Friday, 1 March 2013

By Midnight by Mia James

Series: Ravenwood Mysteries, Book One
Pen Name Of: Tasmina and John Perry
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback
Published: 3rd February 2011
Number of Pages: 448
Book: Borrowed From Library
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing and Alcohol References
No Alcohol References
Author's Blog: Tasmina Perry's Blog

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 is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students – and the only place her parents could find her on incredibly short notice.  So she’s stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart… and trying to fit in 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 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…

April Dunne has been dragged from her home in Edinburgh and her friends.  Unsurprisingly, she isn't happy.  The fact that she's been enrolled in Ravenwood School, or academy for the wealthy and brainy, just makes everything worse.  And then...  Pupils start turning up dead, murdered, and her father has some weird conspiracy theory.  It involves murders past and the paranormal.  Something is going on.  Something iffy.  And with a beautiful, mysterious boy constantly telling her to "get out" and get new best friend thinking the school is controlled by supernatural nasties, April doesn't think that school could get any weirder.  Only... it turns dangerous instead...
I love paranormal books.  I love murder mystery books.  Ergo, I loved By Midnight.  It had all the awesome paranormal stuff a girl could want, with the most amazing conspiracy theory-slash-mystery on top of that.  It was literally awesome with extra awesomesauce.  It was so brilliantly gothic and addictive and twisty.  The moment I finished By Midnight, I instantly needed the next in the series.  I needed to know what would happen next.  It was just so much fun – and so brilliantly original!  I loved it!
I absolutely loved all the characters – especially April: she was just someone I instantly liked.  She was funny, in a kinda wry, snarky way, but she was also stubborn and practical: she was always rationalizing and weighing everything.  I found her hilarious, with loads of personality and strength.  Plus, I love that she’s the “unofficial Nancy Drew of the underworld” and found her reaction to the whole supernatural news utterly believable and wonderfully refreshing.  I also loved her new friend Caro – she’s sweet, snarky and a total conspiracy theory addict, as well as being completely bonkers and so wonderfully crazy.  I loved how she got completely outraged at being considered “fairy harmless” and just found Caro overall hilarious – she was so brilliantly wacky!  Gabriel was one of those “unattainable” types and for ages my question was: “Who is he?!”  Well, he was cute and rather romantic and sweet and brave and perfect... I may have liked him. Just a little…  And his relationship with April… oh, I loved it.  It felt really real and I can’t wait to see where it all goes next…
There were loads of other minor characters that really stood out.  I found April’s family intriguing and especially loved her relationship with her father.  Her strong friendship with her Scotland-based best friend Fiona was also really sweet.  The Faces were all evil, two faced witches (Caro talkin’, honest) and I found their interactions with everyone intriguing, even though I hated them.  I loved Caro’s best friend Simon, who was a bit of a diva and a total evil genius.  Yeah, they were all just amazingly created – all really alive and jump-off-the-page.
I adored the writing: it was third person, concentrating of April, and was fast paced, full of mysteries and was just really beautifully written.  It was simply, effective, powerful, and oh-so addictive.  And the plot – ohmigod!  It was amazing!  I loved the conspiracy theory, mystery and cold case angle: that, tied up with the paranormal aspect, made for a killer book.  No pun intended.  And it was just so amazingly twisty – I was never bored: never!  It had more twists than… Um, a really twisty thing.  Plus, that prologue: God!  Talk about hooking!
And the supernatural, myth aspect was awesome!  Like, so totally epic and unlike anything I’ve read before ever.  I just loved it all so much!  And I loved all the twists the myths had – I never knew what was going to be revealed next!  It was so cool!
Ok, so there were some parallels to two big cult-classics – one book, one show (those who have read this might know what I’m talking about), but By Midnight was just so different it was untrue.  It was new.  It was fresh.  It was exciting.  It is one of my new obsessions.  I can’t wait for the second in the series!  I mean, paranormal with a mystery and murder thrown in.  Does it get any better?  No.  It doesn’t.  Ever. 
Because By Midnight?  It had secrets, murders and vampires – oh my!
Sorry.  Couldn’t resist it.  You should all really read this book though.  It is literally the coolest, bestest conspiracy book EVER!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Night School by C.J. Daugherty
Darke Academy by Gabriella Poole
Empty Coffins by Gregg Olsen

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Happy Reading

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