Monday, 13 March 2017

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter


Series: Shadow Falls
Author: C.C. Hunter
Page Count: 398
Published: March 29th, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  4 Stars ★★★★

Kylie is dealing with a lot, including breaking up with her boyfriend, being stalked by a strange man, and her parents' divorce. After being caught at a party, Kylie is sent to Shadow Falls, which is a camp for supposedly troubled teens. However, once she gets there, she learns the truth: this camp isn't for troubled teens, but rather for young vampires, werewolves, fairies, and others to learn how to deal with the world and each other despite tensions and feuds. 

There she meets some friends and some attractive "gifted" individuals, including Derek and Lucas. Derek falls for her quickly, and she remembers her secret history with Lucas. However, there's more to worry about than boys and crushes. She, and the others at the camp, are unsure of what kind of paranormal creature Kylie actually is. Having to deal with seeing ghosts complicates things, too. But Shadow Falls is in danger of being shut down, and when some start to suspect her and Lucas of having something to do with it, she must fight to figure out the truth before it is too late. 

So one thing that I will say about this book is that there was definitely some rather cliche aspects to it. The love triangle felt a bit out of place, although it wasn't too major of an issue within the book. The feud between vampires and werewolves seemed a tad unoriginal, but that didn't really take away from the story as a whole. 

My main issue with this book rested with the characters themselves. At times Kylie seemed really shallow. While the narration was not first person, the author did delve into the thoughts of the characters, especially Kylie, even while using third person. There were little things that made me dislike her, for example the long paragraph (on page 105 in my edition) where it is explained why Kylie "gets" the reason that Derek, who is half fairy, would prefer the term "fey". This reason is apparently due to the fact that "no straight guy would want to be called a fairy" (despite the fact that he is literally a fairy). Also notable is the fact that Derek is supposedly "overly female-loving male", whatever that means. I don't believe that books must remain politically correct or entirely inoffensive, because characters, just as real life individuals, aren't all going to believe the same things, they haven't all been raised the same way, et cetera. But because of my personal experiences, I found this to be something that affected me and my view of Kylie and the other characters, so I felt that it might be important to mention for other readers dealing with similar life circumstances or opinions. It seems fairly small, but as an LGBTQ person, it made me roll my eyes.

This wasn't my only issue with the characters. I feel like Derek fell for Kylie way too early in the book. It made his feelings for her seem superficial and I found this really annoying. I also don't really see what Kylie saw in Derek, to find herself attracted to him so early on as well? He seemed quite average. I mean, he could be spectacular and interesting and multidimensional, and in the next book this may become apparent, but the way that the author portrayed him within this book was really boring. 

The thing that I really enjoyed about this book was Kylie's ability to speak with ghosts and how that affected her.  Her struggle with accepting the fact that she wasn't fully human was reminiscent of the struggles that people may face in real life, and I felt that despite the fantasy or paranormal aspect, I could really relate to what Kylie was going through. Denying something that is an important part of you is something that lots of people have to deal with, including the changes that come with finally accepting that you're not who you thought you were. This theme or aspect was well discussed throughout the novel, in a way that I found redeemed Kylie's character enough to keep me reading and excited to pick up the next book in the series. 

I also really loved the setting! I've heard of many boarding schools for paranormal creatures used as a setting within books, but camps appear to be less popular. I thought that this was a unique twist on the idea, and I think that the setting made the story really interesting to read, especially considering some of the myths or legends surrounding the falls themselves. The idea that there might be some kind of sinister entities haunting the waterfall that the camp is named after was something that caught my attention quickly, and while I'm a bit disappointed that this wasn't investigated by the characters within this novel, I'm hoping that in the next books this will be a more important aspect of the stories! I want to know the truth about the falls!

So, while I took issue with some of the characters due to my life experiences and the way they perceived certain things, there were still many good things about this book! Kylie may not have been very likeable, but her struggle ultimately redeemed her, and the setting was captivating. I'm hoping that the next book in this series brings more excitement and character development to the story.

I recommend this book to those who like YA paranormal romances! If you're interested in a series that includes several supernatural or paranormal creatures, this would be a good pick.