(Cover picture courtesy of Down The Rabbit Hole.)
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. 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.
Pardon me while I go bang my head against the wall.
*dull thuds are heard in the background*
Okay, even that couldn’t stop me from drawing similarities to the following books: Marked, The Summoning, City of Bones and yes, even Twilight. I’ve read the same plot many times, just in different reincarnations. This is just the latest, which is why I’ve developed the following formula for a successful YA urban fantasy:
Take 1 “average-looking” but really hot teenage girl who’s going through tough times at home and at school. Add in one huge, embarrassing incident where she either gets caught doing something bad or her powers are revealed and is shipped off to a special home or school. At said home/school Ms. Judgy will determine everyone a slut or a freak, but eventually realize that they are magical beings and she is as well, but that she is unusually powerful or completely unique. Add in 2 hot guys: one “nice” guy and one “dangerous” guy who are both magical beings and both are in love with her. Throughout her training, Ms. Judgy will realize that the people are not so bad and near the end of the book will uncover a plot against the school/home/students and foil it, winning the respect of everyone except your mandatory Mean Girl. End on a cliffhanger.
Congratulations, you have now written a best-selling YA novel!
Also, I don’t need to do a plot summary because guess what? I just described the entire plot of Born at Midnight! Kylie is a vapid, completely uninteresting, typical YA heroine. She’s supposed to be your average girl, but has guys tripping over themselves to woo her and telling her constantly how beautiful she is. (Hint: real life usually isn’t like that.) Hunter tries to add in some girl-empowerment by showing how ‘spunky’ Kylie is by breaking up the fights between her roommates and standing up to Burnett and Austin, two government agents. Instead, it just comes off as contrived.
The plot is painfully slow at some points, but speeds up in the end to trick readers into getting the next book. It has some ‘twists’, but I was able to predict all of them using the above formula. Although she doesn’t choose which guy by the end of the book, I can make a safe bet by saying she’ll choose the “dangerous” guy, Lucas at the end of the series. They always choose the “bad” boys over nice guys. This is certainly one series I will not be continuing.
I give this book 1/5 stars.