Rayne's Reviews > The Mirk and Midnight Hour

The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson
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Unlike the great majority of people here, I actually really liked Strands of Bronze and Gold. I thought it was mesmerizing, deeply atmospheric and with one of the most compelling antagonist I've read about in a while. It certainly had its problems, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. The Mirk and Midnight Hour suffers from quite the opposite problem for me: its craft is superior to SoBaG, but the few problems that were in there bothered me too much, namely, a very rapid love connection, predictability, an irritating gullibility on the main character's part, and just how loose of a retelling of The Ballad of Tam Lin this novel actually is.

This is a well-written novel with a beautiful setting used to its full advantage and a great atmosphere. Violet, the protagonist, is a likable person all the way through, and the love interest was likable enough as well. Also, this novel handled the theme of slavery in a more graceful manner than it did in SoBaG, which bothered a lot of people about Nickerson's first novel. But the progression of the plot, which was very heavy with so many different things going on at the same time, was slow and then, at the end, picks up its pace forgetting some other threads and relying on convenience to find a solution. There was a bit of wasted potential in this novel, and I had a very hard time finding connections to the original Ballad that were more than passing references. At the end there is a solid parallel to the Ballad, but for the most part, this felt like a work with references to the Ballad rather than an actual retelling.

This is, by no means, a bad novel. It is a beautiful novel that is nonetheless entertaining, but some things just didn't work for me. I still look forward to any other retelling that Nickerson writes.
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Reading Progress

June 13, 2013 – Shelved
June 13, 2013 – Shelved as: 2014
June 13, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
November 8, 2013 – Shelved as: the-adventures-of-rayne-and-ten
November 11, 2013 – Started Reading
November 14, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 15, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
November 15, 2013 – Shelved as: i-expected-better
November 15, 2013 – Shelved as: paranormal
November 15, 2013 – Shelved as: period-tale
November 15, 2013 – Shelved as: retellings
November 15, 2013 – Shelved as: romance
November 15, 2013 – Shelved as: young-adult

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Cillian I took the liberty to add this book to our Gothic adventure/redemption shelf. ;)


Rayne Yes! Thank you! I'd love for this to be our next stop in our adventure/redemption.


Cillian It's on then. As soon as we're done with Dolly, we'll dive into this one.


Rayne Do we start with this one tomorrow, then? It has 34 chapters. If we read it in 4 days, we could read 8 chapters two days, and read 9 the other two. Let me know!


Cillian Rayne wrote: "Do we start with this one tomorrow, then? It has 34 chapters. If we read it in 4 days, we could read 8 chapters two days, and read 9 the other two. Let me know!"

It's on.


Rayne So, do we alternate the days? Like 9 the first and third day and 8 chapters the second and forth, or do we read the same amount two days straight?


Cillian It's really immaterial to me cos we're only talking about one chapter difference.
But, we'll probably want to burn through it when we're more than halfway through, whichever works for me.
We could do 9, 8, 9, 8.
Sounds good?


Rayne Sounds good to me. I'm really excited about this one!


Cillian Oh, I know you are and really?
So am I.
The Ballad of Tam Lin is dear to me, and I'm excited that this author took interest in it to do a retelling.

My house?
Tea and madeleines or coffee and cheesecake?


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