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Friday, April 4, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Midnight Witch, by Paula Brackston

"The dead are seldom silent. All that is required for them to be heard is that someone be willing to listen. I have been listening to the dead all my life." 

Lady Lilith Montgomery is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is one of the most beautiful young women in London and engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. She is also a witch.

When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes on his title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her engagement to her childhood friend and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt. 

Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves. To tell him will risk everything.

As much as this seemed to be pushed on my Amazon recommendations, I'd really sort of expected more from this book. For those that know my reading habits, it took me 3 days to finish this book. (I typically read a book a day. Long books in a day and a half.)

The story itself is fine, if a bit disjointed. The were some inconsistencies that bugged me that might not bother others (like why the "all-powerful coven" was hamstrung by its own Head Witch). My issue was with Lilith and the writing.

Lilith is now the leader of a major coven. Senior witches expect her to be a strong leader, like her father, and to protect the coven and its interests. With this comes a certain "don't let your emotions rule you" caveat.

So, what's she do? She tells a man she barely knows her secret. All her secrets. And she uses her power and knowledge as the coven leader to bring someone back from the dead--but doesn't keep control of the situation. She's wishy-washy about the men in her life, and just generally doesn't think sometimes.

The back and forth between a 1st person narrator and 3rd person just drove me up the wall. I wasn't sure what the purpose was in doing that--seemed a bit much to me. I also couldn't decide if being set in Edwardian England had a purpose. I honestly felt like it could've been set at any point and the story would've carried just as well. I guess, it felt like a device for the sake of a device--not because it needed to be in that time period.

It's one that if you don't read too critically, you'll enjoy it.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from St. Martin's Press (Thomas Dunne Books) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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