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Friday, 2 September 2011

Review: By Midnight by Mia James

Title: By Midnight
Series: The Ravenwood Mysteries #1
Author: Mia James
Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: 3 Feb 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon

April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to Highgate, London, with her parents. She's left her friends - and her entire life - behind. She has to start at a new school and, worst of all, now she's stuck in a creepy old dump of a house which doesn't even have proper mobile phone reception. Ravenwood, her new school, is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students - and the only place her parents could find her a place, in the middle of term, in the middle of London, on incredibly short notice. So she's stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart . . . and trying to fit in when the rest of the students seem to be more glamorous, smarter, or more talented than she is, is more than tough. It's intimidating and isolating, even when she finds a friend in the conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps finds something more than friendship in the gorgeous, mysterious Gabriel Swift. But there's more going on at Ravenwood than meets the eye. Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when Gabriel saves her from . . . something . . . in Highgate Cemetery, and then she discovers that a murder took place just yards away from where she had been standing, April has to wonder if something more sinister is going on. . . . and whether or not she's going to live through it . . . To find out more about the Ravenwood series visit


WARNING: I am going to let you know before you start reading my review that you might get washed away in the gushing river I am about to let forth. This book is absolutely AWESOME just so you know [ ; D ]

Written in 3rd person narrative but focalized from April's point of view. April has been taken away from her friends and security of Edinburgh due to her fathers job relocation. But is there more to why her father moved them to Highgate. The writing is typically British which was refreshing as well as adding to the realism for me.

The multi-layered plot makes the third person narrative a necessity in order to keep tight control of the threads. I am not going to give away plot details as it is an intrinsic part of the reading experience in this book. Seriously you have to read it for yourself - vampires, curses, destiny and eastern European folklore all play a part in the plot. Alongside the usual teenage cliques are portrayed brilliantly but with an added dimension taking the characters to another level. I was constantly questioning motives and personalities.

Speaking of characters I have to mention Caro - yes she is a genius and her levels of sarcasm rival my own but boy is she a complete conspiracy nut. I totally loved her. She proves to be a great friend to April in many ways. April is lucky to have her and her friend from Edinburgh (I hate it when I forget to write their names down)  in her life. Especially in the tougher times.

Plus Gabriel *swoonalicious* oh Gabriel what can I say about you other than I totally blame Buffy and Angel for my love of brooding vampires with a conscious.

Beautiful yet chilling Gothic imagery add to the world building. Sensory encompassing so you can lose yourself completely into the pages of the book. I know it is weird but I wanted to go on a tour of Highgate Cemetery and the other places mentioned within the narrative. Tracing Aprils footsteps to add to the realism of the story.

The action is fast-paced and dramatic interspersed with enlightening, reflective prose which gives insight into both the characters and the plot. Put that alongside the amazing character development and interaction and you have one heck of a story.

One thing I will say is that I am glad I have read the book close to the publication of the second book knowing I will not have to wait long to get some of the answers I so desperately need. The ending of By Midnight will leave you gasping for more immediately.

In my humble opinion I think this book is brilliant. I can hear some of you saying 'Oh No, not another vampire book' but read it and I will bet it will renew your love of vampires.


  1. Great review! Think I'll put this on my to read list! :)

    Scarlet Letters

  2. You've sold me on it. Adding to wishlist right away. And I'd never say 'oh no, not another vampire book'! Not a die hard Buffy fan like myself ...

  3. This book sounds SO great! You've really got me wanting to read it now. Cara sounds like my kind of character. lol! Great review!

  4. Love the sound of this! The first line of the synopsis had me! :P. Gabriel and Caro both sound awesome, glad you enjoyed this one! I'll definitely have to read it at some point - thanks for the great review!

  5. Great review Emma! I love the sound of this one and it has now been sat on my TBR for about 6 months! maybe even more! :\ I must get round to it soon!!

  6. I LOVED this book so much so I went and did a tour of Highgate cemetery when I was in London and it was amazing. Just as a pictured it except that it was during the day and no where near as creepy as it would be at night. Cannot wait for Darkness Falls x

  7. fab review my dear! seems like an excellent read!


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