Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Review - By Midnight by Mia James

By Midnight by Mia James
published by Gollancz July 2010
ARC provided by UK Book Tours (thanks Lynsey)



April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to Highgate, London, with her parents. She's left her friends - and her entire life - behind. She has to start at a new school and, worst of all, now she's stuck in a creepy old dump of a house which doesn't even have proper mobile phone reception. Ravenwood, her new school, is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students - and the only place her parents could find her a place, in the middle of term, in the middle of London, on incredibly short notice. So she's stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart . . . and trying to fit in is when the rest of the students seem to be more glamorous, smarter, or more talented than she is, is more than tough. It's intimidating and isolating, even when she finds a friend in the conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps finds something more than friendship in the gorgeous, mysterious Gabriel Swift. But there's more going on at Ravenwood than meets the eye. Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when Gabriel saves her from . . . something . . . . in the Highgate Cemetery, and then she discovers that a murder took place, just yards away from where she had been standing, April has to wonder if something more sinister is going on. . . . and whether or not she's going to live through it . . .

***
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I was left at the end of it with loads of questions and am intrigued about where the series will go in the long run as quite a few interesting story threads have been set up.

The whole was interesting as a whole as it was told from a whodunnit angle. I haven't read a vampire book that has taken this angle before and the whole story arc kept me guessing throughout as I was trying to 'solve' the crimes committed as the characters were also trying to do the same. I found myself getting paranoid and not knowing know to trust more and more as the book went on. The setting of Highgate made for a good setting and gave the story a very Gothic feel (especially the scenes in the graveyard) and I enjoyed the scenes at school. I am a little puzzled about why April is actually at Ravenwood being that she is neither rich nor gifted but I am hoping that it becomes clear as the series progresses. That said that is one of many questions I have about the school and the whole set up.

One of the strengths of this book for me was the characters. There were a whole host of intriguing characters both main and secondary who I enjoyed. April was very sweet and normal. I like that she was dizzy and had to deal with all of the hundreds of random things that normal teenagers have to deal with as well as being in the situation she finds herself in. I enjoyed the relationships she had with her friends Fee and Caro and how it differed from the relationship she had with Davina one of the 'faces' and the one with Gabriel (I am dying to see where that one goes). My absolute stand out favourite character of the book had to be Miss Townley the 80 year old librarian and despite the fact she had a very small part in the book I loved everything about her. I especially enjoyed the line "break the spine on one of my books and I'll break yours" Definitely a woman I can relate to.

I wasn't all that keen with the idea of Furies (I won;t say much about it as I don't want to spoil it for others who haven't read the book yet) especially when the idea of a guardian was also introduced as it it seems to be a clear Whedonesque slayer/watcher rip off, but I haven't seen too much of the whole set up to judge outright yet.

Definitely a series I will be looking out for in the future. I have hundreds of questions whirling round my head which I am dying to have answered.

2 comments:

thebookfairyhaven said...

A lot of people have mentioned that this book goes in a completely different direction with vamps, so I'm definitely going to grab this one! Great review! And I adore the cover for this book as well!

Clover said...

Yeah, I keep hearing good things about this one. I wasn't sure I wanted to read another vampire book but I might just go for it :)