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    Midnight by Ellen Connor
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  • Published: Oct 26th, 2011

MidnightWhen you click on the website for author Ellen Connor the first thing you read is:

“Welcome! If you’ve found us, you must be looking for some hot paranormal apocalyptic action. We promise fierce heroes, tough heroines, no holds barred fights, serious stakes, unnatural beasts, supernatural thrills, and steamy sex. Who says you can’t rock out at the end of the world?”

The first time I read these words I thought to myself –“well that’s a big promise to live up to”.  Now, after reading the first two books in the series, Nightfall (Dark Age Dawning Series #1) and Midnight (Dark Age Dawning Series #2), I must say Ellen Connor has kept that promise and more.

If you’re looking for a cute, sweet or fun romance, this ain’t it kids. Midnight is a no holds barred, tension-filled, action packed, gritty post-apocalyptic romance where the world has changed beyond all recognition. Immediately you are brought into a world where survival is paramount, the characters are compelling, the action is riveting and the stakes are even higher.

Dr. Chris Welsh was a scientist, a man who devoted his life to clear rational thinking, observation and research. Nothing in his life prepared him for living in a post-apocalyptic world. He’s spent the last three years on his own traveling, surviving the best way he can in a harsh landscape where continued existence is only guaranteed through endurance, strength and the ability to out run or out think whatever’s chasing him. The world has changed and so has he – he’s become a solitary man who keeps his own council, relying on his intuition, cunning and strength, with little hope, no home and no family.

When Chris finds himself in the settlement of Valle de Bravo, he finds for the first time in a long time, people working together in a community. Although he wants no part of it, he’s amazed that anything remotely looking like a thriving society can exist in a world that has become a barren wasteland filled with danger.

Rosa Cortez is in charge of the Valle de Bravo settlement. Her word is law and her law is harsh. It has to be. Outside the gates are skinwalkers and hellhounds and raiders just waiting to take over. Inside the gates there are people who vie for power and want to take her place. Through it all she must maintain her position of authority while finding a way to continue to feed, clothe and house the people under her protection. It’s a fine line to walk; life and death decisions are made daily, and keeping a disparate group of people working and living together while fighting off potential enemies can take a toll on anyone. But Rosa is up to the challenge and her heart and soul — her very existence, is about making this work.

Midnight is filled with tension that sizzles and crackles. The harsh reality of living, juxtaposed with the hope for a better life, is beautifully done. With well drawn and interesting characters, and revealing emotional dialogue, the action is brought to life one page at a time giving us a clear understanding and belief in these people and their struggle.

Rosa is an amazing Alpha heroine with the unenviable position of balancing power while keeping it. Her strength and courage are only matched by her tenacity, and her tenacity is borne from the love she has for these people and their chance to not only survive but to thrive in a world gone mad. It’s a chance at a new beginning for everyone, including herself.

Chris was once a beta man who out of necessity has become an alpha man, allowing him to be a hero who can stand beside the woman he loves while giving her the support she needs to lead her people.

The beauty and delicacy with which the words and phrases are combined to describe the harsh and ugly world and actions of the characters are what amazed me most about this book. The prose immediately gives us a clear understanding of the beauty, cruelty, severity, simplicity and complexity of this world and its characters.  In one of Chris’ first encounters with Rosa his feelings are simply described but allow us to know so much about him: “He’d been alone and wandering for more than three years. So much space, almost all of it deserted. The number of times he’d touched and held another living being was so small. Rock was rock. The air was air. He felt more in common with the elements than with these people. The draw of coming back into their fold was undeniable. And terrifying.” Each word is like a pebble dropped into a still lake rippling out and forever changing the landscape.

Midnight is the second book in the Dark Age Dawning series and can definitely be read alone. I loved the first book Nightfall (see my review here), but I think Midnight is a stronger book. The immediacy of the action and the uniqueness of the hero and heroine are not only exciting but compelling. The language pops and the action electrifies. And through it all the romance is interwoven and vital.

This is a series that has taken hold of my imagination and won’t let go and is definitely a recommended read.

Original article first posted on the B&N Heart to Heart Blog.

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