Night World is a series written by the author L. J. Smith. Initially published from 1996 to 1998, the Night World series is one of L.J. Smith's most well known works, having been on the New York Times bestseller list. The series was reissued in three omnibus editions in 2008 and 2009, in addition to an ultimate fan guide published in 2008 and four online short-stories posted to the author's official website.
The series spans nine novels, with an upcoming tenth, Strange Fate, currently being written, although the release date is not yet known.
The series centers on the covert existence of vampires, witches, werewolves and shapeshifters, the coalition of which is known as the Night World. All of these creatures maintain a code of secrecy, not allowing the human race to be aware of its existence due to lethal altercations throughout history.
The Night World allows for the torment, conversion and killing of human beings, within reason and with permission, though for the most part the citizens of the Night World are indifferent to humans. However, there are two consistent cardinal laws: humans cannot be told of the Night World, and it is illegal to fall in love with one.
The books focus on instances in which these two main laws, punishable by death, are broken.
The Night World series currently consists of nine finished books, with a tenth still being written. The series can be divided into two general but connected story arcs - the Soulmate arc (books 1-6) and the Wild Powers arc (books 7-10):
In the debut book of the series, a Californian teenager, Poppy North, learns on the first day of summer vacation that her consistent stomach pains are in fact Stage 3 pancreatic cancer, which is fatal. However, upon also learning of this, her best friend and secret love, James Rasmussen, comes to Poppy and reveals a startling secret to her: he is in fact a vampire and, as Poppy's cancer is incurable, he is the only one left who can save her...by turning her into a vampire as well, though doing so without permission is illegal. Poppy must now choose between succumbing to a painful death or living a new, secret life with James as a creature of the Night World.
Daughters of DarknessEdit
In the small town of Briar Creek, Oregon, Mary-Lynnette Carter and her brother Mark learn that their eccentric neighbor, Opal Burdock, will be having some relatives staying with her, namely her three nieces: Rowan, Kestrel and Jade Redfern. However, Mary-Lynnette's suspicions are aroused when, just as the girls arrive...Mrs. Burdock goes missing, and is later found dead. Things become more complicated with Mary-Lynnette's investigation of the sisters, who are in fact vampire fugitives, when their notorious brother Ash arrives to collect them and bring them home against their will before the week is out, and before the Night World learns of what has happened and destroys Briar Creek to protect its secrecy.
Spellbinder (Enchantress in the United Kingdom)Edit
Blaise and Thea are first cousins, close as sisters, and the last of the most prestigious line of witches: the Harmans. Despite their status and Thea's good nature, the two are often in trouble thanks to Blaise's tendency to use spells to toy with and destroy human boys. They are given a final chance with their relative, Grandma Harman, and brought to live in Las Vegas. However, on the very first day of school, Thea is compelled to save the life of a young man, Eric Ross, from a rattlesnake bite. In doing so, she discovers a powerful connection to the boy, but is terrified by it, knowing that embracing her bond with Eric will mean death and destruction for the both of them. Worse, Blaise has decided to make Eric the new target of her dark attentions.
Following the sound of crying in a snow-blanketed wood in Pennsylvania, the young Gillian Lennox accidentally slips into an icy river. Although she is able to pull herself out, alone in the frozen woods she succumbs to hypothermia and quietly dies. However, as she is about to cross over to the afterlife, she is intercepted by a handsome spirit, calling himself Angel. He insists that it is not Gillian's time, and sends her back, reviving the girl. Angel accompanies her back to the living and establishes himself as Gillian's personal guardian; with his advice she gains popularity at her school, confidence and the heart of the boy she loves most, David Blackburn. However, it isn't long before Angel displays a darker side, suggesting things to Gillian she does not wish to do, leading her to question exactly who or what she has brought back from death with her.
Witnessing her mother and close friend Timmy die when she was five at the hands of a vampire, Rashel Jordan, now grown and living in Boston, has become a notorious and accomplished vampire hunter, hoping to destroy the species for their atrocities against humans. Upon joining a group of other vampire hunters, she captures a vampire, Quinn, but is hesitant to kill him, ultimately feeling mercy for the first time and allowing him to leave unharmed. To her fury, Rashel later discovers that Quinn is one among a group of vampires luring and kidnapping young girls, possibly reviving an illegal human slave trade. With the aid of one escaped victim, Daphne Childs, Rashel seeks to find Quinn and shut down the organization permanently before the girls are harmed.
Disturbed by notes found in her own handwritting claiming she will die before her seventeenth birthday, in Montana Hannah Snow seeks the help of a therapist, who uses hypnosis to induce the girl into a trance, hoping to find a psychological reason for the notes. However, the two discover a shocking secret about Hannah: she is an Old Soul, a human who has reincarnated many times and lived many different lives. Additionally, in each lifetime, she is pursued by Thierry Descouedres, a Night World Elder and a vampire who has been looking for her over the centuries. Despite admitting her love and attraction to him, Hannah is afraid, as she also claims that, although she is destined to be with Thierry, this is the same man who has been brutally murdering her in each lifetime before she turns seventeen.
While hunting down a violent gang in San Francisco, the sixteen year old vampire Jez Redfern, leader of a dangerous vampire gang of her own, uncovers a shocking memory from her childhood: she is the product of a marriage between a vampire and a human, something both physiologically impossible and illegal under Night World law, with her parents being executed for it. Feeling immense guilt for her dark actions over the years, upon learning she is half-human, she forsakes her gang and gives up drinking blood, joining the benevolent organization Circle Daybreak to protect humans from the Night World. However, a year later, Circle Daybreak gets a lead on the first Wild Power, one of four people destined to save the world from destruction...who is currently in the hands of Jez's former second-in-command and rival, another vampire named Morgead Blackthorn. Jez is forced to rejoin her old gang and acquire the Wild Power before Morgead can hand them over to the Night World council, while at the same time Jez must hide her true heritage from Morgead lest her kill her for it.
Maggie Neely is awakened one November night in Colorado to her mother screaming. Entering her living room, she finds Sylvia Weald, the girlfriend of Maggie's brother Miles, sorrowfully telling the family that Miles has died in a mountain climbing incident. Despite Sylvia's convincing tears, Maggie is certain she is lying about her brother's death and follows the girl. Unfortunately, it turns into a trap: Maggie is knocked unconscious by Sylvia, who is in truth a witch, and taken to a hidden Night World kingdom, the Dark Kingdom, to become a slave. Liberating herself, two other girls, and a blind girl known as Arcadia, Maggie searches the Dark Kingdom for Miles, surprisingly helped in her quest by, of all people, the vampire prince and ruler of the Dark Kingdom, Delos Redfern, the second Wild Power.
Having located the possible third Wild Power, a lost witch named Iliana Dominick living in North Carolina, Circle Daybreak sends their best operatives, led by the panther shapeshifter Keller, to find and bring Iliana to safety before the Night World kills her. Although they are able to do so, Keller is faced with three problems, all of which have the potential to destroy all Circle Daybreak has worked for. First of all, through unknown and likely unspeakable means, to combat Circle Daybreak the Night World has revived a dragon, the oldest and most evil species of shapeshifter to have ever existed. Secondly, Iliana, far from proving to be the legendary heroic figure, the prophesied Witch Child, she is highly reluctant to embrace her destiny as Harman, Witch Child and Wild Power, vehemently preferring to live as a normal human teenager. Third and worst of all, the boy Iliana is destined to marry, the shapeshifter prince Galen Drache, the marriage to whom would unite the shapeshifters and witches in a formal alliance against the Night World and boost the chances of the human race's survival....is in fact Keller's soulmate and true love.
The final installment of the series follows the teenager Sarah Strange, who has been receiving disturbing visions she cannot understand. Visions of a world ruled by vampires, decimated by dragons, and of enslaved human beings used as food and entertainment. Seeking to prevent this future from happening, Sarah is recruited, along with her closest friends, Mal Harman and Kierlan Drache, by Circle Daybreak. Events are futher complicated when it is learned that Sarah might have two soulmates, and that one of them is the fourth Wild Power.
Reissued in 2008 and 2009, the series has been condensed into three volumes, with each volume containing three of the nine currently released novels, and boasting new covers depicting three of the characters: Poppy North, Rashel Jordan and one of the Harman witches.