Title: The Shadow Hour
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight, #2
Release Date: July 12th 2016
A battle has been won. But the war has only just begun.
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
Echo has become the firebird, but after everything that happened in the Black Forest at the end of The Girl at Midnight both the Avicen and Drakharin are on their trail, and Echo, Caius, Ivy, Dorian and Jasper have been forced to go into hiding. It’s not safe for them to leave the warehouse in London they have made their hideout but with the wound Jasper sustained still not healing Echo and Caius need more help than they can give.
No one is sure what their next step is, they’re all struggling to heal from what happened, but when the Nest is attacked Echo runs back home again. A darkness attacked leaving devastation in its wake and killing Avicen and humans alike, and Echo is forced to face the fact that maybe the firebird wasn’t the only thing she let out when she opened that door.
With the people she loves in danger Echo, Caius and Rowan travel to Edinburgh and later China to understand what was released when the firebird was and to try and learn more about the firebird they thought was a myth for so long. Meanwhile Ivy, Dorian, Jasper and Quinn, a warlock no one is sure they can trust, travel to Scotland to the heart of the Wyvern’s Keep to stop Tanith before she makes her next move. With the firebird now released and the kuçedra without a vessel Tanith is determined to use it for her own aims and end the war between the Avicen and Drakharin on her own, very bloody, terms.
In the first book of this trilogy I could easily pick out influences from The Mortal Instruments series and Daughter of Smoke and Bone but The Shadow Hour was much more original. There was a lot more at stake in this book now that the firebird has been unleashed. The plot is just as fast paced as the first and it travels all over the world as Echo, Caius, Ivy, Jasper and Dorian try to stop Tanith and the kuçedra before they make their next moves.
Echo is struggling after everything that happened in the first book, everything she did to save her friends in the Black Forest. Now that she has freed the firebird all the spirits of the other potential vessels have taken up refuge in her head, the strongest of which is Rose causing Echo to question what are her own feelings and what are the other vessels’ feelings.
The Shadow Hour was about Echo’s journey learning about what she is now capable of. she wasn’t aware that she unleashed the kuçedra the same time she did the firebird but now she can’t ignore what is happening, not knowing innocent lives are on the line because of her actions. Echo is portrayed as a smart character but there were times when her knowledge seemed a little too much like deus ex machina for my tastes.
Caius seems to have become the de-facto leader in this book, taking control while everyone else is still reeling from what happened in the Black Forest. Caius has always been a leader and he’s a natural one despite being a little lost himself in this book when it comes to Echo and the other Avicen. Despite everything that she did Caius is still close to his sister, and he still tries to reach out and save her believing he can reach her despite all evidence to the contrary.
The relationship between Echo and Caius develops more in this book but Echo isn’t sure what are her feelings and what are Rose’s feelings. Also with Rowan back in the picture the love triangle between the three of them that was hinted at in the first book seems to play a bigger part in the second leaving Echo confused between her new feelings for Caius and her long term feelings for Rowan.
As with the previous book I was more interested in the secondary characters than I was Echo and Caius. I loved the developing friendship between Ivy and Dorian despite the generations of hatred they had for the other’s species. There was also the addition of another love triangle in this book between Dorian, Jasper and Quinn, and while I thought the addition of Quinn’s character was important to Jasper’s character development I could have done without another love triangle in this series.
One of the things I loved about The Girl at Midnight was all the locations we travelled to following Echo on her adventures. There was just as much travel in The Shadow Hour; as well as seeing more of New York where the Avicen make their home we also see Edinburgh and Scotland, London, and China. Unfortunately in terms of the history of the Avicen and Drakharin races we still don’t get more information on them, both in terms of their separate species and their war with one another. We do however learn more about the firebird in this book. Now it’s not just a myth there’s more the characters discover about its potential, as well as that of the kuçedra which seems to have been locked away with it.
The Shadow Hour was a brilliant addition to The Girl at Midnight series. Despite the issues I had with the main characters the story was fast paced and more than enough to keep me hooked until the very end. Also after the way The Shadow Hour ended I can’t wait to see how things turn out in the third book of the trilogy.
What did you think of The Shadow Hour? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.