Review: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey

The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey

The Shadow Hour (The Girl at Midnight #2)
Melissa Grey
Delacorte Press
Published July 12, 2016

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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?
   Welcome to the shadow hour.

Shadow Hour on Goodreads

My Review

I keep trying to figure out who my favorite character is, and every time I settle on one member of the cast, I remember another member who’s so amazing. I always loved Echo– right from the beginning of the first book in the series. She has such deep longing to belong and to protect her friends. I’m not sure it’s possible to dislike Ivy, Echo’s Avicen friend. She’s all the things a good friend should be: gentle but brave, loyal but not blinded by it.

Then of course there are the boys. I’m totally team Caius, and I forgot that Echo had a relationship with an Avicen before she left in the first book. So that was a bit startling to read, but honestly my fault for not remembering the first book very well. So that creates a bit of a love triangle, which kind of distracts from the story, but ultimately was okay.

I like the complexity of Caius, though. He’s torn between loyalty to his people– who’ve pretty much abandoned him now that his sister has taken the throne. And he loves his sister, even though she stole his crown and tried to kill him. He’s smart, and he pays attention to the people around him.

Ultimately THE SHADOW HOUR has that middle book feel, where you know it’s setting things up for the big final book. Echo has a quest, and she and her team pursue a specific goal (as do her enemies), but you can see all the pieces begin to come together for the final battle.

I think book two in a series with a really clever story world always has a hard time comparing with book one because we’ve lost the element of discovering that amazing world. Though liked the first book in the series better than the second, but I’d say THE SHADOW HOUR is still a good book. I enjoyed reading it. I want to read the third book, too, but I will confess that I flipped through the pages of THE SAVAGE DAWN and noticed that a character I like dies. So… hmm. It doesn’t change the fact that I want to read it, but it’s kind of slowing me down a little bit.

Read on for notes on content in THE SHADOW HOUR.

Characters have a variety of skin tones. Other than Echo, they’re from a made up world. Two prominent characters are gay.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used fairly frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl and between boy and boy. Lots of romantic tension between the two boys. A girl and boy sleep side by side, but mostly keep to themselves other than some cuddling.

Late in the story, it’s clear two characters intend to pursue having sex.

Spiritual Content
At the end of THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT, Echo becomes the Firebird, a mythical creature with power that’s supposed to save her people. In THE SHADOW HOUR, we learn that there’s an opposite force to the Firebird, something that seeks to destroy her and anyone she loves. Echo also carries with her the memories of previous Firebirds, and at times relives their fears and loves.

Violent Content
Graphic battle scenes. A mysterious illness plagues battle victims, killing many. Some (not gross graphic, but still dark) descriptions of a prisoner, bound and tortured.

Drug Content
Echo briefly battles memories of her violent alcoholic mother.

Shadow Hour on Amazon
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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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