Title: Almost Midnight
Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark, #3.5
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: eARC, kindly provided
by the publishers for review.
My rating: 3.5 / 5
Nestled deep in the woods, Shadow Falls is a secret camp where teens with supernatural powers learn to harness their abilities and live in the normal world.
Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang did not believe in vampires...until she became one. Chase Tallman is the newest member of Shadow Falls, but what made him into the sexy, mysterious vampire he is today? And what led him to Della Tsang? And for Miranda Kane, magic has always been something she's struggled with, but when an opportunity to test her powers takes her to Paris, she'll have to prove that she's a witch to be reckoned with and belongs at Shadow Falls.
Fans won't want to miss these four remarkable stories of love, magic and friendship.
-- As seen on Goodreads
Almost Midnight is a collection of novellas from both The Shadow Falls series and The Shadow Falls: After Dark trilogy. It’s a bind-up of four previously released novellas and one brand new novella, each taking place at a different moment in the overall Shadow Falls world timeline. I find giving an overall rating for novella collections really difficult, so I’ll be rating each novella individually, and my overall rating is a rough average based off of those ratings.
Turned at Dark – Rating: 2.5 Stars
Turned at Dark is a prequel novella, taking place before the original series begins. Essentially, the novella shows how Della Tsang was turned into a vampire, and gives a brief introduction to the supernatural creatures we’ll encounter in the series, and to the Shadow Falls camp itself. I haven’t read the original Shadow Falls series, and I’ve got to say, I wish I’d read this novella before beginning reading the Shadow Falls: After Dark trilogy. It is very brief and we don’t get a lot of details, but what is provided helped some of those final puzzle pieces I’d been confused over fall into place. (I.E. Finally, finally, I’ve found out what the patterns on supernatural creatures foreheads look like!) Overall, I liked the novella, but as it’s so short I’m giving it 2.5 stars. If, like me, you haven’t read the original series, but do plan on reading the spin-off series instead, this is a novella I’d definitely recommend reading first.
Saved at Sunrise – Rating: 3 Stars
In comparison to the first novella, I enjoyed this one a lot more. It was more detailed and felt like there was a proper story to share, rather than filling in missing gaps. Della is given an assignment to help investigate some recent human deaths by infiltrating a rogue vampire camp. I’ve got to say, I liked Steve a lot more in this novella than I did in the entire Shadow Falls: After Dark trilogy. He really grew on me, and it was nice to see a different side to his personality. Della on the other hand… I came to terms a while ago that’s she’s a character I’ll just never be able to fully empathise with. Despite some of my old issues with Della resurfacing, I did enjoy the story. There might have been a bit too much relationship angst for my liking, but it was balanced out with some really good ass-kicking!
Unbreakable – 4 Stars
Unbreakable is the only novella in the collection that I had previously read, and I enjoyed reading it just as much this time as I did initially. If you’d like to read my original review, click here. In short, though, this is my favourite novella in the entire collection. Okay… and Chase is my favourite character from the Shadow Falls: After Dark series, so maybe I’m a little biased! This novella shows Chase’s last day as a human, and the events that led up to him being turned into a vampire. I loved seeing things from his perspective, and personally, out of all the novellas in the collection, I would recommend reading this one the most.
Spellbinder – Rating: 3.5 Stars
Spellbinder takes place between Eternal and Unspoken in the Shadow Falls: After Dark trilogy and it shows the trip to France that was briefly hinted at in Unspoken. Miranda is a witch, and one of Della’s best friends, and it was really nice to see things from a non-vampire characters perspective. Okay, this might sound a little blunt, but after spending so long being frustrated by Della’s thought process, Miranda’s perspective was so refreshing! I found it a lot easier to relate and empathise with her than with Della, and it was a lot easier to get wrapped up in the story. I did have a little issue, though, and that was the love-triangle and romance. It felt forced and not very convincing, and provided too much unnecessary angst and drama for my tastes. I did really enjoy the mystery side of the story, and it’s for that reason alone I have given Spellbinder a 3.5 rating.
Fierce – Rating: 3 Stars
This is the only novella in the collection that hasn’t been previously released, and I’m going to intentionally skip over mentioning what occurs in the story. As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t read the original Shadow Falls series, so I went into Fredericka’s novella without any pre-conceived opinions about her character. I really liked how strong and determined she was, and that it was presented in a believable and likeable way. Right now, I do wish I had read the Shadow Fall series, as I probably would have enjoyed this novella a lot more than I did, and it might have ended up being my favourite. Overall, though, I really enjoyed reading Fierce, despite going into the story not having a clue who Fredericka was! (And yep, that was a really awkward surprise!)