The Shadow Hour

May contain spoilers. See my review for book one here

The Shadow Hour
The Girl at Midnight Book Two
Written by Melissa Grey
Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal
Published July 12th 2016
368 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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★★★
Everything in Echo's life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth. She is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.

The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.

Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she's already overcome.

She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.

Echo must decide. Can she wield the power of her true nature, or will it prove too strong for her and burn what's left of her world to the ground?
Since that moment in the Black Forest, Echo will now spend her life on the run. A weapon in a centuries long conflict that threatens to destroy the world. The group are now living in an industrial warehouse in London, while nightmares continue to plague Echo's dreams. Villages burning, volcanic eruptions and the earth engulfed in ashes, coinciding with the release of the Firebird, a light that attracts darkness and carries the whispers of the dead.

The Avicen have always provided Echo with a sense of family, cared for and loved by the Ala who Echo would give her life to protect. When the Avicen community is infiltrated and decimated by Shadows, the Avicen believe the Drakharin are responsible, the new Dragon Prince as brutal as she is bloodthirsty.

Echo is being hunted by a silent killer that threatens to consume her light, generations of Firebirds falling victim to the little known, ancient fable. With New York City in ruin and the Avicen grieving for all they have lost, it will fall upon Echo to become their saviour. But first she must learn to walk in the dark.

My Thoughts

The Girl At Midnight was a lyrically beautiful, atmospheric and likened to the beloved Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Although I enjoyed The Shadow Hour, it didn't hold me captive as the first book in the series had. The mystery surrounding the Firebird is now know to both Avicen and Drakharin alike. Seen as a weapon in a centuries long war, Echo has the power to decimate and destroy, making her a valuable commodity. One aspect I was delighted to explore was the tentative bond shared between Dorian, an Drakharin and Jasper, who is Avicen. I was tiring of the romance between Echo and Caius along with Echo's sweetheart, Avicen Rowan. It was agonising as a reader to experience Echo's indecision between the boy who changed her life, to the young man who has the potential to chance the world. It was refreshing to follow the budding romance between Dorian and Jasper, which is not without it's drama but held such a charming innocence.

Dorian is still coming to terms with the heartbreak over the man who will never return his love, he has spent his time since the Black Forest beside Jasper as he battles an infection that refuses to heal. Dorian is a no nonsense character, while Jasper is skilled in the form of flirtation and innuendo. Together they are simply lovely.

The romance between Echo and Caius, Echo and Rowan, Jasper and Dorian and now Jasper and  his former flame, warlock Quinn. Romantically, the storyline has the potential to alienate readers. Even though Jasper's only interest is in Dorian, former flame Quinn aggressively pursues Jasper by wanting to rekindle their relationship. Meanwhile, while the romance between Echo and Caius has reached a stalemate. Echo's history with Rowan was never revealed and the latter still believes he and Echo are in a relationship. It's not only messy, but it seems Echo begun a relationship with Caius when she was supposedly involved with Rowan. Confused?


I'm absolutely thrilled that the lovely feathered Ivy may have found herself a potential partner. She's a charming and charismatic character who has undergone a tremendous amount of growth.

One aspect I really enjoyed is how the conflict between the Avicen and Drakharin effected the mortal world. New York City lies above the Avicen nest and is decimated by the attack and left in ruins. It could have been the perfect opportunity to explore the worlds colliding scenario, but unfortunately it's never realised. 

Melissa Grey is an achingly beautiful artist, she wields words like weapons but with such elegance and prose. 
Where all things begin, so must all things end. The cradle of life is a pyre come death.
He fell in love with those stories he same way he fell in love with her. A little grudgingly at first, but eventually with complete abandon.
In the acknowledgements, Melissa Grey herself mentions how second in a series installments are incredibly difficult and I think most readers would agree wholeheartedly. In comparison to The Girl At Midnight, it was slightly underwhelming and seems to have misplaced the enchanted quality that endeared and captivated readers. But nevertheless, an entertaining read that has certainly left me eager for the finale. 

16 comments

  1. I agree with this review, Kelly! I loved the progress we saw to Jasper and Dorian's relationship, but I agree that Echo and Caius were at a standstill in this installment. I'm pleased that Ivy has found someone too. I hope the next book will be better for us! No doubt the author is very talented though!
    Great review!

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    1. I love Ivy, she's such a strong and determined character who isn't afraid to admit she's flawed. The style of writing is just beautiful, it's really what's kept me invested.

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  2. I'm so disappointed to learn that Melissa Gray did what I hoped she wouldn't do. I'm so confused about all the pairing and annoyed that there's now a love triangle. >.< Bah.

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    1. Technically, there's two triangles although Jasper only has eyes for Dorian. It did suffer from the dreaded middle series syndrome but the last few chapters were brilliant and I'm excited for the finale.

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  3. I really liked book one, heard the audio last year but now I can't remember much about it. I still want to listen to this one though so it sucks that it wasn't as great as the first.

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    1. Luckily it has enough reminders of the storyline, so it's really easy to pick back up. The writing is still so lovely, but the first half just felt like filler. That ending though. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  4. Holy crap, that paragraph about the couples ... or whatever they are made my head spin. lol. Sounds like a daytime soap opera.

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    1. It was just a bit too messy unfortunately. I hope it's sorted in the next book though Christy or that the romance doesn't overwhelm the finale.

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  5. YES! Writing a sequel to a book, even a MOVIE, I imagine is really hard! You really want to make it just as good as the first one while not leaving out things. But then you have to factor in the fact that EVEN BIGGER things have to happen to make this book even better than the first! Yes, it's a struggle...

    Lovely review as always, Kels! <3

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    1. Thanks lovely girl. I can't imagine it's one of those make or break books for most authors. Really looking forward to the finale though.

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  6. Oh, well that makes me a bit sad. Like you, I found the first book beautifully-written and captivating, so I was expecting similar things from this one, but I'm onna lower my expectations now. Great review! :)

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    1. Thanks Lola. It was still beautifully written, but the first half in part felt underwhelming. The second half increases in intensity as the storyline progresses and leaves you eagerly awaiting the finale. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  7. Well that's a bummer - hopefully the 3rd book will end on a high note.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. I hope so too Karen. Fingers crossed.

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  8. I'm not sure if I will be reading The Shadow Hour, but just reading about all of those relationships is making me very confused. I very much liked Jasper and Dorian's relationship in the first book though, so I'm glad that you found it lovely here!

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  9. make me curious baout this book

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