Review: Midnighters: The Secret Hour (Book #1) by Scott Westerefld (YA)

Summary (from Goodreads):

Nobody is safe in the secret hour.

Strange things happen at midnight in the town of Bixby, Oklahoma.

Time freezes.

Nobody moves.

For one secret hour each night, the town belongs to the dark creatures that haunt the shadows. Only a small group of people know about the secret hour — only they are free to move about the midnight time.

These people call themselves Midnighters. Each one has a different power that is strongest at midnight: Seer, Mindcaster, Acrobat, Polymath. For years the Midnighters and the dark creatures have shared the secret hour, uneasily avoiding one another. All that changes when the new girl with an unmistakable midnight aura appears at Bixby High School.

Jessica Day is not an outsider like the other Midnighters. She acts perfectly normal in every way. But it soon becomes clear that the dark creatures sense a hidden power in Jessica . . . and they’re determined to stop her before she can use it.

A story of courage, shadowy perils, and unexpected destiny, the secret hour is the first volume of the mesmerizing Midnighters trilogy by acclaimed author Scott Westerfeld.

Review:

I’m on a Young Adult (YA) fantasy reading streak at the moment, and came upon this one quite by accident – it was, literally, just sitting on the floor behind the librarian’s desk … I asked to see it, and the next thing I know, it has been checked out and added to my pile!

This adventure took me by surprise because once I began reading, I could not put it down! For the first time in a long time, I actually stayed in one place and read, and read, and read, and read until I finished the entire book in a matter of hours!

Now, this does not mean the writing is fantastic or the characters and plot points are beyond criticism – it does not. There are quite a few events that I’m not quite sure about because they are not explained very well, and one particular event occurs, which is quite significant, but is never addressed again (maybe in the second installment?). I did not quite like any of the characters, either, especially Jessica Day … there’s something sinister about all of them, except Dess, who is quirky, odd, and eccentric (my type of character). The action moves quickly towards a climax that was anti-climatic, but again, it may be because this is the first book in the series, and Westerfeld is setting the scene.

But, overall, it was a good read – the premise is something that I have not encountered before, and Westerfeld’s ability to create suspense kept me in suspense from page one to the tantalizing end!!!  I need to check out the second book as soon as possible!

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