Never have I ever read an LJ Smith novel before… until now.
Look, I love a good paranormal romance (thanks Twilight) so I don’t know how LJ Smith’s work flew under my radar for so long. Like, I don’t even know how long she’s been writing books, but she’s published at least 20 that I know of. Basically, it’s all thanks to my friend, Becky, that I bought this author’s work. Becky’s the one who turned me on to The Vampire Diaries (television series) hence forcing me to want to read the books to see if they’re any good.
Wow. Rambling aside… Night World Book One (i.e. Secret Vampire) ended up on my TBR for September by chance. (I decided to randomize my TBR again, for fun). I picked this one up first because my idea was to front load my month with YA so I can read all of the adult books after my classes end.
This was a doozy.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
The diagnosis for Poppy was death. there was no hope–until James, her best friend and secret love, appeared in the hospital. But this was a James she didn’t know. He offered Poppy eternal life. Only he could open the door to the Night World. They’re soulmates–but can she follow him into death and beyond?
It’s a yikes for this one, guys. Honestly, the only fully developed character here is Poppy (one of the main characters). I can’t even pretend like James (the other main) is also fully developed because I don’t feel like there’s enough we learn about him in this short novel. What we learn about James is he knows how to turn people into vampires because he accidentally almost turned someone when he was a child. He can stop aging whenever he wants because he’s a born vampire. He doesn’t have a good relationship with his parents, and he hates his cousin, Ash.
Poppy is more developed in that we get to see into her life before she turns. We know more about her by design. Actually, now that I think of it, I’m not sure if I can consider Poppy fully developed because we don’t actually get to see much of her backstory – just that she and James have been besties since they were five and now she has cancer.
The side characters almost didn’t even have a need to be in the story. For instance, Phillip (Poppy’s twin brother) was basically only there to help either stop Poppy’s transformation or help move it forward. The part in the story where he threatens to kick James’ ass is laughable. I honestly didn’t see a point for this, or any, side characters.
Even Ash as a side character was only there to cause chaos. Which brings me to my next point.
Poppy gets a terminal cancer diagnosis and the only way to save her is to turn her. Ok, I’m on board, but that’s a little boring.
Ok, how about we turn her, but it’s illegal. Even better.
But wait? Who’s going to KNOW it’s illegal?
Better add in a character to stir the pot.
This is basically the plot of the novel. It doesn’t reach a boiling point until page 193. How? In this sense, this book was a shorter, less interesting Twilight. I mean, wow.
The plot of this book had me rolling my eyes so hard I thought they’d get stuck.
Would I read more of this series? Probably.
Does this fall into a specific category of book? Yep. Love to Hate. Cringe. Eye Roll worthy. To name a few.
Overall, I can totally see this being a book that a younger version of myself would love. It was easy to get through, cringey, and laugh out loud worthy as an adult. Smith’s writing took only a few chapters for me to get used to and ultimately, I found it enjoyable.
While I would describe this as eye roll worthy and cringey, I don’t think these are bad traits in books. In fact, these factors almost make the books more enjoyable for me as an adult YA reader. It’s literally why I bought the entire Twilight series as an adult. Books like this are fun to read and talk about. Besides, I want to be a YA librarian, so there’s that…
I didn’t hate this, but I also didn’t love it. The plot really was a bit too boring for me to give this a higher rating. I did like Poppy and James though so I guess that’s the saving grace of this book. I’d say someone who’s around 13 would probably really love this book, but it definitely wasn’t for almost 30 year old me.
Let’s talk about paranormal romance in the comments! Love it? Hate it? You tell me. Don’t forget to let me know why!
lover of literature. librarian in training.