Title: Werelove Midnight RevelationsAuthor: Lakisha Spletzer
Release Date: May 13, 2011
Pages: 454 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book:Review copy from the author
After being kidnapped and then rescued a month before, Laylah Le Croix is becoming more and more unsatisfied with her sheltered life and seeks to be free from her father's control so she can live her own life. Meeting with her boyfriend Donil in secret because her father has forbidden contact with him and his family, she remains blind to the plans others have for her and their machinations. As these plans come to fruition, secrets are revealed and the free future Laylah thought she had is threatened. If she wants to be her own person, she will have to take some risks.
I very nearly gave up on this book--at the 74% point, I said I couldn't do it and planned to stop there--but I gave it my best try and finished the book. While Werelove Midnight Revelations has its merits as a book and points that I like, there were more that I did not like and/or had a problem with.
The biggest problem of the book would be the characters and the relationships between them. Laylah is the focal point of everything and matters to everyone's plans because of the circumstances of her birth and who her parents are. There are certain expectation for focal-point characters like Laylah to be interesting because if they're supposed to be so important to everyone, they should have suitable personalities for that. But she isn't interesting at all. I find it frustrating to read about a character who is so important and yet doesn't have the personality to match that. While the world around her and the plans involving her held my interest, Laylah did not.
Her relationship with Donil doesn't make me believe they are really in love with one another, nor do I think they know each other well enough and have the proper development for their relationship to advance to the level it does during Midnight Revelations. Being mates does not excuse skipping proper development or having bad to mediocre development. Despite Donil's insistence that he will tell Laylah about himself "on his own terms," it comes off like this won't be until they are engaged or married (which is Donil's obvious intent). A part later in the book made me feel vindicated with some of these concerns, but it's not enough.
Of all the characters, Jacques and Violet are the only ones I like. Jacques has a genuine conflict over whether to follow his Alpha's orders so he can stay around or do what's best for Laylah at the moment and get fired. His flip-flopping attitude of "I love you, you're like a daughter to me" and *cold shoulder attitude* got on my nerves and his character was not that likable, but he's got a good conflict. While Violet may be a one-dimensional mean girl character and a reprehensible person, at least she isn't driven by men in one manner or another like the antagonist from the last book, Laylah, or Naiya. She does what she does for herself and her own desire for power. Violet is the closest thing to a feminist character in this book and she's still not even close to being feminist.
Some of the issues I had with the writing in the first book persist in the second. It got better about telling-not-showing, but there are still occasions where the reader is told something about a character where the information is not of importance to anything and either the character or the information never turns up again. I did some grammar nitpicking (which is less a reflection of the book and more of my nature as a reader), such as with the sentence "Laylah laid on her back and stared up at her ceiling (Werelove Midnight Revelations, 56%)." If my knowledge of grammar is correct, that should be "lay," not "laid." Please correct me if I'm wrong.
As early as the 9% mark, I predicted that a certain twist would happen, and it did--all the way at the 77% mark. It seems like this was supposed to be a big twist, but everything was pointing at it for the entire book and I was impatiently wondering for much of the book when it was going to happen. This was pretty much the story of the entire novel: There was no turn of events or twist that surprised me because unnecessary scenes pointed right to it. Cutting some of those scenes would have improved the book and made some of these twist shocking rather than predictable. Regardless, the pacing was quite good.
There was so much about the book that rubbed me the wrong way and made me uncomfortable the way a reader is not supposed to be while reading. Trying to organize this in paragraphs like usual resulted in an essay-length section, so I will list it in bullet points:
- "Such meekness is refreshing in a young person. You have trained her well, Henry (Werelove Midnight Revelations, 3%)." Girls are not animals to be trained to obey the man/men in her life. This line made my skin crawl a little bit.
- Laylah never gets to make her own choices, even when it comes to being Donil's mate. From how it appears, she will always be his mate even if she decides that she does not want that. If she wants to, that's fine, but the absence of a choice not to be his mate bugs me.
- (This is a definite spoiler, so I have hidden it. Highlight the text you absolutely must see it.) I would think a society of the future would be past arranged marriages, but apparently not.
- "That sharp vanilla scent that was hers mixed with desire. He knew she wouldn't know that's what she felt, but he did (Werelove Midnight Revelations, 61%)." The implications are staggering and I don't like them. Women don't understand how they feel, but men do? I could call many kinds of bull on that. In that vein, much of Donil's behavior concerning his intent that they will be mates disturbs me. I can't begin to get into it all.
- The principal punishing the vicitm of a fight for being involved when she never threw a punch or touched her assailant. I have been the victim in two fights with other girls. In one, I did nothing to the other girl and she was the only one that got in trouble; in the other, I fought back and I got in trouble too. Laylah getting in trouble like she did felt like a plot contrivance.
- Whenever Laylah tries to make her own choices as a young woman, she is brushed off because she is being a short-sighted, irrational little girl. The implications are not nice ones.
- Laylah telling herself she is unworthy of Donil's affections. I am sick and tired of such an attitude being reinforced in books because this is not okay. If he decided to be with you when he could have had someone else, you are worthy. The question is whether or not he is worthy of you. If he isn't, it's time for a break-up.
I also had numerous personal qualms with the story that were not counted against the book in the end because it had to do with what I like as a reader rather than anything to do with the quality of the book. These qualms include Laylah's dislike of almost anything feminine such as heels, dresses, and lingerie. A female can be a good character and still be feminine. If only there were more books that combined the two. I would like to see more strong (and I mean mentally and in their execution, not just in physical strength) female characters who like dresses and pink, paint their nails regularly, and can rarely be found without a pair of stilettos on their feet. "Girly heroines" needs to stop being an oxymoron in YA PNR.
(For the record, I just took that opportunity to rant about something that has been on my mind for months. I would have said this in a review one way or another; this just happened to come along at the right time.)
What am I reading next?:Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson
While this series has turned out not to be my thing, I encourage anyone who is even slightly interested by the premise to try the books for themselves and develop their own opinion. What I love is what others will hate and then I will dislike something other readers could fall in love with. My opinions are ultimately my own and no one else's. While book reviews are a helpful tool to have when trying to decide whether or not to buy a book, a person shouldn't decide not to buy a book they were interested in just because of one negative review such as mine.