Hannah’s Novel Notions: A Review of Urban Legend: Orphan by J.P. Dailing


There are a lot of different factors involved in how people choose to buy books. Maybe they like the synopsis. Maybe the cover interests them. Maybe they thought the marketing was handled well. Maybe they bought in on a whim. Or maybe they just think the author is a neat person.

When it comes to Urban Legend: Orphan by J.P. Dailingall of theses factors came into play when I decided to pick this novella up.

I came into contact with Jason Dailing on twitter. I followed him for two reasons: 1) He’s a fellow writer with a good sense of humor and 2) his gif game is on point. Like, really, really on point. He should get some kind of award.

Anyway, many gifs later I found out that he was coming out with a novella. An indie published novella. With illegal magic users. And vampires. That is part of a planned series.

No decision making there. I was on Amazon in a flash. Last week I finally got the chance to sit down and read this indie novella. I was not disappointed.

Rylee is a rather ticked off girl. She’s stuck in an orphanage headed by a disinterested woman with obnoxious hair. Virtually friendless and constantly getting into fights with one bully or another, it’s no wonder that these stressful circumstances have brought her magic to manifestation. Unfortunately, this manifestation is illegal.

An agent from the US Department of Mysticism and Metaphysics shows up on the orphanage doorstep. He wants Rylee to join an academy that will help her learn to control and wield her powers.

Then a few imps show up at the orphanage window to drag her away to a member of the Vampirium, a vampire who claims Rylee as family property.

One thing leads to another and Rylee finds herself in a faceoff with a vampire in his prime, backed by a government agent she barely knows. She doesn’t completely understand what is going on, but she does know three things:

1) Both the vampire and the agent knew her parents, but neither are very forthcoming with the details of their relationship with them.

2) She is being played by both sides.

3) She is not about to let these people move her around like some idiotic pawn.

As this frightening new world opens up to Rylee, she is determined to take hold of her life. And anybody who gets in her way will be made to pay.

There were so many things I absolutely loved about this story. I’m not completely sure where to begin.

Okay, actually, that’s not true. I know exactly where to start. Rylee.

She’s officially on my list of favorite YA characters. Often, angry characters are very hard to pull off. They come across as mean or inhuman or just plain annoying. Not so with Rylee.

She’s angry, yes. She has every right to be. But that is not her defining personality point. She has an intense love for her one friend (Rose), a need to prove herself, and an interesting mix of insecurity and “My name is Rylee and I will kick butt until I achieve my goal.” She’s the kind of badass character you half want to wrap in a hug and comfort and half want to cheer on from the sidelines as she fights to straighten out her life.

It takes talent to write an  angry, layered, lovable character like that. Major points to Dailing.

Also, let’s talk about ulterior motives and pseudo-bad-guys. Because this novella is full of them and it’s glorious. Both Arthur (the government agent) and Darius (the vampire) have unclear reasons for enter Rylee’s life. Darius, while supposedly a bad guy, has a neat relationship with his half-blooded brother and sometimes doesn’t seem like a completely terrible person. And Arthur, while working to help Rylee, is lying about his reasons for wanting her to join the academy. It’s unclear which, if either of them, is the bad guy.

All of the grey areas perfectly match the YA urban fantasy genre. Very clever writing.

I enjoyed the unique narration style, too. Some parts of the story are from Rylee’s point of view, told in a partly cynical, partly humorous, partly angry way, which worked really well when paired with the more laid-back portions that weren’t told through her eyes.

The only problem I had with this story? Typos. There were a few times where I was deeply immersed in the story and it’s characters, only to be pulled out for a second due to a typo or editing mistake. Which is why I’m giving the fiction quality a “good” rather than “mint” rating. That being said, this wasn’t a huge deal to me because the great characters and cool world-building far outweighed the typos.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the next installation of this series. As soon as I finished the novella, all I could think was “MORE.” More Rylee, more vampires, more interesting government departments, more magic. More J.P. Dailing stories.

If you are a fan of strong, developed characters, fascinating urban fantasy worlds, solid writing, or just generally awesome indie stories, then Urban Legend: Orphan by J.P. Dailing is for you.

You can pick this story up on Amazon for 99 cents. It’s the price of a glazed old fashion donut, only this deal is better because the novella lasts longer, can re-consumed, and is actually better than a donut. Which is saying a lot, because I love glazed old fashion donuts.

Have you read this novella? Come fangirl over Rylee with me!