Midnight Beauties – Megan Shepherd
Release date: 13 August 2019
Book Depository link
Midnight Beauties (Grim Lovelies, #2) blurb:
Ever since she discovered her affinity for magic, seventeen-year-old Anouk has been desperate to become a witch. It’s the only way to save her friends who, like Anouk, are beasties – animals enchanted into humans. But unlike Anouk, the other beasties didn’t make it out of the battle at Montélimar in one piece.
With her friends now trapped in their animal forms and imprisoned by Prince Rennar, Anouk is forced into a sinister deal with her sworn enemy and a deadly trial by fire – deep within the forests of Bavaria – to become a witch.
But Anouk soon realises that the beasties are not the only ones in danger. The fiercest coven of witches that history has ever seen has unleashed a plague on London, and the Haute may not be strong enough to fight it on their own.
With the fate of the two worlds hanging in the balance, Anouk must unlock her power and forge new alliances to prevent tragedy. But what happens when Anouk discovers she might not always be the witch she always believed she was?
Book 1: Grim Lovelies
I have to say, this is going to be a really hard book review to write. Partially because it was one of my most anticipated books of the year… but also because as much as there were elements of this story that I absolutely LOVED, there were also bits of it … that could have been better.
I really loved that Anouk didn’t succeed at everything the first time she tried it. That was really important to me. I cannot stand when characters are just amazing at everything as soon as they do it. I love that she failed (I know this sounds mean, but really, who is amazing the first time they do anything? This is why the saying is “practice makes perfect”.)
I also loved that it wasn’t a ‘bury your gays’ story. It could have been so easily, and it did hurt to a certain extent, but they didn’t kill them…
It was a really fast paced story. There was lots of action, enough drama, some tender moments. I didn’t find myself skimming pages thinking “ooof, why is this conversation still going” or rolling my eyes at Anouk’s internal debates. It was just really good overall pace.
The characters are so great. I particularly love Anouk, Cricket, Hunter Black, Prince Rennar and Petra. But a lot of the ones who were kind of annoying in the first book got a bit of a redemption arc, which was really nice.
The world building and the scene setting was really captivating. I could feel what the forest and the castle was like. I love how Castles Ides is set up. I like the spin of how the magic has a limit, and that it costs – you can’t just continuously spell forever or on your own. I really love how this is done.
There were these really strange gaps in the storyline. I’d be reading and I would sometimes wonder how they got to where they were, or how the character was suddenly holding something. I don’t know if this was an editing thing or a restructure thing, but I certainly didn’t feel the disconnect in the first book, so this was kind of disappointing.
I also felt like maybe it could have done with one more round of edits. There was a couple of pages where the same sentence appeared more than once, but in a different paragraph. Like they had been testing where the sentence would flow better … and just forgot to take one of them out?! There were also a couple of tiny grammatical errors, like a full stop and then a run on sentence with no space. I know this wouldn’t bother a lot of people, but part of my job is to Quality Assure (QA) reports and briefs, so I always see these.
I’m gonna say it: I don’t like the love interest. He BORES me. Anouk is too good for him. I won’t say any more here, but if you’re interested, check the spoiler part below.
Some of the plot twists were a little bit predictable. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they were bad – but I definitely saw them coming. With the exception of one thing at the every end of the book…
Also, this has NOTHING to do with the story, but the blurb lies!! Anouk is NOT seventeen years old. This is just one more reason to not read blurbs…
Overall, it’s a good book. It’s a great duology. I do recommend it, so highly. Grim Lovelies was one of my favourite books from last year, and the mechanics of the story are really unique.
If you love fairytales, witches, magic, really vulnerable characters, and books set across Europe (Paris, London, Schwarzwald) then this is the book for you!
I must say, I HATE Beau. He’s so annoying!! (I imagine this is how people feel about Mal in the Grishaverse.)
Also, I didn’t think Rennar came across as quite so evil – like, his change at the end kind of blew my mind. I really just wanted him to tell Anouk that he loved her, and then for Beau to somehow die, and then Anouk and Rennar living together, happily ever forever.
But that’s it really!
ooh I didn’t know grim lovlies had a sequel haha! I think I want to pick up this duology, it does sound interesting!
Weird about the time gaps though..
Thanks Evelyn!! It’s possibly just me?? I’m not sure. I know Joe @ Storeys of Stories will read it soon so I’m waiting on his review!! (We both LOVED Grim Lovelies)
ooh i will check that out as well!