Della Tsang is strong-willed, thick-headed, and independent. She is trying to live up to her Chinese father’s high expectations of her while still beiDella Tsang is strong-willed, thick-headed, and independent. She is trying to live up to her Chinese father’s high expectations of her while still being her own person and not disappointing herself. Logically, she knows ghosts don’t exist, at least until she sees the cousin whose funeral she attended the year before running into a dark alley. When she follows him, she finds herself in the middle of a gang-war, and Chen, her cousin, saves her. Unknowingly, he also turns her. Chen is a vampire, and Della is about to become one as well. Forced to admit that not everything is so logical, she must now decide if she will fake her own death as he did and follow him to live in a clan or if she will travel to Shadow Falls and hope for a more normal life. This is a super duper short novella that showcases the story of how Della turned into the vampire she now is. The story is very simple and linear. I love how the change is written like a disease. Part of me feels like it could’ve been written to take up a little bit more time, but at the same time, it was written just well enough that you understand it without getting bored.
Della is a nice character. She is strong and cynical, trying to live up to her father’s super high expectations of her. She is starting to tire of it though, and is about ready to just run away from it all. She wants to move in with her boyfriend Lee and just start her own life. Living up to her own expectations instead of someone else. You don’t get to go deep into hers, or anyone’s characters, with how short the story is, but she is a good character that I am looking forward to learning more about.
However, after beginning Born at Midnight, the first real book in the series, this novella becomes a massive disappointment. Within the first few chapters, you actually meet Chan and hear a bit of Della’s backstory. Things don’t match up. Namely, Chan wants to take her to Utah in the novella, but in Born at Midnight, it’s Pennsylvania. Some of the other tidbits don’t match either. Being that they were published no more than a fortnight apart, you have to wonder why the details would be so obviously different.
Regardless, this is a really quick, easy, read. If you overlook the small details, then this is a good precursor to the main series. It isn’t an imperative read, but it is usually free on Amazon so there is really no reason to not read it.
Kylie’s life is falling apart. Her boyfriend dumped her because she wouldn’t put out, her grandmother died, she is having night terrors, she is beingKylie’s life is falling apart. Her boyfriend dumped her because she wouldn’t put out, her grandmother died, she is having night terrors, she is being stalked by a guy no one else can see that landed her with a shrink, and her parents are getting divorced. In a fit of rebellion, she goes to a party, which of course gets busted by the cops, landing her in jail. Despite the fact that she wasn’t drinking or doing drugs like many of the other kids, Kylie’s mother is furious and decides that she will spend her summer away at Shadow Falls, a camp for “troubled teens”. The kids aren’t “troubled”, just “supernatural”, and they swear that Kylie is one of them, they just don’t know what kind. She has never really fit in, but does she really fit in with a bunch of fae, werewolves, vampires, witches and elves? She sincerely doubts it! But the longer she spends with them, the more it becomes clear that they just might be right. Now if only she could figure out what kind of supernatural she really is. The plot is annoyingly simple. It actually feels like it drags. You go through so much of the book and then still, nothing has happened and very little is building up for the climax. I have a rule about not rating a book for two hours after I read it, just to avoid an incorrect rating, a rule that was a saving grace for this book. At the immediate end, this would’ve been a firm two stars book. During the digestion process, I see why I really liked it.
The plot is an agonizingly slow build up. When you take the step back and look at it though, it’s actually incredibly smart. You are slowly building on things. You can tell right away that you will end up tired of Kylie before the series is completed though. Finding out what she is is going to drag and drag and drag. That may or may not be a bad thing. Stretching it out can either kill it for the reader, or fill the anticipation to busting. The climax being small is helpful also, in that it helps connect you to the camp. The one thing I didn’t like was the prose. Unlike most of the stories I fall in love with, I didn’t feel sucked in. I felt like I was watching it happen instead of living through it. Usually, I can smell the trees and feel the wind. Instead, I felt like I was watching reality television, with just as much drama.
The character are the real winners. Kylie isn’t brilliant. I actually dislike her as the main character. She is hypocritical, and annoying confused, and her emotions are all over the place. There were enough times when I felt like she was bordering Mary Sue boredom in her character development. Sure, she had flaws, but they were boring. She was boring. She was almost annoying more often than not, and I found myself wishing we were seeing someone else, anyone else, telling the story. Her roommates are amazing and I loved them right away. Sadly, they felt more developed than Kylie. I know Kylie is lost and finding out what she is, but that doesn’t justify making her annoying in the process. The love square was useless and annoying. Trey is the ex who wants her back, Lucas is the werewolf who she used to know and represents nothing but passion and danger, and Derek is the sweet half-fae who just wants to love her. Out of them, I liked Derek the best, but even then, I felt like none of them were rememberable enough to even deal with. Not to mention that they made Kylie talk about her breasts way way too often. I am all for discovering your sexual side, but you can get really bored of hearing about a girl’s boobs. Unless you’re a guy I suppose. I think it goes back to how I wasn’t sucked in. If I had been, my boobs would’ve tingled when hers did, but instead I just read about it. It all fell flat on the page.
Despite feeling disconnected to the story, I did enjoy it very much. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with a few of the characters, rooted for others. Time will tell how the series continues, but for now I like it very much.