LJ Smith: Strange Fate

A little while ago, Borders sent me an e-mail and said I might like to pre-order Strange Fate, the tenth and final (?) book in the Night World series by L.J. Smith. I couldn’t help but laugh as I scrolled through the comments from readers that all generally said the same thing, “I love this series, but I’ve been waiting for it FOREVER.” The comments are generally the same over at B&N and Amazon, where there’s even a forum called “When is this REALLY coming out?”

I’m not laughing to be cruel, it’s just that I’d be willing to bet money I don’t have that most of these readers/commenters, a lot of them anyway, have not been waiting over a decade to read this book, as I have. Most of them don’t even know that Lisa Jane Smith’s books were originally published when I was a teenager, before they were born in some cases. Strange Fate‘s original publication date was shortly before the new millennium and accordingly, the plot of the earlier books reflects that.

When the Night World books were published, 1996-1998, I was 14-16 years old and L.J. Smith was my favorite writer. Her books meant the world to me and I was bewildered by the inscrutable, almost entirely unexplained delay in the publication of the last Night World book. I went to college and still periodically checked in on a giant fan site for updates. L.J. was sick, we heard, but was back to writing and the book would be published soon.

Years passed and I started to believe that the book would never be published. Then, just a few years ago, all of her books were re-issued in new editions that would appeal to rabid fans of Twilight. The Vampire Diaries series was adapted into a t.v. show, which I watched for a while. I had to stop, though, because the t.v. show didn’t reflect either the books or my experience of them as a teenager, or both. But then, I knew they wouldn’t. To be successful in this millennium, they couldn’t. The Secret Circle series is being adapted now and I’ll probably watch a few episodes out of curiosity and because I like Britt Robertson from Life Unexpected. I think she’ll be a great Cassie.

I’m a little annoyed that when (if?) Strange Fate is released, it won’t match my series (though, yes, I have bought all of the reissues). On the left is what MY Strange Fate should have looked like a decade + ago and on the right, what Strange Fate will (maybe) look like when (if?) it’s ever published. And that’s something Lisa Jane’s newest fans may be learning, which her most senior fans have long known – I’m not going to invest my money (and hope) till I hold the book in my hand.

Many of the teenagers reading Lisa Jane Smith (or L.J., as I’ll always think of her) don’t realize these are not new books, as evidenced by one of the comments I read that said Lisa Jane should stop writing multiple series of books at the same time and just finish Strange Fate. 🙂 I feel sad and nostalgic when I think about these books now, especially Strange Fate. Now that I’m almost thirty, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to experience it the way I would have when I was 16 years old, moving to Louisiana and completely adrift.

But just like a teenager, I’m waiting… and waiting… and waiting… to find out.

P.S. While researching online for this blog, I found the following paragraph on the Wikipedia page for The Vampire Series page. This horrifies me as both a fan and a writer:

Unfortunately, Smith stated in her blog on the 9th of February, 2011 that she was fired by Alloy Entertainment and that ‘Midnight’ is her last book. Alloy Entertainment will be hiring a ghostwriter to continue the series. She will still be mentioned as the creator of the series on the covers of the new books but she will have nothing to do with them. Smith has asked her fans not to boycott Harper. L.J Smith has also already given Alloy Entertainment her manuscript for ‘The Hunters: Phantom’, although there are no guarantees that it will be released, let alone with any of her input.


Filed under book news, books, funny, musing, pop culture, random rant, t.v., technology, weirdness

21 responses to “LJ Smith: Strange Fate

  1. Paty

    Although, I only came with the night world series lat year, and I’m old enough to not have any interest in it, I have to tell I loved it! The way sehe writes is unique and reminds me a lot of Anne Rice, with totally diferent stiles. Boh of them keep you interested in the book from the beggining to the end.
    That told, I’m hoping, just like you, that Strange Fate comes in ASAP.
    Best regards.

  2. emofalltrades

    Thanks, Paty. It’s good to meet somebody else waiting for Strange Fate!

  3. Mary

    When I read this article, I thought: “Did I write this?” I’m in the exact same boat as you. In fact, I helped you build that boat! I loved everything L.J. did and her books made me want to be a writer. I waited for Strange Fate and like you, every few years, I checked Barnes & Noble or Borders to see if it had come out. And then I was pleased to see that she was continuing with the Vampire Diaries series, even though that was my least favorite of her series. It gave me hope and I thought: She HAS to get SF out! And here I am, about to turn 30 and I can’t wait to read all the Night Word books again, in preparation for SF. Last summer I read all the other series and even though they aren’t quite as good as I remembered, it was still awesome to feel like a teenager again, reading The Secret Circle and listening to The Cranberries. Ha!
    Also, as you stated, it will drive me nuts that the new cover of SF won’t match my old covers. I can’t even do with it what I did with Vamp Diaries. When I found out I didn’t have the 4th one anymore, I ordered a used copy of the original cover to match my others.
    So, I just wanted to tell you that I completely understand you! Here’s to hoping it is as good as we deserve for waiting this long!

    • emofalltrades

      Hi Mary! So good to meet another “senior” L.J. fan. 🙂 I haven’t re-read my L.J. books in a long time, actually, mostly cause I’m afraid of that “not quite as good” experience and probably also cause I’ve been very busy the last few years. But I think I’m going to have to soon. We should have an international “senior” LJ fan reading group. I appreciate your comment so much, thank you! – Emilie

  4. Dotty

    Raises hand: yep, I’m a senior fan too. 😛 It’s almost embarassing to mention. “Yeah, about once a year I still check up on this book on teenage vampire soulmates that was supposed to be written when I was a senior in high school. Still. No, don’t look at me that way!”

    • emofalltrades

      I feel your pain, Dotty! We should seriously get together a support group for LJ’s senior fans. Let’s call it the “I pre-ordered Strange Fate in 1999 and you think YOU’VE been waiting” group. 🙂 Back before HP/Twilight and the recent resurgence in YA propularity, I was pretty embarassed to be an adult in the young adult section. I usually had to tell myself, “You’re a *writer* for godsakes, hold your head up” and straighten my spine. Not so much lately since there’s been a huge burst in adults who refuse to give these great books up. It’s always good to be reminded what good company I’m in with all the adult YA readers and senior LJ fans. 🙂

  5. I Am Going To have to visit again when my course load lets up – however I am getting your Rss feed so i can read your site offline. Cheers.

  6. Nicole

    I may only be 17, but I have been reading L.J. Smith since I was in 6th grade, the last book in the Night World series didn’t actually come out until I was in 7th grade, and I’ve spent every moment since then hoping for the final book to come out.

  7. MarkedByBeauty

    I’m 21 and this has to be my ultimate favorite fantasy series since Anne Rice (which I have the box set of the first 4 Vampire Chronicles signed by Anne Rice herself ^-^). I started reading the Night World series when they got republished which didn’t become the fad till Twilight (barfs) came out. i was deeply saddened when I heard my friends finally discover the Night World series and called it a “new book”…or “…its just trying to be like Twilight (turns green again). And I have been waiting for a good minute for Strange Fate. Since I have no other good books that can even compare i re-read this series and when I complete the 9 books I check up on Strange Fate to see if by miracle it finally got published. Sadly it has yet. If I feel this way now when they got republished I can’t even imagine how you guys feel “The Senior Fans”. My 6 years don’t even compare to your going on 15 years. My heart goes out to y’all and hope that you may still have that satisfaction you had long ago. This would be my 5th time re-reading the series. And many more times to come till Strange Fate comes out.

    Merry Part, and Merry Meet again.

    • emofalltrades

      Hey MBB. I’m so glad I wrote this post because it’s been so fun to hear from other LJ fans about their love of her books and waiting for Strange Fate. Lately, I’ve wondered if SF will ever be published, because it may be the intellectual property of her publisher and she’s no longer writing the Vampire Diaries books. That’s all speculation, of course. I’d love for it to not be true. However, looks like LJ has self-published “fanfic” continuations of the Vampire Diaries books, as I saw on her website today. Maybe she’ll do the same with SF. I know that the only version of Strange Fate I’d read is one written by LJ herself. I think a lot of us feel that way. I’m going to re-read one of her series later this year, as part of my Re-Reading Project. I’m on the fence about whether it should be the Forbidden Games series or Night World. It’ll be a hard decision! Thanks for reading the post. Merry Part and yes, Merry Meet Again.

      • MarkedByBeauty

        I sometimes wonder if she forgot about Strange Fate. And i never really likes the Vamp Diaries. The first Volume was good and so did the second. But it should have left it at that. And i find it ruined cause of the show. But i will keep it y’all updated. I check all the time cause i read it on my break time at work.

  8. Susan

    I was born in 1998, so many of her books were written before I even existed. But like you, at 15 I was reading them, and they put a magic into my life I can’t explain. Her books are masterpieces, I didn’t realise at first how old they were, and was disappointed to find out because it meant I probably wouldn’t get my final books for the night world, or for the strange power trilogy (Which I still think should get a fourth book). I’m almost 19 now, and missing that wonderful feeling of reading her books for the first time.

    • emofalltrades

      Hi Susan – Me (and the other senior LJ fans) have basically been waiting for this book for the entirety of your life! 🙂 It’s always interesting to hear other people’s perspectives, so thanks for your comment. I really appreciate what you said about missing the feeling of reading one of her books for the first time. That is definitely an experience I will never have again – reading one of her books for the first time in that teenage space where I first encountered her. It’s nice to know that you and others are still reading her books and having that experience, that she’s speaking to new generations of readers. That is really special.

  9. I feel like I wrote this article myself. It saddens me how long I have obsessed over reading that book. I had given up reading it and today I thought about it once again. I read her whole series as they were coming out as a teen before my son Damon , who actually kind of looks like the cast character from the tv series ironically, was born and he will be 17 in June. I still have all the original books. The magic definitely lessens with each passing year. She contacted me once when I had a fan page up for her on MySpace; feels like ages ago. She was kind enough to excitedly inform me that her books were being turned into a tv series, “The Vampire Diaries”. Yet her book still wasn’t ready. Back then I at least had something to look forward to. Now The tv show is ending and it was not the same as her books but I did enjoy it except for a few things which should not have been in the series at all. Old obsessions die hard.

    • emofalltrades

      Hi blaisefiregypsy – yup, it was definitely a particular time and place. I feel your pain, because I’ll never be able to read one of LJ’s books (especially Strange Fate) the way I did (or would have) when I was 17 or 18 years old. Amazing that your son is now a 17 year old! It’s such a mixed feeling to see today’s teens discovering LJ’s books and responding to them now, in their own way. Mostly… it’s good that the books still speak to teens, even if they can’t always hold up for us, the original teen readers. Now I’m rambling, but thanks for commenting. 🙂 -Emilie

  10. Mahoy

    I have been waiting 1 year short of two decades

  11. yuu

    I feel like we need a support group going. Having first read LJ Smith’s Night World series in high school, I used to check her site once in a while for an update. I remember the period where she was ill and I wondered how long the hiatus would be. I was so happy when she resumed writing. Except she never continued writing for Night World. I’m one of those like you, who’ve spent a good decade waiting for a book that never came.

    I’m approaching 30 soon, and as much as I’ve enjoyed the series when I was younger, I’ve pretty much given up on ever knowing how it ends.

    • emofalltrades

      Maybe this is our support group? 🙂 I’ve experienced so much comfort and knowing laughs because of the comments on this post, including yours. When/if Strange Fate is released, we can touch base with each other as we read it and when we’re done, share our thoughts about the experience of reading the conclusion of our favorite teenage series as thirtysomethings. Or will we be retired by then? 🙂

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