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The Shadow Hour (THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT) Paperback – June 6, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In The Girl at Midnight, readers met Echo, a pickpocket who ended up in an ancient underground society beneath New York City full of people called the Avicen. Members of this race must remain hidden because of their feathers and their magic. When rumors of an upcoming war reach Echo's ears, she decides to do anything she can to save the people she considers family. Supposedly, if a mythical entity called the Firebird can be found, the conflict will end forever. As a thief, Echo knows there is one thing she is good at—finding items and taking them. The second entry opens as the heroine discovers that she is the Firebird. Now, she must learn to harness her new powers in order to face off against the darkness that comes with the Dragon Prince's arrival. The end battle will find someone close to Echo stolen away, which will set the stage for the final fight, when she will have to resort to her original skills and set out to "steal" this person back. Overall, this is an intriguing paranormal fantasy that focuses on a secret society hidden among everyday, ordinary people. Recommended for teens interested in fantasy worlds and epic battles. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Praise for the Girl at Midnight Series:
“Inventive, gorgeous and epic.” —Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die
“A stunning debut. . . . Equal parts atmosphere and adventure, Melissa Grey’s The Girl at Midnight is positively divine.” —Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic
“Catnip for fans of Cassandra Clare.” —BookPage.com
“An action- and angst-packed installment reminiscent of Buffy and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.” —Kirkus Reviews
★ “Sparks fly. . . . Will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters; and themes of family, power, loyalty, and romance.” —Booklist, Starred
“A must-read.” —Paste magazine
“You are going to love Echo.” —Bustle.com
“A feisty heroine, fun supporting characters, a mission to save the world, and some seriously spicy romance.” —SLJ
“Catnip for fans of Cassandra Clare.” —BookPage.com
“Fast-paced, action-packed, and full of laughs.” —Nerdist.com
“Enthralling and pure magic, Grey’s debut is delightful!” —Romantic Times
“A page-turner—I was hooked from start to finish.” —Latina Magazine
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Top customer reviews
Echo must figure out how to utilize the powers she’s been given in order to save her people. Though tensions between the Avicen and Drakharins are still high, former Dragon Prince Caius believes he can talk his sister, Tanith, into siding with the Avicen in order to beat this common enemy. However, Tanith’s need for power runs deep, and Echo quickly learns the time for action is now.
As I was reading The Shadow Hour there were a couple things that struck me. One, the Firebird mythology that Melissa Grey has created here—coupled with the Firebird’s shadowy counterpart—is done extremely well. The play between light and dark (good and evil) is one of the oldest in the book, but when done well, as it is here, it makes for a very compelling story. Echo is plagued by the voices of past vessels. She struggles with understanding where their influence stops and her own freewill begins. But she handles everything with such grace and confidence, even when she thinks it’s just a façade for those around her. I loved seeing her navigate through this new position of power she’s found herself in.
Two, I found myself liking the secondary characters’ voices more than Echo’s. Don’t get me wrong, I like Echo’s character well enough. But I loved when Melissa Grey would change perspective and give Caius, Ivy, Jasper, or Dorian their points of view. It made the story feel better rounded because Echo is not going into this battle alone. She has the help of her friends and they all have a part to play outside of what Echo has to do, so it’s only right they get their time to shine.
Unfortunately, there were some things that didn’t work for me so well. Probably, the most glaringly obvious one is that Ms. Grey graces readers with the presence of not one, but two, count it TWO, love triangles. I mean, I detest them on a good day, but two for me is pretty much overkill.
Triangle one, between Jasper, Dorian, and devious warlock Quinn, was pretty easy to sort itself out, which makes me wonder why its potentiality was even introduced in the first place.
Triangle two, is awkwardly between Caius, Echo, and Rowan (Echo’s maybe ex-boyfriend). I say awkward because there are all these feelings hovering around these people, but no one talks to each other about them. Echo doesn’t even know if she and Rowan are broken up or not, and she doesn’t even know if her feelings for Caius are her own or from Rose (his former love, once a vessel of the Firebird, who’s thoughts now reside within Echo’s head). I know more important things were going on, but I felt like if the characters themselves didn’t deem it worthy of attention, why should I? This impacted my reactions, or lack thereof, to certain events in the book, which I think was supposed to have more of an emotional response than I could muster.
Overall, I loved the continuing story. I will definitely read the last installment in the trilogy. I just pray the triangles are sorted out swiftly.
Anyway, in the beginning of this one we join Echo and her friends in London, as they are hiding out while trying to figure out their next move. It’s not long before it’s decided for them when they are called home. Big scary things are happening. A darkness has been unleashed and it’s infected some of the Avicen, the Ala among them. Echo being Echo takes it upon herself to leave the safety of the Avicen stronghold and find the cure.
And so begins the journey, which, naturally, is fraught with perils and danger and lots of action! And since this is a multi-third-person narrative, we get to see lots of the story happening all over the place. And don’t be worried about getting confused, it’s not at all hard to find out who’s the point of view you’re in, even without any chapter headers. I tend to like the multi-narratives like this because it really lets you see what’s happening with all the characters who tend to be separated more than they are together. And thankfully, these chapters don’t always leave you with the agonizing cliffhanger before jumping to another person. There’s no rhyme or pattern to these narrative changes, it’s almost random…yet it lets you stay on top of things.
I quite enjoyed the pacing of this one. It took me a little longer to read it than I would’ve liked, but that was more so due to outside factors out of my control. But those little breaks in between made it harder for me to get caught back up. That can be the downside of the multi-narrative I guess, so try not have days in between reading this one if you can help it. Or if you have the super memory I can only dream of, have at it!
With the many fabulous characters to enjoy, there’s also more than enough romance to be had. Though, ironically, the romantic moments are few and far between. I like seeing the characters finding their special someone. Though with Echo she more so finds herself in the thick of a love triangle. One that we pretty much knew was coming since she had a boyfriend she left behind before the tension with Caius started happening. I like Caius! Though it’s been some time since I read TGAM I can’t remember my exact feels for him, but he’s definitely a standup guy. He’s not what you would expect from an ex Dragon Prince.
Things really heat up (no pun intended) on the war front. The Avicen and Drakharins have been at it for years and it seems the final battle is soon to come. One that will involve our firebird naturally, but that particular battle is set aside for the meantime what with Echo and co trying to find a cure to the darkness that has taken over the Avicen.
The Shadow Hour was as exciting as it was entertaining! It has plenty of action, romance, humor and an amazing cast of characters to keep readers enchanted until its epic end! Be sure to check out this amazing trilogy if you haven’t already!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars
That said, it's still a well written, intriguing story. I'll likely buy the last book.
Most recent customer reviews
The Shadow Hour is the second book in The Girl at Midnight Trilogy and it does...Read more
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