Review: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey (The Girl at Midnight #2)


The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey // VBC ReviewThe Shadow Hour (The Girl at Midnight #2)
Melissa Grey
Published: July 12, 2016 (Delacorte Press)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: Library

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference previous events in the series. If you haven’t yet started the series yet check out VBC’s review of book 1, The Girl at Midnight.

At the end of The Girl at Midnight, Echo became the new vessel for the Firebird. Now she’s dealing with the enormity of what the Firebird is supposed to represent: peace. When the Avicen Nest is attacked by a strange shadowy creature, Echo realizes that there are two sides to every coin. Where there is light, there is also darkness. But if Echo wields the full power she now possesses will she fall into the path of darkness?

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.

Sexual content: Kissing

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