Welcome to the blog tour for The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey! Today I'll be sharing my review of this sequel novel. Plus, there is a giveaway!
The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey
Book Two of The Girl at Midnight series
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
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.
What I Liked:
I've read exactly two reviews for this book, both from bloggers that I trust and respect. One was a two-star review, one was a 3.5/4-star review. The two-star review was really helpful because a lot of the issues that the blogger had were issues that I could see myself having. And while I definitely took issue with some of those aspects, I felt prepared for them, thanks to that review. I liked this book, though I didn't love it, especially compared to The Girl at Midnight.
In this sequel, Echo has to embrace her true nature as the firebird. She's left behind the Nest, the Avicenlings, Rowan (he's the "boyfriend" mentioned in the synopsis). But with Caius, Jasper, Dorian, Ivy, and the help of a warlock, Echo must fight the shadowy darkness that was awoken when she unleashed her firebird power. The new Dragon Prince (Caius's sister) is hunting for the firebird, but something even more sinister as well. Echo could be the salvation of her loved ones - or their destruction.
I liked Echo in this book, though I think I liked her more in The Girl at Midnight. We get to see more into her past, as her fears, and it's sad to see. I think Echo needed to voice her opinion at key times and use her presence and charisma. Everyone likes Echo and thinks she's clever, and Echo does make some good decisions in this book. Overall, I liked Echo, but maybe not as much as I could have.
Caius, I adore. He is easily my favorite character in this book. I know many people love Jasper, but Caius is such a sweetie. He's a quiet alpha male, especially having been the powerful Dragon Prince for a hundred years or so. In this book, Caius is a constant, solid presence to Echo, offering strength and issuing orders when needed. He lets her be, and never tries to control her. This is important because there is a relationship budding there, AND Echo is the firebird (which is what Caius was hunting for quite some time). It's clear that Caius would follow Echo to the ends of the earth. I also loved seeing Caius's devotion to his dragon people, and even his crazy sister.
The other primary characters in this book were cool, and definitely lovable. Jasper is so cheeky and charming, and Dorian is adorable with his blushing self. Ivy has really blossomed into a strong, brave girl, though she always was. I'm really rooting for her, more than ever!
The romance... well, I didn't love it. See more on it below. But I'm 99% sure that Caius and Echo are endgame. I LOVE the Dorian/Jasper romance, which was the main romantic focus of this book (and not as much Caius/Echo). Jasper and Dorian are adorable! They have a slow-burn relationship, which was sweet to watch develop.
This story unfolded beautifully, with a good balance of action and feels. I was never bored, and I zipped through this book really quickly (yay!). I didn't find it as magical as The Girl at Midnight, but it was definitely a worthy sequel. The plot thickens when Echo and Caius understand what the shadows really are, and what Tanith (the current Dragon Prince) plans to do. High stakes here!
The ending is a horribly mean cliffhanger (more on that below), but Grey has guaranteed that I will be reading The Savage Dawn. Ugh, I need it!
What I Did Not Like:
I hate to say it, but the love triangle is back. I thought it was done for, by the end of The Girl at Midnight. But as you can see, the synopsis of this book lists a "boyfriend", and it's not Caius. At one point in the book, Rowan calls Echo his girlfriend... in front of Caius (he was also speaking to Caius). Caius knew that Echo and Rowan were close, but he didn't know that they were like that. And Echo doesn't correct Rowan.
THIS is where I thought Echo should have spoken up and used her words. In her inner monologue, you can clearly see that she dreads seeing Rowan, talking to him, and the girlfriend/boyfriend thing seems wrong to her. But she doesn't correct Rowan. When they talk, she doesn't specifically tell him that she doesn't love him like that anymore. Echo doesn't use her words, even though she CLEARLY knows her mind, and it frustrated me.
The love triangle is frustrating, because of that, but also because it's just annoying. Rowan is annoying. He acts like a child. Caius... I really felt for him. Every time Rowan and Echo were in the same room, after Rowan called Echo his girlfriend, Caius would distance himself and become like stone. He rationalized to himself that he didn't deserve Echo and that Rowan did.
Rowan is extremely terrible to Caius, so even if I were #TeamRowan (clearly I am not), I would be furious at his behavior towards Caius. Really, the man is helping you.
The ending of this book leads me to believe that Caius/Echo is endgame, but I thought that about the ending of The Girl at Midnight, so I don't know. I really hope Rowan ends up being a casualty in the end of The Savage Dawn (there is always at least one main character killed off at the end of the series). Sorry not sorry!
Oh and the ending is a ridiculous and horrible cliffhanger, in case you wanted to know. Maybe binge-read the series, or the last two books if you've read The Girl at Midnight. I hate cliffhangers.
Would I Recommend It:
Yes, I recommend this book in the long run, but in the short run, no. The love triangle is irritating (it's like an annoying fly that keeps returning), the cliffhanger is cruel, and this book doesn't feel quite as captivating as The Girl at Midnight. Basically it doesn't go through sequel slump, but it isn't a omg-must-read-next-big-thing sequel.
3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. Good, entertaining, but not without flaws. I did like this book and I am liking this series, but I guess I wish I knew the outcome because the journey is a little painful in some areas. It's an intriguing fantasy series with some really cool characters, and would probably be a fun series to binge-read in the future!
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!
About the Author:
Melissa Grey was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn't stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she traveled the world, then returned to New York City where she currently works as a freelance journalist. To learn more about Melissa, visit melissa-grey.com and follow @meligrey on Twitter.
Check out The Girl at Midnight:
(Click on the cover to go to Goodreads!)
Praise for The Girl at Midnight:
"Grey’s energetic debut offers a strong protagonist…[and the] well-built world, vivid characters, and perfect blend of action and amour should have readers eagerly seeking the sequel." — Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Sparks fly...This first novel will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters...[and] a breathtaking climax that...cannot come soon enough!""—Booklist starred review
"Inventive, gorgeous, and epic—Grey dazzles in her debut." — Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die
“A stunning debut. Equal parts atmosphere and adventure … positively divine.” – Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic
1 winner will receive a paperback of THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, US Only.
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7/21/2016 - Zach's YA Reviews - Review
7/22/2016 - Fiction Fare - Interview
7/25/2016 - The Eater of Books! - Review
7/26/2016 - YA Book Madness - Excerpt
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7/28/2016 - BookHounds YA - Interview
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