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Bookpushers Joint Review – Midnight’s Kiss (Elder Races #8) by Thea Harrison

cover_midnights-kissPublisher: Berkley Sensation
Publish Date: Out Now
Reviewed by: E, Lou, Has, and MinnChica
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, two souls who have long buried their passions are about to be consumed…
Ever since their scorching affair ended years ago, Julian, the Nightkind King, and Melisande, daughter of the Light Fae Queen, have tried to put the past behind them—and distance between them. But when a war breaks out between Julian and Justine, a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind council, they find themselves thrown together under treacherous circumstances…
Kidnapped as leverage against Julian, Melly is convinced that her former lover won’t be rushing to her rescue. But when Julian gives himself up to save her, they both end up Justine’s captives. Armed only with their wits and their anger, Melly and Julian must work together to escape. But will they be able to ignore their complicated history, or will the fiery passion that once burned them blaze again?
Where blurb came from author’s website http://theaharrison.com

 Thoughts on the Hero

E: So Julian has really come across through most of this series as someone who is closer to being a villain than someone who has been a hero. But, as Harrison has managed to do on other occasions, she took a character I enjoyed disliking and turned him into someone I enjoyed reading and learning about. He had a significant portion of Dragos’ lack of breed culture but unlike Dragos he found himself bound by other restraints and thus subject to betrayal. The combination of betrayals over the long centuries of his life and caught by his restraints really turned Julian into someone who did not seem to have much of a soft or caring aspect to his personality. Then he faced a serious challenge to his rule by another Vampyre and while trying to fight back found himself risking everything to save the one person he loved and whose betrayal hurt the most. Watching him deal with everything Justine threw at him while struggling with his complex feelings for Melly was a real treat. I loved how he reached the point when instead of seeking revenge or payback he decided to let their past stay in the past and only look at their future. And holy cow **fans self** seeing him in action was something else!

Lou: I wasn’t as well read-up on Julian as a character as I’ve not read Rune and Carling’s book, but I do remember the glimpses of him from the previous book, Night’s Honor. Julian was a hard-ass in the beginning of this book, especially towards Melly who he believed had cheated on him from their brief but passionate affair twenty-odd years ago. I really liked Julian in Midnight’s Kiss. His ruthlessness had been ingrained in him for so many years. He was a Roman gladiator. Rawr. He’s hard on Melly but he still loves her and doesn’t hesitate in going after her when Justine kidnaps her. Throughout the story, Julian can’t help but be drawn back into the orbit of Melly and he learns to forgive because he loves her so much. Melly is his light to his dark. And of course, the cheating claims are not what they are!

Has: I wasn’t a huge fan of Julian in the previous books, however, I fell in love with his character in Midnight’s Kiss. Like what Lou and and E said, Julian really shone for me and I loved the scenes when he went into full alpha protective mode when he came to save Melly’s life from Justine’s clutches. Despite the years of bitterness and betrayal, I am a sucker for reunited lovers trope and I loved that Melly didn’t betray Julian. I also loved how this theme of betrayal and forgiveness tied in as major plot in their relationship. It really highlighted Julian’s growth as a character and I think learning from his past mistakes will help him make a better leader especially with all the tensions and political intrigue that surrounds him.

MinnChica: Like everyone else, I was a little hesitant about Julian being hero material. He hasn’t come across as a good guy, and I was worried that he would be the kind of Alpha hero that I wouldn’t be able to understand, like, or even root for. But boy oh boy did he surprise me. I LOVED him. He was so devoted to Melly, even despite the rocky history they had. His desire to protect her while also trying to protect all Vampyres just made me all tingly on the inside. 🙂

Thoughts on the Heroine

E: Melly was much more of a side character or a “mention” until NIGHT’S HONOR and even then she was still a pawn or distant supporting character. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to who she really was. I enjoyed seeing the depth to her character and what made her the heir to the Light Fae Queen. When the chips were down she was able to do so much and she kept finding more within instead of giving up. She couldn’t escape without Julian but he also couldn’t escape without her. I loved her ingenuity and how she was willing to use any method required to not just escape but to get her own back. She surprised Julian on several occasions, which was a delight to see. I also think she surprised herself giving me a sense of some real character growth not just a side character thrust into the limelight.

Lou: Like E mentions above, I also wasn’t sure what to expect from Melly. At first I found her personality somewhat jarring. Her inner cheerful dialogue came off a little awkward to me and it wasn’t until the story got going that I finally enjoyed her character and her interactions with Julian. Melly was incredibly strong during her time in captivity. She was resourceful and even though Julian had more experience than her, she was detrimental in escaping. My only issue with Melly was she forgave Julian too easily. I lurve a good grovel. Even though twenty years had passed since their breakup, they fell into instalust in the most peculiar of places and he was still an arse to her during their time in captivity until he started mellowing out. But their attraction was smexy like woah.

Has: I really loved Melly’s character! I liked that she never gave up and was determined to escape. I also loved that she was the one who ended up rescuing Julian due to her resourcefulness and wits. I thought that Thea Harrison did a great twist on that plot trope and also highlighted that both Melly and Julian were true partners even though they had issues. I don’t think Melly forgave him that easily when he believed she betrayed him with another man, because she realised that he had issues that coloured his perspective. I really enjoyed she was the one who challenged him and made him realise a lot of his own issues coloured his perspective of their relationship. I was glad that they managed to discuss their problems maturely without falling into that pitfall like in the previous book. But I adored their scenes together and I definitely agree with you that their chemistry was sizzling hot and I really enjoyed their relationship which was a joy to read.

MinnChica: I adored Melly’s character. She was a bit of a chameleon in that she could really blend into the background and then when you least expected it, she would pop up and take everyone by surprise. Despite the lap of luxury she lived in, she was also a badass and was willing to do anything and everything she had to in order to protect herself and Julian. I loved the way she handled herself, as well as some of the speed bumps she had to deal with, especially in her family. Putting her together with Julian, I thought they were a match made in heaven!

Favorite Scene

E: I am actually struggling with this one because as much as I enjoyed Julian and Melly together I think my favorites involve Julian and his sire. I say favorites because it was technically two scenes but I think the second is really just a continuation of the first one. They reached all the way back to an earlier history and one of the first chapters in Harrison’s Elder Races series to bring closure and healing. To me those scenes really showed the immense amount of skill Harrison has because she showed so much character growth I shed a tear or two.

Lou: My favorite scene was with the bikers–it gave some much needed humour after the violent and tragic scenes previously. I also loved Melly’s scene with her sister who deserved a good asskicking.

Has: I have several scenes that I loved. Lou has highlighted one, but another was in the beginning of the book when Julian surrendered himself to save Melly. I think at that point Melly realised that their bitter past couldn’t wipe away his feelings for her and it really sums up their romance. Another was at the end with the big climactic scene. I don’t want to spoil it, but it was a great action packed ending that was exciting and pacey!

MinnChica: Oh god… I don’t know that I can pick just one. I loved the scene with the bikers that Lou mentioned, it really did break up the bleak narrative of the story and bring out some laughs when they were needed most. I also really loved the scene with Julian and the Vampyre council at the end. I loved watching him stop worrying so much about being a politician, and really take a firm hand as leader.

Dislike about book

E: I really don’t have any dislikes but I have a hope. I hope a certain thorn in the side Djinn who doesn’t have any scruples really really gets what should be coming to him.

Lou: Sadly while I really enjoyed Julian and Melly as characters, I thought the pacing and action of the story was a little off :(. Nothing really happens for a good portion of the middle. All the action came towards the end and I found myself skimming a few of the love scenes because they felt like filler.

Has: I don’t have any real dislikes although I would have liked more buildup and details on Justine’s rebellion which involved more vampyres in the demesnes.

MinnChica: There wasn’t much I disliked about the book, except maybe that the traitors didn’t have a more gruesome end. Sorry, I was a little blood thirsty when it came to the bad guys in this one. Their quick demise wasn’t enough for me. LOL

Misc. thoughts and grade

E: Harrison continues to amaze me. She took a character I enjoyed disliking, made him sympathetic, flawed, and gave him a new aspect of life both in the Elder Races and to me as a reader. She likewise took a minor side character and expanded her into a complex three-dimensional character capable of taking on and triumphing over some nasty foes. I enjoyed MIDNIGHT’S KISS more than I expected, given my previous dislike of Julian, although I just should have trusted Harrison since she is an auto-buy author for a reason. It was also nice to see some previous heroes/heroines in their supporting roles and willing to, if not mend fences, work together to help another party. I can’t wait to see how things have changed when we return to this world.

I give MIDNIGHT’S KISS an A-

Lou: I adore this series but Midnight’s Kiss is my least favourite out of the series. Julian and Melly are unique and colourful characters but I think the a lot of the middle was slow. I read the blurb of who the next protags will be in the next book and I’m excited for Graydon but I’m a little underwhelmed on his heroine. I liked Midnight’s Kiss and Thea is still one of my favourite paranormal romance authors but I want something exciting to happen in the series for me. Like a huge big baddie that ups the stakes.

I give Midnight’s Kiss a C+

Has: I loved this book! I really enjoyed the romance, which was hot and sexy and the main plot had a great combination of humour, action and emotions. I also loved that how Thea Harrison turned a character like Julian, who I disliked in the previous books, to become one of my all time favourite heroes in this series. I wouldn’t mind reading up a followup story featuring him and Melly because they’ve certainly become one of my favourite couples! Midnight’s Kiss was a memorable and entertaining romance and a fabulous entry to The Elders series!

I give Midnight’s Kiss a B+

MinnChica: All in all, I really enjoyed this installment of The Elder Races. I loved the way Harrison was able to take a hero I wasn’t sure about, and a heroine that was only mentioned briefly in previous books, and make me fall so deeply for their story. I loved the second chance romance theme, and was so glad to see them work it out, because it was painfully obvious how much they still cared for one another. I am such a sucker for this trope, and Harrison made Julian and Melly and their romance shine.
I give Midnight’s Kiss a B+

By MinnChica

MinnChica can usually be found with her nose in a book (or nook), and can ALWAYS find a few minutes to read: stuck at a red light, sitting in the doctors office, on her lunch break. She's so addicted to reading that her family frequently threatens to host an intervention. Currently MinnChica is devouring every romance book she can get her hands on, especially ones that feature 'friends to lovers' stories. Some of her favorite authors currently are Ilona Andrews, Jill Myles, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh and Susan Mallery.

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