Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 with 10 comments
Title: Lailah
Author: Nikki Kelly
Series: The Styclar Saga, book #1
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

Here's the thing about Lailah: your overall enjoyment of the novel will depend greatly on what kind of expectations you had going into the book. Based on that cover, I initially expected some serious creepy.  Then I read the synopsis and realized this was going to be a paranormal romance focused on the battle between good and evil. So, I waited until I was ready to read an angsty swoonfest, and then I picked up this book.

This story is definitely one you'll need to be in the mood for. It's campy and overly dramatic, full of clichés and rife with "pretty people". But it was exactly what I wanted to read at the moment, and once I looked passed those things, I found the story highly entertaining. I've seen a lot of comparisons to another vampire-themed series that falls victim to some of these same elements, but when I first read those books, I enjoyed them immensely, too. I think that's what you have to keep in mind with any book: the mood and your expectations can greatly affect your overall enjoyment. I'd read some of those less-than-stellar reviews and decided that I'd just lower my expectations and enjoy the book for what it was. That's not a dig at the book -- I really did enjoy it -- but I don't know that I'll honestly ever take a vampire story completely serious, not unless the vampires, and I mean every single one of them, are portrayed as the violent, lethal creatures they are. (Or would be if they really existed.)

I feel like I've read a book with a similar premise before -- angels versus vampires, good versus evil -- but I can't for the life of me remember what that book or series was. The story in general felt familiar, but I attribute that to the simple fact that I've read quite a few vampire and angel-themed stories in the last few years, and it's hard not to tread on territory that's already been covered. The lore here is somewhat surprising, though, discovering who and what Lailah is, where she comes from and what truths that leads her to about the angel and vampires in her company.

What wasn't surprising was the love triangle...I mean, it's pretty obvious in that summary. So, if you don't love them, this is definitely a book to pass on because it is a full-on, going-to-drive-you-nuts love triangle. But if you don't care either way, if you're just waiting to see which team you'll end up on, this book was written with you in mind. Personally, I still don't know which team I'm on. One boy is the love interest Lailah is destined for, and the other sees her for who she truly is, good and bad, and loves her regardless. Gabriel is the enigmatic angel with secrets. Jonah is the vampire seeking redemption. Both are yummy and both want to protect her. I'm having a hard time picking just one of them. =)

Lailah, on the other hand...well, I'm just going to say it: she was annoying at times, the way she waffled between the two guys and played them against each other and was just one of those girls. I know she's been through quite a lot and not knowing who you are could leave a person feeling not-so-well-adjusted, but you have to draw the line somewhere, especially when there are sooo many people's feelings involved. Still, Lailah's character grew on me eventually. Especially as more of her history and her destiny was revealed.

I breezed through this one and found more than enough to keep me entertained: an interesting premise, intriguing twists and turns, and characters that kept me guessing, especially as to where their loyalties truly lie. The next book is entitled Gabriel, which makes me assume that the sequel is told from his perspective. Yes, please...especially after reading that last bit in Lailah from his point of view. I'm pretty excited to see what the next book holds.

GIF it to me straight:
Entertaining and exactly what I was in the mood for...good, frivolous fun.

About the author:

I was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. So it will probably come as no surprise that when I'm not dreaming in Vampires & Angels, I dream in chocolate! For the past ten years I have lived in West London with my hubby and two dogs, Alfie - the Pug & Goose - the Chihuahua.

LAILAH is my debut novel, and first launched in serial form to wattpad, a readers & writers community. Within just 6months, LAILAH had over a million reads and thousands of comments and votes.

Since then, The Styclar Saga has gone on to pick up a traditional deal with Feiwel & Friends, and LAILAH, the first book in the series is due for release on October 7th 2014.

These days I spend my time balancing my amazing job of writing fantasy fiction, with my other, very important role of Chocolate Connoisseur. I like to multitask and do the two together. It makes me happy.

Find Nikki:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest | Facebook


  1. great review. I couldn't wait for this one to come out and still haven't gotten to it. I see it out on audio and my read it that way. Sounds like a great book if you are in the mood for some cliches. Going in knowing that it is that type of book does make it more enjoyable.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jen. I probably won't be as generous as it had murmurings of a love triangle. And I'm not a fan, unfortunately.

  3. The book sounds really interesting and I love the cover. It's so different! Maybe I'll read it someday ;)

  4. This is actually the first positive review that I've read. I'm happy you enjoyed it but I don't think it is one I'll be reading anytime soon, shame because I had high hopes for it when it was first released.

  5. Great review, Jen!! I totally agree with EVERYTHING you said. I feel like you need to be in the mood for this kind of book in order to enjoy it. The love triangle is driving me crazy!! Nikki says it is resolved in Book #2. Team Gabriel <3 Lailah annoyed me a bit in places too... I really liked the setting and description of it. Europe !! :) Lovely review!!

  6. I was in the mood for a paranormal romance and sadly it still didn't work for me :-( I was oh so sad. I think my biggest problem was the MC. I could have ignored some of the other stuff if I'd been able to enjoy her more. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  7. I just finished Lailah a couple days ago (kinda procrastinating instead of finishing my review tho *guilty laugh*) was alright, and there were interesting aspects, but yeah, you definitely have to dig love triangles to really love it so I guess that counted me out. I did like it tho :)
    I totally get you about taking vampires YA they're almost always portrayed as love interests rather than bloodsucking savages. There was this one book I read that was different tho....The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda ^^
    –B @Fangirling Misses


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