Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

“Love does not always come in convenient packages…”

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

Although I was a devoted Twilight Saga fan back in the day, I have since moved on from paranormal romance so when I heard this book was coming out, I was keen to read it for the sake of tapping back into an old fandom but I did not have high expectations for this book. I felt this book was released at a good time when the world is enduring a global pandemic, revisiting an old fandom is just what we needed for a reprieve. Whilst I didn’t have high expectations for this book, I must admit the book did not disappoint. I had the pleasure of reading along with a group of friends and was able to share a fun reading experience with them.

First of all, what I enjoyed mostly from this book was how well Edward’s voice was captured. In some books, particularly books with multiple perspectives, it is difficult to distinguish between voices however in this one, I was able to tell straight away that it’s Edward. The way he converses, it clearly demonstrated he is an older person trapped in the role of a 17 year old boy. Admittedly his inner monologue felt like a grind at times but that being said, I understood the inner monologue and why it was constant. Midnight Sun shows us a very different Edward to the one we meet during the Twilight Saga. In Twilight, we see a vampire in control, the one who called the shots in the relationship – a very confident guy. In this book, we meet the real Edward beneath the confidence. He is in fact an individual struggling with his own demons and struggles with everyday choices of maintaining his oath to be a ‘vegetarian vampire’ and succumbing to the temptation of blood.

Midnight Sun also gave us more insight into characters we thought we knew from when we read the Twilight Saga. I was blindsided in learning the true personality of the characters we thought we knew and I was impressed at how cleverly we were able to capture the truth through Edward’s gift of mind reading. Edward’s relationships with his coven (or siblings) was also very interesting as I came to realise that there was so much about Edward and coven that I didn’t know simply because I read the Twilight Saga through Bella’s lens. Whom Edward is closest with, how each sibling came to become the Cullens etc – it was was very well written and intriguing.

Although this book takes place at the same time as Twilight and we follow the same storyline as we did in Twilight just through Edward’s lens, we are blessed with insight into Edward’s history as well as the backstories of his coven – my personal favourite is Carlisle’s backstory. I also found this book filled in a lot of blanks for example when reading a scene in Twilight that features Bella and not Edward, this book showed us what he was doing during those exact times.

Yes it’s over 700 pages long, Yes it’s been over a decade since I was really into this series… BUT… if you were a fan like me back in the day, I recommend this read… it was fun to tap back into this saga, interesting to see the gaps being filled and reading the historical aspects of Edward’s life (though I wish there were a bit more) it’s mostly dialogue so it was very easy to read but overall I enjoyed this reading experience and I was not deflated after the hype. I feel it’s worth the read.

PS: was very excited to be featured in the Sydney Morning Herald in the lead up for this book release…
Who’d of thought my fandom for this series would land me in the paper over a decade later!!!

With special thanks to Date a Book YA – Hachette Publishers for sending me a copy of this book.
-Annie

The Witch who Courted Death by Maria Lewis

“It’s a blessing to be able to live how you really are in this life and one that not everyone gets..”

For some, death is a way of life . . . Considering her status as the world’s most powerful medium, Corvossier ‘Casper’ von Klitzing and her twin brother Barastin had a pretty normal life. Her unrivalled ability to speak with and control the dead had made her a living, made her notorious … and made her a target.

After a horrific incident in her home city of Berlin, Casper’s life is forever changed. The sole survivor, she is consumed with vengeance towards an enemy she doesn’t understand. The only other person ever to escape the legendary Oct was a witch – so Casper is soon on her trail.

But this witch does not want to be found.

Diving headfirst into the supernaturally secretive world of spells, charms and covens, it’s not long before Casper is crossing much more than just the line between the living and the dead . . .

The book took me on an adventure I did not quite expect and I had a lot of fun talking to Maria Lewis when running her panel at Oz Comic Con about her writing process, research and the mechanics of putting this book together. I thought the setting in Berlin (one of Maria’s fav. cities) was an interesting place, particularly Boscastle – a place that I have never heard of before, now put on the map. I enjoyed the sibling dynamic between “Creeper and Casper” and “Opal and Sprinkle” characters you come to know in this book . I was most impressed with the characterisation, how we get to know the characters as we read the book rather than through an info dump in the beginning. I felt the characters growing as I was reading. I also liked the witty and humorous dialogue between the characters that made me chuckle along the way. Maria did such a great job in constructing a story full of diverse characters not just from the human world but all manner of creatures and drawing a parallel between the worlds.

It was very entertaining and insightful with travel and historical reference throughout the book. Recommended to readers who enjoy diverse urban fantasy reads.

Annie

Valentine by Jodi McAlister

A advanced review copy I rated 4.5 Stars – Due for release: February 2017

Valentine is the debut novel for YA author, Jodi McAlister. It is the first installment of a new series with a paranormal twist that is highly recommended to fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas.

I found this to be a really good and gripping read that honestly had me creeped me out at times and purposely reading this during daylight hours. Valentine is about 4 teenagers who happened to have share the same birthday – they were born on Valentine’s Day. During their senior year, each of the four teens start to go missing one by one and evil cats are following the protagonist, Pearl Linford, everywhere she goes. However, in trying to work out what on earth is going on, she forms the most unlikely alliance and has confused feelings for someone she once called her nemesis – who is just as part of the saga and is also discovering himself. As the plot continues, so does Pearl’s investigation into the mysterious disappearances and her ally’s background which brings her to question the trust she once had with friends who appear to become the enemy.
The dialogue is quite funny and witty, though sometimes I felt like hitting Pearl to make her focus on the task at hand and not go on a tangent about irrelevant things lol it was a cool read and I would love to see a sequel to this!!!

Special thanks to Penguin Teen Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.

-Annie