I received this book for free from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lailah by Nikki Kelly
Series: The Styclar Saga #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 7th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, YA
Source: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
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The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.
On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.
In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?
Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.
I really REALLY wanted to love this one. A girl with mysterious powers who doesn’t age and can apparently never truly die!? What’s not cool about that? If it wasn’t for the infinite details that bogged the plot down to a snail’s pace, it might have fared better with me, but my interest quickly waned and kept dropping until I found myself skimming the last few chapters.
I love a book that immediately throws you in the action like Lailah does, grabbing your attention with all the excitement, but in this case I mostly felt dazed by the disorganized chaos. This abrupt start left me with no time to get to know our main character, I simply felt disjointed without any emotional investment. When we meet Gabriel, for instance, we find out Lailah had been having dreams about him, and finally meeting him in real life is apparently a monumental event for her. Me: I couldn’t care less, having had no idea about these dreams before this very second. I think more time should have been spent developing her as a character before turning her life upside down. Then these “emotional” happenings would have actually meant something to the reader.
And then there’s the romance. It definitely touches on a lot of clichés. We have the love triangle where, to no one’s surprise, one is evil and one is an angel. This might not have been so bad if I didn’t dislike both love interests so much. Gabriel is simply infuriating with his non-answers. When a character knows everything the reader doesn’t and only keeps saying stuff like “you will get answers all in good time” – don’t you just want to punch them? That doesn’t make him “mysterious” or “mystical” or whatever the point is, it’s only frustrating. Then we have Jonah. Oh. My. Word! *shudders* He creeped me out from the very start. The boy tries to physically force Lailah to show him her scar. Like, he shoves her against a wall and tries to forcibly pull her shirt down to see it. And Lailah finds this exciting. Wtf? Then he sneaks into her room while she’s changing like a freaking serial killer (her door was locked, too). Yeppers, he becomes a love interest in this story! WHY!! Taste in men aside, Lailah is an okay character. Though like I said, I never felt very attached to her. She does have a few quirks that are especially annoying. Her jealousy towards Hanora is a bit much. Like, way much! She can’t talk to Gabriel without turning into a huge bitch only because Hanora is in the same vicinity. Whoa, girl! You’re nowhere near married to this guy!
The plot is exciting and creative. We’ve got an imaginative take on angels and how evil came to earth. I was also intrigued by Lailah’s place in all of this. She’s obviously someone very… different and important. I did have an idea where it was all going, but I still found myself surprised by a few aspects of the twist. It’s well thought-out and makes for a promising sequel. Getting to these answers, however, felt like it took 25 years. There were so many unimportant details and drawn-out descriptions that it considerably bogged down the story. And some sentences were simply bizarre, as if they were trying too hard to be wordy. For example:
“I felt disoriented, woozy. I placed my hand across my head and presented the palm to myself, smeared with blood”
–Presented the palm to myself? Really?
“His brilliant blue irises opened and expanded into the shrinking white sclera that surrounded them.”
It has a great premise; creative and intriguing with some good twists, but everything else failed to grab me. You know what they say: You come for the plot, but you stay for the characters. I did not stay…
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