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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Young Adult Fiction

NIGHT WORLDS by Lisa J Smith
Hodder Children's Books; (Jun 2009);
ISBN: 978-0-340-99663-8

Elle Mackintosh

As someone who is very fussy about what books they will pick up, an immediate sense of dread loomed over my mind as I was handed a trilogy of ‘Night World’ books. While I am familiar with the old adage of never judging a book by its cover, I could not help but at first glance compare it to Twilight: which although I had been initially sceptical of, I had succumbed to the charm and easy reading skill of Stephanie Meyer.

When I mentioned my immediate comparison at lunch I was shouted down by a rather large group of what can only be described as L. J. Smith’s fan girls! I was however forced to take back some of my words when the following morning I found myself still wide awake and flicking through the pages of her narratives.

The quest to become popular, the struggles of growing up, the hatred of the actions of those you love, and the difficulty in getting used to your new found magical powers. These are all feelings that any teenager from the US to the EU is familiar with, yet somehow Smith allows the reader to feel understood, respected and accepted. Smith has created a world where all of these supernatural people have their own community, outside of our world and it is clear that they are very separate from us mere mortals.

In the second volume of the ‘Night World’ series we find the stories of three different individuals: Gillian, Rashel and Hannah. Gillian finds herself being rescued from certain death by Angel, a drop dead gorgeous spirit creature who promises to make Gillian popular, but at what cost? When she finds that this popular world is not the one she wants she tries to make things right, but will Angel let her? Rashel is a vampire killer, and she’s good at it, but then she faces a decision: choose her soulmate Quinn, and put up with his thirst for human blood, or lose the person she loves the most? Hannah’s love has come back to her, stirring up all her old feelings, but could someone be coming to threaten all of that for her?

I found this book easy to read, however my mind was clogged with all the different authors who have attempted this genre. For me personally I think that this series is ideal for the younger reader who is keen to get a first foray into the dark and night worlds. However as a more seasoned reader, I found it a struggle to find an author that hasn’t done it better. In terms of eloquence and storytelling ability I think other writers have gained an edge over Smith, being able to create a story that seamlessly attaches itself to our world, while not being a part of it. While the subject matter was interesting, and the research put in by Smith obvious, I would recommend the ‘Night World’ series only to those who wants a read that won’t take too much thinking about. For someone who wants something with a little more substance instead, I would recommend heading for the shelves marked ‘Pullman’.
© Elle Mackintosh June 2009

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