Dayling by Gabriel Madison
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (238 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia
Turning eighteen is an exciting time for most girls. It means finally being considered a legal adult, having more freedom and a wild birthday party. For Haven Vigano, it means no longer being able to move around in the daytime, immortality and a craving for human blood. Haven is a Dayling, but in three weeks she will ‘Cross Over’ into the world of Nightlings.
Most Daylings live their lives as humans for as long as they can, which means they attend school, make normal friends
and indulge in all the pleasures of being mortal… most Daylings except for Haven. She’s as antisocial as they come,
even in the Dayling world. Haven cruises through life with cynicism and smart-alecky comments. She would rather stay
at home and read a book then hang out with the locals, which is why she had to be dragged to a teenage party with
her cousins. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, Haven escapes the party.
On the way home, Haven comes across a teenage boy being beaten by four other guys. Haven saves the boy, Philip,
and takes him to the hospital. This single event changes Haven’s life and her perspective of the human world forever.
This event also creates a new problem for her: she’s waited too long to live in the human world, and dating a mortal so close to Crossing Over would be a big no-no for the head of her Nightling family… her father.
To make matters worst, a friend from her past, another Dayling named Sébastien, arrives in Tallahassee with the news
that an ancient group of Nightling hunters called The Holy Sect of Mântuitors are hunting down and killing her kind.
Haven’s father fears a Nightling is helping the Mântuitors in their quest to rid the world of immortals.
Now Haven must deal with her growing attraction to Philip, plus understand Sébastien’s jealousy towards her human
crush, and oh yeah, help deal with the threat of the Mântuitors. Times were a lot simpler for Haven when she felt
indifferent towards everything and everyone.
Haven never wanted to be normal, until it was too late.
I think Mr. Madison has an interesting take on the world of vampires. The idea that vampires exist in two separate states and can reproduce isn’t entirely new. However, I believe Dayling is one of the first vampire stories I’ve read that never mentions a way for humans to be turned. This certainly makes relationships between humans and Daylings/Nightlings very complicated.
Haven is definitely a girl who likes to test her boundaries. Her sharp tongue and abrasive personality get her into plenty of trouble throughout the story. I must say that I was very frustrated with Haven and her attitude at times. While I understand that she is a teenager trying to come to terms with some big changes in her life, I couldn’t believe that she would continue to put her family, friends, and herself in life threatening situations. Haven is a smart girl who definitely knows better. Despite this issue, I’m pleased to note that Haven does have a softer side and is the type of girl who champions the underdog, whether that means standing up for her cousin Angela or rescuing Philip from a sound beating.
I had a very hard time warming up to Philip. He comes off simply as a typical, popular teenage boy who uses his appeal to get girls into his bed. While the girls in the story can’t seem to get enough of his charm, I was a little put off by his attitude. It is very difficult to tell if Philip’s pursuit of Haven is genuine, or if he’s simply looking for another conquest. I will say that Philip never denies his playboy ways and doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not. When Haven chooses to hang around Philip, she certainly knows what she’s getting into.
In addition to my reservations about Philip’s character, I wasn’t really feeling the connection between him and Haven. Haven seems to have more of an obsessive crush on him rather than any deeper feelings. When Haven and Philip do have some rare alone time, they spend it flirting, but never seem to truly get to know each other on a personal level because Haven doesn’t seem to be comfortable opening up to Philip. It wasn’t until the very end of the story that I began to see a sliver of hope for Haven and Philip’s future.
The ending of Dayling is certainly intense, but I also felt it was rushed and a bit predictable. I had no problem figuring out who the mastermind behind the murders of the Nightling/Dayling families was. However, the reasoning behind some of this character’s actions remains a bit murky. I’m not sure why this character chose to bring some people into his plot and keep others in the dark. Also, the fate of the antagonist is unclear at the conclusion. Will there be a sequel to tie up this loose end?
In general, I think Dayling is a good read. Mr. Madison’s vampire mythology is interesting, and Haven and her exploits are certainly entertaining. Anyone looking for a vampire story that’s a little different might want to give Dayling a try.