Rating: 5 stars
Devlin White, Duke of Winterbourne, is the last of a great line of Black Witches. With the death of his father, his remaining siblings has renounced the black arts for white and left for the new world, only he remains to carry on the family name and glory. He receives a request from Lord Tamor, demon lord of his land, to investigate the latest draugr sightings in the countryside just outside his territory, far more numerous than ever before. The vampires whose territory it is refuses demon assistance, preferring that of a renown and infamous witch instead.
When Devlin accepts the mission, he decides to leave behind his beloved ward, Midnight, who he treasures above all. The reason? Midnight is a draugr as well, a living corpse made by Devlin’s own special magic, and until White can figure out why or who has called these draugrs from the grave, he doesn’t want Midnight close to the problem or Midnight may be influenced as well.
Powerful magic is at work and the culprit clever at hiding themselves and the motives behind their actions. When Midnight appears on the scene despite Devlin’s orders, he catches the attention of the person behind the draugr attacks. Then the race is on to find out who is responsible for the draugrs and stop them before they take control of the one being Devlin loves, whether he knows it or not.
Midnight continues our journey through the different territories of the world that makes up The Dance With The Devil series. Each book contains either overlapping characters or mentions characters/beings that are central to the next book. Midnight’s focus is on the walking dead. We know them as zombies. People or beings called from the grave, animated for some or someone’s purpose. Midnight, the character, of the title is a unique draugr, created by Devlin White himself and another sorcerer, when just a boy. With snow white skin, blue hair, nails and eyes only to give away his status as a walking dead, he is otherwise perfection to look upon with powers of his own. He is an innocent among evil or those to whom evil or black magic are constant companions. Midnight is also deeply in love with Devlin and doesn’t know how to get Devlin to look at him differently. Every aspect of Midnight will claim the reader’s compassion and instill him into our hearts, so beautifully is he realized. In Devlin White, Derr draws our attention to the witches in her universe and their companions. I loved Devlin White who continues her rolecall of aristocratic main characters. He is elegant, wry, and aware of his status without being autocratic and unduly harsh. He is a wonderful construct among many here. I found his feelings towards Midnight especially authentic. He has raised Midnight since he was a boy. In the back of his mind, he wonders if his feelings toward Midnight are appropriate, if he is not taking advantage in some way of Midnights total reliance on him. Devlin recognizes his love for Midnight, but doesn’t want to recognize at what level that love exists. It is a touchy emotional terrain he has to navigate over and Derr does a wonderful job of helping us understand not only his frustration with their relationship but Midnight’s as well because we get to “listen” to both sides of the argument they are having with themselves and each other. Barra, his man servant, is equally memorable as he is a “wolf elf” to use the term coined by a dragon. A mongrel who is hurt by the term and gentle in spirit. Barra is such an interesting character all by himself, made more so by his interactions with others, especially a certain knight and his dragon.
Yes, that would be dragon, and where there are dragons, there are also knights, a goblin or two, an angel, imp, vampires, and several sorcerers as well. Derr throws the whole complement of mystical and supernatural beings at us not only in this story but the entire series. And each and every being comes through as believable, from their actions to skin color.
Derr’s vivid description extends to her settings, where the mist lies cold upon your face, the rains soak your clothes and the fog obscures the frightening creatures hunting you. She doesn’t just inform you of the danger but makes you feel each second of every minute of the menace and perils facing our protagonists. She can make your heart race and your breathe quicken along with Devlin’s as he faces down one opponent after another. Derr finds subtle ways to endear her quirky characters to you even when they are characters that exist towards the edges of the story. There is no character or stray plot thread that can ever be considered a “throwaway” in a Derr novel. Somehow, someway, that fact, that character will make a reappearance and resolve a plot point you hadn’t considered before.
Midnight is a solid 5 star story in the middle of a wonderful 5 star series. Megan Derr really deserves such a larger audience for her stories and her talent, both of which encompasses many gifts as well as wild and wonderful elements. From supernatural detectives, a bar where everyone knows your name even if it be mystical in nature, action/adventure stories as told by demons and love lorn vampires, there is something for everyone here. Start at the beginning or start here. Just don’t let this series or this book pass you by!
The Dance With The Devil Series. The first two especially should be read in order:
Dance With The Devil (DWTD #1) – see my review here.
Dance In The Dark (DWTD #2) – see my review here.
Ruffskin (DWTD#4) – see my review here (the switch in order is intentional)
Cover. The cover by London Burden is just outstanding. Simple, elegant and with a cohesive design for the entire series. I love it.