This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I originally started reading this book more than a year and a half ago. TheThis book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I originally started reading this book more than a year and a half ago. The plan was to have it read and reviewed by April 1st, 2014, which was the requested review by date for this review copy. The obviously didn’t happen. I started this book about a dozen times and it just never happened for me. Even just now, I basically had to force myself to press on and it still took me more than two weeks to actually read it. I just couldn’t get into it. I can’t explain it. This book is everything that I generally like, but I couldn’t keep interested. For whatever reason, I found it dull and hard to follow. It was well into the third part of the book before I started caring at all. It’s not that the book was bad, it wasn’t, but it was hard for me to like.
The story is good. You are dropped right into the action, which can be hard to follow, but you are just as confused as the main character, Jade, so you really learn what is going on as she does. The world of Elyndia is crafted really well, and you find yourself very interested in the various zones and races of creatures living there. I found it really hard to get a mental map on what the world should look like in my head, but some of that might’ve had to do with the random teleporting that took place. The descriptions of the areas, namely the citadel where they spend the most time, are vivid and easy to picture.
The writing is well done, but often too much information is thrown out at once. This big new world needs explained and foundations laid and so the characters have to explain things to Jade so she can learn about the world. This leads to random explanations at inconvenient times. Things like “Oh, let us explain this very complex thing that will take a lot of time to do while we stand around calmly even though we were just attacked and the villain is a hundred yards away and will kill us all.” It’s like we were supposed to suspend reality and think that the villains would wait for you to understand what was going on while they killed you. Or maybe they were just waiting for their turn to spew their monologue. Manners, I guess they have them?
The characters are well written, and for the most part it feels like their motivations are taken care of properly, but there are so many of them that it’s hard to really keep track of them all. It felt like they were going the way of a love triangle for a good portion of the book, which had me cringing because it would’ve been a really awful one, but it deterred at the last moment and faded away. It took a long time for me to start really caring about them, but I don’t think that would be a general problem most people would face. The climax was written well, but I do feel like a plot point that came out as part of that was a bit too convenient. It could hold more significance in the second novel in the series, but for the current moment I feel like it was a poor mistake, or better yet, a cop out.
This book really was well written and entertaining, so I have no idea why I had such a hard time getting, and staying, into it. I do plan on reading the next in the series, hoping that I can get into it better.
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.