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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Born at Midnight

Born at Midnight (ARC) by C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pub. Date: March 29th, 2011
Pages: 416
Series: Shadow Falls, #1
Age Level: 14+
Source: For review from publisher.

Synopsis via Goodreads
One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

With an eclectic cast of paranormals and an exciting story line, Born at Midnight forms the set-up for what I believe will be a great YA series.

Kylie was one of those protagonists that I was torn between liking and disliking. While at first I viewed this as a bad thing, I later came to almost appreciate it in a way. For a time, I saw Kylie as overly judgemental, a not so great friend to Miranda and Della, stubborn, and wishy-washy when it came to romance. What annoyed me most was her almost constant refusal to believe she was a paranormal. Her theory? It could just be she has a mental illness or a brain tumor. I'm sorry, come again? All those in favor of having cancer or being insane versus possessing a paranormal power, say I. *crickets chirp in the silence* What, no one? Okay moving on. The main thing that kept me dedicated to Kylie was her witty sense of humor. That being said, her faults opened up and allowed more room for her to grow and develop through out the book, and she did. Eventually she came to terms with reality, proved herself worthy of her new best friends, and, quite frankly, grew up. What I ended up loving about this was the fact that most of the books I've read have had very likable protagonists, are at least not unlikable. Kylie was different in that I got to see myself go from disliking her to growing pleasantly attached to her despite her flaws. I think Hunter took a risk creating her the way she did, a risk that, in the end, paid off.

Now, on to the supporting characters. Miranda comes from a line of witches and is a disappoint to her family since she can't get her spells quite right--curse that dang dyslexia--and is expected to take over. Della, half-Asian, used to be the perfect daughter until her vampire trait came through and now her changes in behavior have made things difficult between her and her parents, whom she's afraid will think she's a monster if she tells them the truth. Each of these two girls have their own distinct personalities and, while amusing on their own, are pure hilarious when they take to bickering with each other. Holiday, the ghost whispering faerie camp counselor, was also lovable and humorous and I admired how she challenged Kylie to discover the answers to her problems on her own. Then we have Kylie's two romantic interests, Derek and Lucas, both of whom I liked for different reasons. However, I don't feel I really loved or connected with either of them. Needless to say, the romance element was by no means this book's strong point. Last is Perry, our shapeshifting annoyance that I couldn't help but grow kind of fond of.

Born at Midnight has a thoroughly engaging story line with a variety of paranormal characters, a mystery, and some truly laugh-out-loud moments. The first few chapters dragged a bit but then things quickly picked up the pace. There were a couple of aspects I had figured out, like why 'Soldier Dude' was haunting Kylie. However, the mystery surrounding the camp and trying to figure out what Kylie is were more than enough to keep me turning the pages. I loved the camp ground type setting as I felt it really helped this book standout some. Also, there were some more contemporary type elements, involving Kylie's family, weaved in that I thought the plot benefited from.

Hunter's writing style was something I had very mixed feelings about. Born at Midnight is told in third person but it often felt like I was reading a first person narrative because the tone of the writing was so...Kylie-ish. It felt very biased and opinionated for third-person and this was oddly different for me. It was almost as though Kylie was narrating the story and referring to her self in third person versus there being a separate narrator. And I'm sure none of that made any sense to you all but that's the vibe I got. The writing itself could be a bit choppy at times but, for the most part, was pretty well done. The best aspect of the writing, in my opinion, was the sass and humor of it; it was also very consistently paced.

I thought Hunter drew Born at Midnight to a close quite nicely. The ending gave way to some surprising depth, especially involving Kylie's family. Some questions were answered while at the same time, a couple of new ones were presented. The ending wasn't a cliffhanger but left me plenty excited for Awake at Dawn.

All in all, while there may have been a few bumps in the road, Born at Midnight was a fun and compelling journey that I look forward to continuing. Paranormal fans and those looking for a relatively light and very funny read should definitely pick this one up. I can honestly say I'm excited to read Awake at Dawn once it releases later this year.

Characters: B
Writing: C+
Plot: B
Ending: B+
1st in Series: B
Enjoyment/Likability: B
Recommendable: B

Overall: B

Cover: B-

Buy Born at Midnight: Amazon / Kindle / Book Depository


Naj said...

I would totally pick a paranormal ability over an illness! I can't believe she actually thought that. O.O Anyways! Thanks for the Review! I love the story line! I can't wait to get my hands on this. <3

The book girl said...

Haha! You have a great voice in this review-- I was smiling the whole time. And what a great analysis of characters! I have to say, you really made me see their personalities perfectly, and I'll definitely keep my eye out for this book in the future:)

And, yeah, paranormal powers over craziness any day!

brandileigh2003 said...

I really enjoyed this one too, and can't wait for the next.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Amelia said...

I am so in love with this review!
I started this, but Kylie really annoyed me, so I stopped. Maybe I should give it another go?
Loved this! I'm glad the main character grew on you :)

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Wow, what a thorough, well-written review, Briana. I love stopping by your blog and reading your thoughts - you always come off as very eloquent in your reviews.

Born At Midnight has been on my wishlist for a while now and I've seen numerous mixed reviews, but yours has to be the most in-depth. And I totally get what you mean about the third person weirdness in the writing style. Sometimes 3rd person comes off as very internal and I don't think that works all that well. For 1st person, internal thoughts and musings are fine, but it doesn't really work all that well for 3rd person. Anyway, great review!

Shannon The Bookstalker said...

I have seen so many mixed reviews for this one, but I'm glad I read your review of it because I think I will definitely give it a shot now.

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Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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