My favorite part of Darwin's Children was the line up of amazing characters. I also really enjoyed how fresh and new this story line felt. The characters were absolutely wonderful and completely believable (well, as believable as super powered people can be). It was so refreshing to read a young adult novel that included a loving, attentive, and sweet father who also just happens to be telepathic. Jaycie is surrounded by people who love her, like her sweet and fun nanny/trainer that really acts more like a best friend and older sister, who also has super strength and speed. Her God-Father that can manipulate people's thinking, but only when it's really necessary, and her childhood friend the super adorable Matt. Then we meet Haylee, Jaycie's newest friend, she is a wonderful and complex character that I was instantly rooting for. The fact that Jaycie had been homeschooled was fun for me since I am a homeschooling mama. However, I was confused as to why she was forced to go to school when the book really didn't explore her school life very much except to let us know that she wasn't liked, and didn't really have any friends there. The relationships that Jaycie has in this book are so sweet and wonderful. Like when she visits the town candy store, the owners know her and adore her. Those little details made Darwin's Children such a great read for me. Not to mention the making out, crazy but super cool vampires, and the kick-butt action scenes. My only real complaint was that the end of the book felt a little rushed and confusing to me. I'm looking forward to reading more about Jaycie, Haylee and their growing super powers.
I had a little trouble getting into Illicit Magic at first. The first 80 pages or so are a lot of new information that wasn't quickly digestible for me. However, once Stella gets to America the pace really picked up, and I was glued to the pages.
The characters in Illicit Magic are very well written, and I enjoyed learning about each of them. Stella's life since foster care has been terribly mundane. She didn't have any friends because people noticed that she was different, and they were scared of her. She was horribly alone, and she came across as drab, dejected, and well.. boring. Once she arrives in America and is surrounded by people like her she really becomes a different person. Watching her bloom truly was magical. The rest of the characters are so much fun to get to know. They each have their own mystery and instead of knowing everything there is to know about each of them right off the bat, the author slowly reveals their pasts and secrets in this very slow but satisfying way. I really enjoyed that about Camilla's writing style. I had just settled into this lovely story line and all of the sudden a new and unexpected twist was thrown at me. All kinds of hell broke loose, and it was thrilling to read. I was instantly in love with a few of characters and really hope to see them again in the next book. Yep, Illicit Magic is book 1 in the Stella Mayweather series. I was so glad to find out that the ending of this book wasn't really the ending of the story.
Side note: Just a little pet peeve I had with the book was that the editing wasn't great, and sometimes I got distracted by Camilla's English dialect. This may be why it took me a little while to really fall into the story as well.