Dear Ms. Holly:
The problem I’ve run into with reviewing this trilogy is discussing the book while trying to avoid spoilers. I’ve decided that it’s close to impossible. You’ve been warned . . .
Saving Midnight begins soon after the events of the second. Edmund has been rescued thanks to Graham, Pen, Estelle, Ben and Sally, but the two vampires Li-Hua and Frank have managed to escape. To his dismay, Edmund discovers that while he was captured, Graham had been forced to feed off from Estelle, and that Estelle enjoyed herself. Nevermind the fact that Estelle couldn’t help herself or had no choice but to assist Graham in such a manner, this knowledge is more than Edmund can deal with. He’s angry that such a feeding took place, but he also feels guilty because he knows Estelle had no choice and that neither she nor Graham would betray him in such a way. Instead of discussing his feelings with Estelle, he closes himself off from her and slowly drives himself mad. His feelings bring forth all sorts of guilt that he has bottled up from his past- most of it not deserved. Once again, I was glad that you had shifted the focus of the trilogy away from these two. I found this entire plot development frustrating and bordering on the ridiculous. I’m not sure how much more I could take of Edmund’s self indulgent angst.
Saving Midnight once again features Durand, mercenary and rogue vampire. This time he’s working for the Fitz Clares, trying to bring his former employers down. I was particularly interested in his past relationship with the vampire queen, Nim Wei, and his resentment towards her. I was glad for the opportunity to learn more about him and wouldn’t mind seeing him featured in his own book. However, this isn’t his book. Instead, it’s really Graham’s and Pen’s more than anyone else’s.
After she helps rescue Edmund at the end of book two, Pen goes back home where she discovers that her estranged mother has passed away. She needs to visit her mother’s home and claim her inheritance or risk losing it to her viperous aunts. I liked this little detour in the story. We find out that while she may have grown up with a father who loved and protected her, she was continuously belittled by a mother who masked her venomous intent towards her with a Southern, sugary sweet charm. It’s during a visit to her mother’s home that Pen is attacked by Li-Hua and Frank and we discover just how unusual a young woman Pen really is.
Li-Hua and Frank have given up their quest to discover the means to change a human into a vampire. This time, they’ve managed to get their hands on an ancient vampire device that allows the user to suck the soul from their victim and to absorb that soul into themselves while also increasing their powers. This means that Li-Hua and Frank have gone from dangerous to almost impossible to kill. To make it worse, the rapid increase in power has driven them nearly mad.
Li-Hua and Frank were rather unpredictable to begin with, but you’d think the extra bit of craziness would make them two very difficult vampires to track down. Not so. In fact, it’s almost laughable how easy they are to find. The FitzClare clan decide to travel to Chicago to search for the villainous duo and as soon as they arrive, a friend of Pen walks up and happens to have exactly the information they need to locate Li-Hua and Frank’s new lair. I was kind of amused by how easy it fell together, but by this time in the story, I wasn’t really looking for a long drawn out chase scene either.
My major complaint with this book was Edmund’s psychotic spiral. Not only was the entire thing easily resolved, but it was completely unnecessary in the first place. Not necessarily a Big Misunderstanding, but just as frustrating. What also became frustrating were the numerous sex scenes that broke up the action in Kissing Midnight and actually, throughout the entire trilogy. I know this is trademark Emma Holly, but it seriously got a little old after awhile.
I’m glad I read your upyr trilogy, but I’ll admit to experiencing some fatigue towards the end. As I was reading the last hundred or so pages of Saving Midnight, I remembered thinking that it was almost like I was at the last mile of a marathon- or what I imagine a marathon would be like. And while the marathon may ultimately be rewarding, it’s not always an enjoyable experience.