Thursday, February 10, 2011

Born at Midnight by C. C. Hunter

Thursday, February 10, 2011

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.  Both 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…

One of the reasons I love to read is because I love to be surprised. I live a fairly routine life, get up go to work, come home, go to bed, repeat five days a week with weekends being pretty much the same minus work. It’s a comfortable albeit boring life, so when I pick up a book the more surprised I am the better.  Born at Midnight a debut novel by C. C. Hunter definitely surprised me with her original take on the paranormal.

One of the first things that surprised me about Born at Midnight was the originality of the setting. Nina the MC is quickly sent off to Shadow Falls, a summer camp for troubled teens, after a party she attends is busted up by the cops. Despite the fact that Nina was not drinking, her mother under advisement of Nina’s therapist is whisked off before she has time to process what hit her. What Nina finds is a camp filled with freaks, and as she acclimates to the environment she begins to understand that the rest of the campers all have one thing in common, they are all paranormals: vampires, werewolves, shapeshifter, fairies, and witches. And since Nina is “normal”, despite the fact that she has night terrors and keeps seeing an army dude no one else can see, she’s certain she does not belong. 

Another thing that I found surprising was how Hunter laid out a very complex plot that continually twisted and turned with several conflicts. One of the main conflicts for Nina is of course the fact that she is not a paranormal. According to the camp counselor, all the kids at the camp were born at midnight and have one parent who is a paranormal. Although Nina was born at midnight neither her mother or father have paranormal backgrounds. Another conflict that Nina deals with is the appearance of the Army Dude and the role he plays in Nina’s life. Other conflicts that play important roles in the story include Nina’s feeling for Derek, a half-fae cutie, whose ability to manipulate emotions in others has her questioning her budding feelings for him, and her draw to Lucas, a werewolf. Added to these conflicts is a mystery surrounding the camp and you have a very exciting story that kept me turning pages with amazing speed.

Finally, I was surprised at how much I liked several of the characters.  While Nina struggled with learning the truth about herself, her powerful draw to both Derek and Lucas, and overcoming her aversion to her vampire roommate, she was determined, resourceful, and courageous in finding answers to her questions about herself, her family, and the new guys vying for her attention. She also readily admitted her own faults and corrected them once she recognized them. I also liked both her witch and vampire roommates, and a preverted shapeshifter, who brought a bit of humor and added additional back-stories to the camp’s purpose for existences. Lastly, I enjoyed both Derek and Lucas as the romantic interests, but will admit that Lucas’ dark, broodiness intrigued me the most. 

While the plethora of paranormal novels has many readers thoughtfully choosing which ones to read these days, Born at Midnight holds quite a few surprises that make this an original and worthwhile read. I did, however, find the mystery surrounding the camp weak, but the other plot elements more than made up for this. I look forward to finding out more about Nina, Derek, Lucas, and the other camp residence and was happy that Hunter did not feel it necessary to end this book with a cliff-hanger.   

Source: Received ARC copy from publisher for review.

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