1920s, Historical Fantasy, LGBTQ, New Orleans, Racism, Romance, Segregation, Suspense, YA Fiction
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 5th, 2021
Synopsis: The Mirror: Shattered Midnight is the second novel in the innovative four-book fairy-tale series written by Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, J.C. Cervantes, and L. L. McKinney, following one family over several generations, and the curse that plagues it.
Zora Broussard has arrived in New Orleans with not much more than a bag of clothes, a beautiful voice, and a pair of enchanted red shoes. Running from a tragic accident caused by her magic, Zora wants nothing more than to blend in, as well as to avoid her overbearing aunt and mean-spirited cousins. Music becomes Zora’s only means of escape, yet she wonders if she should give it all up to remove the powers that make her a target, especially as a Black woman in the South.
But when Zora gets the chance to perform in a prominent jazz club, she meets a sweet white pianist named Phillip with magic of his own, including a strange mirror that foretells their future together. Falling into a forbidden love, Zora and Phillip must keep their relationship a secret. And soon the two discover the complicated connection between their respective families, a connection that could lead to catastrophe for them both. In the era of segregation and speakeasies, Zora must change her destiny and fight for the one she loves . . . or risk losing everything. (Goodreads)
I loved the first book in The Mirror series: Broken Wish, by Julie C. Dao, so much that I have to admit I was a little nervous that Shattered Midnight wouldn’t be able to match it even though I’ve enjoyed Dhonielle Clayton’s previous books. After racing through this in under three hours I’m thrilled to say that my fears were entirely unfounded.
Here’s a quick recap: The Mirror series is to be compromised of four books by some of today’s most popular YA authors that follow a multigenerational family who possess a magical heirloom, but are also dogged by a devastating curse. Broken Wish beautifully kicked things off in 1865 Hanau, Germany. Shattered Midnight skips to 1928 New Orleans and while the previous tale was more fairytale in nature, this is more of a historical fantasy with a slight nod to Cinderella, and a dash of Romeo and Juliet.
I found everything in this book perfectly crafted, from the sultry setting of New Orleans in the Jazz Age, with its colorful speakeasies and darker side of racism, segregation, and mob-run bootlegging operations, to how magic has continued to be passed down through Zora’s family. And the characters are so well developed I half expected them to pop out from my tablet fully formed. I absolutely adored Zora and felt her pain and confusion over the power of her magic. Likewise, her feelings of fear and resentment regarding the racism that was such a prevalent part of society. Phillip is a wonderful partner for her in both music and romance and I found myself hoping against hope that their relationship would somehow defy expectations and prevail. The entire story is filled with suspense not only regarding the curse, but also the ever present danger looming over Zora and Phillip should their romance be discovered. When the ending came, well, let me just say that unsurprisingly it’s not your typical happy ending, but it does leave you with hope.
The Mirror series is shaping up to be one of my favorites in my many, many years of reading YA fiction. Shattered Midnight is a picture perfect example of exquisite storytelling that I guarantee will pull you in and not let go until you’ve reached the very end. Even if you don’t usually read YA, I HIGHLY recommend these books if you love fairytales and fantasy with exciting storylines and characters who tug at your heartstrings. The next book, Fractured Path, by J.C. Cervantes, is to be set in 1965 San Francisco. Unfortunately it’s not coming out until July 2022. It’s going to be extremely difficult to wait that long!
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