Night World #2: Daughters of Darkness, by L. J. Smith
For me, “Daughters of Darkness” is the one sour note in Smith’s Night World series. It was the one book in the nine book series that I had to force myself to finish (I am obsessive about finishing everything I read).
The concept is interesting, but I feel it could have used better execution. As with all Night World books, the protagonist is female. Mary-Lynette is a human and unaware of the secret world of vampires, werewolves, and other spooky things that exist around her. She thinks she lives in the quietest, most boring town in the world, but that’s all about to change when a series of startling events happens.
When the next door neighbor goes missing just as her three nieces arrive in town, and Mary-Lynette sees them burying something in the backyard, she’s immediately suspicious. Unable to leave the mystery alone, she heads next door and meets the new arrivals, who further her apprehension about the disappearance of her neighbor. The girls remind her of predators, which is unsurprising as the girls are lamia, or born vampires.
The mystery of who killed the neighbor takes up a good chunk of the book, and in my opinion, is very over used. It just drags on too long, and every time there was a new twist in the whodunit, I kept thinking, “Okay, that’s the end of it now…no, wait…there’s more. Sigh.”
Ash Redfern also makes an appearance in this book (some readers may remember him from “Night World #1: Secret Vampire,” where he waylaid Poppy), and is a starring character along with his sisters. Initially he’s on the hunt for the three sisters, who ran away from a vampire enclave. Ash is characterized as the ultimate vampire – humans are vermin and nothing more, to him. Mary-Lynette takes an immediate dislike to him when meeting him for the first time. And here’s where the potentially interesting concept comes in – Ash and Mary-Lynette are soulmates, but unlike Smith’s other couples, the two can’t stand each other.
But something about this book just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was the overly drawn out murder mystery. Or maybe it was that the main character, Mary-Lynette, seemed dry. Or maybe even what seemed interesting – soulmates disliking each other – somehow doesn’t fit in a series that’s about finding your soulmate.