hits counter The Helm of Midnight - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Helm of Midnight

Availability: Ready to download

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter. In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from histo A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter. In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders. Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question. It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.


Compare

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter. In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from histo A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter. In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders. Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question. It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

30 review for The Helm of Midnight

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petrik

    I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review. 4.5/5 stars This is an incredible book. Character-driven and bloody thrilling; The Helm of Midnight has pretty much confirmed its spot in one of my favorite books of 2021 list. I owe a thank you to Andrea Stewart, the author of The Bone Shard Daughter, for recommending this book to me. I was already intrigued by the eerie cover art illustrated by I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review. 4.5/5 stars This is an incredible book. Character-driven and bloody thrilling; The Helm of Midnight has pretty much confirmed its spot in one of my favorite books of 2021 list. I owe a thank you to Andrea Stewart, the author of The Bone Shard Daughter, for recommending this book to me. I was already intrigued by the eerie cover art illustrated by Sam Weber, and it was her endorsement that really push me to read The Helm of Midnight amidst my ever-growing TBR pile. I don’t regret it one bit. This was my first time reading Lostetter’s book, and I’m undoubtedly impressed, especially because this is her fantasy novel; her previous books were all sci-fi if I’m not mistaken. Lostetter herself described The Helm of Midnight as The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris meets Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson; I can confirm that this isn’t a far-off pitch, and I loved it. Unraveling: that’s what it feels like. The more I try to wind the lengths of my life into a neat, manageable knot, the more they seem to stretch and fray and snap. Order is not easy. Breaking takes less effort than building, that is the way of the world. The Helm of Midnight, the first book in The Five Penalties trilogy, opens with a daring and deadly heist. The perpetrator managed to steal a dangerous artifact of terrible power: the death mask of Louis Charbon. Louis Charbon was once known as the most terrifying serial murderer, and this death mask created by a master craftsman being stolen means that someone might have the power to channel Louis Charbon’s abilities when they wear the death mask. Now it’s up to Krona, De-Lia, and their fellow Regulars to find out the thieves, the truth behind this heist, and Louis Charbon himself. As you can probably guess, investigations is a huge part of the narrative in The Helm of Midnight. The terror and mayhem unleashed by Louis Charbon were frankly terrifying; it made me wonder what kind of research the author has done to successfully write massacres in such a vividly horrifying detail. Yes, this is quite a dark book, and if you’re not into reading grim books, you might be better off skipping this one. However, as evil blooms in darkness, The Helm of Midnight was an amazing read to me not because of its attention to murder, yes that’s a part of it, but more importantly it was the magnificent characterizations that immersed me into the narrative so much. “Nothing can stop a man who thinks his violence is not only justified, but the epitome of virtue.” This is, at its core, a story about faith, trauma, family, and duty. The characterizations are the key factors that made these themes worked so good. Even when the pacing considerably slowed down in the middle of the book, I never felt bored because I’ve grown attached and invested in finding out the fates of these characters. The story is told through the perspective of three main characters in a different time frame. First, we have Krona in the present timeframe who deals with the plotline I mentioned earlier; her story took some time for me to fully enjoy. Eventually, I became attached to Krona’s character development and the well-written sibling relationship she has with her sister: De-Lia; the complexity and love between the two characters as sisters really shine through the pages. “They’d wanted to protect each other so much, sometimes they’d forgotten what they were protecting.” And then we have Melanie’s chapters that take place two years before the current event. I will admit that I was worried that her chapters won’t matter much to Krona’s story; it just seemed disconnected at first, and I thought this would be one of those cases where a character was introduced, but their story won’t connect until the sequel. Obviously, I couldn’t be more wrong. That’s all I can say about this, though, you have to find out for yourself. In Melanie’s POV, Lostetter also exhibited her talent in writing a romantic relationship that’s so wonderfully done. ’“It’s not just about what I want,” she said with a sigh. “We take actions in life, and there are consequences. Those consequences narrow our choices. Time makes us walk a straight path between where we’ve been and where we are now. There’s no changing it.” “But new decisions mean new consequences and new choices,” he said softly. “We’re never locked into one path. Time also allows us free will. She never freezes our future.”’ And finally—my favorite of the three POV characters—we have Louis Charbon himself; his chapters start eleven years before Krona’s story. This POV, y’all… It exceeded my expectations. I recently read a manga series called Shuumatsu no Valkyrie (Record of Ragnarok in English), and the similarity to Jack the Ripper found in Louis Charbon’s reputation reminded me of reading Jack the Ripper’s story in that manga. I’m giving a self-standing (yes, I’m standing right now) ovation to Lostetter with Louis Charbon’s origin story. THIS is the one that gives the necessary extra depth to the novel. Does eternal malice accompany Louis Charbon since his birth? Is he really the personification of death? Again, read and find out for yourself. Suffice to say that I was absolutely compelled with his chapters; reading about the internal and external conflicts he has between loving his family and executing his duty to the Unknown God was heartbreaking, disturbing, and unputdownable. “People are more complex than that. Evil has its logics, just as good does. I need to understand Charbon to understand this killer.” Three different characters with three different timelines and all connect with each other to bring a great result. Plus, The Helm of Midnight has one of the most despicable villains I’ve ever read. Lostetter’s prose felt so well-polished, and the full force of the horror and nightmare that the characters felt can truly be felt. I seriously love books with characters that made me feel; Lostetter’s capability to describe emotions—especially pain, anguish, and regret—was incredible. I could really feel the character’s emotions. And speaking of emotions, the magic in this novel revolves around emotions, and it also reminded me of the magic system in Mistborn; without the explosive actions. There’s quite a lot to unpack here; I’m just going to mention them briefly. People with an affinity for wearing a death mask have the power to channel the abilities and memories that comes with wearing one; each death mask has its own level of Magnitude, Tier, and abilities, with its own benefits and drawbacks. Then there’s also the concept of Enchantments and emotion stones, and more. “Real time is far more valuable than bottled time. It has a better exchange rate. I decided I wanted to spend mine as productively as possible, get the biggest payout I could. That way, when I’m close to dying, I won’t feel the need to cash in—to lay on extra days, or months, or years. Because I won’t have any regrets. I think only people who waste their lives scrape for those extra minutes.” Dark, immersive, and bloodstained, The Helm of Midnight provides an emotionally manipulative reading experience that I enjoyed. Although this is the first book in a trilogy, it worked nicely as a standalone. I have a difficult time classifying what kind of sub-genre this novel belongs in; it’s a novel with a lot of ideas implemented, and I’m curious to find out how the author will improve on these ideas in the sequels. The Helm of Midnight is partly urban fantasy, high fantasy, thriller, and mystery with a touch of steampunk, and Lostetter combined them into one package with frightening accuracy. It’s different from the kind of epic/high fantasy books I usually read, and I know this won’t work for everyone, but it really did for me and I hope it will for you as well. Last but not least, I’ll close this review with an important message from the author herself: “And thank you to everyone who picked up this book, especially the readers who are struggling—whether it be through external battles or internal ones. As krona pointed out, despair always lies, and no one should be expected to work through depression, anxiety, or a catastrophe alone.”—Marina J. Lostetter Official release date: 13th April 2021 You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping) | Bookshop (Support Local Bookstores!) The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing! My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Ben, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Edward, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Lufi, Melinda, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Saunders, Shaad, Summer, Zoe.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    My thanks to Marina Lostetter, Tor/Forge and Netgalley. I'm no good at reviewing Fantasy books, so I'm not even going to try. I didn't think I'd even like this book when I first began. The magic is exactly how I think magic would be, if it were possible. Hard! Definitely not for the mathematically challenged. So, I'd be out of luck! But, it's the characters and the very abbreviated world that made me stick around. I need more of this! I shed a few tears in the end. I'm pretty damn sure that this boo My thanks to Marina Lostetter, Tor/Forge and Netgalley. I'm no good at reviewing Fantasy books, so I'm not even going to try. I didn't think I'd even like this book when I first began. The magic is exactly how I think magic would be, if it were possible. Hard! Definitely not for the mathematically challenged. So, I'd be out of luck! But, it's the characters and the very abbreviated world that made me stick around. I need more of this! I shed a few tears in the end. I'm pretty damn sure that this book will be in my top books of 2021!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    "The Rules of the Valley are as harsh as they are pure. The gods sacrificed much for humanity, and require us to sacrifice for each other in return. Beware the Five Penalties." Wow, this was a pretty incredible start to what I assume will be an epic trilogy. A little bit serial killer murder mystery added to an intricate magic system, then sprinkled with a dash of steampunk ingenuity, and you have The Helm of Midnight. This is a really tough book for me to write a review for, because I always fee "The Rules of the Valley are as harsh as they are pure. The gods sacrificed much for humanity, and require us to sacrifice for each other in return. Beware the Five Penalties." Wow, this was a pretty incredible start to what I assume will be an epic trilogy. A little bit serial killer murder mystery added to an intricate magic system, then sprinkled with a dash of steampunk ingenuity, and you have The Helm of Midnight. This is a really tough book for me to write a review for, because I always feel unqualified giving specific recommendations when it comes to adult fantasy. I don't read a substantial amount of books in this genre, but I feel like I've read enough to know at least whether or not said book has substance. It sounds like there's a lot going on in this novel, and there definitely is, but somehow it all works together nicely. Please note that there are quite a few dark and disturbing moments in this book, mainly due to the fact that we get a devious POV from the serial killer the mask stolen is associated with, which I felt was genius and added so much depth to the tale. If you enjoy dark fantasy that really bleeds into many sub-genres, I highly recommend you give this one a try. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma☀️

    I enjoyed this, despite the slow pace and complicated world building. The characters were all properly fleshed out with unique personalities. By the end of the novel, I was stressed out and almost in tears - fun times :D Longer rtc Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    This was something of a surprise to me because I'm kind of a connoisseur of covers and with a title like that, I HAD to assume the novel was an epic fantasy with standard worldbuilding for such. What it IS, however, is something more like a hybrid Jack-the-Ripper London in a unique fantasy with a Bujold-like 5 Gods setting mixed with a VERY cool external emotions-based magic system (at least early on). In other words, we have a heavy-population fantasy with lots of disparity between the rich and This was something of a surprise to me because I'm kind of a connoisseur of covers and with a title like that, I HAD to assume the novel was an epic fantasy with standard worldbuilding for such. What it IS, however, is something more like a hybrid Jack-the-Ripper London in a unique fantasy with a Bujold-like 5 Gods setting mixed with a VERY cool external emotions-based magic system (at least early on). In other words, we have a heavy-population fantasy with lots of disparity between the rich and the poor, monsters in the streets, and heist-like action that goes a bit deeper. I'm also reminded of Foundryside as I read it. It is, after all, a novel about rather unique ghosts that remind me of cyberpunk fare, magic masks, medical expertise, and a convoluted con game that only touches on a steampunk theme while doubling down on its own thing. In other words, it's quite good. The characters are also pretty memorable, too, although there might have been a little too much meandering. The core fears and hopes were pretty standard and convincing and definitely swum around the main plot in a cool way. I'm looking forward to continuing this pretty vast tapestry of a world. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Virginja ↢ 99% imp

    2🌟 I received an ARC (Advanced Read Copy) from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quotes reported may be subject to modifications upon publishing. Order is not easy. Breaking takes less effort than building, that is the way of the world. Uff. I had really high hopes for The Helm of Midnight (THoM), but it ended up being just an okay book, with a lot of wasted potential. And it fills me with sorrow, because this book had all the papers in order to be ground breaking high fa 2🌟 I received an ARC (Advanced Read Copy) from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quotes reported may be subject to modifications upon publishing. Order is not easy. Breaking takes less effort than building, that is the way of the world. Uff. I had really high hopes for The Helm of Midnight (THoM), but it ended up being just an okay book, with a lot of wasted potential. And it fills me with sorrow, because this book had all the papers in order to be ground breaking high fantasy, with an astoundingly original magic system. THoM is set in a world populated by monsters. Long ago, the five gods created humanity an, to preserve it, they enclosed all mankind in a sort of bubble. Surrounded by a magical wall, humanity lives in the Valley, while unspeakably horrible monsters dwell on the outside. Every god has their own tipe of magic, and each of these is used/stored in five different materials: gems for Emotion, wood for Knowledge, sand for Time and iron for Nature. The last god, the Unknown, has made the barrier, but they (they are a non-binary god) didn’t leave humanity any specific magic; no one knows why. Wood is used to store the memories of the dead, and the story starts when someone steals the wooden mask of Luis Chabron, an infamous serial killer that murdered an insane amount of people. Officer Krona is assigned to the investigation, but the theft of Charbon’s mask is way more convoluted than what the young woman thinks, and leads her in a tangle of plots woven directly by the Unknown god themselves. ”We can’t go backward. Time does not unmake what has been made.” As you can see, Lostetter’s world is really immaginative and complex. She did not create one magic system, she created four, all of them extremely original and compelling. And that’s not all. The author build a beautiful and unique world, where the human territory is inspired by 1800s France, but the outside world is populated by Lovecraftian eldritch horrors. The description of the the monsters from the outside was chilling, vivid to the point it gave me chills! There are elements of the occult (like lithomancy and divination) and aspects that reminded me of voodoo, like the enchanted wooded masks and the Thalo puppets — dreadful stuffed mannequins controlled by the Unknown god. Lostetter put together such a mixture of fantastic ideas; if only she had wrote them cohesively... I regret to say the author bit more than she could chew, and ended up creating a massing world of whom she only drew the very basic outlines. The applications of the gods power is described vaguely. We know what they do separately, but when combined together Lostetter fails to explain how they are supposed to work. We are constantly told there are rules, and constantly the author proceeds to break them two chapters after. We are told that doing that thing is impossible, but three chapters after that thing is carried out with like it’s not a big deal. Lostetter clearly put a lot of effort in crafting her world, nonetheless her careful planning is completely useless when the readers can’t understand a damn about how it functions. “All people were ultimately liars, even when they thought they were telling the truth.” The main reasons why I didn’t like this book is the writing style, but that’s totally on me. I have come to the realization that in order to like a book I need an “intimate” writing. The narration has to provide the inner thoughts of characters (possibly through free indirect speech) and give each a distinct voice, otherwise I won’t feel attached to any of them. In THoM that isn’t the case. Lostetter’s writing is very clinical, it narrates the events but never analyzed the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I’m sure that many readers will love this book because of its very clinical tone. It’s a very fluent writing stile with a simple prose, so many will fly through this book in a matter of days. For me that wasn’t the case. “Louis Charbon had been a killer. And he’d liked it. Some variation of ‘Death is art’ was always written next to the bodies.” Another problem I had with this book is that we readers knew too much compared to the characters. This book has three different plot lines: one follows Kron and the robbery investigation; one a woman named Melanie, who is trying to save her mother’s life; the last - and most captivating one - is Charbon’s origin story. By the 35% the readers already knows why Charbon’s mask was stolen, why Melanie is important to story and the masterplan of the Unknown. Krona starts to figure things out at about the 60%, but since we know too much everything she discovers is devoid of any satisfaction. Krona’s arc is the most prominent of the three, it should be the most thrilling, instead it’s slow and redundant. The author should have spaced out the informations to create a sense of suspence. Other readers pointed this out, but this book should be about a hundred pages shorter. The really good parts of THoM are Charbon’s chapters. Being in the head of a serial killer was awesome. Charbon’s story is a tragedy from start to finish, I don’t want to spoil you anything, but, out of all the characters, he is probably the only one with a story to tell. His actions are heinous, if he was a real person everyone would throw him in a prison and destroy the key. But, at the same time, what he did made so much sense! i wish Lostetter had written more chapter from his point of view, or even better, wrote his story only. It could have made a grand horror fantasy! ”Magic isn’t ours, not really. We don’t make it, we don’t control it. We harvest it and refine it and pretend to master it. But it’s a feral power that wants to turn on us.” It saddens me to say so, but I wish this book had been written by another author, more experienced with complicated fantasy worlds. If Sanderson, Kristoff or Jemisin had worked on with these ides, this book would have been a real masterpiece.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chris Berko

    This is a book of fantastic ideas populated by some memorable characters but the story lacked a sense of urgency and seemed kind of repetitive until about 85% in. The ending was fun, if abrupt, and left enough unanswered questions and dangling carrots hanging around to where I'm looking forward to see where the next installment goes. One of my gripes, and I hardly ever say this as a lover of long books, is that this is too long. Two hundred pages easily could have been chopped out without losing This is a book of fantastic ideas populated by some memorable characters but the story lacked a sense of urgency and seemed kind of repetitive until about 85% in. The ending was fun, if abrupt, and left enough unanswered questions and dangling carrots hanging around to where I'm looking forward to see where the next installment goes. One of my gripes, and I hardly ever say this as a lover of long books, is that this is too long. Two hundred pages easily could have been chopped out without losing anything narratively and made things a little more exciting. That being said, this is definitely an expansive story with much of the worldbuilding and background history only hinted at and leaving lots to explore in future books. It took me a while to get used to the author's writing style and some passages seemed disjointed until things clicked at around 20% on my Kindle and then went down much more smoothly from there. I connected with the characters pretty early on and it was that connection that kept me going through the slower parts. The characters deal with loss, guilt, and redemption, and a lot of the motivations seem to stem from holding onto things from the past and trying to make things right. Multiple characters deal with this as well as experiencing what we now know as PTSD and this is what made the characters real for me, I have had those thoughts, I've had those feelings and I know how crippling anxiety and trauma from the past can impact present decision making. The magic system is original and thoroughly explained, and there is plenty the author comes up with to marvel at but these were background things and did not add to the story. I think I was expecting more of a murder mystery that just happened to take place in a fantasy environment and yes the fantasy elements are there and are way cool, it's just that the other elements were not as engrossing and the momentum I usually feel when reading a whodunnit was not there. There were times I was totally stoked to read this and couldn't wait to get to reading (damn real life) but there were equal times where I wished things moved quicker and more was going on. Three stars from me along with a dash of excited anticipation for where future books will take us. I want to thank Tor Books, Netgalley, and Marina Lostetter for the advance copy but that in no way shape or form impacted my opinion or review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Books with Brittany

    3.75 after more reflection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    The Helm of Midnight is an entertaining and suspenseful fantasy thriller. There’s more than enough cool, innovative ideas and surprising events that kept me coming back for more each night. Connecting with some characters was a bit of an issue for me, but overall this is an exciting start to a new series that raises some interesting questions about legacy and currency, among other fresh angles that haven't been addressed in a lot of recent fantasy I've been reading. The death masks leaving echoes The Helm of Midnight is an entertaining and suspenseful fantasy thriller. There’s more than enough cool, innovative ideas and surprising events that kept me coming back for more each night. Connecting with some characters was a bit of an issue for me, but overall this is an exciting start to a new series that raises some interesting questions about legacy and currency, among other fresh angles that haven't been addressed in a lot of recent fantasy I've been reading. The death masks leaving echoes of their previously alive hosts while retaining their talents is an enticing idea to play around with. How much power do these echoes have over the user, as well as what intelligence should be allowed or guarded, are rich plotlines to mine. Lostetter dives deep into societal, historical, and religious responses to these artifacts, and it sets the table nicely for the upcoming sequels. Rich, thoughtful world, cool ideas, with a dark spin on it all. Some supporting characters felt a bit flat, but outside of that, a recommended read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alena Reading

    Check out my new Booktube channel! This novel is a mix of two of my favorite genres - fantasy and thriller, the premise sounded quite intriguing, and early reviews seemed to be mostly very positive. So what could go wrong? For me, apparently, everything. As we all know, an interesting idea means nothing without proper execution. And this is where everything crumbled because the writing didn't work for me at all. The pacing. Being 464 pages long, this book felt like it had over a 1000 because no ma Check out my new Booktube channel! This novel is a mix of two of my favorite genres - fantasy and thriller, the premise sounded quite intriguing, and early reviews seemed to be mostly very positive. So what could go wrong? For me, apparently, everything. As we all know, an interesting idea means nothing without proper execution. And this is where everything crumbled because the writing didn't work for me at all. The pacing. Being 464 pages long, this book felt like it had over a 1000 because no matter how much I was reading, my progression both in the story and ebook percentage was moving at a snail pace. Many scenes were clearly overwritten and could be cut without losing anything important. The characters. Couldn't care less about any of them. The writing was focused on describing the scene and protagonists' thoughts but never carried any emotional value, being too detached and clinical. I am a character driven reader and need to care about or at least be fascinated by the people I read about. Not here. The plot. Most of the mystery is revealed too early to the reader via different POVs in previous timelines. Why should I care about Krona learning about this serial killer throughout the whole book when I already know him from early chapters? The Worldbuilding. There was at the same time too many info dumps and too little cohesive information given on the world and magic. There were a few interesting ideas but everything else felt too convoluted to form a clear picture in your mind. This eARC was provided by Tor via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    In a city of magic and masks, Regulators must keep the tightly-guarded peace, preserving the strict laws of the land. Not as easy as you might suspect when under regular attack by beastly varg and a killer recently returned from the dead. But De-Krona and De-Lia Hirvath, sisters by birth as well as by Regulator service, are more than capable of meeting their challenges head-on. In The Helm of Midnight, we meet them as chaos is loosed upon a high-society gathering, resulting in the theft of the Ma In a city of magic and masks, Regulators must keep the tightly-guarded peace, preserving the strict laws of the land. Not as easy as you might suspect when under regular attack by beastly varg and a killer recently returned from the dead. But De-Krona and De-Lia Hirvath, sisters by birth as well as by Regulator service, are more than capable of meeting their challenges head-on. In The Helm of Midnight, we meet them as chaos is loosed upon a high-society gathering, resulting in the theft of the Mayhem Mask of Louis Charbon – better known as the Blooming Butcher. The clue’s in the name, and it’s not long before we get to see his work, grotesque and beautiful sculptures made from the victims that could have been pulled straight from an episode of Hannibal. But this is no simple serial-killer thriller dressed up with a fantasy setting – there’s a lot going on in this book, and murder is only the beginning. It took me time to get into this book – it’s the first in this setting, and the author wasn’t skimping on world-building. For the majority of the book, the chapters are split among three characters, at different points in time, too, pulling the reins a little on the reader as it switches between them. It made for a more leisurely start than the initial heist scene suggested, though I appreciate an author with the confidence to make sure the foundations of a world are stable. Once the initial world-building and scene-setting gave way to the story proper, however, I was SOLD. The author has a knack for little human moments that make her characters solid and real – and brings scenes to life in the reader’s mind. This book features a very diverse range of people, too – main characters and background both, which is something fantasy novels don’t have a tremendous track record on. No such issues here. The world itself wanders off the usual fantasy track, too – this is no medieval world plus magic. Despite the odd cottage, most of the descriptions of the world are more likely to associate with the Brutalists, all clean angles and palettes of red, black, and white. The spare but vivid descriptions of characters and places fit into that aesthetic, reinforcing it with their nature as much as their meaning – this was a book that felt like it was written by one of the characters from the very world it describes. Despite those early issues, the overall experience with The Helm of Midnight is a very exciting one. This reads very well as a stand-alone, but there’s a huge world here, one that I hope to see the author spend more time exploring. This review originally appeared at https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/th.... Thank you to Mystery and Suspense and the publisher for providing a free copy for review!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    Just not for me. I think a lot of my female friends would like this one. There are just too many details about things like comfortable sheets that I really don't care about. Just not for me. I think a lot of my female friends would like this one. There are just too many details about things like comfortable sheets that I really don't care about.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    I want to thank NetGalley & Tor Books very much for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book! I think it deserves its own credit for taking a dark mystery and a murder story, and blending it perfectly with this fantasy world where magic also plays a supremely interesting role. I especially like the vibe that's quite atmospheric, but dense at the same time, I'm not saying this negatively, but the author takes her time to develop everything in a very I want to thank NetGalley & Tor Books very much for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book! I think it deserves its own credit for taking a dark mystery and a murder story, and blending it perfectly with this fantasy world where magic also plays a supremely interesting role. I especially like the vibe that's quite atmospheric, but dense at the same time, I'm not saying this negatively, but the author takes her time to develop everything in a very detailed way, which gives a lot of depth and context to everything that happens. .Although confusing at one point, the construction of the world is super intriguing and fascinating to discover 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ You can find more of my reviews & fun content on my blog A Book. A Thought. On the other hand, the magical or cursed objects, and the story behind them is great, as well as it's a book that relies heavily on the history of each object and how it impacts today's society. Also has a very complex and interesting look at society and its different social classes. I also want to emphasize that this book is very easy to read as a standalone so I love that, even so in a world that's clearly very complex and gigantic, it's to be hoped that the author has decided to continue a little more and explore more of it. I should mention that it's not an easy book to read at all, in fact, it's quite slow-paced and the beginning can be confusing to understand, but once you go through it and understand better where you are located, then it unfolds wonderfully. One of my favorite factors is that the book is divided between several POVs and not only that, but we jump in time between the past and the prest. Another point that has been super refreshing for me wasn't only the characters, which I tell you are very complex and realistic but also the book itself has a perfect mix between the mystery that we follow as the main theme and the fantasy elements, which are highlighted and explained but almost to a lesser extent. I feel that this will not be for everyone, but I liked the idea that the fictional world such as the fantasy and magic aspects are put in the background since it gives it a new and original vibe where it focuses on more mundane things, but always with that paranormal vibe that I love, it's a great touch that, although it seems minimal, gives the book a lot of character. Firt Toughts 04/15/21 This book has really surprised me, it proved to be even more incredible than I thought it would be. A super solid adult-fantasy plot with elements of thriller and horror that are a perfect addiction to create a great atmosphere. I also think it's extremely unique and somewhat refreshing to read. I loved it and am excited to tell you more about it in my full review. Obviously I can't wait for the next books!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Solid first entry and what is shaping up to me a new favorite setting. 3.9⭐️s

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tana 🌻 Cozyreadings

    19/03/2021 Book 14/52 ------------------------------------------------------ genre: Fantasy age: Adult Main Character: Krona Favourite Character: Thibaut Plot: In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders. Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the gra 19/03/2021 Book 14/52 ------------------------------------------------------ genre: Fantasy age: Adult Main Character: Krona Favourite Character: Thibaut Plot: In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders. Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question. How far will he go? Review: This blew me away! I can't wait until this gets published and I can buy my own copy. The worldbuilding, the characters, the magic system. All are amazing. I know this hasn't even been published yet, but I can't wait for the next one. Trigger warnings: death of a family member, death of a parent, death of a child, lots of stabbing and shooting with needles, extreme gore, body mutilation, detailed description of murder and mutilation of murder victims , murder of pregnant women 17/12/2020 I got an e-arc!!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    A murder mystery set in a dark world with vicious monsters, gods and enchanted items. There are three point of views set in different parts of the timeline, and I just love that we take a dip into Louis Charbons head, the Jack the Ripper-esc murderer on a mission. The three point of views feed you clues and information of the same mystery bit by bit, and it's so frustrating not knowing how it's going to go... that you just have to read on! And on. And on. One of the main things in this world is A murder mystery set in a dark world with vicious monsters, gods and enchanted items. There are three point of views set in different parts of the timeline, and I just love that we take a dip into Louis Charbons head, the Jack the Ripper-esc murderer on a mission. The three point of views feed you clues and information of the same mystery bit by bit, and it's so frustrating not knowing how it's going to go... that you just have to read on! And on. And on. One of the main things in this world is the enchantments of masks, where the "skill" of a person gets transferred into a mask when they die. Then people can borrow or buy the mask and use the skill of the dead person. IT'S SO COOL! I can't wait for the next book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lauren

    I really enjoyed uncovering the mystery throughout the book. I really enjoyed the main character and her relationship with her sister. I am looking forward to read the rest of the series to find out more and tie up the loose ends.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kes

    I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING I loved this and I have been betrayed. Full review soon! 4.5 stars rounded up to 5! ____ The Helm of Midnight by Marina J Lostetter is the first novel in a brand new fantasy series. It is out April 13th and I definitely recommend checking it out! Thank you to Tor and Netgalley for the e-arc. All opinions are my own (as we all know from looking at my negative reviews) The Helm of Midnight follows Krona, her sister De-Lia, and their team of Regulators. They've been I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING I loved this and I have been betrayed. Full review soon! 4.5 stars rounded up to 5! ____ The Helm of Midnight by Marina J Lostetter is the first novel in a brand new fantasy series. It is out April 13th and I definitely recommend checking it out! Thank you to Tor and Netgalley for the e-arc. All opinions are my own (as we all know from looking at my negative reviews) The Helm of Midnight follows Krona, her sister De-Lia, and their team of Regulators. They've been tasked with tracking down a serial killer. There's just one catch - the serial killer is long dead, and it's their team's fault that he is on the loose again! There are three points of view, by Krona's feels like the main POV as it drives the current plotline of the book. The other two POVs are in the past. One takes place two years before the present story, and another takes place 11 years prior. The story's come together fantastically. There is no waiting for them to come together in future books! I'll be focusing on Krona's POV to summarize the story. The story opens with Krona and her team at a politician's event. Their job is to guard a series of dangerous magical artifacts that the councilor borrows for his rich guests to ogle over. But, when a seemingly random attack turns out to be an elaborate heist, the thieves get away with Louis Charbon (the aforementioned serial killer)'s death mask! We are also confronted with some of Krona's weaknesses right out of of the gate, which I appreciated. No overly qualified characters who never mess up here. As the story unfurls, we see that things and people aren't as simple as they seem on the surface. Lostetter provides a real sense depth to the morality of the world and the characters. Things are not simple, but heinous acts aren't forgivable even with good intentions or when done under duress. One of my favourite parts was the magical system. There are several different dominions of magic based on the elements of their pantheon of gods. Combining the different magics together is illegal. One sphere imbues emotions into gems. Another of many focuses on creating magical death masks. While everyone gets a death mask when they die, only some imbue their essence into the mask. These masks are highly regulated, but can be used to gain the knowledge and expertise of those who wore them. But, it's not as simple as just slipping on a mask and receiving their breadth of knowledge. The masks fight for control and if you aren't careful, you might find yourself slipping away. Louis Charbon's death mask is one such magical mask. This is a fast paced story with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters and a delightfully eerie ambiance. Beyond being a fantasy novel it also has all of the necessary elements of a mystery and a thriller. It is well-plotted with a well developed world that is vivid as has depth (both literally and figuratively). I really enjoyed this one! Like a lot, a lot. The Helm of Midnight was also more emotionally devastating than I had predicted. I loved the book, but I was also openly sobbing at one point. I am quick to tears though. Because this is a book about a serial killer, it might not be for those of you who are squeamish. There are daring sword/dagger fights that leave characters hurt and bleeding. But, worse than that are the elaborate arrangement of Louis Charbon's victims. I wouldn't really call it gory as the language and the arrangements are quite metaphorical and most of the characters don't try to look them in too much detail. But is can be thematically dark, and it might be something to watch out for! It's also a fantastic queernorm world. There are they/them and neopronouns galore! Krona is also possibly bi (mentions a first kiss with a girl) and I'm always here for that. I highly recommend this book! I had a lot of fun with the characters and the world. I'm really looking forward to the next books in the series!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anj✨

    The Helm of Midnight kicks off when a mask that once belonged to a notorious serial killer gets stolen and soon after, the killing starts again. Now, it’s up to Krona and her fellow regulators to race against time to catch the killer and retrieve the mask. ----- Marina Lostetter’s The Helm of Midnight is the first book in a series: The Five Penalties. It’s a genre-busting novel combining crime procedural, horror, epic fantasy, and steampunk. It thrust the readers into a complex and imagina The Helm of Midnight kicks off when a mask that once belonged to a notorious serial killer gets stolen and soon after, the killing starts again. Now, it’s up to Krona and her fellow regulators to race against time to catch the killer and retrieve the mask. ----- Marina Lostetter’s The Helm of Midnight is the first book in a series: The Five Penalties. It’s a genre-busting novel combining crime procedural, horror, epic fantasy, and steampunk. It thrust the readers into a complex and imaginative world. There are enchanted items, cults, conspiracy, and monsters. Told in three perspectives, Krona, a regulator; Melanie, a healer; and Louis Charbon, a serial killer. This book is a character-driven story so all the narrators are well fleshed out including the supporting characters. I like the dynamic and realistic relationship between Krona and her sister and the potential love interest, Thibaut. One of my favorite things about this book was the detailed and creative religion and unique magic system. Time is a currency, enchanted death masks imbued with the abilities of the owners, and enchanted stones that contain emotions. The characters are diverse, THoM contains 5 different genders, each with their exclusive pronouns. This is the first in a trilogy and it did very much feel like an introduction. It took a while before I became absorbed with the story. The pacing was uneven, either it’s too slow or too fast that sometimes I felt nothing was really happening and connecting with the characters became an issue to me. I can’t empathize with them at first. It began to drag a bit as the murder mystery component of the plot gets lost at times. The last 25% was what really drew me in as the world building had been done for the most part and the pace finally picked up. It was satisfying seeing how everything ends up together in the end! I still found it enjoyable as the world and lore created was unique and the premise is interesting and I love how the author flawlessly blended genres. The Helm of Midnight is a unique and refreshing read. It has a lot of potential and I enjoyed reading it. I am excited for the next books! Thank you Marina Lostetter, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read The Helm of Midnight.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    DNF at page 130ish. This one…. Agh. I could NOT get into it. I found reasons to put it down all the time, and continuously came up with other things to do besides read this book. It was time to admit I wasn’t going to finish it. Nothing against it, besides the fact that it reminded me too much of that (terrible) Justin Timberlake movie called IN TIME. This wasn’t a sci-fi like that movie, but time was used as currency and so my brain kept trying to make me mesh the two ideas. Oh well. Hope others en DNF at page 130ish. This one…. Agh. I could NOT get into it. I found reasons to put it down all the time, and continuously came up with other things to do besides read this book. It was time to admit I wasn’t going to finish it. Nothing against it, besides the fact that it reminded me too much of that (terrible) Justin Timberlake movie called IN TIME. This wasn’t a sci-fi like that movie, but time was used as currency and so my brain kept trying to make me mesh the two ideas. Oh well. Hope others enjoy it!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Traveling Cloak

    The Helm of Midnight is the first in Marina Lostetter’s The Five Penalties Series, and the author’s first fantasy novel, according to her bio in the back of the book. I love the premise of this book, and, while in the end it did not keep my interest as much as I had hoped, Lostetter definitely showed off her writing chops. On the surface there are two storylines, but in effect there are three narratives at play: Krona in the present, Melanie in the past, and Charbon’s experience, as well, that we The Helm of Midnight is the first in Marina Lostetter’s The Five Penalties Series, and the author’s first fantasy novel, according to her bio in the back of the book. I love the premise of this book, and, while in the end it did not keep my interest as much as I had hoped, Lostetter definitely showed off her writing chops. On the surface there are two storylines, but in effect there are three narratives at play: Krona in the present, Melanie in the past, and Charbon’s experience, as well, that we get from the mask. Due to this setup, I devoured the first half of the book. Each story is chock full of mystery and drama. It was almost like reading three books at one time, but knowing they were all going to cross paths at some point. This aspect of the book is so well-done that I would forget the other storylines existed while I was reading on my current timeline. I got absolutely lost in it. And the story is really dark and moody, which, again, for the first half of the book really appealed to me. There is so much in this book that appeals to me. It includes magic, and murder, and mystery. All my favorite “m”s! Creepy masks with specials powers (another “m”), and some crazy monsters (!!!). This is why I say, for the first half of the book I was super into it and did not want to put it down. But something happened on the way to the end of the book. It just began to feel a little like a slog, almost as thought I was getting buried underneath the weight of the story. I know, that is a weird turn of phrase considering the nature of the book. Maybe that had something to do with it, and that was probably the point of the book. As I said, it is really moody, and maybe I fell too deep into that mood, but I found myself enjoying the read less and less the more I read. Honestly, with all of the great aspects of this book I think that is more of a me thing. That’s right, book: it’s not you, it’s me. To be clear, I did like the book overall, I just think my expectations were so high in the first half of the book that it unexpectedly did not meet those expectations toward the end. Speaking of mood, that starts before one even opens the book. From the picture on the cover, to the title of the book, and even the series name (The Five Penalties?!? I love it.) Also, the blurb on and quote on the front cover all contribute to the feeling of horror going in. The publisher (Tor) put a lot of effort into making sure this book is not just a story, but a total package. Also, there is a map! I love fantasy maps, but with this book I totally forgot and never really used it. This is not the type of story where I expect a map, because the setting is not overly important. But, it is there nonetheless, and I am never going to hate on a map. I cannot write this review without giving huge props to Lostetter for the writing, as well. To be able to create such a rich story with all of the different perspectives and storylines and end up connecting them is not easy, and it was so well done in this book. Each narrative is so distinct, yet the overall tone of the book is consistent. So, hat tip to the author. I always try to recognize game when I see it, and Lostetter got game. Reading this book actually makes me want to go back and check out the author’s backlist. The Helm of Midnight is dark, mysterious, and suspenseful; if that appeals to you, I recommend picking it up. Even though I did not like it as much as I had hoped in the end, I recognize wonderful writing when I come across it. If it sounds good to you, it is probably going to be worth the read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Gripping, fantastical murder mystery with a deep emotional core. Absolutely splendid worldbuilding and characters. Very excited to read the further books in the series when they arrive.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sibil

    3.75 stars Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review One of the main reasons I love Urban Fantasy is that they are a sort of mixed bag, when we talk about genre. All fantasy is a sort of genre container because it can have so much inside it, but this is even more true for the Urban Fantasy, because we usually have more mystery or romance in there, but we get to keep the fantasy setting. So this is not the only reason I love UF so much, b 3.75 stars Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review One of the main reasons I love Urban Fantasy is that they are a sort of mixed bag, when we talk about genre. All fantasy is a sort of genre container because it can have so much inside it, but this is even more true for the Urban Fantasy, because we usually have more mystery or romance in there, but we get to keep the fantasy setting. So this is not the only reason I love UF so much, but it is one of the main ones. And so I cannot really understand how the idea of a serial killer in a fantasy setting (something more high fantasy than your usual UF) never crossed my mind. (I am not speaking about it in a sort of “why I haven’t tried to write it myself?”, absolutely not. But I am talking about it as a reader, it happens sometimes to think about the kind of books we want to read, or what we would love to see in our next reading, for example) So… this took me by surprise, but I had no doubt that it would be good. And I was not wrong. Thriller and “high” fantasy work really well together and now I am eager for more. I really hope to see more of these two tropes combined in my next reading! And now let’s look a bit more closely to the book in itself. The world is a fantasy setting with really strong dystopian vibes. And even if I am not a huge fan of dystopia because it is usually far more claustrophobic for my tastes, I enjoyed this mix quite a lot. It is balanced, at least, it is so for me, and it gives us an interesting world to discover. The religious element is really strong, and the magical system is intriguing. I enjoyed a lot the part about the masks, and since they have a big part on the story I was happy. But, as in every distopic setting, things may not be quite as they are told. And this is the driving force of all the book. And I really enjoyed how this is developed, because slowly you start to doubt everything, both what it was a “given” and both what is revealed as the “real truth”. Because we have schemes behind schemes and all is way more complex that how it appears. And I think that this part was well developed. And obviously now I am waiting for the next book, because I just have to know what is real and what is not. In this book we have one MC, with a lot of other characters that are almost protagonist too, but not quite there. Krona is our MC, a Regulator (one of the police forces of this world) who is trying to solve a theft and a series of murders that are all linked with the most infamous serial killer of Lutador. And here the things take a really Jack the Ripper meet fantasy twist. And it was gruesome, yes, but also quite interesting. Anyway, back to Krona. She is the one tasked with this case. She and her team of fellows Regulators. But we get to see the story by her POV (except for the chapters in a different time line, but back to those in few moments), and she is interesting, she is strong willed and even if she is broken in some ways (her fears and secrets are crippling her, in some ways) she plunge forward, always forward. And I have enjoyed this side of her. But it was, sadly, not enough to make me really empathize with her. There was something lacking here. Mind me, I enjoyed her but… I didn’t really love her. And I had somewhat a difficult time with all the other characters. My favorite was Thibaut, he is a rascal but an adorable one and a really resourceful one. He gave some more life to the story. Then we have De Lia, Krona’s sister, and she is another interesting character, I liked her, even if she is more cold than her sister, and she is even more strong willed than Krona, I have to give this to her, but again, there was something lacking. And then we have the chapters that are set in two different timelines, with their characters. Or, better, these two timelines let us know how some characters are in the place they are now. And even if they gave us some interesting insight, and in the end all things come together beautifully, I was not always interested in them. Charbon’s chapter were a bit more intriguing (and I have to say that the author did a great job with Charbon’s story and character. He is quite complex and he has a lot to say, in his ways), while Melanie’s ones weren’t bad or boring, but I wasn’t so keen on them. But this was just minor, because the narration is balanced, and it’s pace is good. It is not a short book, but it kept me interested from the beginning to the end, and even if I am not back to my old self (reading wise) I have read it in no time! So, I had some minor problems with the characters, I was hoping to feel more for them, to empathize more with them, but it is a really good story, with an interesting world-building and an original magic system that is worth exploring. Another minor complaint is about the thriller part. It is not bad, and we get to see Krona investigates and all but… but it is more like the clues are throwing them at her than the other way around. I think it could have been done a bit better the investigative part, but it is not as bad as it could have been, and I enjoyed this story quite a lot. If you are in for something different that would keep you intrigued, well, I dare say this book would be the right one for you!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    This arc was provided by Tor Books, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. TW: gore, body mutilation and detailed descriptions of mutilation and murder, infanticide, and death of a loved one Worst of all, I am afraid. The Helm of Midnight is a memorable fantasy novel, set in a world whereupon your death, your best ability is transferred into your death mask, and whoever wears it can channel your ability. The story begins with a heist where the mask of Louis Charbon is stolen. Louis Ch This arc was provided by Tor Books, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. TW: gore, body mutilation and detailed descriptions of mutilation and murder, infanticide, and death of a loved one Worst of all, I am afraid. The Helm of Midnight is a memorable fantasy novel, set in a world whereupon your death, your best ability is transferred into your death mask, and whoever wears it can channel your ability. The story begins with a heist where the mask of Louis Charbon is stolen. Louis Charbon was a deadly serial killer and his knowledge went into his death mask, which came into government custody until it was taken. There are three different POVs but I only want to talk about one, Krona, one of the Regulators in charge of investigating the heist. Regulators are the government's elite enforcement, and they focus on high-risk cases. Since Krona's team was in charge of protecting the mask and other charms, and her sister, Lia, is the captain of the team and therefore takes the blame, she is committed to righting the wrongs. I truly enjoyed Krona's perspectives as well as the other characters (read to find out!), Lostetter has created complex characters that intrigue you as the story goes on. The world itself is complex and interesting: there are five deities and each has a story and rules, as well as pronouns; the death masks; the emotion stones, an enchanter can create a joy stone or a despair one (though the latter is illegal); the valley and the vargs, unkillable creatures that stalk the world. There is much to learn and it will only improve with the sequels. The heist mystery that develops into a murder mystery also keeps you hooked, and Krona's emotions as she does her best investigating. I adore mystery stories and mixing them with a fantastical setting is the best thing you could give me as a reader. I will be eagerly waiting for the next book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tyra Leann

    This was a very interesting blend of fantasy and horror. It had three main POVs in alternate timelines, but it never got too confusing to follow along with the story. The worldbuilding and overall setting was amazing, I really enjoyed getting to know more about the valley in a slow burn kind of way vs. an info dump at the beginning, details were only revealed as they became necessary for the most part. What fell flat for me were the characters and the stakes of the plot. I wasn't invested in the This was a very interesting blend of fantasy and horror. It had three main POVs in alternate timelines, but it never got too confusing to follow along with the story. The worldbuilding and overall setting was amazing, I really enjoyed getting to know more about the valley in a slow burn kind of way vs. an info dump at the beginning, details were only revealed as they became necessary for the most part. What fell flat for me were the characters and the stakes of the plot. I wasn't invested in the characters and their stories until maybe the last 20% of the story, there just wasn't enough substance to them. The stakes of the plot also didn't feel very high, sure there was a killer on the loose (synopsis detail, not a spoiler) but it was never made to be a big deal in my opinion. There was never any clear bad outcome if the killer wasn't caught beyond just a few more nameless people would die. While I had certain POVs that I liked more than others, I think the author did a great job of converging all the stories together as the book went on and merging the timelines. It was a very satisfying puzzle that had all the pieces fit together, at last. Overall, 3.5/5 for me, and I'll still be picking up the next book to see where it goes and what other mysteries this world continues to present.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    The Helm of Midnight is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy. It centers around a heist, but from the law’s perspective. It mixes two fascinating forms of magic and throws you into a world where everyone is scared and no one really knows how their world works. The story starts with a bang. Krona and her crew are watching over a noble’s funeral when two highly protected pieces of magic get stolen right from under their noses. Now it’s up to Krona and her fellow regulators to find out why they The Helm of Midnight is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy. It centers around a heist, but from the law’s perspective. It mixes two fascinating forms of magic and throws you into a world where everyone is scared and no one really knows how their world works. The story starts with a bang. Krona and her crew are watching over a noble’s funeral when two highly protected pieces of magic get stolen right from under their noses. Now it’s up to Krona and her fellow regulators to find out why they were stolen and get them back. When I saw this cover, my interest was piqued, then I read what this was and I knew I HAD to read it. I love a good heist story, and I had never read one from the point of view of those that act as the law. Then I started reading it, and a fascinating new world was opened up to me. It had magic systems based on masks, and emotions, and echoes. It was so cool, and honestly, I want more of it! I want to know how each of the magic users uses their magic, and hopefully, we’ll see that more in the following books. For me, the magic system and the characters made this story. The over-arching plot is rather slow, and there were times that I thought I was significantly farther than I was. But the magic system was so fascinating, as I briefly mentioned above. Stones could carry emotions so it could enhance or dampen certain ones, they paid for things in time, had 5 gods, put people’s echoes into masks so they could be used after death. It was so rich and interesting. As for the characters they each had distinct personalities, and I loved the dynamic between Thibeault and Krona. They had great banter, they had boundaries, they have pining (dare I say?). It was so much fun. I also greatly enjoyed seeing how the stories intertwined. I really thought they wouldn’t intersect in this book, but man am I so happy they did. We got to see how not only their stories intertwine, but how their past traumas affect each other, and the importance of being willing to accept help from those around you. It was so nice to read, and I can’t wait to see if it develops into a strong found-family. The shortcomings of this book are few and far between, and I honestly feel could be chalked up to this being the first book in a high fantasy trilogy. You can’t give everything away at once, and I get that. But I still feel like I should mention them. First being, as much as I loved the main characters, I couldn’t tell you much about the side characters. Krona’s team, and Trey I’m not sure their motivations, and while they’re not important, it feels weird that I don’t know much about the side characters in a character-driven story. The pacing did feel a little off like I mentioned. At one point I thought I was 70% done but was only nearing 50%. It became a little pedantic, and I was hoping something would happen soon, even something other than Krona's thinking. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for the magic system alone. Lostetterr has all the makings of a new, inventive, high fantasy series. I can’t wait to see where she goes with it, and I think it would align well with most people’s fantasy tastes. There’s a little something for everyone in the story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kahlia

    Rating: 2.5/5 I wasn’t really sure what to expect from The Helm of Midnight, but it sounded fascinating… and a little creepy. After reading it, I can definitely say it’s imaginative; the world-building is highly ambitious and the plot is very clearly linked to the consequences of the magic system(s) that have been developed. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to offset the lack of attention to character development and relationships for me, but readers who prioritise world-building are likely to l Rating: 2.5/5 I wasn’t really sure what to expect from The Helm of Midnight, but it sounded fascinating… and a little creepy. After reading it, I can definitely say it’s imaginative; the world-building is highly ambitious and the plot is very clearly linked to the consequences of the magic system(s) that have been developed. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to offset the lack of attention to character development and relationships for me, but readers who prioritise world-building are likely to love this one. Broadly, The Helm of Midnight follows three perspectives – in the present, we have Krona Hirvath, the Regulator (sort of like a bureaucrat/police officer) responsible for discovering who stole Charbon’s mask and is now copying his distinctive mass-murdering style. In the past, we follow Charbon himself, as we learn what drove him to become a serial killer, as well as the story of a suspect in the mystery. There are also multiple magic systems, linked to different gods, which allows for an expansive world. My curiousity about the various gods and how the different magic systems worked was what kept me going – for example, one form of magic is related to time, and every citizen has some of their ‘time’ siphoned from as infants, which they can buy back at the end of their lives, and I thought this was a fascinating but macabre idea that I wanted to know more about. Unfortunately, the world-building was about the only thing I enjoyed in this book. Loestetter has a very clinical narration style, and The Helm of Midnight spends very little time in the heads of its main characters, exploring their innermost thoughts (we do get a little of this with Charbon, and it’s chiling stuff). The writing essentially provides a blow-by-blow account of what characters get up to, and as a result relationships emerge because the plot requires them to, rather allowing the reader to see them organically grow and change over time. Not every book has to be a character-driven book, either, but the problem is that The Helm of Midnight‘s final twists rely on character bonds (such as the relationship between Krona and her sister De Lia) that just weren’t strong enough in the text for me to truly feel like I’d been stabbed in the gut. While I thought Loestter did a good job of differentiating her POVs clearly, the decision to spend so much time learning about what characters – including Charbon – got up to in the past took out a lot of the suspense for me, since the discoveries Krona made had already been so clearly telegraphed. While murder mysteries involving serial killers require having some indication about the killer early on – since they clearly have a distinctive pattern – knowing so much about the person responsible made this feel less like a mystery. I won’t be reading on in the series, but those who like darker fantasy with ambitious world-building may want to check this one out. Note: I received an ARC from Tor Books. The Helm of Midnight will be released on 13 April. This review is also available

  28. 5 out of 5

    OTAKU READS

    Thank you Net-Galley for the e-arc The Helm of Midnight was an awesome read mostly thanks to intriguing and exciting magic-systems.(yes systems) and various timeline to make the reader think and be on toe. The death mask of Louis Charbon who is a a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders is stolen and It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake. "U Thank you Net-Galley for the e-arc The Helm of Midnight was an awesome read mostly thanks to intriguing and exciting magic-systems.(yes systems) and various timeline to make the reader think and be on toe. The death mask of Louis Charbon who is a a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders is stolen and It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake. "Unraveling: that’s what it feels like. The more I try to wind the lengths of my life into a neat, manageable knot, the more they seem to stretch and fray and snap. Order is not easy. Breaking takes less effort than building, that is the way of the world." We have mask magic where if a person has died they can imbue their echo on a mask, time tax and time vials as currency and emotion stones. This book did remind me of Foundryside because of unique magic system and writing style so fans of Foundryside don't miss this one out. “It’s not just about what I want,” she said with a sigh. “We take actions in life, and there are consequences. Those consequences narrow our choices. Time makes us walk a straight path between where we’ve been and where we are now. There’s no changing it.” “But new decisions mean new consequences and new choices,” he said softly. “We’re never locked into one path. Time also allows us free will. She never freezes our future.”’ the gods also added such an interesting layer to the story.I can't wait for the next instalment.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mohit Dhuppad

    ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review. 3 Stars|Twitter The Helm of Midnight is a book with multiple magic systems and with many rules and a lot of world-building to it. It's like a duet of Crime mystery with a Fantasy story. The prose is not smooth at the start but it gets better after few chapters. The Chapters are long and it takes some of them to get hold of the prose. The pacing is uneven. It starts slow but it gets high in the last 25%. There were no character ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review. 3 Stars|Twitter The Helm of Midnight is a book with multiple magic systems and with many rules and a lot of world-building to it. It's like a duet of Crime mystery with a Fantasy story. The prose is not smooth at the start but it gets better after few chapters. The Chapters are long and it takes some of them to get hold of the prose. The pacing is uneven. It starts slow but it gets high in the last 25%. There were no characters for which I rooted. There are 3 POVs and the story goes back and forth in past-present according to the character's POV. The plot gets better only after 75% of the book. This book has multiple magic systems, which I felt hard to grasp. It seemed like the author had many ideas and all were incorporated into the same book. The Magic system is not bad but it's a lot to keep in mind with 3 POV stories getting back and forth in time. The Worldbuilding feels like France during the Age of Imperialism. There are Steampunk themes in it, which personally I do not find attractive. The currency is Time here which will take some chapters to understand the ideas behind it. The Religion built in it has 5 genders. The book also uses gender-inclusive pronouns for characters. This book is for people who want something to read with Multiple Magic systems with rules and gruesome murder/horror mystery with twists at the end.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    Okay, so it wasn't quite a 5 star book. I guess I jinxed myself when I said it was giving me 5 star vibes. My main issue was that the plot really start floundering in the middle. The story went on a tad too long with big reveals not happening until about 90% of the way in, so up until then I was just confused about where the story was actually going. I liked the characters well enough, my favorite being Thibaut, who is a side character I would have liked to see even more of. I also would have li Okay, so it wasn't quite a 5 star book. I guess I jinxed myself when I said it was giving me 5 star vibes. My main issue was that the plot really start floundering in the middle. The story went on a tad too long with big reveals not happening until about 90% of the way in, so up until then I was just confused about where the story was actually going. I liked the characters well enough, my favorite being Thibaut, who is a side character I would have liked to see even more of. I also would have liked more development of the other regulators and more scenes of them working together as a team. Instead Krona (the main female lead) basically did everything on her own and was trying to figure everything out with little help from others, which just wasn't that interesting. I really liked the atmosphere and a lot of the ideas in this book. It was very unique; it felt unlike anything I've ever read before. Lotstetter is definitely a talented writer and I will most likely continue in this series. I hope the next installment will focus more on character dynamics and relationships, and a strong character development arc for Krona which would be nice to see.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...