Book Review: Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel @karissalaurel
This review will be a challenge to write. There were so many things I loved about this story, and so many of them I cannot say because I don’t want to ruin the surprises for potential readers. I have so many comments in the book file, many of which are of me laughing, or saying how much I loved her wording, her characters, her flare, her descriptions.
Over and over again, I made notations about how much I loved her descriptions. They are fun and vivid, making one smile even at the most inappropriate parts of the story, bringing them to life in a way that gives the character so much more depth. Some of the details she thinks to put into the story, like how a towel she had wrapped around her head kept falling over her eyes, though mundane, had a certain power to them because they are so true, the simple truths we all can relate to, and commiserate with. There was only one instance where I felt the description was subpar, and that was when the author initially introduced one of the character’s cars, a CJ-7. I’d never heard of one, and didn’t know it was the precursor to the Wrangler, so had no frame of reference to picture it in my head.
The characterization, like everything else in the story, was vivid, clear and deep. There was a certain irreverent humor, snark, that oozed from the writing, probably part of the reason I found myself smiling so often. I really enjoyed when she made a reference to Stephanie Plum, as I have almost all of Janet Evanovich’s books, and have read them all repeatedly. I liked Thorin, a feeling that great by leaps and bounds through the story as we got to get impressions of what might lie beneath that gruff, even rude exterior. Val, not so much. He’s far too eager, and as the story progressed, I felt frustrated with his repeated advances at the main character. But then, that was the intent. Skyla is sneaky and devious, and yet a great friend, which endeared me to her immensely. She’s kickass awesome.
There was pervasive theme throughout the story: a coming of age. The main character, Solina, has recurring conflicts with her parents, all revolving around her need to leave the nest, and their determination, however well meant, to keep her tied at their apron strings. Throughout the story, she tries to be more like her brother, who managed to break off and start his own life. She tries to find herself, tries to stand up for herself, both literally and metaphorically. This is one of the most fully felt conflicts in the story, even above the threat to her life and to the fate of the world, and what gives the ending so much finality.
Though, I got to say, the idea that much of anyone from North Carolina would care who wins the Super Bowl… is flat out ridiculous. Anyone from NC knows that the only championships that matter are the ACC and NCAA. I think in the twenty years I lived there, I never heard a single person mention a professional sports team. Duke, UNC, State, Wake Forest? Sure, but a professional football team? Get real!
Back to the topic at hand, I want to say something of the parallels I drew with familiar stories, not of other authors, but of much, much older tales. I won’t say which, because really, I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I loved trying to piece it all together, trying to figure out how it all fits from the information that’s presented by the author, and I got very excited every time a new clue arose, every time I figured out a little more of the details.
A word of warning, there’s a small amount of cursing in the story, if that would bother you, but I felt like it was just enough to make it feel more real, give it more life. And speaking of word usage, good God, she used apropos. I could kiss her. It’s probably my single favorite word… and I have no idea why.
I liked the ending, even if certain things were left in the air. The author does a very good job of making it feel like an ending of sorts, but also leaving room open for a sequel. It is not a cliffhanger. There’s a sense of determination, pragmatic hope at the end which grants the book a sense of finality.
I’ve got to say, I had a blast reading this book, and if my work schedule hadn’t had me only half conscious 100% of the time, I would have finished it in a fraction of the time. I looked forward to each opportunity I had to pick the book up again, and felt frustrated when I didn’t have the time or brain power to do so. This would have been a great weekend read, one of those where you eat a nice breakfast, sit down with a good book, and then wonder where the sunlight went.
Source: Free copy from author
Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in the foothills of North Carolina. But a nightmare of a vicious wolf devouring her twin brother changes everything. When Solina learns her dream was real, she journeys to her brother’s home in the Land of the Midnight Sun to search for answers.
Solina soon suspects her brother’s friends are more than they seem, and they know more than they’re willing to admit. Skyla, an ex-marine, is the only one willing to help. As Skyla and Solina delve into the secrets surrounding her brother’s death, Solina learns her own fate is tied to his friends, his murder, and a dark history of forgotten myths and legends.
Solina also discovers a powerful new ability. She must learn to control it if she’s to keep everyone safe. If she fails, a long-lost dominion will rise, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.
Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between.
Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes.
Karissa also crafts, paints, draws, and harbors a grand delusion that she might create a graphic novel someday.
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0YLj4g3Di0
Exerpt from the Book: http://redadeptpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/Midnight-Burning-Excerpt.pdf