Review: The Midnight Kingdom by Tara Sim


Taesia, the shadow-wielding rebel of House Lastrider, and Nikolas, the solider son of House Cyr, have been cast into Noctus, the realm of night. But they are not alone. The dangerous and unpredictable god of light has traveled with them, and he will do anything in his power to destroy Noctus once and for all.

Risha, the peace-loving necromancer of House Vakara, has finally found her way to Mortri, the realm of death. But she still cannot help the wayward spirits trapped in Vaega, nor does she have any idea how to get herself and her friend Jas home. All she knows is that no mortal can survive for long in Mortri. And the creatures that walk the realm of death don’t take kindly to the living.

Angelica, the stubborn elementalist of House Mardova, finds herself alone in Vaega. With the other three heirs vanished, it is up to her help keep the city of Nexus from unraveling. But Angelica secretly suffers from a sickness that her goddess left in her veins. And when she is sent on a delicate diplomatic mission, she knows that any sign of weakness will have disastrous repercussions for her family, her city, and her dreams of the throne.

All will encounter old friends and new enemies as they attempt to restore the balance of the world. But as the gods grow stronger, they’ll need more than their powers and their wits to survive.


The Midnight Kingdom by Tara Sim continues the story right from where the first book in The Dark Gods series, The City of Dusk, left off. After the devastating events on Godsnight, the heirs of the Houses find themselves scattered across different realms. Taesia, Julian and Nic are now in Noctus, Risha is in Motri, while Angelica is in Vitae. Betrayed by their gods, stripped of their privileges, and forced to abandon their once lofty ambitions of power and thrones, each heir must embark on their own separate journey to confront the seemingly impossible task of defeating their gods.

While there were moments where the world building may have faltered, overall Tara demonstrated her ability to skillfully describe diverse realms and countries that we encountered in this book. The introduction of new characters like Lilia, Marcellus, Kalen, Val, and Kazue added a fresh and enjoyable element to the story. Additionally, it was gratifying to see previously established supporting characters such as Cosima, Braillie, Eiko, Fin, and Saya being given substantial roles in this installment.

Although the plot may not have reached the same mind-blowing heights as The City of Dusk, with its multitude of intertwined storylines, it remained solid and managed to effectively combine various elements together. The cohesion and integration of these different plotlines were done well, providing a satisfying reading experience overall.

The romantic chemistry between the characters was exceptionally well-written. The gradual development of relationships such as Angelica and Cosima, Nikolas and Fin, and Taesia and Julian as love interests was portrayed beautifully on the pages. It was a delight to read about their evolving connections, as the author skillfully captured the nuances of their interactions and the blossoming emotions between them. The way these romantic storylines unfolded added an extra layer of depth and enjoyment to the overall narrative.

One aspect of Tara’s writing that I’ve always admired is her ability to depict intimate scenes between characters. While even renowned romance authors may resort to basic and crass descriptions in such moments, Tara truly shines with her choice of words. She skillfully maintains a sense of class, infusing these scenes with a poetic and emotional quality without sacrificing the essence of these intimate interactions. It’s a testament to her talent as a writer that she can capture the depth and beauty of these moments while still treating them with grace and sensitivity.

To be completely honest, at the beginning of the book, I found myself somewhat disconnected from the pace of the story. I believe this might be because I had certain expectations based on the first book, which was filled with fast-paced action from beginning to end. In The Midnight Kingdom, however, the entire first half of the book was dedicated to world-building and the introduction of new characters. This approach was understandable since the characters were now in different settings compared to the first book. However, I didn’t notice any significant progress or plot growth during this initial half, which left me feeling somewhat disappointed in comparison to my experience with the first book. On the bright side, the second half of the book was fantastic. That’s when everything started to pick up and the story became more engaging. We were treated to thrilling action sequences, unexpected twists, and turns, and all the different plot lines began to converge. It was a captivating experience to see how everything came together and unfolded in such an exciting manner.

Another aspect that I sorely missed from the first book was the dynamic among all the heirs when they were together as a group. Their banter, humor, and friendships, including the constant bickering between Taesia and Angelica, were truly refreshing. While the supporting cast of new characters in The Midnight Kingdom was remarkable, I don’t believe it quite matched the camaraderie and chemistry that the group had as a whole when they were united. It was that sense of togetherness that added an extra layer of enjoyment to the story, and I found myself longing for more of those interactions in this sequel.

I had another minor issue with this book, and that was in a few chapters during the latter half where I found myself unsure of whose perspective the story was being narrated from. It wasn’t a consistent problem throughout the book, but in those specific chapters, it did create some disorientation for me as a reader.

Although Taesia was my favorite character in The City of Dusk, Angelica managed to steal that title in this installment. The reason behind this shift was that Angelica’s story was more captivating and intriguing compared to the other character arcs in this book. However, I did find myself wishing for more chapters from Dante’s perspective. While I understand that he may not have had as much to contribute to the overall plot, I still felt that his perspective could have added depth and further enriched the story.

Overall, The Midnight Kingdom was a solid book, although it didn’t quite reach the same level as its predecessor, The City of Dusk. I feel it was a challenging task to begin with, given how amazing the first book was. While The Midnight Kingdom may have fallen short in comparison (in my opinion) it still served its purpose as a satisfying second installment in the series. I am eagerly anticipating The Dawn Throne and discovering which of these heirs will ultimately claim the coveted throne. I extend my sincere thanks to NetGalley, Orbit Books, and Tara Sim for providing me with the opportunity to read this advance copy.


The Book Cover

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