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By Midnight: A Ravenwood Mystery is the debut novel by Mia James (This is the pen name of Tasmina Perry and John Perry). It was released on 7th July 2010 and is 448 pages long.
April Dunne loved her life in Edinburgh so when her parents make her move down to Highgate, London, she isn't impressed one little bit. She's stuck in a creepy old house and enrolled in a prestigious school for the gifted which she is sure she wont fit into.
Everyone at her new school, Ravenwood seems to be better than she is at everything. They're either incredibly smart or ridiculously beautiful, sometimes even both. April finds a friend in Caro, a girl extremely interested in the past of Highgate and the school. Caro begins to explain to April all of the crazy theories that she has but can any of them be true?
April knows that she isn't supposed to be out alone at night because of a murder that happened before she arrived but she can't help herself. The gorgeous Gabriel saves her from being caught in a terrible incident in the graveyard but there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. Could the guy who saved her be a part of the strange goings on or is there something worse in the dark?
What I thought
The main reason why I bought this book was because it was set in England. Most books in the same genre have been set in America recently so I thought that this would be a nice change. I think the setting gave the story a really eerie feeling to it and helped to add mystery and intrigue to the weird things that were already happening.
I really enjoyed learning about the background of the Highgate vampire and how it fit into the rest of the story. Any of my readers will know that I'm a sucker for mythology and a good mystery so this was a great part of the book for me. I was never really sure throughout who this vampire was so the fact that I couldn't guess early on was a huge plus. I hate being able to guess the whodunit within a couple of chapters. Mia James kept me guessing and I was very thankful for that.
While April had here moments of being fantastic, I didn't love her. In fact, I didn't love any of the characters. I hate to say it but even Gabriel wasn't enough for me and I had such high hopes from him early on. April had her moments of being witty and strong but not enough of the time. There were a couple of times where I felt like she was extremely weak and quite frankly, a bit of an idiot. I wanted to slap her.
Hmmm, Gabriel. I'm really not sure what to say about him. He was dark, brooding and mysterious yet I didn't love him at all. Surely this is what most of us ask for in a bad boy? Maybe it was because he didn't have a motorbike (I'm pretty into that at the minute). There was just something about him that I guess I cant really explain but it made me not like him very much. There were times when I wanted to say 'What the hell do you think you're playing at?!' and these really added to my feelings about him.
There were a few things I did like about the characters in general though. Mia James never tried to disguise the fact that they were teenagers. I have said in past reviews how not many of the teenagers in books seem real enough to me but not in this book. These teenagers party, get drunk and have sex. These parts of the book aren't overdone at all though. I remember what I was like at secondary school and can honestly say I did all of those three things. I was so glad to see that the characters weren't made out to be perfect and that they were making the most of being able to have fun.
Overall, By Midnight had both its good and bad points but I am curious to know what happens next though so I will be buying the sequel if there is one.