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YMMV / Night World

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Hannah Snow of Soulmate. Is she a tragic Woobie who's been mercilessly killed since prehistory by a Yandere Vampiress, and manipulated into believing her Soulmate Thierry killed her every time? Or is she a complete Jerkass who holds the Idiot Ball for far too long to justify her own insecurities over her feelings for Thierry?
      • It certainly doesn't help matter that she chooses to remain human at the end of Soulmate despite the neverending heartache both Thierry and herself had experienced for thousands of years, and actually seems to look forward to having future reincarnations, while fully aware and even acknowledging that Thierry will suffer through her deaths every single time.
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    • Ash Redfern. Has he truly see the errors of his ways and genuinely wants to be good enough for his Soulmate Mary-Lynnette? Or is he simply an victim of Badass Decay who lets his Soulmate change him to what she wants in an Love Interest?
    • Did Sylvia have genuine feelings for Miles, thus making his rejection of her even more of a personal blow? She certainly takes a lot of risks - including telling him about the Night World - and goes to the effort of making him a shapeshifter to keep him close to her. She also expresses jealousy and frustration that Miles always talked about his family, in particular his sister Maggie.
    • Did Opal Burdock choose to stop aging not just to fit in with humans more easily, but because she wanted to eventually die of old age in the hopes of being reunited with her dead husband?
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    • Daughters of Darkness is ambiguous about whether or not Jade and Mark are really soulmates. They are instantly attracted to each other and bond very quickly, though as Jade notes, they don't have the same intense connection that Ash and Mary-Lynette do. However, is this simply because they're comparatively different people with a different relationship dynamic?
  • Broken Base: Some fans are not pleased about The Reveal of Rashel and Keller being twin siblings.
  • Complete Monster (from Witchlight): Azhdeha is an ancient dragon who tried to destroy the world with his fellows before being sealed off. Returning, Azhdeha plots to kill Illiana, the child of wild magic and condemn the world to death and rebirth. To this end, Azhdeha brings the shapeshifters under his control, has the witch matriarch killed and disguises himself to kill the heroes, while having shapeshifters initiate uprisings across the nation to kill many, many people, not caring who throws their lives away in pursuit of his goal.
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  • Cry for the Devil: Quinn is presented as such all throughout The Chosen. It's in this novel that his Dark and Troubled Past is revealed and it's hard not to pity him for it; none of what happened was his fault despite what he thinks. It's also made clear that he has started feeling guilty and conflicted about what he has done over the years; in spite of his hatred of humans, he is sickened by the thought of what will happen to the girls he's helped abduct. He even appears to undergo some Sanity Slippage as his Villainous BSoD reaches a peak and would've let Rashel kill him, both because he can't handle it anymore and because he can't bring himself to harm her even to defend himself. Even his attempt to turn Rashel into a vampire against her will is presented somewhat sympathetically, though still misguided, as he's motivated not by malice but out of a genuine desire to protect her, unable to bear losing another loved one. Rashel is able to help him snap out of it and he makes a Heel–Face Turn by the end.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Ash and Mary-Lynnette: Those Who Favor Fire, Jez and Morgead's Night Out and Thicker Than Water because of inconsistencies, Plot Holes and the use of AK-47s.
  • Genius Bonus: In Daughters of Darkness, it's not difficult for some readers to figure out that Jeremy Lovett is a werewolf if they're familiar with his surnane's meaning: 'wolf cub'.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The plot of Secret Vampire – which involves the protagonist being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer – after L.J. Smith took a long hiatus from writing in 1998 to help care for her sister’s kids when her brother-in-law was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, with her mother also dying not long after from lung cancer.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Jerkass Woobie: Delos Redfern. He's cold, condescending and rude, but when his backstory is revealed it's hardly surprising. He was treated as a weapon instead of a person since childhood when he was discovered to be a Wild Power at an young age. His mother died when he was very young - possibly before he could even remember her - and his father was horribly abusive and raised him to believe compassion and mercy are weaknesses, even forcing him to kill his teacher when he was only five years old. After his father died, he still wasn't free and was used as a pawn by the nobles and Hunter Redfern. When Maggie is kind and sympathetic towards him and telepathically shares her memories her loving and happy family, he's not just confused but terrified, forcing her out of his head and insisting he feels nothing, because he's very rarely been exposed to such things. And despite his attempts to suppress his emotions and conscience, he still tries to help Maggie and her companions; it's also obvious that a lot of his assholish behavior towards Maggie (such as calling her stupid for not saving herself and locking her in a cell when she tries to infiltrate his castle) stem from concern for her.
  • 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.
    • Hunter chasing Rashel while trying to tempt her with ice cream comes off as this, although other readers find it effectively disturbing.
  • Narm Charm: The Soulmate Principle often results in things like Love at First Sight, Opposites Attract and romances developing at breakneck speed for a number of the couples, but Smith generally has a knack for making the reader want to root for them to be together anyway because of how ideal they are for each other and some of the heartwarming moments they share.
  • Popularity Polynomial: The books were originally published when YA Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance were starting to achieve mainstream popularity (especially with the release of The Craft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer). They were republished and saw a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000's and early 2010's thanks to the vampire and Urban Fantasy craze kicked off by Twilight, as well as The Vampire Diaries getting a TV adaptation (both book series were authored by L.J Smith).
  • Shocking Swerve: Rashel and Keller being revealed as Long Lost Siblings in Thicker Than Water. There were absolutely no hints given to this in the novels themselves, although Rashel’s association with cats could potentially serve as Foreshadowing and the fact that Keller was abandoned by her parents and knows very little about them leaves a fair amount of wiggle room. This does, however, open up a whole new can of worms as to why Keller was abandoned by her shapeshifter father, why Rashel believed her father to be dead and whether he’s still alive.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Just about every single couple. This is thanks to the Soulmate Principle, a phenomenon that ensures two strangers are destined to be together, no matter how little they know of each other, how unsuited they are, or how much they dislike the idea. They will be in love by the end of the book.
    • Averted with Poppy and James; they fell in love slowly (they knew each other since preschool) before finding out they were soulmates all along.
    • Morgead also had feelings for Jez prior as well and they'd been friends since childhood.
    • Gillian was also in love with David prior to the events of Dark Angel, though he never noticed her initially.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Timmy. Sure, the Vampire Creepy Child has been done before but there is still so much potential. He only shows up in a few chapters in The Chosen and is then never so much as mentioned again.
    • Roseclear Harman. A Witch/Vampire hybrid seems much more unique than a Dhampyr, although technically Roseclear is not a hybrid - it is stated that the offspring of a witch and a lamia will always be either/or, rather than a combination of the two. So, Roseclear was actually just an ordinary witch (with dormant vampire genes). She's a Posthumous Character who is very Out of Focus conpared to her older sisters.
    • The Lancers, a group of vampire hunters who only really show up in the first act of The Chosen before pretty much disappearing from the story.
    • Maya, in general. She's quite an intriguing and important character, but only shows up in person in Soulmate and then gets killed off.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The Time-Traveling in Black Dawn. This is the first and only time it's used in the series and it doesn't have too much of an impact on the story besides developing Delos and Maggie's relationship.
    • Jez and Morgead's Night Out's serial killer storyline is not properly dealt with and instead is dropped when the killer commits suicide.
  • Values Dissonance: "It is fine for Night World inhabitants to treat humans in whatever way they please (because they're special and not bound by morality)..."
    • They actually get called out on this and it's deconstructed throughout the series.
  • The Woobie:
    • Poppy North from Secret Vampire. She's a sixteen year old girl who finds out on the first day of summer vacation that she has pancreatic cancer. She'll likely be dead in three months (at most), she'll probably be in a state of constant pain and there's no cure. She had her whole life ahead of her and dreams about travelling the world and finally confessing her love to her childhood best friend, only to find out it's all being taken away from her. And although she's able to cheat death by becoming a vampire, it's not exactly a walk in the park for her; she still has to fake her death and thus leave behind her old life, her friends and her family, and can never see any of them again, as if she really had died. Not to mention she'll outlive them all, what with being immortal. She has to cope with entering a strange new world and becoming an entirely new species, with only James to help her. And then she finds out that James has put himself in danger to turn her illegally. She runs away to keep him safe, which means she now faces adjusting to her new life as a vampire completely alone (although luckily it turns out she's not illegally made after all and she and James are reunited, and she gets some closure over having to leave behind her old life).
    • James Rasmussen. His parents are at best emotionally neglectful and cold, at worst abusive. They manipulated him into killing his human nanny Emma, whom he saw as a mother, when he was only four years old. He attempted to turn her into a vampire to save her, but she Came Back Wrong as a ghoul, forcing James's father to kill her again. The reason his parents did this was simply because they felt he was getting too attached to 'vermin'. James was also bullied at school as a young child and doesn't really have any close friends who are either humans or Night People, because he feels he doesn't belong in either world. The sole exception is Poppy, although he still has to lie to her and can't even admit to himself that he loves her. And then he finds out she's going to die of pancreatic cancer.
    • Rashel Jordan. On her fifth birthday, she sees her mother and best friend murdered by a vampire and only narrowly escapes. No one believes that it was a vampire who killed them. She gets sent to live with her Aunt Corrine, only for the vampire to return and burn down her house to try and finish Rashel off; she escapes but Corrine dies and she ends up in foster care. Rashel becomes a vampire hunter to get revenge and to ensure she'll Never Be Hurt Again, though it ends up as an obsession for her; she has no life outside of hunting down and killing vampires, which she even knows deep down is unhealthy, but she doesn't know anything else. You'd think things would look up when she meets her soulmate...only he's a vampire and a rather notorious one at that, so her sympathy and attraction to him initially causes her a lot of confusion and revulsion. By the climax of The Chosen she even has shades of being a Death Seeker, being willing to die fulfilling her revenge against the vampires. And then she finds out that her friend Timmy didn't die that day, but has been turned into a vampire and is now a very disturbed individual who has been manipulated into believing she abandoned him.
    • Thierry. He accidentally kills his Soulmate during an fit of rage against her tribe after they tortured him and spends the rest of his life searching for her reincarnation while mentally beating himself up for what he did. He also had no choice about becoming a vampire, with Maya forcibly turning him and then insisting that he "belonged" to her now without once considering his feelings. She then proceeds to stalk him for centuries, brutally murdering his soulmate in each of her lives out if pure spite and jealousy, and even framing Thierry for it so that Hannah distrusts him and thinks he's a monster. When Hannah insists she wants nothing to do with him this time around, he doesn't try to protest despite his heartbreak, as Hannah's wellbeing is more important to him.


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