The Savage Dawn

28872472by Melissa Grey
YA Fantasy
4 of 5 stars

I was determined to catch up and finish this series and I got to it only a month after it ended, so…success! Echo and her band of allies has come a long way from an ill-timed museum heist and they managed to stay optimistic in the face of unbearable darkness in this book.

Tanith is the vessel for the kuçedra, the opposite of Echo’s firebird in every way. Tanith is determined to unmake the world and remake it into one that the Drakharin rule. Echo and her fragile Avicen/Drakharin alliance are left scrambling, always one step behind, wondering if any power they possess can combat Tanith.

From the beginning, Echo’s sharp wit and ready jokes combined with the alluring and sometimes dark magic of her world drew me in, and in the second book I was even more impressed with the balance of bravado and gravitas. This time, things grew so serious that I found their attempts at humor a bit off. I was so struck by the dire events surrounding them that jokes fell flat for me.

The inexorable pull of threads to tie up keeps the pages turning, but the stakes rose so rapidly I struggled to pace. There were bold choices made in this installment which I admire. Overall, this is a good end for the trilogy and it holds true to its themes throughout. I just love this cast of characters! 

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Savage Dawn is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – The massive and spell-binding conclusion to this trilogy about seraphs, chimaera and star-crossed lovers that hoped to stop their endless war. Karou and Akiva’s splintered relationship is all that remains to ally them against Jael’s army of seraphs that want to rule all of Eretz and Earth. See my review here.
  • Valiant by Holly Black – When Val runs away to New York City, she falls in with a group of friends and their mysterious, at times dangerous magical contacts. They live in the subway system, and Val quickly learns that monsters come in many forms.
  • So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane – I was enthralled with this story when it came out! Nita finds a “how to” guide book in the vein of learning a career, except this book teaches you how to become a wizard. Once she meets fellow wizard Kit, they are drawn into adventures. It’s like an American “Harry Potter” before HP hit it big.

What’s new this month

July is far from dead on my reading schedule! Check these out:

335403477/11 – Monstress Vol. 2 – by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

One of my most-anticipated releases!!! The first volume was my top read last year and I can’t wait to sink back into this dark and lovely story. Maika’s past remains mysterious, the monster inside her grows more threatening, and even more darkness resides in her world. The artwork is gorgeous, it’s full of female protagonists and antagonists, and the depth of world-building demands that you keep pace or fall behind. It’s fabulous in every way!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

314507527/11 – Because You Love to Hate Me – edited by Ameriie

Thirteen short stories about villains from thirteen amazing authors! Actually, the authors each teamed up with a booktuber to tell different classic stories from the villain’s point of view. Villains are so much fun when they are done well, and I can’t wait to see another side of some of my favorite stories! Most of these authors have crafted antagonists in their own series that have made me cringe with their ruthless behavior, so I know this collection cannot disappoint.

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

7/11 – The Savage Dawn – by Melissa Grey28872472

This has been a fun trilogy and I’m excited to see how it ends! Grey has developed a large cast filled with everything I love: secrets, banter, romance, darkness. Echo has changed so much since the first book and I’m sure she’ll have some tricks up her sleeve when she faces off against Tanith. Nothing good can come of Tanith and Caius’ twisted relationship and how the siblings end is almost more interesting to me than any of the romantic pairings. I have a few guesses about how this will end but we’ll see!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

302370617/25 – Daughter of the Burning City – by Amanda Foody

Shameless promotion time!!! Amanda happens to be part of my writing group and I had the chance to read this dark, weird story a few months ago! (Spoiler: it’s brilliant). If you have wanted to be swept away to a festival since January’s Caraval, be sure to attend Gomorrah! Sorina is a rare illusion-worker who runs the carnival’s Freak Show. Her illusions seem solid and alive, but they aren’t real. At least, she thought that until one of them is murdered. She has to find the killer before her entire family is destroyed. It’s not often I encounter an imagination so radically different from my own—this is one of those times. Be prepared for shivers!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

The Shadow Hour

27245910by Melissa Grey
YA Fantasy
4 of 5 stars

I finally got around to this sequel! The debut was such a fun surprise of humor and magic that I knew I wanted to invest in this series—I just got side-tracked for awhile.

We pick up 3 months after the events in The Girl at Midnight, with the gang hiding out in London as Jasper recovers from injuries. Echo and Caius try to figure out what strange dark monster is terrorizing the world and how to keep his sister Tanith from using it to fight the firebird. They learn the kuçedra is a shadow monster born to balance the firebird’s light, and much like the firebird, it can house itself in a living vessel. More chaos ensues as Echo and Tanith try to get to it first, and there are a lot of casualties along the way.

Although this is much darker, as middle books usually are, there are still really fun moments of flirting and jokes to lighten the growing feeling of utter doom.  My favorite moments were several key conversations between Caius and Tanith, Echo and Rowan, and Jasper and Dorian. Everyone has a nuanced arc and it’s satisfying to see how much they’ve all grown up and grown together.

We finally get some backstory about several characters, most intriguingly Echo, and there are some good surprises in this fast-paced adventure. (And a cliff-hanger ending, so prepare yourself). I was most impressed by how the gravity of this book seemed to grow organically from the relatively light-hearted first installment. The writing isn’t overly flowery but there are some heartfelt descriptions that had me pause in admiration!

Definitely a worthy sequel and I’m excited to see how this wraps up this summer! If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Shadow Hour is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – The most noted similarities between this trilogy and Grey’s have fallen away now, and Echo stands on her own. But this is definitely an excellent series to try if you love Echo’s journey! Karou and Akiva struggle to trust each other and build up the chimaera to face the seraphs as exposure in the human world threatens everything. See my review here.
  • Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater – A music prodigy attracts a soul-eating faerie muse who offers to enhance his skills and must resist. See my review here.
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – Siblings Hazel and Ben must defend their hometown when the faeries in their neighboring forest start to get violent. See my review here.

What’s new this month

Still quiet for me on the new release front, except for these two gems!

272459107/12 – The Shadow Hour – by Melissa Grey

The sequel to the adventurous and charming debut novel The Girl at Midnight, we find out what Echo does with her new-found knowledge about her true identity. I’m looking forward to more crackling dialogue and tension-filled interactions between these amazing characters! I enjoyed the first book so much because of these characters. There’s an amazing sibling dynamic, LGBT romance, and intriguing mythology. Jump into this series now!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

290560837/31 – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – by J.K. Rowling

Could there be any release more momentous?! This copy of the stage play’s script allows everyone to access the newest tale about the boy wizard-or in this case, the Boy Who Lived all grown-up. I’ll be honest, Harry becoming a government employee is not the future I imagined, but I have faith in Rowling and I’m sure this will be a fun, moving addition to the series. At least now I don’t have to save up $4,000 to see it in London!

More info here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

What to read again:

Ever since Harry Potter I’ve enjoyed re-reading the previous books in a series before the next one comes out. You get to soak up all the nuances and speculate about what’s going to happen next—it just makes the whole experience richer and more fun! What am I going to start re-reading?

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Girl at Midnight

This book is so much fun! It’s like a lighter version of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. There are hilarious friendships, tenuous alliances, and dangerous quests as Echo hunts down the Firebird–the one power that might stop a centuries-old war between the Avicen (bird) and Drakharin (dragon) people.  I really connected with these characters–the best part being that the side characters were cardboard holding up the plot. Normally debut novels are a bit rocky for me, especially in terms of character development, but that wasn’t the case this time. (See my review here). Definitely a fun read that kept my attention–I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next book for what feels like forever! Read this before the sequel comes out next month!


The Girl at Midnight

20345202by Melissa Grey
YA Fantasy
3 of 5 stars
Debut novel – April 28, 2015

This is a strong first book in a trilogy – I actually have a list of the things I loved! To start with, modern-day magic and the legend of the firebird. Lately YA novels have been branching out a bit more with their myths of choice and I like it. Creatures like the firebird have more fluid identities and it’s much harder to guess which one any particular author is going to choose.

Echo might not be the sharpest protagonist all the time (part of the curse of being the main character is that you don’t realize when you are in a story like the ones you’ve read), but she was so much fun I didn’t mind. Actually, the whole cast was strong. Grey spent the time to give each character an arc, and that was the best thing about this novel. Typically there’s a side character that you love but has no real backstory or character change–they are there as the best friend, or the slightly cool enemy, or some other two-dimensional reason. They do one thing that carries the plot for a moment. But here we have Echo, Caius, Dorian, Ivy, Jasper, all with their own motivations and struggles, and the dynamic between them all was fantastic. Nobody was left being a cardboard side prop. The other bonus to me was the relationship between Tanith and Caius-siblings with opposing visions for the best way to lead their people; the Avatar: The Last Airbender vibe was well-done.

However, I did have a minor bone to pick that resulted in a lower rating. Double negatives. Consistently characters “couldn’t not do” something, and it drove me crazy. Couldn’t not = did. If you couldn’t not smile, you did smile, or you smiled knowing you shouldn’t, but it happened. This isn’t a matter of “voice.”

I enjoyed the story, the world, the characters most of all, and I will be checking out the next book as soon as it comes out!

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Girl at Midnight is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – This is an excellent option if you just can’t wait for the sequel to The Girl at Midnight next year. See my review here.
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – In actuality, The Raven Cycle quartet is what I’m recommending. Paranormal events in a small, sleepy Virginia town centered around the non-clairvoyant daughter in a family of psychic women, and the prep school boys on a quest for the legendary wish-granting Welsh king buried under a mountain. See my review here.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer – A quartet of fairy tale retellings with a sci-fi twist. See my review here.
  • Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes – An older series featuring a hawk princess and a serpent prince trying to end the war between their people. Short but excellent.

What’s new this month

These are the books I’m excited about this April. In no particular order, here’s a little bit about each of them:

Becoming Jinn4/21 – Becoming Jinn – by Lori Goldstein – debut novel

I’ve kicked around the idea of writing about jinn/genies myself, so the concept alone was enough to grab me here. Taking an ancient aspect of story-telling and pulling it into modern day can be hit-or-miss for me, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s a debut novel so I expect a few kinks, but if the characters leap off the page I will invest in this series for sure! A sequel is already slated for 2016.

More info here: Goodreads and Amazon

Rook4/28 – Rook – by Sharon Cameron

The cover art and ending line of the blurb sold this to me. Mystery and intrigue between two characters supposedly in a trusting relationship? The opportunities for entertainment and twists are endless! I’m hoping for a lot of good dialogue and awkward situations here – and hopefully the mystery is paced well. It’ll be a bummer if it drags or gets revealed too early, I’ve had that happen too often.

++++++++++++++++.More info here: Goodreads and Amazon

The Girl at Midnight

4/28 – The Girl at Midnight – by Melissa Grey – debut novel

I’m desperately hoping this is perfect blend of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Shadow and Bone, and Aladdin. Maybe a dash of mythology too, given that the main character is Echo. Goodreads has it tagged a series, so there may be a cliff-hanger ending. Everyone has their own view of New York City, so I’m interested to see how this one will add to that.

More info here: Goodreads and Amazon

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