July 11, 2022

REVIEW Shattered Midnight (The Mirror Book 2) by Dhonielle Clayton

Shattered Midnight (The Mirror Book 2) 
by Dhonielle Clayton
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: January 18, 2022
Format: Audiobook (Personal Library)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 

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Dhonielle Clayton’s Shattered Midnight is the second book in The Mirror series, and it was well worth the wait after the release of the first book. This story is the sequel to that of Julie C. Dao’s Broken Wish, and events move from being based in 1800s Germany to 1920’s New Orleans. Zora and Phillip are the newest members of the original families from Broken Wish to be affected by magic and the powerful family curse, and the lovebirds must find a way to ensure their happily ever after ending comes true in a world determined to stop it at all costs.  

This is different from the first book in a couple of ways (all of them good). Shattered Midnight is primarily a romance, whereas Broken Wish deals with more familial platonic bonds. Both books have the main characters facing large amounts of prejudice during their journey, but Elva and Mathilda are shunned because of their association with magic more than anything else. On the other hand, while Zora and Phillip do have some magical ability their challenges stem primarily from the racial segregation laws of the time. Both books are similar in the way they maintain the feel of a traditional fairy tale and even use some familiar archetypes; elements in Shattered Midnight reminded me of Cinderella (cruel matriarch and her two daughters, unexpected prince charming who has to whisk our heroine away…)

I love how the authors maintained the storyline throughout the books but demonstrated their individual styles. Ms. Clayton did a fantastic job making links to Broken Wish, while also foreshadowing some small details for the next book (Fractured Path). The continuity and growth of the magic system over the course of the series has been cool - I was especially intrigued by the musical aspect of Zora’s magical talents, and how each member of her family has a different way of using their gifts (cooking, music, potions, etc.). I would be curious to learn how much research the author had to do about the music because everything felt so real and almost effortless in the descriptions. I never had an issue immersing myself in the story (especially the scenes where Zora was performing); as a die-hard fantasy reader that was super exciting. Adenrele Ojo did a fantastic job with the narration; my only teeny tiny suggestion for improvement would have been to include some background music in the narration to help add even more depth to the performance.  

Overall, Shattered Midnight was a fun and entertaining read. I’m already a big fan of the author who writes the next book in the series, J.C. Cervantes, so I’m curious to see what she’ll do with the 1960s and the family curse in Fractured Path. I’m also curious to see how L.L. McKinney closes out the series with her book Splintered Magic (which will be set in New York circa 2003). If an immersive, diverse historical fantasy story sounds like something you would enjoy, then pick up the series today! I highly recommend reading the books in order for the best reading experience (you may miss out on some details otherwise). 

About the Book
Can dreams come true when you're living with a family curse?

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.

The Mirror: Shattered Midnight is the second novel in the innovative four-book fairy-tale quartet 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.

About Dhonielle Clayton:

Dhonielle Clayton is the New York Times best-selling author of the Belles series, The Mirror: Shattered Midnight, and the coauthor of Blackout and the Tiny Pretty Things duology, now a Netflix original series. She hails from the Washington, DC, suburbs on the Maryland side. She taught secondary school for several years, and is a former elementary and middle school librarian. She is COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, and president of Cake Creative, an IP story kitchen dedicated to diverse representation. She’s an avid traveler, and always on the hunt for magic and mischief. Up next: The Marvellers, her middle grade fantasy debut. You can find her on social media @brownbookworm.

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