By Midnight by Mia James

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By Midnight by Mia James

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: The latest in the teen vampire romance genre proves a real winner thanks to the brilliant descriptions of London and an excellent cast of characters.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Gollancz
ISBN: 978-0575095526

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April Dunne doesn't really consider herself to be a genius, and her family certainly aren't rich - so how did she get accepted by the ultra-prestigious Ravenwood school when her family moved from Scotland to Highgate? She can't work it out but has other problems to worry about, in any case, such as the two local murders and the way people at her school get angry when she tries to take their photograph. On the plus side, there's a seriously stunning boy she's drawn to straight away, Gabriel Swift, and she thinks he likes her, although his behaviour is weird at times.

Another day, another young adult vampire novel. Many teens will have read about a dozen of these recently, and if so this will feel pretty familiar. Feisty new girl at school - check. Handsome and mysterious boy - check. Dark secrets gradually revealed - check. So, what makes this one stand out? A couple of things, including a well-drawn supporting cast - I particularly liked April's parents and her conspiracy obsessed friend Caro, one of the spunkier sidekicks in recent memory – and the general atmosphere, which is one of delicious menace with some heart-stopping moments right the way through the book.

The main way in which it lifts itself above an admittedly crowded field, though, is the description of London itself. Mia James (a pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Tasmina and John Perry) does a superb job of really capturing my favourite city, and tying in vampire lore to Jack the Ripper, the expansion of the Underground, and the famous Highgate Cemetery. I think the setting definitely gave it a huge boost above most of the American books of this ilk, especially to those of us who are familiar with the capital and the locations described. I also love the authors' writing style, as they really keep the tension going throughout the book.

The main romance of April and Gabriel is also extremely well developed, and the publicity which is billing them as the new Edward and Bella probably isn't misplaced. The plot is fast and furious, as well – lots of twists, lots of action, and some great dialogue. I'm certainly looking forward to the next installment in the series, and hope that the authors can continue to keep to this high standard.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: Tons to choose from if you like this, and I'll steer clear of the obvious one for now. Instead, I'd say that Lauren Kate's Fallen and the stunning Deep South based Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, are absolutely unmissable.

Buy By Midnight by Mia James at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy By Midnight by Mia James at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy By Midnight by Mia James at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy By Midnight by Mia James at Amazon.co.uk.


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