Sunday 17 October 2010

BY MIDNIGHT by Mia James

April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to London with her parents, leaving behind her school, her friends…her entire life, basically.

Ravenwood, her new school, might be a prestigious academy for gifted super-rich super-smart students but there s more going on there than meets the eye.

Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when her new friend 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 she s going to live through it…

*There may be some (minor) spoilers in this review*

Isn't the cover for this book pretty? Let me start by telling you that I was absolutely hooked by this book, from the very beginning. Wow, what a story.

April Dunne is sixteen years old and has just moved to Highgate in north London. She's not happy about having to leave Edinburgh behind, where all of her friends and even her crush lives. But her father has found himself a new job here--he's an investigative journalist who also writes books about conspiracies and other strange phenomena. Having her parents argue all the time, and being distant from her mother doesn't help. Not to mention that she's pretty sure her parents, and even her grandfather, are keeping secrets from her.

Having to attend the prestigious school called Ravenwood doesn't improve things. Everyone's either super rich, or super intelligent. Still, meeting a conspiracy-nut called Caro, and the gorgeous Gabriel help matters a little. Yet, things don't seem to be normal in Highgate. People act strange around her, especially the boys. But she figures it's just because she's the new girl.

When a murder happens in the nearby cemetery and Gabriel saves her, April's life begins to spiral downward.

Suddenly, she finds herself in the middle of some very scary situations, one of which takes her father away from her. Determined to get to the bottom of it, she begins to suspect everyone, and is determined to find out who killed her father. Putting her own life on the line.

And when she finds out the truth about who and what she really is, it will challenge everything she's ever believed.

I absolutely loved every moment of it, and couldn't wait to get back to reading. April seems like such an average girl dealing with typical teenage angst after having to start fresh in the middle of the school year in a new school. But life throws some very serious and painful things her way, things that normal teens don't have to deal with. Being forced to face a myth that actually turns out to be a reality, after she argued with her father about it just before he died, makes everything that little bit harder to deal with.

By Midnight was brilliant! Everything about this story was drenched in suspense so thick that every time I turned to a new page, it was with a combination of excitement and anticipation. I couldn't get enough of the events and enjoyed how they slowly unravelled the mystery of Ravenwood, leading to a very violent conclusion.

I loved this book so much. It's intriguing, heartbreaking, interesting, deep, and just... wonderful. An absolute page-turner. April was a great character to get to know, and I liked Gabriel. I found him to be an enigma, but I never suspected him. I also love that the vampire lore has been challenged here, introduced, and dealt with in a very unique way.

I can't wait to find out if there will be more, because reading another book set in this world would be an awesome thing!

By Midnight: Ravenwood Mystery, September 2010, ISBN 9780575095533, Gollancz Paperback

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