Midnight Hour by C.C. Hunter + Giveaway

midnighthour_final-cvr_revisedMidnight Hour by C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark Book #4 (4/4)
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on October 25, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

3 Stars, Completed October 21, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

As sad as it was to know that in a few weeks she wouldn’t call Shadow Falls her home, she knew change was inevitable. And while this address wouldn’t be listed on forms, it would always be listed in her heart. She took with her the life lessons she learned. Here, she’d found self-confidence. She’d learned how to dream, how to never turn away from a leap of faith.

She learned the value of friendships. Of laughter during hard times. Of love.

And so the conclusion to the Shadow Falls series is here! The release of Midnight Hour actually came as a huge surprise to me seeing that I thought this series ended last year with book three, Unspoken, but I’m not complaining since this gives me another excuse to revisit this world one last time.

In this fourth and final installment, like the rest of the students at Shadow Falls Miranda Kane is preparing for her senior year graduation (meaning she has to study and take the SAT once again for college entry because of her dyslexia). But, of course, at Shadow Falls where all things paranormal exist nothing stays normal and calm for long. Miranda unintentionally becomes involved in a crazy situation, and when she awakes in the hospital after the near-death experience she finds a growing tattoo on her body. Many are already disappointed in her for not meeting the standards and surrendering the title of High Priestess (basically the most powerful witch) to her sister, so adding this mystery is not going to please her mom. But then her sister’s kidnapped, and all hell breaks loose in town as local robberies and murders surface. With Midnight Hour, the unstoppable team at Shadow Falls (Miranda, Della, and Kylie) are back to kick butt and set everything right.

Because Unspoken gave readers full closure on most of the characters’ stories and was a sufficient finale to the series itself, Midnight Hour isn’t entirely mandatory for readers of the series. They can choose if they want to continue on with this conclusion or leave this world at where Unspoken ended. I suggest picking this up if you’re curious about Miranda’s end, really enjoy her as a character, or like the Wicca mythology in this series. But, yes, this is the true conclusion to the Shadow Falls spinoff series, Shadow Falls: After Dark, not Unspoken as I previously thought.

Of the roundtable diet coke girls (only fans of the series will understand this reference), my favorite has always been Della not just because she happens to be part Asian but for her spunky attitude and boundless sardonic remarks. Plus, reading about vampire lore is more my thing since it’s a great guilty pleasure of mine. Honestly, I liked this spinoff series (even more than the original Shadow Falls) because of Della. Though, like I said, readers already reach a satisfying end with her story in Unspoken. So, even though Midnight Hour is part of the Shadow Falls: After Dark sequence, it’s no longer written in Della’s perspective but Miranda’s (as well as Perry and Shawn’s). I must admit that this sudden narrator change in the series-even though it made complete sense why it had to be done-affected my enjoyment of the book in a slightly negative way.

And another part of me is bummed by a few other reasons:

It irked me that nearly all the characters were paired off with a love interest in the end-even the rebounds and defeated contenders in the love triangles. You guys know that I’m a total romantic and love when ships go cannon… but that doesn’t mean I believe that you have to be with someone in order to achieve happiness. It just felt extremely forced with Shawn and Lily for me. Miranda was Shawn’s first love. I get that he continues to care for her after the breakup. However, the plot line with him suddenly being attracted to Lily (and Lily to him, too!) appeared too fast and quixotic to me. His romantic disinterest towards Miranda and abrupt attraction to Lily felt more like a mechanism to end the love triangle than a way to show that Shawn had truly moved on from his old feelings for the witch.

Speaking of love triangles, many of you know it’s not really something that annoys me like other readers if done convincingly. However, as I read Miranda’s tale I couldn’t help but find jarring similarities between her and her best friend’s arcs. Kylie, Della, and Miranda all were mixed up in a love triangle, chose the “bad guy” among the two love interests, possessed a variance of the “special snowflake” or “chosen one” syndrome (Kylie being chameleon, Della being a reborn, and now Miranda being mystic), and shared ghost whispering abilities (which is supposed to be super rare among paranormals for this world). Midnight Hour did feel, at times, familiar, repetitive, and predictable. And these coincidences are the primary reason why I’m knocking off the amount of stars I did.

Yet, despite the flaws and lower rating, there was still much to like about Midnight Hour.

There is talk of sex more in this one compared to the previous books in this series, which I don’t necessarily consider to be bad at all since I’m an advocate for sex positive themes in YA literature.

Of course, knowing Hunter, all the action scenes with the FRU were executed perfectly and remained as my favorites. Seeing the girls kick butt will never get humdrum. We, thankfully, still see a lot of Della, and with her there are a myriad of belly laugh worthy comedic scenes. (Her and the fur balls moments though, haha.) I was beyond happy we got more Holiday and Burnett since they’re such lovable, parental figures to the young cast. Even reading the short moments with Luke, Chase, and Perry working together under FRU made me smile (the boyfriends unite!). All in all, it was just nice to see the reappearance of old characters.

Every yesterday is a memory of dreams.
Every tomorrow is a vision of hopes.
Together we unite
To accept our differences
To appreciate our uniqueness
To make our world a just and fair place

Join us at the midnight hour
June 16th
for the Shadow Falls Academy Graduation

Lastly, “attending” the girls graduation evoked nice, heartwarming feels. I literally started reading these books when I was a young teenager so somewhat growing along with this cast has made this a special series for me.

I know this review may not reflect it well since I did elaborate on the criticisms than the positives, but I enjoyed Midnight Hour. It’s debatable if it is an necessary or unnecessary addition to the series. Again, that depends on how the reader and how he/she feels about Miranda. But either way, it was still nice to visit Shadow Falls once again. It also feels extremely gratifying to say that I’ve read the entire Shadow Falls series (spin-offs, novellas, and all). I spent time with these characters over a stretch of more than ten books, and it was great witnessing their growth and stories come full circle in the end.

Quotes were taken from an uncorrected advance readers copy.

Thank you St. Martin’s Griffin for having me as part of the blog tour and allowing me to read and review Midnight Hour. In no way did this affect my reading experience or honest review.

Also St. Martin’s Griffin has hosted a generous giveaway for Midnight Hour and some Shadow Falls swag. Do take a look here!

Direct Link: http://us.macmillan.com/smp/promo/midnighthoursweepstakes

Summer’s Playlist:
Into You | Make You Feel | Spotless Mind | Until We Get There | Rise
*the bold/underlined are must listens!


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