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1 May 2016

Review: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey

Book description: Paperback ARC, 432 pages
Expected publication date: July 12 2016 by Delacorte Press
Sequel to 'The Girl At Midnight'
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 it 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.
Reviewer's copy: Paperback ARC
Source: Krista Marino (Melissa's editor) sent a copy through Delacorte Press

The source in no way affects or dictates my opinions in this review.

The book:
'The Shadow Hour' was delivered to me quite unexpectedly. After trying, and failing, to find a copy of 'The Girl At Midnight' in the UK, I got in touch with her editor Krista to see if she knew where I could get a copy. She was extremely helpful and offered to ship me a copy. When the parcel arrived, I was expecting one paperback book, but instead Krista had sent me a hardback copy AND an ARC of 'The Shadow Hour'! So first I would like to say a huge thank you to Krista and the people at Delacorte Press for being kind enough to send me the books.

I am one of those readers who will read just about anything, but I've always loved fantasy novels, due to reading books such as 'The Chronicles of Narnia', 'The Harry Potter series', and most of Enid Blyton's books when I was little, so Melissa Grey's books really appealed to me.

Echo, the main character and through whom most of the story is told, is a complex but extremely strong character. She is dealing with the revelation that she is the firebird, while also dealing with her own personal dilemmas. I love the fact that Melissa manages to show that Echo is still just a teenager while also showing the reader that she is wise beyond her years. She is Latina, a fact I was not aware of up until recently. I am ashamed to say that I automatically assumed that Echo was of white heritage, an assumption that was soon corrected when Melissa tweeted that Echo was actually Latina, like herself. Melissa stated that she didn't make a big deal out of it, as Echo was not raised in that culture, but she didn't want Echo to be whitewashed. So I believe an apology is owed - both to Melissa and Echo herself - for me whitewashing Echo until I was put straight by Melissa's tweet. I have always believed we need more diversity in books, and yet I made the error of assuming Echo was white. I'm not going to go into diversity in YA fiction, and fiction in general (let's save that for another post) but just as a warning to all of you readers out there - don't make that mistake of whitewashing character just because their heritage is not specifically stated.

I could go on for hours, describing each character and how brilliantly Melissa has portrayed them, but I'm not sure how many people would actually read it or how many I'd send off to sleep! So we'll leave it at that.

The plot is wonderfully thought out, and is elaborate but not so confusing that the reader can't follow it. The general theme is fantasy however it is a great mix of action, adventure and romance. It is a book that will stay with you long after you finish - a truly amazing novel. Overall the book is extremely well written, and I loved every bit of it. I'd highly recommend it to anyone - both avid fantasy readers and those who don't read much fantasy alike!


About the author:
Melissa Grey was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn't stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she embarked on an adventure of global proportions and discovered a secret talent for navigating subway systems in just about any language. She works as a freelance journalist in New York City. 'The Shadow Hour' is her second novel, and the sequel to her first, 'The Girl At Midnight'. To learn more about Melissa, visit, follow @meligrey on Twitter, and look for melissagrey on Instagram.

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