"Daughters of Darkness" is part 2 in the 10-part "Night World" book series by LJane Smith. The Night World is the society of vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters, and other creatures of the night all around the world. They only have two rules: never tell a human about the Night World, and never fall in love with them. These books are tales of instances when these rules are broken, culminating into an apocalyptic war that will change the fate of the world.
In the first Night World book "Secret Vampire" we are introduced to a rather villainous man by the name of Ash Redfern. He's a descendant of the most powerful vampire family in existence, and he plays with "Secret Vampire"'s main character, Poppy, as if she were a toy. At the end of the book, his cousin James warns:
"You know, you never really cared about anyone. But someday you will, and it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt--a lot."
"Daughters of Darkness" is, in part, an exploration of this statement and the foreshadowing it holds for our dear Ash.
The story stars a normal small-town girl by the name of Mary-Lynette Carter, who spends her free time gazing at the stars and planets in the sky. The other big part of her live is her little brother Mark. She desperately wishes on the stars above for two things; for Mark to find a girlfriend to help pull him out of his shell and give him happiness, and for herself to become 'one with the night', since she feels as if the night sky is one of the few things in the world that understand her.
The place she lives in, a small Oregon town called Briar Creek, is a boring and rather lonely place. That all changes, however, when her neighbor, a kind elderly woman named Opal, informs Mary-Lynette that her three nieces, Rowan, Kestral, and Jade Redfern are coming to visit. These girls happen to be Ash's sisters, and they have run away from home. When Ash discovers them and decides to scope out Mary-Lynette's family for some information, their cataclysmic meeting will change both of their lives, and the course of Night World history, forever.
This is one of my favorite books in the whole Night World series. The in-depth review below will show you why.
- The characters in this book are beautifully crafted. Rowan, Kestral, and Jade are very different, yet work wonderfully together as sisters, and we really get a taste for their individual personalities. Mary-Lynette is an extremely relatable character as well, personifying the feeling of being ever-so-slightly out of place and yearning for a sign as to where she belongs, which is something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives. It is also very refreshing to see the return of Ash and to learn more about him. Rather than see his tough outside, we get to see him exposed to his sisters and learn a lot more about who he really is on the inside.
- The town of Briar Creek is almost a character in and of itself. Minor characters such as the troublemakers Vic and Todd, the mysterious store clerk Bunny, and the handsome and friendly gas station worker Jeremy all add to the charm of the town and really make you feel as if you can envision walking around the town with the characters.
- The relationship between Ash and Mary-Lynette is not the typical romance. Honestly, it isn't. I of course will not spoil the end, but not everything in the world can turn out perfectly.
- The book itself is fashion very much like "Secret Vampire". I own two versions of this book. The first one is the original 1996 228 page soft cover print of the book. The cover shows off a beautiful piece of artwork featuring Ash looming over his three sisters and their pet cat, Tiggy. The other version I own, which you will be most likely to find in store nowadays, is the first Night World omnibus, which features the first three Night World books. This book is larger than the original version (as you may imagine), but with the two other stories inside of it and its easier availability, its a much better value than trying to hunt down the original version, as it is out of print.
Not only is this a must-read because it is such a fantastic book, but like "Secret Vampire", it introduces a few key concepts to the rest of the series.
The first concept is the different facets of vampiric society. Rowan, Kestral, Jade, and Ash hail from an actual island that is inhabited by nothing but vampires, and they describe the island as a place that is such very much in medieval times, with servants and castles and forced marriages. We learn that this is only one type of place that vampires can live, and we get to see how a hunting creature like a vampire can be effected by the pressures of such a society.
The second thing that is introduced in this story is the concept of werewolves. We get to see one in action for the first time and learn about the rules and rituals they must obey in the Night World.
The last (but not least) important thing that is introduced in the story is another fairly important character in this series, known only in this book as the mysterious and deadly vampire Quinn. I won't spoil what we learn about him, but I will say that his exit from the story at the end of the book will leave you wanting to know more about the poor boy (and trust me, you will, but that will come in another book).
So, "Secret Vampire" introduced us to vampires, and "Daughters of Darkness" had our first ever werewolf. What's next? Well, you'll have to pick up the next book in the series, "Spellbinder", to learn about another important group of people in the Night World.
Watch my video review and commentary on "Night World: Daughters of Darkness" below:
You can also visit my YouTube channel to view other LJane Smith book reviews and other videos.