First appearing in the first Night World book, Secret Vampire, as James’ cousin, Ash makes quite a first impression by convincing Poppy to go off with him to Las Vegas, then threatening to turn the illegal vampire into the Night World elders. The next time we see Ash is in the following book, Daughters of Darkness, where Ash is introduced to his soulmate Mary-Lynnette Carter. The book ends with Ash going off, vowing to make Mary-Lynnette proud of him, claiming that he’ll “fight dragons, just like any knight for his lady.” Our next update on Ash comes in Dark Angel, where he saves Gillian from the harm that could have come to her from the other night people at a club. When Gillian asks him why he doesn’t hate humans like the other night people, Ash replies simply that he “met a human girl last summer.” So here we see that Ash is indeed changed. It’s not the end of Ash though. He appears in one other book, Soulmate. Here he has a short conversation with Hannah at Theirrys house. Hannah asks him where his soulmate is and Ash replies that she’s waiting, he hopes, that he’s “got some things to put right” before he sees her. When Hannah brings up Theirry it seems to give Ash hope, since Theirry’s been trying to make up for the past the way that Ash is now. Finally Ash tells Hannah that she’s like Mary-Lynnette, that they’re both wise. It’s obvious from the way that he speaks that he’s truly in love with Mary-Lynnette, and there’s a vulnerability in him at this point that is amazing. He’s learning to open up.
As I’ve stated in an essay I did comparing the “bad boys” of L.J. Smith’s books, “There’s nothing all that mysterious about Ash.” He’s “your average teenage boy but with fangs and more power,” the “Regular guy learning what it means to grow up.” This is indeed Ash. Think about it. Most teenage boys have a need to please people, to be thought cool. Ash certainly has this need and he loves the spotlight. Therefore Ash has this persona up in the beginning, this exterior of being a tough guy, the kind of vampire that other vampires will look up to, ruthless and cunning. But is this really Ash? Poppy makes a comment at the end of Secret Vampire. Ash has said that he wasn’t really intending to turn Poppy over to the elders. James and Phil scoff
“But Poppy, oddly, wasn’t as certain as they were. She looked at Ash’s wide eyes—his wide violet eyes—and felt doubt slosh back and forth inside her.”
Could this be a hint that tough guy Ash isn’t really as evil as he seems to be? My guess is yes, especially when paired with a few more examples. For instance, Ash’s sisters amazement that he’s taking such an interest in their future when they had assumed that he thought only of himself. In my mind, Mary-Lynnette didn’t change Ash so much as she got him to be more truthful to himself and who he really was, not who he wanted people to think he was. Finally, we get to see what I believe is more than likely the real Ash Redfern.
Daughters of Darkness by L.J. Smith
Dark Angel by L.J. Smith
Soulmate by L.J. Smith
L.J. Smith “Bad Boys” by Katherine Clay (me)