Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly

Nikki Kelly

Feiwel & Friends
I received an ARC from the publisher.
Released October 7, 2014
416 pages
YA / Fantasy / Angels & Vampires

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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.

So they can’t all be winners, can they? When I was younger, I used to hate things that were popular just to be contrarian. I would eventually give in and read the popular book series or watch the popular movie or listen to the popular band and would make an opinion based on merit, but I would hold out longer than any reasonable person would. I’d like to think I’ve outgrown that kneejerk desire to hate popular things, so the fact that this has a bajillion million readers prior to publishing didn’t sway my feelings one way or the other. I went into Lailah just knowing that apparently a lot of people enjoyed it and it had angels in it.

Well, a lot of people liked Twilight and you all know how I felt about that book (if you don’t, well, click here).

I could not wait until this book was over. There was a part of me hoping it would get better, that I would stop wanting everyone to just kill each other already, and the story would start being interesting. It didn’t happen. The main, terrible flaw in this book is that the big key moment in the protagonist’s life, the turning point that is supposed to be a slap in the face to Lailah’s person self-discovery and change her entire life, is the prologue. As the reader, I knew this big dramatic reveal and there was no fun in waiting for everyone else to figure it out. There were no other twists or turns for me as the reader to revel in alongside the characters. No, it was just that one thing I learned on page 3 and waiting.

It also doesn’t help that this all reads like glorified Twilight fan fiction, except instead of a werewolf and a vampire, you have an angel and a vampire. You also have a “written in the starts” forever kind of made-for-each-other nonsense that sucks out any of the interest in the love triangle.

But part? Lailah is the worst Mary Sue I have read in a long time. A grown woman does not need to be physically picked up and carried by random men as much as Lailah does. Every man that comes across her falls head over heels and wants to protect her. Every woman hates her for no apparent reason. She decides life and death situations are the perfect time to bring up apparent slights by her various suitors and have emotional breakdowns. She does entirely stupid things to spite people despite knowing it puts her in harm’s way. She thinks she’s terrible at things despite the fact that she is apparently awesome at everything.

But mostly she gets picked up and carried around a lot despite being a grown ass woman with fully functional legs.

I also had difficulty with a lot of Kelly’s writing style. She likes to jam in big words for the sake of using big words even though they stand out like neon signs with the rest of the writing and sound ridiculous in many cases. She also likes using the word “orbs” for eyes. That might be worse than using “tresses” for hair over and over again. I just kept picturing people with their eyes bugging out so that you can tell they were spherical shaped glass balls. I’ve also started wondering if the colloquial meaning of “pacing” is different in England than America.

Whatever it is, I tried to find something positive to say about Lailah because I hate writing bad reviews, but this book drove me nuts. The characters drove me nuts, the plotting went on and on and on for little reward and in the end, I just wanted everyone to go away. This series is definitely not for me, but apparently a bajillion other people love it so your mileage may vary.


I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. I don't know how much more honest than this I can get.