In The After Light – Alexandra Bracken

I have quite a few different opinions about this book, good and bad, so I’m going to do a bit of background and then jump right into it!

So this book is the last book in the Darkest Minds series, after the emotional end of the second book Never Fade, I had simultaneous high expectations, excitement and curiosity about how the last book would pan out and how one of my new favourite series would end. If you wish to see what we thought on the first two books I shall leave the links here (The Darkest Minds and Never Fade)

Right, let’s get to it, we’ll start with the negatives. This book was VERY SLOW, I felt that it was a real slog to get through to the climax of this book, there was just too much sitting around planning things and too much politics. I know it was developing the story and building to the end, but compared to the previous two books which were action pact all the way through, it was just boring! Secondly, Ruby really annoyed me in this book! Some of the things she did were really frustrating, and it just seemed to me that the better choices were really obvious however she still did the opposite. I suppose emotions were high and everything so perhaps things weren’t so clear, but still, it annoyed me, it just seemed as though she was trying too hard to be a martyr.

Well that’s it for the negatives, on to the bits that I LOVED! Firstly, overall, Liam was such a little cutie, he is definitely one of my faviourite characters, but again some of the things he did were a little irritating, but what he did helped the overall story. Also he was just adorable, especially with Ruby, and there were some really cute lovey dovey scenes that were a nice relief to the intense politics of the rest of the book. Finally, without a doubt, the best part of the book was the end! Bracken took it in a different direction to what I was expecting which I loved, also it was really exciting, really intense and had me on the edge of my seat! It was a brilliant and satisfying ending to the series!

Overall, I did enjoy this book but the ending made it A LOT better! I’m going to award it a 3 out of 5 stars, a definite read to finish the series, especially if you want a secure closure, but not my favourite in the series.

The Mirk and Midnight Hour – Jane Nickerson

I don’t really know where to start with this book, I found it all a bit surprising, in good ways and bad. The blurb was a little bit misleading, along with the cover it gave the illusion of more of a fantasy and mystery book, where really it was more of a period contemporary book that happened to have a bit of mystery trickled through.

This book is set during the civil war in America (which being a bit of a history nerd I really enjoyed). It follows the trials and tribulations of Violet Dancey who is a 17 year old during this war, where the importance of family and the horrors of war force Violet to grow up quickly in order to get through. However, one day during exploring, she finds an injured enemy soldier, but everything is not as it seems as he seems to be being healed by the ancient magic of hoodoo, but for what purpose? As romance blossoms, time is of the essence as events unfurl and trust is questioned, will the war break up Violet and her family?

To start on a positive, the ending was great, full of twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting (well, I was expecting some…) and it was interesting to see which characters could and couldn’t be trusted. However, it was just really slow! It took a long time to get into and the first half was boring and uneventful… If I wasn’t on holiday and had a lot of time to read, it probably would have taken me a long time to read… although saying this, the end is good and tense and exciting, but the lead up just took so long!

I felt as though the element of Hoodoo/Voodoo was really interesting and exciting, but I felt as though there wasn’t enough of it, actually I felt like I was reading three different stories that weren’t very successfully stuck together… one story a cute contemporary about forbidden love, one about magic and Voodoo and the other about the trials and tribulations of family, yes they were kind of linked but I just wanted more cool magic and more cute love and less of the boring, descriptive family time. I feel like I’m being a bit mean here but this book just wasn’t the kind of book I was expecting from what the blurb implied.

I really did like the characters of this book though, some of them had some beautiful character arcs (both good and bad arcs…) that I wasn’t expecting, they’re personalities were so strong that I just assumed they would just stay that way, so I was really pleasantly surprised to discover that they were slowly changing.

I feel as though I have been a bit mean in this review, it was a good book that I enjoyed (towards the end…) I’m going to award this book a 3 out of 5 stars, the third star comes purely from the interesting ending… thinking about it now, this is a good book in the sense that it is a mix of lots of different genres, so if you like mixed genre books, maybe this is for you, just bear in mind that it might take some time to get into the story.