A month doesn’t go by where we don’t read at least one YA fantasy, and August is no exception! We at THP can’t get enough of new fantasy novels. And today, we’re reviewing Delilah S. Dawson’s Midnight at the Houdini!
Midnight at the Houdini is as mysterious and magical as it sounds. It centers around Anna Alonso, a girl who finds herself racing against time to escape the Houdini Hotel.
We weren’t prepared for the endless twists as the main characters tried to navigate and leave the hotel. You’ll see what we mean when you read it. But for now, here are three things we love about Midnight at the Houdini by Delilah S. Dawson!
Content Warnings: violence, torture, attempted murder, mention of attempted suicide
Summary: Life has gone according to plan for Anna—she stays in the background, letting her sister, Emily, shine in the spotlight. But on Emily’s wedding night, Anna learns that her sister is moving away, abandoning her—and all their shared dreams. Devastated, Anna leaves the reception in the middle of a raging storm, taking shelter in a hotel she’s never seen before: the Houdini.
The Houdini is a hotel unlike any other, with sumptuous velvet couches, marble tiled floors, secret restaurants, winding passageways, and an undercurrent of magic in the air. And when Anna meets Max, who has lived his entire life inside its walls, she’s captivated. For the first time in her life, Anna is center stage, in a place that anticipates her every desire, with a boy who only has eyes for her.
But there’s a terrifying secret hidden in the Houdini. When the clock strikes midnight, Anna will be trapped there forever unless she can find a way to break free from its dreamlike magic. But will she be able to do it if it means leaving Max behind?
The Sense Of Adventure
One of the best things about Midnight at the Houdini is never knowing which door will lead where. Or even which doors can open for our characters. The Houdini Hotel has its own mind. And we can clearly feel it come to life and pop off the pages! As Anna desperately searches for a secret key that can grant her the way out, she also must avoid being kidnapped and trapped multiple times. The possibilities are endless at the Houdini, and we love how all the side stories and characters connect at the end.
The Budding Romance
Of course, we had to discuss the romance between Anna and Max next! Anna, like us, is the one who always plans and executes everything in her family. On the other hand, Max is a boy who has never been in control of his own life. As they get to know each other, he shows Anna how to enjoy herself in the moment by introducing her to his favorite spots inside the magical hotel. And Anna teaches Max what happens in the modern world. They both expand one another’s worldview, and there are so many cute moments between them!
The Satisfying Ending
It may sound trippy, but the events in Midnight at the Houdini took place over only 12 hours in the real world. With all the mystery and adventure packed into the novel, it was easy to forget that. And the author’s writing didn’t feel slow at all. Another thing we so appreciate is that not everything gets tied with a nice bow at the end. Trying to forgive your parents for what they’ve done is incredibly difficult, and it can’t be fixed within a day. We’re left feeling hopeful for Anna and Max and their relationships with their families. And that’s more than enough.
Midnight at the Houdini by Delilah S. Dawson comes out September 5th. Here’s how to preorder!
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