The third story, for me, really dragged and wasn't as good as the first two. I've never seen someone master that bratty, "I hope your head explodes from the sheer force of pissy that is emanating from my entire body right now" expression that he does. In this book, one look is all it takes to see and recognize your soulmate, binding the two of you together in some kind of super powerful love that can probably conquer everything from the forces of darkness to paying for your phone bill.
So crack open those pages and fall into a book filled with romance and life threatening encounters.
The Secret Vampire 2 Stars This is easily my least favourite story of this volume. While I appreciate Smiths introduction to her world here and the explanations of the varying natures of Night World creatures and how they differ from the standard definitions in other stories I am left unsatisfied by the characters themselves. I enjoy the whodunit aspect of this story quite a bit and also the introduction to a new species of the Night World. My biggest complaint is that my favourite character in Secret Vampire becomes a big chump thank you, soul mate principle in this one. Spellbinder 3 Stars It this story we meet up with Blaise and Thea, cousins who were raised like sisters. In this story my favourite characters are human, Eric and his sister Roz. I found Thea relatively boring, and Blaise more of an evil (or dark-witch) caricature than an actual character.
They were simply explained away by the idea of "love at first sight" or the fact that everyone was pairing up with their soul mates. I couldn't tell if this was employed to transition between the three novels, or if Smith was planning to create a new version of the Night World adapted and changed by this specific family. I guess I will have to read the rest of the series to discover this "mystery," but that will probably not happen since I was so disappointed with the first book. The rating attached to this review is for the entire collection of three novels in one book read back to back. She's able to make this decision thanks to the "secret;" her best friend James has been hiding it from her since they were little kids (yes, vampires can age in the Night World). I also liked the way James handles speaking with his parents, they are not on good terms, Poppy's brother Phillip, who always seems to get in the way, and his cousin, Ash, introduced at the end of the story as a villain. The strengths of this story are their love (I'm not always against the cute stuff), some of the descriptions of the Night World, which will be analyzed in depth on my Lunch reviewing site, and Ash, who is truly the sole redeeming character in this story and the entire collection. In fact, he is the reason I enjoyed the second story the best, especially the unique and different ending. If you are going to read this book, read it because of Ash in "Daughters of Darkness." DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS: 3 STARS This novel starts out with the names of new characters, three vampire sisters Rowan, Kestrel, and Jade (oldest to youngest). Like all the paranormal characters in this book, they are desperately seeking an escape from the restrictive Night World, which incidentally enough doesn't believe in feminism because the girls are expected to agree to arranged marriages and listen to their male elders. I thought this was a 20th century novel, so why would the Night World have such archaic rules, especially if they consider themselves to be light years beyond human development? So, the story is about the women escaping male oppression while their very masculine and chauvinistic brother, who happens to be Ash from "Secret Vampire," is left with the difficult task of convincing them to come home where they belong. In the end, this story had similar themes as the first one: 1) soul mate principal 2) vampire reveals 3) death 4) destruction 5) a little bit of a mystery 6) and...believe it or not...a werewolf. The interactions between the females and the males are priceless, like a children's or young adult's take on "feminism." I enjoyed that the story focused around women, but that there were quirky male presences to offer good character interaction and conflict. Though I started the book loving Ash (and still ended it loving him), the characters that are the real heroes and who stand out the most are the female ones. SPELLBINDER: 2 STARS The final story, "Spellbinder," was my second favorite one purely because the ending was a bit surprising, at least more so than "Secret Vampire." It's about two very different witches, one "light" and one "dark," loosing these terms lightly (concept idea reminds me of Something Wicked This Way Comes). The final engaging portion is the ending, some of which was guessed and other parts which are a surprise, especially the shift in Blaise's character. In two of these three stories, the women don't need to be rescued by the male characters. There are situations where they fight as equals, such as in "Spellbinder," or cases where the females dominate the action, as in "Daughters of Darkness." There was also more development of the interconnectedness of the paranormal universe of the Night World, especially the story about Hellewise and Maya, which explains the birth of vampires and the history of witches. On the very first teaser page, it's stated that "The Night World...love has never been so dangerous." Love was not very dangerous in these stories. And members of Night World must never fall in love with a human. In fact, in two of the stories, the elders never learned that the younger members of the Night World were breaking this forbidden law. However, I suggest older teens read the last story "Spellbinder" because of Blaise's actions toward men. If you are still intrigued enough or want to make a comparison with Stephenie Meyer, I recommend reading either "Daughters of Darkness" or "Spellbinder." The "Secret Vampire" is really a waste of valuable reading time.
"Night World" is basically a series of short paranormal romance stories for young adults. The premise here is that there are Night People (vampires, witches, werewolves) who live among regular humans and who are prohibited from disclosing any information about the secret world or fall in love with mortals. I still think that Smith's "Dark Visions" and "The Forbidden Game" trilogies are better, but these "Night World" are nicely done too and I will definitely continue on with the series.
Each story has basically the same and the plot line, which is the point, but then they are never expounded upon.
I just hope that L.J. Smith is finally able to publish the last book in the series.
There is the idea in the series that everyone has a soulmate. IT really really reminded of the whole idea of imprinting in the Twilight series.
L.J. SMITH, Lisa Jane Smith, is the New York Times #1 Bestselling author of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, The Forbidden Game, Dark Visions, Wildworld and Night World series. Her favorite current writer is Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series, for its wild and witty satires on life, death, war, love, assassins, coppers, and Australia. J. Smith wrote books 1-7 of The Vampire Diaries series. wrote books 1-3 of The Secret Circle series.