**Warning! If you haven’t read The Girl at Midnight which is the first book in the trilogy by Melissa Grey, there will be spoilers ahead. You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**
*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey is the second book in The Girl at Midnight series which picks up right where book one ends. The Girl at Midnight was one of my favorite reads of 2015 so I was HIGHLY anticipating The Shadow Hour and I’m so happy to report that it completely blew my expectations out of the water! At the end of The Girl at Midnight, Echo was just beginning to learn more about herself as the Firebird and in The Shadow Hour we see her explore her past, adjust to her present and attempt to work out how she’ll save the world by ending the age old war between the Avicen and the Drakharin.
In my review of The Girl at Midnight, I already touched upon the fascinating world that Grey built and in The Shadow Hourthe reader gets to explore it further as it continues to develop. I love that this series allows you to travel the world but it’s roots are planted in New York City. Each time I read about this familiar world with Grey’s infusion of magic existing beyond what I can see, I feel an even stronger connection the landmarks I pass daily and would otherwise have taken for granted. One of the most intriguing and well done elements of magic that was added to The Shadow Hour is the introduction of the kucedra which comes to be as result of light (aka the Firebired) attracting a powerful and opposing dark force because one cannot have been brought into the world without the other. The concept reminds me of season 2 of Legend of Korra (although, I am much more interested in seeing how everything plays out in this particular story line).
While the world is more than enough to hook me, it’s the lovable band of misfits and should-be-enemies working together for the greater good that really tug at my heartstrings. Seriously, their squad is goals. In each decision made, you can feel how strong the connections are between characters and just how irrational they can all be while trying to protect one another. There’s a new character who is introduced in The Shadow Hour that I totally fell head over heels for but I don’t want to spoil his or her role for anyone so I’ll just leave that at that. And ah the swoony romance between Jasper and Dorian continues and it is everything despite one frustratingly persistent obstacle. Another exemplary character worth noting is the new Dragon Prince, Caius’s backstabbing sister, Tanith. Tanith is one of the best villains in YA and I love that Grey is able to convey just how manipulative and evil she is without shying away from showing us some of Tanith’s most vulnerable moments.
Everything in Echo’s life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.
The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.
Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she’s already overcome.
She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.
Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature–or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what’s left of her world to the ground?
Welcome to the shadow hour. (via Goodreads)