We meet Julian in The Forbidden Game trilogy when he kidnaps Jenny Thornton and her friends, bringing them into his world and forcing them to play a game for their lives. Julian is a shadow man. He has watched Jenny since she was five years old. He's in love with her, and determined to have her. In the end though, Julian realizes that he can't force Jenny to be with him. Still, when her life is in danger, Julian gives up his own life for her.
Julian is a product of his upbringing. It may sound strange but it’s true. Julian acts the way that he thinks he should, the way that the other shadow men would. He acts cruel and malicious and overconfident. I don’t think he’s intentionally hiding anything though. He truly thinks that he is this way. He tells Jenny “I can’t change what I am. None of us can.”
Julian’s confidence undoubtedly comes from his past results. It seems that he always gets what he wants, except Jenny. As I've stated in another essay "Jenny's love might very well be the one thing in his life that he couldn't have simply because he wanted it." In fact, Julian is still sure he’s going to get her up until the last book of the trilogy. That’s when you can see him finally understanding, realizing that he can’t force her to be with him, and that realization hurts him. Jenny refers to a “shattering.” Jenny is the one who finally realizes that Julian isn’t as confident as he seems, or as cruel. She’s the one who sees that when he becomes angry it’s only because he’s hurt and scared.
Julian wants Jenny, needs Jenny because in her is love and light and all of the things that his world is lacking, that he seems to be lacking. You cannot have light without dark or the sun without the moon, the day without the night. Jenny is the care and compassion, the gentleness that Julian’s heart yearns for to be complete. Julian doesn’t realize that he holds any of this inside himself, though he proves it in the end. Julian changes. Jenny shows him that he can. As Summer puts it “Julian said the world was evil and horrible—remember? But then he proved himself that it wasn’t.”
Julian is complex and difficult to define. As Jenny puts it “He had been so many things. Seductive as silver and deadly as a cobra. And vulnerable like a hurt child underneath it all.”
The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J. Smith
L.J. Smith "Bad Boys" by Katherine Clay
Reflections on LJ Smith