Friday, 13 August 2010

Book Review: By Midnight - Mia James


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 is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) sudents - and the only school where 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 conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps find 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 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...
- From the back of the book.

Edward and Bella, stand aside. Enter April and Gabriel. The two share a love, one that is so strong the are willing to go to great lengths to save the other. They just don't realise it yet. They have a connection, but they aren't quite sure how powerful it is, and what it means. Everything a good book needs to be is By Midnight. It has mystery, romance, suspense, fear. It can make you laugh or cry, and will keep you reading into the night.

It is completely different to any other vampire book I have read before. I started reading, and all I could think was, 'Oh no. It's just like Twilight...' But, actually, the further you get into the book, the more different to Twilight it becomes. The plot is full of twists and turns, is well balanced, and is very difficult to predict. One minute, you'd be so sure you'd figured out the mystery, then you read the next page, and suddenly your theory doesn't make any sense, and you have to start again. Who could the murderer be? It certainly kept me up until the small hours of the morning.

The thing that really worked in the book for me are the characters. Written in third person, you get a look at how all the characters are feeling, instead of just seeing it through one character's eyes. The main character, April Dunne, was written fantastically. Her feelings were portrayed wonderfully, so you always knew how she was feeling, why she felt that way, even if she didn't fully understand that herself. She'd been pulled away from the only life she'd ever known, and thrown in the deep end to something beyond what she could have ever imagined. As you go through the story, you feel her pain as badly as she feels it, feel her joy tumbling off the page. She is definitely one of my favourite characters, not just in this book, but out of all of them. She's definitely up there with Katniss Everdeen, Zoey Redbird, Gemma Doyle and Chloe Saunders, who are my all time favourite lead female protagonists. And, when she's told that there may possibly be vampires in Highgate, what does she do? She laughs in the face of the person who told her, and thinks she's a loony, unlike some people... cough *Bella Swan* cough.

So, if you're looking for a good vampire book, buy this. If you're looking for a good mystery book, buy this. If you're looking for a good summer read, buy this. And if you're not, well, just buy this anyway. It is amazing, one of the best books I have ever read, and I couldn't recommend it to you enough. Go and buy it. You won't be disappointed.

I give it 5 Feet!

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