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Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz | Book Review

Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz
Release Date: 14th March 2023
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Rating: ★★★.5
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Seventeen-year-old Anaïs just wants tonight to end. As an outsider at the kingdom’s glittering anniversary ball, she has no desire to rub shoulders with the nation’s most eligible (and pompous) bachelors—especially not the notoriously roguish Prince Leo. But at the stroke of midnight, an explosion rips through the palace, killing everyone in its path. Including her.

The last thing Anaïs sees is fire, smoke, chaos . . . and then she wakes up in her bedroom, hours before the ball. No one else remembers the deadly attack or believes her warnings of disaster.

Not even when it happens again. And again. And again.

If she’s going to escape this nightmarish time loop, Anaïs must take control of her own fate and stop the attack before it happens. But the court’s gilded surface belies a rotten core, full of restless nobles grabbing at power, discontented commoners itching for revolution, and even royals who secretly dream of taking the throne. It’s up to Anaïs to untangle these knots of deadly deceptions . . . if she can survive past midnight.

I’m a huge fan of time loop and time travel stories so when I saw that Midnight Strikes was that AND a fantasy story, I was immediately intrigued. The idea of the main character looping again and again in order to save herself and others was *chef’s kiss*.

I think the time loop part of this book was handled well, although you could definitely argue that it went on for a little too long. This didn’t bother me as I’m a huge fan of the trope, but I think others might get a bit bored as the main character took ages to really learn anything. I had also recently read another time loop book and so I was already in the correct headspace for this.

As I find often with YA books, the romance was just fine. I find it difficult to get attached to ships nowadays and I think it’s mostly a me problem. I didn’t feel loads of chemistry between the main character, Anais, and her love interest Leo. Maybe younger readers would enjoy it more, though, because you definitely get a lot of tension and drama with Leo not remembering the previous loop each time!

Overall this was a fun fantasy timey wimey story, and I’m really happy that I picked it up. I think it’s a strong debut and I can’t wait to see what Shahnaz brings out next!

I received this book from NetGalley as part of the TBR and Beyond blog tour! Check out the rest of the bloggers and Instagrammers on the schedule to read their thoughts.

About Zeba Shahnaz

Zeba Shahnaz writes fantasy full of political intrigue, twisted romance, and a healthy dose of existential angst. A proud Pakistani-American, she translated her love of storytelling into a graduate degree analyzing national identity, culture, and cinema in South Asia. She grew up in New Jersey, which she has yet to fully escape (though not because of a time loop). MIDNIGHT STRIKES is her debut novel.
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