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Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nikki Kelly

Series: The Styclar Saga #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Hardback: 352 Pages
Publication: October 7, 2014
by Feiwel and Friends

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 Allie – 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 think the reason that I kept trying for so long is because Lailah was originally published on Wattpad (here), and I was curious about what the sensation was. I also give some leeway when reading a debut work. I can certainly see why this garnered an audience. The writing has a mysterious quality to it in places, and the characters are compelling in their own right. However, too many cumulative annoyances piled up, and I had to put this one down.

There's an excess of some things like extraneous talk of dress and appearances, which is fun at first but gets annoying after a while. And there's too little of other things like world building, especially of the human world. (It took me a while to realize we're supposed to assume it's our world with the same general mythologies, and I was caught off guard when an iPhone appears midway into the storyline.) The same goes for the development of character relations—to the extent that I don't feel like I got to know any of the side characters beyond a superficial level.

With paranormal books, I find that they tend to lean either towards a romance focus or a plot focus. This definitely fell on the romance end of the spectrum, which was disappointing as there is a lot of potential in developing the intrigue here. However, the little present that is present in the first half of the book is poorly done. Hints are dropped, meant to build up the suspense and set up the plot for events to come; instead, it's frustrating because there doesn't seem to be a pattern or purpose to the order in which things are revealed. The same goes for the manner with which Gabriel tells Lailah multiple times that all will be revealed. . . eventually. I'd be okay with him withholding things if Lailah didn't keep asking him, but when the protagonist goes looking for answers, I'd like to get something out of it. Maybe not direct answers but at least some plot development.

This is defeinitely a paranormal romance. Lailah has interest in both guys, one is light and one is dark. Sometimes this can work out; however, Lailah's relationships with the two of them aren't fleshed out well, and I ended up being surprised by some of the developments. Lailah, or Cessie as she goes by in this lifetime, keeps thinking about Gabriel while keeping her distance from Jonah, and then all of a sudden she reveals a fatal attraction to dark, dangerous Jonah, who she suspects has shady motives (though she really doesn't know what he wants), and lets him get close to her. I could maybe understand her waverings if her relationships and thoughts about the two guys were better explored, but as it is, it was as if a bomb had been dropped.

And Lailah. At times she seems content with the little that Gabriel offers her whereas at other times she acts brash and recklessly despite the danger out there and her lack of knowledge of what she's charging into. Seriously though, why run into a house overrun with evil Vampires out to get you when you don't even know how to defend yourself from them? Rather than rescuing your comrades, you're more likely to get in their way. What really did it in for me is that she and Gabriel seem to have something between them, except they do a poor job of communicating, and there's a definite lack of trust between them, neither of which bodes well for their relationship. He withholds things from her, and she runs into the arms of another man because she's jealous of the Vampire that clings onto him. Even though he's done nothing to suggest that he cares about anyone more than Lailah.

As it is, I never really felt connected to the story or the characters. First, there isn't a good balance between the romance aspect of the novel and the plot development. Second, it felt as if I was waiting for everyone to figure out what Lailah is and why she is so desired by the higher powers of both supernatural orders. Which means a lot of running and waiting. Midway into the book, it began to feel like this is another first book whose purpose is to set the stage for the second book. While that is generally the purpose of first books, I like for one to have a plot of its own and be able to stand on its own. At the point I dnfed in the novel, it doesn't seem like this one can.

An ARC was provided by Macmillan for review

Rating: DNF 55 % into the novel

  1. Lailah
  2. Gabriel
  3. Untitled

  • Kissing, touching
  • Violence

3 comments on "Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly"
  1. Of course there's a love triangle of light and dark. Pretty cliche in YA paranormals. (Grr.) I did actually have high hopes for this story -- love the cover -- but, as this isn't currently on my TBR shelf, I probably won't seek it out. a 55% DNF is actually pretty impressive -- I tend to give up much quicker. :)

    1. Yeah, Lailah follows the YA paranormal formula pretty well. I love the cover as well and was pretty excited for it. I considered dnfing this pretty early on actually. I can just be stubborn sometimes lol and was really hoping to find something later on that would keep me reading it to the end.

  2. Aw sorry to hear that it didn't work well for you.


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