by Erin Bedford
Published by Embrace the Fantasy Publishing on October 24, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian
Buy on Amazon//Barnes & Noble
They call them the Crimson Fold. High up in their castle they look down on my little world and wield a silent control. That is, until the invitations are sent out.
I never dreamed I’d be selected. They tell me it’s a privilege. I should be honored. But the fear in their eyes doesn’t lie.
If I refuse to go, my family will be shunned. If I go, my life and my body will no longer be mine. It’ll be theirs.
At midnight it will be over. At Midnight I’ll be his.
The Hunger Games meets Cinderella. This fairy tale has no happy endings only dark beginnings.
Until Midnight is the first novel in The Crimson Fold series by USA Today bestselling author Erin Bedford. This novel is a whimsical, dark retelling of a dystopian Cinderella. The story follows Clarabelle, a seventeen-year old girl whose father has recently married a widow with two daughters. This marriage uproots Clara and her father from the outer skirts of the kingdom known as The Glade- a place that grows and harvests food for the rest of the kingdom, leaving very little for those in the Glade- and brings them into the more lavish and gluttonous lifestyle of the Inner Circle. Clara is still trying to adjust to her new life when an invitation is left at her new home…with her name on it. Clara learns about an annual tradition in the Inner Circle where the eldest child of a household is invited to the palace- or the Core- to meet the Crimson Fold- an elite circle of people that never wander from the palace- and their ruler, Patrick Blordril.
Armed with very little knowledge of what occurs at the ball within the Core, and a great deal of resentment towards those who rule over their kingdom, Clara is thrust into a competition that could either 1. See that she serves out the rest of her life as a servant or companion, or 2. Send her home with her memory of her time at the Core erased and a permanent alteration of her mental state. Luckily, Clara’s “fairy godmother” arrives in the form of a rakish and charming Asher and his three sanguine and beautiful female companions. With Asher and his companions guiding Clara through the challenges of the Core festivities and tests, Clara finds herself dodging lethal, nefarious attacks from threatened competitors, uncovering secrets of the Crimson Fold, and realizing that the world she thought she knew may just be an illusion.
Clara’s character was well-developed, and she remained consistent with her feelings throughout the novel. I enjoyed her quirkiness and found myself chuckling at some of her mannerisms and responses to the tests within the story (she’s as terrible in heels as I am!). I would have liked, however, to learn more about Clara’s relationship with her father, especially with him having raised her after her mother’s death, and her earlier need to discuss the invitation with him. The story provided enough villainous characters, potential friends, and a love-interest to keep me satisfied.
Speaking of love-interests…Now, I am a HUGE fan of romance. As such, it always makes my heart sigh in contentment when a burgeoning love is introduced. I can definitely detect a bit of something brewing between Patrick and Clara- which makes me exceedingly pleased. However, their interactions were quite limited in the story, so I am not entirely convinced that they will have a happily ever after. I remain optimistic! And I look forward to delving more into their relationship in the next novel.
Until Midnight was a fantastical and whimsical story that overflowed with intriguing characters, a heart-pounding plot, and enough surprises to leave me desperate to get my hands on the second novel.
Four stars for Until Midnight!
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