Blog tour: Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race
Hey everyone, and welcome to my stop on the Midnight’s Twins blog tour! A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for organising this tour and letting me take part.
If you’ve been to one of my blog tour posts in the past you’ll know I always tell you a little bit more about the book before I share my thoughts and feelings, so buckle up and let’s get into it.
Fern King is about to uncover a place that she could not have imagined in all her wildest dreams. Annwn is the dream mirror of our world, a place where Dreamers walk in their slumber, their dreams playing out all around them. An enchanted, mysterious place that feeds our own world – as without dreams, without a place where our imaginations and minds can be nourished, what kind of humans would we be?
But Annwn is a place as full of dangers as it is wonders: it is a place where dreams can kill you. Annwn and its Dreamers are protected by an ancient order known as the Knights – and when Fern’s hated twin Ollie is chosen to join their ranks, Fern will have to do whatever she can to prove she is one of them too.
But the world Fern discovers in Annwn, in this dream mirror of her London, is a fragile one, threatened by vicious nightmares. Nightmares that are harder and harder for the Knights to defeat. Something dark is jeopardising the peace and stability of Annwn, something that must be rooted out at all costs. And gradually, Fern realises that the danger lurking inside our sleep is more insidious and terrifying than any nightmare. Because if you can influence someone’s dreams, you can control their thoughts…
Before I review the story itself, can we just take a moment to appreciate that cover?! If possible it’s even more gorgeous in real life. The illustrator, Gavin Reece, deserves mad amounts of praise.
When the book begins we find ourselves back in 2005 following Una King, Fern and Ollie’s mother, as she races across Annwn in the attempt to avoid a dangerous monster called a treitre and get home to her babies. Unfortunately the treitre catches Una, and the next morning back in Ithr she is found dead in bed, believed to have passed away in her sleep.
The prologue made my heart pound and was a very startling introduction to the world of Midnight’s Twins. In fact, it made it impossible to put Midnight’s Twins down, because it gave me so many questions which I just couldn’t wait to get answered, and it certainly gets the award for the most memorable start to a book that I’ve read this year so far.
Fifteen years later, Fern starts receiving mysterious texts from someone who claims that they murdered her mother. Having always accepted the fact that their mother died in her sleep, Fern is determined to find out more about Una and the world of Dreamers which ended up being the death of her.
One of the first things that struck me about Midnight’s Twins was how simple yet effective the contrast between Fern and Una’s viewpoint is. Una’s viewpoint is told in third person, whereas Fern’s is told in first, and it so easy to read. The two viewpoints are impossible to mix up because of how differently they are written, and it makes it a pleasure to dip back into the past and learn more about Una’s time with the Knights. I can’t think of another book which switches from third to first person without it feeling awkward or distracting you from the story, so it really makes this book stand out from the crowd.
It’s pretty impossible to briefly sum up the events of Midnight’s Twins, because so much happens throughout this book. Not only do Fern and Ollie have to undergo training to prove their worthiness as Knights of Annwn, they also have to undergo some serious soul-searching to attempt to repair their relationship. Meanwhile, there’s the big bad Sebastian Medraut: a rising politician in Ithr, and one of the most dangerous figures Annwn has ever seen.
I did find the character of Medraut and his One Voice party to be scarily relevant. With so many politicians across the globe acting as though a vote for them means unquestioning agreement with all of their policies it feels as though people are being silenced, so the concept of a politician whose whole shtick is to get people to be silent is both realistic and terrifying. He’s so charismatic that people can’t see the negative side of him, and it makes him so much easier to hate: I just wanted him to experience his comeuppance, but with this being the first book in a trilogy it wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped it would be for Fern and Ollie to triumph.
There’s so much that I highly recommend about this book, but I’m trying my hardest not to give any spoilers because I want you to discover the story for yourself! I will say that you might want to keep some tissues close by, because there are some seriously heartbreaking named character deaths. This might be marketed as YA and feature teenage characters, but there’s more death in this than you find in most fantasy novels! My jaw dropped a couple of times, because I couldn’t believe that some of these characters were being defeated so early in the series.
The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is because there were a few scenes which were written a little clunkily. I found myself being thrown out of the story because I had to pause and reread a couple of times to get my head around what was going on, but it didn’t take too long to get back on the horse so it wasn’t a massive issue. That might be because this is a debut or because it’s a series starter, as there is a lot of exposition and world building to craft the world of Annwn properly, but I’m hoping this will become less of an issue as the series continues.
Holly Race works as a development executive in the film and TV industry, most recently with Aardman Animations. Holly is a Faber Academy graduate, and Midnight’s Twins is her debut novel and the first in a trilogy. After spending several happy years in East London, a few streets away from where Fern lives, she now resides in Cambridge with her husband, their daughter and a large black poodle called Nymeria.
If you need me at any point in the next year you’ll be able to find me here, eagerly anticipating the release of the next book in this series.
Once again, a huge thank you to Faye for letting me get involved in this blog tour. I loved Midnight’s Twins much more than I thought I was going to, and if the rest of the trilogy is as strong as this book Holly Race will easily become a new favourite author of mine.
Thank you for visiting!