One from the Day World where two eyes are watching,
One from the twilight to be one with the dark.
Lisa Jane Smith's YA fantasy/supernatural/romance series Night World was first published between 1996 and 1998. It was designed as a ten-book series. After a ten-year hiatus, the tenth and final book Strange Fate is now scheduled for publication.The series deals with the existence of a secret society of witches, vampires, and shapeshifters, and how they interact with the inhabitants of the human world. Although humans have long since gained control of the world over the Night World's minority, the supernatural members of the society treat humans with disdain and prejudice, calling them "vermin" and plotting ways to regain power over the world.It is fine for Night World inhabitants to treat humans in whatever way they please as long as two essential rules are upheld:
Do not tell humans about the Night World.
Never fall in love with a human.
What follows is a series of stand-alone yet interrelated stories that tell what happens when (wait for it...) these rules get broken. The first four or so books set the ground-work for the series as a whole, introducing characters who turn up in later books and concepts such as the Soulmate Principle and Circle Daybreak, as well as the mythos and history of the Night World. Book Six, Soulmate, introduces the onset of the apocalypse. The rest of the series deals with the measures that good and evil forces take to prepare for it.
This series provides examples of:
Action Girl: Three in particular: Rashel Jordan, Jez Redfern and Raksha Keller.
Berserk Button: Don't call Jez by her full name. It pisses her off so much, that when her soulmate calls her "Jezebel" as she lies dying, she actually comes back in order to tell him never to call her that.
Bigger Bad: In Witchlight, the gang goes up against an astoundingly powerful dragon, who tells them he was woken from his slumber by "a witch who is not a witch." Whoever that is, is bound to be even more terrifying.
Big Screwed-Up Family: The Redferns, starting all the way back with its founder, Maya, who drank the blood of babies to achieve immortality, turned a fellow tribesman into the first made vampire against his will, and fought her sister to the death.
The Harmans fare a little better, but not when they are forced to marry into the Redfern clan.
Burn the Witch!: Played with in Spellbinder. After accidentally releasing the vengeful spirit of a witch whose siblings were burnt at the stake, Thea and Eric reenact the burning with dummies in the attempt to draw the spirit away from the school dance.
Catch Phrase: Rashel says: "the kitten has claws" every time she kills a vampire.
The Chosen One: Technically the Wild Powers are the Chosen Four: Jez Redfern, Prince Delos, Iliana Dominick and an as-yet unnamed forth power.
Iliana counts twice over considering she's also the Witch Child, prophesied to secure peace between the witches and the shapeshifters.
Also Maggie in Black Dawn who is identified among the slaves as the Deliverer, come to free them from captivity.
Continuity Cameo: L.J. Smith loves these. Ash and Thea have small roles in Secret Vampire, and the two subsequent sequels feature them as the protagonists. Ash turns up again in Dark Angel and Soulmate. Likewise, Quinn features in Daughters of Darkness and then stars in The Chosen, Aradia is in Spellbinder and then Black Dawn, Hunter and Lily Redfern are introduced in The Chosen: the former reappears in Black Dawn and the latter in Huntress, and all the soulmates introduced up to that point appear in Soulmate.
Curse That Cures: One of the books is about a girl with cancer whose vampire boyfriend offers to turn her to save her life.
Filler: Dark Angel. Though it features a cameo from Ash, it's the one book in the series that can be skipped without doing much damage to one's understanding of the over-arching story.
The Hecate Sisters: Mother, maiden and crone are shown as witches' ranks. The mother of all witches is Hecate.
The Ingenue: Invoked when Winnie explains that Iliana is "Too pure for this stuff," not a coward. Not to mention Iliana's silver-gold hair, violet eyes, 'glow,' and the fact that a small character is described as almost as small as she is.
In the Blood: There are three royal families at work in the series, pertaining to the three major Night World species: the Redferns (vampires), the Harmans (witches) and the Draches (shapeshifters), all with particular gifts that elevate them from the rest of their kind.
Just a Kid: Subverted and used: People fighting vampires remind themselves that the vampires are not really kids, and should be treated as a threat. Used in that even a child vampire has the potential to be very dangerous, so this mantra does not make very much sense.
Karma Houdini: Blaise. She mind-rapes (and probably sexually rapes) human boys with her love potions to get gifts and popularity and we even meet one particular boy that she has completely destroyed. Her punishment? Not a damn thing. Instead, we're supposed to like her at the end of the story!
Kill It with Fire: Witches are harmed by iron and fire, werewolves and shapeshifters are harmed by silver and fire, vampires are harmed by wood and fire, humans are harmed by the normal assortment (so, fire). Fire: the only thing where you can be sure, regardless of the type.
Littlest Cancer Patient: Technically Poppy isn't a child, but she's described as "petite" and "pixie-like," and everyone is suitably devastated when she's diagnosed with cancer. Luckily she's also got a vampire for a best friend, which comes in handy if you're terminally ill.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Jade. On meeting her Mark thinks: "Okay, so she is crazy. I don't care. I think I love her."
The Messiah: Iliana. Even the cynical Keller recognises her beauty, compassion and purity:
She was bending over Jaime so tenderly, tears falling like diamonds. Her grief - it was complete. As if Jaime were her own dearest sister. She cared in way that went beyond sympathy and beyond compassion and into something like perfect love. It transformed her. She wasn't a light-minded child anymore. She was almost...angelic.
The Mole: Pierce in Huntress and Jaime, who is actually The Dragon in disguise in Witchlight.
Narm: Quite a few silly bits, but special mention has to be made of the covert SWAT team in Witchlight who drive around on their secret missions in a white limousine. At one stage they even illegally park it on the footpath.
Our Ghouls Are Creepier: In this continuity, ghouls are humans that did not successfully complete the transition into vampirehood, leaving them nearly brain-dead, difficult to kill, and with an insatiable bloodthirstiness. They're also really, really gross.
Our Vampires Are Different: As with Twilight the only aspects of vampirism retained from folklore is their need for human blood, and their immortality. Unlike Twilight the condition is not glamorised, and is considered a somewhat lonely, melancholy state of existence.
There are two types of vampires at work in the world: those known as the lamia, who are born to the condition, are able to procreate, and can control their aging process, and made vampires, who are (obviously) humans who have been turned.
Our Werewolves Are Different: They have powers that allow them to track people by something that appears to amount to psychic scent. They also can transform into a variety of animals, and, though it is never outright stated, look like they pick up some characteristics of their animal.
There is some confusion over the difference between "werewolves" and "shapeshifters" in the series. Shapeshifters can seemingly change at will, whereas werewolves are bound by lunear cycles. Likewise, werewolves are prone to more prejudice within the Night World, whereas the shapeshifters of Witchlight (book 9) seem fairly respected.
Werewolves aren't bound by lunar cycles in he series, Jeremy Lovette changed at will and Mary-Lynette even mentally commented on the fact that it wasn't a full moon.
Prophecy Twist: In her capacity as the Witch Child, Iliana is told that she is destined to secure an alliance between shapeshifters and witches by marrying the crown prince of the royal shapeshifter house. Instead she declares herself blood sister to werepanther Keller.
Red String of Fate: Or in this case, a silver thread. Destined soulmates describe this thread as the energy that connects them and pulls them together.
Reincarnation Romance: Hannah and Thierry. Several times over. Also implied with Ash and Mary-Lynette, though post-story.
Reincarnation: Known as "Old Souls" among the Night World; individuals who are reincarnated are reasonably common in the series, most prominently Hannah Snow, protagonist of Soulmate. Others include Catherine (who doesn't know she's an Old Soul), Hugh (who does), and Iona (a child who is said to be the oldest reincarnated being on earth, an impressive claim since Hannah dates back to prehistoric times).
So far all Old Souls have been human, and it has been explicitly stated that it's impossible for a vampire to be reincarnated.
They're said to regain memories of their past lives in times of stress or danger, after which they are referred to as "awakened" Old Souls.
Schedule Slip: Nine books done at a pace normal for the length...the span between the ninth and tenth is a decade and counting.
Sheltered Aristocrat: Delos, who has been raised in a kingdom cut off from the human world, and with very little idea of what's going on in the outside world (or in his own kingdom, judging from his reaction to Jeanne's scars).
Starcrossed Lovers: All the couples to some extent, considering they're all breaking the No. 2 rule of Night World society, but Rashel and Quinn get special mention: he's a vampire, she's a vampire hunter (and yes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is referenced by another character).
Theme Naming: It is traditional for lamia to be named after natural things (birds, plants or precious stones); ie. Rowan, Kestrel, Jade, Garnet, Lily, Dove, Hunter (all of whom belong to the Redfern clan). There is also the tradition of any werecreature being named after whatever animal s/he happens to be able to change into in his/her native language.
Too Dumb to Live: Gillian in Dark Angel. Would you go investigate a strange noise, in a forest, by yourself, in the middle of winter? By yourself? Somewhat subverted in that she does actually die from this stupidity...
Tsundere: Mary-Lynette in Daughters of Darkness, deredere.
The Unfettered: This is a pretty good definition of what Rashel appears to mean by zanshin.
You Already Changed The Past: In Black Dawn Prince Delos goes back in time to warn Maggie to leave the Dark Kingdom. However, when Maggie sees Delos in present-time, the fact that she recognises him from her dream ensures her determination to learn more about him, and events proceed as they originally did. Interesting, as she tells him about the dream, so he is aware that he already changed the past.
"I know," [Delos] said, and his voice was tired and a bit forlorn. He sounded very young, just then. "But it was worth a try."