Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly

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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.

Review: Lailah by Nikki KellyLailah 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
Buy on Amazon

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?

And then:
“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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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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17 Responses to “Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly”

  1. Tammy@ Books, Bones & Buffy

    Oh darn, I have a copy of this book. Not so sure I’ll read it. Awkward writing is almost a deal breaker for me. I feel like even if the writer didn’t get it right, the editor ought to be able to clean things up!

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I was really excited to read it because like you said, it had a cool-sounding concept, but the reviews have not been very good for it and I don’t think it’s a book I will enjoy.
    The love interests sound real classy, especially Jonah, the potential serial killer and rapist. The chick actually enjoys when he looks down her shirt? Well, I already have a bad opinion of her. That’s sexual harassment, plain and simple. I think I’ll stay far away from this.
    Great review, Giselle. Sorry you had to go through this torturous book!

  3. JennRenee

    so I am so sad you didn’t like this one much. I was really really excited for this one and now I am not sure I want to dig into too quickly. I am not big on slow books, mass choas, cliches, or strange descriptions. Who the heck says presented my palm. huh??? really. so I may still read this one but just not maybe as soon as I was hoping.

  4. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    This one wasn’t for me either. I thought/wanted to love it but I couldn’t get emotionally involved either. I think you nailed it with this review. I felt so similar except I didn’t care for the M.C.’s personality at all. I’m sad because I was so in the mood for a great PNR.

  5. Jae @ The Fluttering Heart Book Nest

    “he sneaks into her room while she’s changing like a freaking serial killer…he becomes a love interest in this story” Things just got really interesting haha! In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll check this one out. I did find the blurb intriguing with vampires and angels in the same world, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t like Lailah very much. And what is up with her getting exciting when Jonah practically harassing her?! No sweetheart, you should have punched guy (or something). Wonderful review, Giselle. Hope your next read is a winner 🙂

  6. Carmen B.

    I had this on my goodreads TBR list but after reading your review, I think I can cross it off. Love triangle where neither guy is appealing, jealous MC, lack of explanations… and those two sentences you quoted *shudder*. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Now I know that this one is not for me.

  7. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Yeah okay some of those sentences got a little too ambitious, I’d say! It’s a real shame that this one didn’t go as well as you hoped it to be, even though it’s great to have a book jump straight into the action.

    Great review, Giselle! <33

  8. Dani

    Ack! I really wanted to read this but I think it will go to the bottom of the pile for now. I have some other books that sound like they will hold my attention longer!

  9. Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Ture

    I’m reading this right now and I feel the same as you. Idk how I’m going to write a review for Lailah because it would be impossible if I don’t add spoilers. Plus the writing sounds very awkward, it’s like she didn’t proof read this. Lailah seemed like it was written under 30 days, so it felt raw-bad kind of raw. Unpolished. Unprofessional. Not good. Not good. 🙁

  10. Lea @ YA Book Queen

    Oh, a love triangle! Those are really hard to pull off, and usually frustrate me.

    “Like, he shoves her against a wall and tries to forcibly pull her shirt down to see it. And Lailah finds this exciting. Wtf?” — Seriously???? That’s so messed up. This one is off my TBR, I think I’d only end up throwing it against a wall.

    Thank you for your honest thoughts!

  11. Lisa (Fic Talk)

    Sounds more like 2 lukewarm espressos to me. My interest was piqued after seeing the teasers on instagram from macmillan and wanted to give this one a try but after reading your review it sounds a little (re: a lot) scary/crazy.

    Thanks for the honesty, Giselle!