Book Review – Five Midnights

Five Midnights
by Ann Dávila Cardinal
(Tor Teen, 2019)

At a Glance

Category/Genre(s):

Young Adult Paranormal Horror Mystery

Age Range:

13+

Plot Summary:

“Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?” (source)

Strengths:

  • Fast paced with twists and turns
  • Folklore tie in
  • Good cast of characters

Full Review

I have been looking for something scary to read for awhile and I picked this one up because I saw that it had been nominated for a Bram Stoker award last year. I didn’t know much about Five Midnights and, overall, I thought it was a really fun and spooky book. The legend of El Cuco was new to me and I love books that tie in folklore. I felt like the author did a great job of weaving in the supernatural elements in the story.

I also really enjoyed the setting. I have never been to Puerto Rico, but it is a place that I hope to visit some day. I assume that, since the author is Puerto Rican, that the setting is relatively accurate and I enjoyed her descriptions. It was easy to feel like I was right there with the characters.

I thought that the majority of the book was fast paced and had lots of twists and turns, as any good mystery should. My biggest critique is that the climax got a little bogged down and I felt a little lost at times. But the book does a good job of bringing everything back around at the very end.

I know that others did not like Lupe’s character–some felt her feminism was too angry-but I didn’t have a problem with her. She more felt like a teenager that was trying to act grown up and ends up in over her head. Her character arc felt natural. I will say, however, that my favorite character was Javier. His character felt very real and his struggle with staying clean and not regressing felt honest. I was emotionally invested in his character the most. But the whole ensemble was great.

The next book in the series, Category Five, came out earlier this summer and I am excited to pick it up and return to Puerto Rico with Lupe and Javier.

Final Verdict

If you enjoy murder mysteries with a supernatural bent, I would definitely recommend Five Midnights.


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Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

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