Nostalgia Friday: Daughters of Darkness, by L J Smith

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Author’s website
Publication date – March 19, 1997

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Here is a vampire story with a twist, the bloodsucking ghouls are three beautiful teenage sisters who escape from the Night World and try to find a new life, and love, with humans in a small town.

Thoughts: This is probably my least favourite book in the whole series. Despite it being the second, I didn’t read it until long after I’d read all the other Night World books, but my distaste for it isn’t solely due to the fact that it can’t really compare to the novels that came after. This book not only can’t stand the test of time (do teenagers even know what a Walkman is anymore?), but had a good number of flaws that would have been evident even at the time of writing.

For example, there’s a scene quite early on in which two teenage boys start in on their attempt to rape three girls. When these girls reveal themselves to be vampires, one of them shouts, ” How the freak did you do that? What the freak are you?” Freak? Really? A guy who’s about to rape someone isn’t going to play by PG language rules. If you can’t have swearing in your story, don’t try for swearing. Toning it down and substituting words just makes the whole situation look absurd, and is rather insulting to the intelligence of the reader.

Second example I can think of is when characters are wondering who might be the killer they’re all looking for. They land on a character who was mentioned only once or twice before that, and in passing: Bunny Marten. They suspect Bunny because of her name; born-vampires tend to have names related to nature in some way. Bunny is obvious, of course, but one character then says, “And isn’t a marten a kind of weasel?” Yes, it is, but the spelling of her last name was never mentioned, and it’s not as though a more common spelling isn’t “Martin.” It may have the same root, but it’s one heck of a leap, and a leap that only makes sense if the character suggesting it knows the odd spelling. Which she doesn’t.

The story itself wasn’t particularly engaging, either. Standard whodunnit mystery involving the death of a vampire. The killer turns out to be a mad werewolf who doesn’t display any signs of actually being insane until he’s triggered by jealousy, but apparently he was unhinged all along.

The only thing I really liked about this novel was the way to romance between Mary-Lynette and Ash was handled. The two are soulmates, which means that they’re bound together whether they like it or not, and can’t be truly happy without each other. Problem is that they don’t get along, and outside of a few moments of teen lust, even admit that there’s no way they can handle each other. But rather than refusing to acknowledge that, they agree to spend some time apart until they’ve both matured and come to grips with themselves and each other before exploring their connection any further. It was a refreshingly mature approach to the soulmate concept, and I really enjoyed seeing it.

Aside from a brief mention of a few characters in a later book, this is one that can be skipped over without losing anything of the series as a whole, and I highly recommend doing so. You don’t miss much, and you get to spare yourself the trouble of reading a clumsy novel that was subpar even for a decade and a half ago. Overall, not really worth it.

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