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A duology that actually left me wanting , and I m grateful to NetGalley for allowing me to read this prior to publication.Anouk is desperate to save those she loves, and her resolve has her making bargains with those she feels little for in order to try to get things back to how she wants them Determined to save her friends, Anouk heads to the wilds so she can take the test and prove herself worthy of magic.Nothing is quite what you expect here, but it was a story that became increasingly interesting. @Download Book ⚣ Midnight Beauties à The Witches, Beasties, Goblins, And Royals Return In This Spellbinding Conclusion To New York Times Best Selling Author Megan Shepherd S Grim Lovelies Duology Ever Since She Discovered Her Affinity For Magic, Seventeen Year Old Anouk Has Been Desperate To Become A Witch It S The Only Way To Save Her Friends Who, Like Anouk, Are Beasties Animals Enchanted Into Humans But Unlike Anouk, The Other Beasties Didn T Make It Out Of The Battle At Mont Limar In One Piece With Her Friends Now Trapped In Their Animal Forms, Anouk Is Forced Into A Sinister Deal Involving A Political Marriage With Her Sworn Enemy, A Wicked Plot To Overthrow London S Fiercest Coven Of Witches, And A Deadly Trial Of Fire To Become A Witch The Price For Power Has Always Been Steep In The World Of The Haute Now, It Will Cost Anouk Everything Wicked And Delightful, This Spellbinding Sequel And Conclusion To Grim Lovelies Is Perfect For Fans Of The Cruel Prince And The Hazelwood Wood When it came to this world, I have many mixed feelings On one hand, I couldn t get enough of all the magical talk, the covens, the royals, the cottage But, then there was the romance that began blooming Which, for me, made absolutely no sense because of all the damage that had been done before this second novel Along with that, were a few other tidbits that made it even difficult to fall in love with Even so, that wasn t enough to keep me from still moving forward.And, that, had to do with all of the other supernatural and magic wielding that went on I couldn t get enough of the cold, and spooky, forest that led to the cottage Or what was waiting for everyone at that cottage with all of the unique characters that filled the pages Plus, it made me fall in love even with Beau, Luc, Petra and just wait til you meet some of the pretties enduring the trial That right there was intense, unsettling, and interesting, to say the least.It doesn t stop there, that s only the beginning of all of this Another reason why, when those other small occurrences happened, or the love plot came back in, I still kept reading and trudging along Much of that having to do with the loyalty, the friendships, the strength many of them had to keep going It s what a lot of this novel was made of, giving me a little appreciation for it.Enough, like I said, to keep reading But, even like that, I was still caught in the middle because of those parts that came back to me I really couldn t do with that twisted romance, or the other one that felt like we were reading something a bit desecrating to those characters Maybe, it was just me, but its how it felt and left me somewhat irked I think, if it had been played a little differently, the setup a little not so irritating, or head scratcher of a why I may have felt love for those parts.Throughout all of that, there I was again, reading and , until I reached the end Because, that ending, well, it was worth the wait and the craziness surrounding it Especially that Noirceur heebie jeebies for days It was all than enough to still find some middle ground with it It might not be a book in my tops, but it still kept me entertained for days I received this copy from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review All opinions are my own. They don t know their fates are in the hands of a couple of misfits and dreamers And Viggo3 5 starsI want to preface this review with 1 Thank you to Goodreads and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review, and 2 I love Megan Shepherd s o m u c h The Madman s Daughter triology is chef kiss emoji and Rolf, Nok, Lucky, Leon, and Mali from The Cage are literally my children so know that I had very high expectations going into this series finale.Plot 3 5 Much like the first book, I think that there was a lot of thought put into this world in a way that was almost overwhelming Although I was better able to keep track of the differences between pretties beasties goblins witches royals it was still A Lot of information I m still perplexed about the complexities of magic vs technology in this story, especially when it comes to vehicles, but at this point all I can do is just wash my hands of it I absolutely loved the first part of this story, which focused on a magical competition of sorts for lack of spoilers I thought the characters involved in that section were very intriguing and that there was a lot of suspense building for me I also thought that certain events brought about by this competition were SO AMAZING for Anouk s character growth, and I wish we had been able to spend time getting to know her both with and without magic Oh, and there were two twists at different points in the story that had me surprised, they were very well executed.However, still consistent with the first book, I found myself caring about the relationships between the characters and not at all about the real conflict Like I really, really, really didn t care about the politics or the curses or anything, I just wanted to see the characters come into their own particularly the beasties , develop further yes, Rennar, I m looking at you, and also my darling Petra , and see how their relationships grow Sadly, I did not get as much of this as I wanted It s pretty par for the course for a fantasy novel to be plot driven, but that doesn t mean I can t be disappointed.Characters 3 5 I m SO TORN when I talk about these characters because, while there are a few characters I absolutely adore, I feel like they were either not utilized to the best of their ability in the story, didn t get the page time and development they deserved, or they were KILLED OFF For the other main characters, I was intrigued by many of them but they came across as quite one dimensional to me.I thought the love triangle throughout this second book was so spicy mamma mia I love me some good romantic sexual tension , but it was concluded in a way that was cheap and lazy and that I will never forgive Pacing 2 5 First act amazing pacing From then on, too many action scenes that are now a jumble of knives and whispers in my mind The end was SO RUSHED, and I mean SO RUSHED, that when I hit the last twelve pages I actually swore out loud about the turn of events Writing 4 5 I really like Megan Shepherd s writing I love this world in which language is so prevalent, both due to the fact that it s mainly set in Paris and so our characters only swear in French so cheeky and because of the language of spells the magical folks use I didn t end up jotting down a ton of quotes but there were a few moments that made me chuckle and there s a monologue that a certain character gives at the end that I would honestly like framed above my bed so I can see it every night when I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up.Enjoyment 3 5 Sadly, my enjoyment of this conclusion was very middle of the road The characters I love had me engaged, but when they were under utilized or sacrificed for the plot I just became utterly frustrated It s also a really long book and I felt bogged down by it in the middle third I wanted to love it just because it s Megan Shepherd, but in the end my high hopes left me feeling a bit disappointed Fans of urban fantasy might get enjoyment from this than I did I am very disappointed with this book I loved the first book but this one just didn t work for me.Full Review to Come Soon. I Loved This Book Big thanks to NetGalley for giving me this ARC to review I fell in love with Grim Lovelies, which I received from EpicFest, and as soon as I heard there was a sequel I knew I had to get my hands on it There s just so much to love Allow me to demonstrate The characters, first of all AUGH I could go on about the characters for years Anouk is such a wonderfully deep character with so many hopes and dreams and fears and regrets and emotions Just, all of the emotions Then there was the ROMANCE UGH I LOVE THE ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK SO MUCH If I m being honest, it is the single greatest part of this novel If you don t like romance, I would still say read it because the plot is really great too, but you may not enjoy it as much as I did RENOUK FOREVER Also, no spoilers or anything, but if you at all like me you re going to hate the ending of this book Just saying Megan s writing style is absolutely beautiful too I don t quite know how to describe it Like, it s not elegant, but it s majestic She just describes everything in a way that brings it to life Like, if Roshani Chokshi s writing style is like the stars in the sky, Megan Shepherd s is like a thunderstorm Best example I could think of There was no English cursing that I can think of in this book, but there was probably some in French Nothing overly sexual, just like some stuff hinted at and some kisses Mentions of alcohol and smoking I m pretty sure And there are two sexually diverse characters who to me just felt awkward and unnecessary And of course, there is magic Such a wonderful book Four out of five stars. Overall the book was a really good follow up and conclusion to the Grim Lovelies world I can honestly say I will miss these characters and the world that Shepherd created, and that is how I determine if a book is really good I want to care about the characters and what happens to them, and I very much did care about Anouk and the other beasties Even Viggo Speaking of Viggo, this brings me to an issue that I ve had since the first book His character development arc In Midnight Beauties he starts out as a violent, abusive, obsessive horrible person At least that s the way he is described to me in the book Then all of a sudden, after the spell Anouk cast on him is broken, he instantly becomes a giant mushball whose line of defense is throwing shoes The change just happened all too fast and too much to really make sense and be consistent I will say though that I found the character he was changed to much likeable and enjoyable, I just wish the character arc would have been at a much gradual pace to be believable It was like Shepherd wanted to portray him one way, and then changed her mind completely Now, back to Midnight Beauties specifically As I said, it was a really good follow up conclusion to Grim Lovelies, but I think the very end, as in the last chapter, just kind of happened all too fast Without giving anything away, I think that ending should have had at least an extra couple of chapters devoted to it to make me even really care about how it went But it was like, Oh, okay So that happened Guess the book s over This is absolutely NOT to say that I m not happy with the way the book ended, because I really am And just a side note about the ending I totally for a moment got a Labyrinth Goblin King feel for that ending I wonder if that was any kind of an influence or inspiration for Shepherd Now, go read this book So, I loved book one I found it rich and lovely and oh so compelling.Book two, I was with until we get to the end of a certain contest After that, it all kind of fell apart for me.The book begins to focus on the romance than anything else While there are still exciting scenes and some so visceral and iconic they ll knock your breath out these scenes are tempered by smoldering glances and simpering looks and just romantic weirdness that never feels right.I found myself wanting beastie warrior and less does she does he do I care Though I still appreciated the atmosphere and the author s gift for description that black tears scene I found I much preferred book one. Source Publisher Genre Young Adult Fantasy Dark Fantasy Rating 3.5 4 Thoughts Megan Shepherd s Midnight Beauties is the final installment in the authors Grim Lovelies duology 6 weeks have passed since Anouk learned she has access to magic Pretty surprising from what she came from She fought and survived the siege of Mont limar, while her friends Beau, Cricket, Luc, Hunter Black have all reverted back to their original forms before they were human Now, Anouk has to find a way to become a witch so that she has the power to bring her family back Full Review Gizmos Reviews