Usually, when you think of Pinterest fails, it’s more along the lines of some cake or craft gone rouge. Right?
Not today! My Pinterest fail was reading this book. (Kinda harsh right? But hear me out!)
So I have a Pinterest board just for books, and basically it’s just different lists to check off and random flow charts of “If You Liked Harry Potter Here’s 99 Books You’ll Love” and the works. So when I saw The Midnight Witch on sale I recognized the cover vaguely from my board. And I thought, what the heck, Pinterest has never led me astray.
Boy was I wrong.
So the first couple of pages were really promising! The plot was moving along at a good pace, there was just enough mystery and character development to keep me interested. All in all things were getting set up for a nice story line. Lilith seems like a strong female character that I could rally behind as she takes her place as the Head Witch after her father’s untimely death.
But then it just started to unravel. Around page 50 I was waiting for the writing to develop more and be less introduction-y in nature. I felt like the author Paula Brackston just kept adding things just for the heck of it, rather than developing the already established themes and ideas.
At page 100, I wanted to stop reading the book, but momma didn’t raise no quitter so I suffered through another 230-ish pages to an unsatisfactory and quite predictable end.
My main problem with this book was it’s over-dependence on wearisome and unsurprising story arches that are commonly found in Historical Fiction/Time period pieces. The Midnight Witch is “supposed” to take place in the high society of Edwardian England.
So of course Lilith has an arranged marriage.
Of course Lilith isn’t in love with the man that she’s been set to marry since birth – whom might I add, actually cares for her and is a perfectly good romantic option for her other than the fact that she’s…..
Of course in love with someone who is deemed an “unfit match” because he is of a lower social status than she is. But it doesn’t matter because LOVE.
I don’t have a problem with that story line, I’ve read MANY great books that have follow that arc, but this romance was so weakly written and predictable that I wanted to shake Lilith from pure frustration.
Louis literally loves Lilith, sacrifices a great deal to help her, and basically is there at every beck a call. Bram, a poor painter (because why not) sees Lilith at her father’s funeral, quickly becomes enthralled (and a little obsessed) with her, and as fate would have it, their path crosses and wham-bam they’re in love.
Lilith then proceeded to make every horrible decision until the last page of the novel. Her character was so weakly developed and poorly written that instead of coming off as altruistic, caring, and benevolent (as I’m sure it was intended), Lilith comes off as selfish, haphazard, and naive. The first 40 or so pages of the book sets of clear rules and expectations of members of the Lazarus coven and of the Head Witch and Lilith spends the next 300 pages breaking every single one in the name of “love” and “sacrifice” or “great duress”.
It felt like every conflict was handled brashly and consequences didn’t matter as long as Lilith got what she wanted. When confronted with the results of her actions by some of her fellow witches that were within her stewardship, the solution was to announce that she was Head Witch and shouldn’t be questioned.
As far as the antagonist, the way he was written got on my nerves. I’m sure he was intended to be steely, calculating, and cold but I got anti-social, brooding vibes instead. I think Brackston was trying to juxtapose the intentions of Lazarus Coven and the Sentinels and make the obvious good guys the Lazarus Coven but I just didn’t feel it. Their opposing views on the use of necromancy was a tool to further the plot, but was never developed enough for my liking, thus making it hard to side with either of the groups.
ALSO another thing that irked me was that their source of magic was never explained. Lilith was a witch but her brother wasn’t. The main antagonist wasn’t born a witch but was trained into becoming a Sentinel. When facing the coven after exposing them to Bram, one of the solutions was to just train Bram into becoming a witch. There wasn’t any clear rules as to who could and could not possess the skills/magic to be a witch.
The Midnight Witch is riddled with inconsistencies, weak plot lines, and a cast of random secondary characters that help the story limp to the end, kinda. As much as I tried to love the book, being a fantasy lover and genuinely fan of period pieces, I couldn’t help the reflex eye roll that happened every other page because of the potential that was wasted. There was so many opportunities for this book to be something noteworthy, but none of them were realized.
If you have any suggestions let me know! I’d love to read them or at least add them to my ever growing list!