In the interests of full disclosure, let me start by saying that I really like Nikki Kelly. Like, as a person. I’ve mentioned in another post how much I adore authors that engage with me. And Nikki is one of those authors. Anyway, I thought I’d start by getting that fact out in the open, because it absolutely affected my reading of Lailah (pronounced lay-LAH, like my name).
The name is what caught my interest (duh, right). I mean, regardless of spelling, it’s not like any iteration of my name is terribly common as far as book titles. I’m actually seeing more of it in character names, but definitely not in titles. Maybe because people can’t pronounce it unless it’s spelled Layla? No clue. Anyway, I started following Nikki on Twitter and just got all wrapped up with the buzz and enthusiasm. And when Nikki started talking to me, I pre-ordered Lailah without hesitation.
Well, I didn’t just order the book based on the name and Nikki. I was also intrigued by the premise. Sure, it’s been done before in several books, but I don’t really mind. But Nikki took it to the next level. She managed to get angels, demons and vampires in one book. Plus a love polygon (it’s pretty complicated). I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many subgenres merged into one book. And it’s a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, I loved the idea of an Angel, the epitome of good, taking mercy on and helping the epitome of bad, Vampires (not sure why it’s capitalized, that’s just how Nikki wrote it). Sounds a bit like Jesus to me, which is a good thing. And the romance was pretty decent, if a bit schizophrenic.
On the other hand, there were many parts of Lailah where I had no idea what was going on. There was an excess of “he loves me, he loves me not” on Lailah’s part. Gabriel and Jonah, the loverboys, were really strong and consistent in their feelings. And they weren’t shy about sharing that love with Lailah in both words and deeds. And I loved them for it. Because of her wildly fluctuating emotions, I didn’t love Lailah the way I did Gabriel and Jonah. It had a Twilight feel to it, with Team Gabriel and Team Jonah, except in Lailah I felt like Jonah really has a chance. Which was refreshing.
Anyway, had I not liked Nikki so much, I probably would have liked Lailah a whole lot less. I still don’t love it, but I’m interested enough to look forward to the rest of the series. And I honestly don’t blame Nikki for some of the book’s shortcomings. I think there just needed to be a bit more editing and proofreading. Overall, Lailah is extremely interesting, but really complicated. I’ll actually be reading it again to try to figure out the parts that didn’t make sense to me. So I guess in that case, well done, Nikki. And keep engaging your readers so personally. It’s a great way to sell books.