Night World by L J Smith

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Night World by L J Smith

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Hannah Crookes
Reviewed by Hannah Crookes
Summary: A collection of three intertwined stories about vampires, werewolves and witches walking the streets alongside us. Night World is yet another vampire book, but interesting plots and characters make it worth checking out.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 608 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0340996621

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The Night World is a secret world walking around in broad daylight. The secret society, with its symbols of black flowers and strict rules, is to keep the true nature of its members top secret. Vampires, witches and werewolves, all blend into everyday life as human, and all have to keep to the strict code. Don't reveal the Night World to a human, don't fall in love with a human.

Night World comprises of three connected stories, a format that I really enjoyed. The main characters changed with each story, but they would reappear with minor roles in the other stories. This gives a much more comprehensive overview of the world that L. J. Smith has created, as we can see how the actions in one story affect the characters in another. The stories take place consecutively rather than all at the same time, so as you read the boundaries of the Night World expand.

They all centre around the laws of the Night World (or rather, the breaking of these laws) and all include the concept of the 'soul mate principle.' This idea that one person in the world is right for another of course leads to some interesting results when the members of the Night World walk among humans. My biggest problem with the book was the unlikelihood that after generations of falling in love with a human being strictly illegal, several characters, all vaguely related, find their soulmates in humans in such a short space of time. Other than that, it was an interesting concept and made for entertaining plots.

The first story, Secret Vampire, introduces the concept of the Night World slowly, as the main human character discovers it. This allows the audience to learn about it along with Poppy instead of just being fed a lot of information at the beginning. Poppy is dying from a rare form of cancer. She's always known that there's something different about her best friend James, but now he offers her a way out she has to face the truth. Poppy is my favourite character in the whole book. So energetic and lively, she's the sort of person it would be entertaining just to be around. James is far more cool and collected which makes his concern for Poppy even more endearing. The chemistry between the two is palpable, and beautifully written. Secret Vampire is an interesting introduction to the Night World and all its seduction and danger.

Next comes Daughters of Darkness. Mary Lynette is suspicious of the three girls who have come to live nearby. They must be the three nieces Opal was expecting to come and visit, but where is the old lady? Jade, Kestrel and Rowan are on the run from their strict, old-fashioned family and the Night World in general. Tired of over-protection and the lack of freedom, they've managed to escape, but something even more sinister waits for them as it seems a slayer on the loose. And their brother is on their tail, hoping to make them return home. When all of them meet, sparks fly.

This was a bit of a whodunit as they join forces to catch the slayer. Mary Lynette is rather a feminist, so when she hears of the old-fashioned regulations limiting the sisters, she's outraged on their behalf. Add to that mix bad-boy brother Ash and the dynamics between the characters are lively and interesting. It's especially interesting to see how much Ash has changed from his first appearance in Secret Vampire, becoming almost a different person after meeting Mary Lynette.

Lastly is Enchantress, the story of two cousins; Blaise and Thea. Brought up together, they are inseparable despite Blaise's tendency to get them both in trouble. When Thea becomes interested in a human for the first time, Blaise encourages it – until she realises that things may be more serious between Thea and Eric than they should be. She's determined to protect Thea from breaking one of their laws, but when this protection becomes a threat to Eric, Thea has to stand up for herself. It's her white magic against Blaise's dark magic, and the prize is Eric.

Enchantress was my least favourite of the stories. The relationship between the cousins was interesting, especially as despite their disagreement, they're still devoted to one another. I just didn't find the plot as interesting or original. Because Lisa Smith has made vampires and werewolves interesting, I somehow found the witches boring. I also find the concept of witches less interesting than that of the other Night World inhabitants. Either way, I found that Enchantress was okay, but not as entertaining as the other two stories.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag

Further reading suggestion: The Fury (The Vampire Diaries) by L J Smith or The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld.

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