Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson

The Mirk and Midnight Hour

“He was already dead.  Maybe.  He had been grievously wounded—he had expected to die anyway—but they did something to him that sucked out the rest of his feeble life and will, except for the tiny spark of soul that hunkered mutely deep inside.  That’s why he thought of them as vampires.

They half carried, half dragged him to the fire and bade him kneel.  The drumming began and his heart thumped with the drums and he was in the flames and in the beating.  A blade flashed before his eyes.  Sliver.  Beautiful.  Someone called out a question and the answer—“Raphtah”—swallowed him.  He knew nothing more.  He was already dead.”


The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson is a retelling of the Tam Lin.  Tam Lin was about a Scottish knight, who was captured by the fair queen in order to serve as a tithe.  A young woman found him and fell in love with him (or was impregnated by him) and found a way to trick the queen and save the knight.  Instead of being set in Scotland and being a knight, this story takes place during the Civil War in the South and it is a Union soldier that Violet must save. 

Violet has lost her brother to the war.  Her state is in chaos and things are only getting bloodier.  On top of one of the country’s most pivotal wars, Violet must adjust to the changes to life as she’s known it, including some visiting cousins.  How was she to know that “the shadow people” are really hoodoo practicing people, or that having her little cousin with her would replace the emptiness left by the death of her of twin brother, or that her long time frenemy would turn out to be a sister, or that she would fall in love with the enemy.

The undertones of antebellum and post-antebellum literature along with the gothic/hoodoo components really made this book shine for me.  Thus far, this is my favorite YA book this year, it is worthy of both young adults’ and adults’ attention. 

Thank You Edelweiss.  4.5 stars!

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