. The first volume collects the stories Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness and Spellbinder.

[Secret Vampire] is the tale of Poppy, a teen faced with the sudden diagnoses of a terminal illness. With very little time left, her closest friend James reveals the secret of the Night World risking both their lives to possibly save hers. But will Poppy survive the turning and if she does will James be able to protect her from the Night World?

Call me a big sap but I liked the concept for this story. The idea of a terminally ill person offered the chance to die a painful human death or risk everything to become a vampire is a really fun dilemna. What kind of fell flat for me though was the lack of chemistry between James and Poppy. Their friendship and relationship wasn't very well fleshed out and I didn't find their mutual love for one another to be very believable. On the whole though the story would be perfect for a reader looking for a little soapy drama.

[Daughters of Darkness] centers around three sisters, Rowan, Kestrel and Jade, who are briefly mentioned in the previous story. Tired of the archaic ways of the lamia (vampires who are born not made) the trio escape from their Night World sanctuary to rural Oregon to stay with an outcast aunt. What they expect is for their brother to try and hunt them down. What they don't expect is that someone else might be trying to get rid of them... permanently. When a local human brother and sister's fate becomes intertwined with theirs it can only mean trouble.

A little overloaded with characters to keep track of this story was the slower of the three for me as a reader. The three sisters are definitely a bit strange, making their interactions with their human friends a bit weird but they are each likable in their own way. The mystery of who might being trying to get rid of them isn't completely obvious fortunately, which makes the story jump around from supsect to suspect. The romance angles are a little far-fetched but again, young fans will probably really enjoy that aspect.

[Spellbinder] focuses on a pair of cousins, Thea and Blaise, with a track record of getting booted from schools faster than one can bat an eyelash. Sent to spend the school year with their grandmother in Las Vegas the pair of young witches waste no time getting into new trouble. Both vying for the attentions of Eric, the two let their spell casting get out of hand and the results could endanger not just the local humans, but the secrets of the Night World.

Romantically the more believable story of the three I liked how this one ended a lot. The story had a very different feel from the two vampire tales and gives a glimpse into other parts of the Night World. The cousins are very different from one another and their relationship makes no sense at times but watching them use their different magics is very entertaining. Overall probably the more enjoyable tale of the three this one rounds the book out nicely.

As an adult reader I can't give Night World No. 1 more than an overall "It was okay" rating. Would another adult not like them at all? That I can't honestly say. I found them extremely formulaic and thus they just weren't that exciting or interesting. The romances were the lukewarm sort of stories that lack hero to heroine chemistry that adult romances thrive on. BUT I think this is a perfect book for the tween to teen set, this series is definitely written for kids. Parents looking for something without the coarse language and sensuality should be pleased to note the language here is clean and the most that happens in the stories are kisses. These are stories that work well for a young audience with their adventure, romance and continuity.

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