Secret Vampire by L.J. Smith

“You know, you’ve never really cared about anyone,” he said. “But someday you will, and it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt a lot.”

Secret Vampire is a supernatural “Romeo and Juliet” tale, in which a hidden society of vampires, witches and shape-shifters struggles to keep the knowledge of their existence from the humans around them. They follow some strict rules. But as with most rules, some are made to be broken, and that’s exactly what happens when Poppy, a human girl, is diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer, and James, her lifelong friend who happens to be a vampire from the Night World makes a choice to break the two rules he is obligated to live by in order to save her life…

(1) Never allow humans to gain knowledge of the Night World, and

(2) Never fall in love with one of them.

I first discovered the Night World series when I was in my senior year in high school. I devoured them then; I’ve always been fascinated with the supernatural, vampires and werewolves and witches. Now, rereading the series a decade later, I’m not sure if my nostalgia for the books is valid. I did enjoy reading the book before but the second time around makes it a little dull for me.

The writing feels more geared towards younger people and I get the feeling that the characters are one-dimensional. The story wasted no time getting to the dilemma, the characters seemed to figure out one another’s motives very quickly, and some of the dialogue was dated and corny to my adult perspective.

In this book the writer told, again and again, how strong Poppy. But I’m less happy with Poppy as a heroine generally in this novel. She’s not exactly a feminist stand-out–instead, she’s helpless. Every action of her life is decided by the men arround her like James & her brother Phil. When she finally does something that seems dictated by independent thought, in leaving James, it’s only at his male cousin’s prodding, and ultimately her vampire soulmate James has to come and save her. It’s ironic how the writer support her characterization.

With all that, I recommend this book for younger reader only after all I enjoy reading it before so it was still fun, quick and a morbid read.


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