Title: The Secret Hour (Midnighters #1)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Atom (UK) / Eos (US)
PublicationDate: June 2010 (UK) / 2004 (US)
Paperback: 276 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
RATING: 7/10 – very good
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
The Secret Hour is the first book in the ‘Midnighters’ series and I found it to be quite fun and original. The writing style is smooth and easy to read so I sailed through The Secret Hour quite quickly. The plot is an interesting one involving maths and linguistics in a pretty original way.
Jessica Day has just moved to the small town of Bixby, Oklahoma from Chicago and is trying to fit in at school. After only a few days of being in Bixby, she is confronted by a strange light and when she steps outside the rain that had been falling is frozen and looks like diamonds all around her. From that moment every night at midnight, weird and surreal things happen. She then meets a small group of friends who are all quirky in their own way and seem to have strange abilities.
The group call themselves the “Midnighters” and are the only ones that know of and can enter the secret hour. The twenty-fifth hour of the day where everything else freezes and other things begin to come to life; creepy and sinister Darklings who are trying to kill jessica but nobody can figure out why.
The characters are likeable, although not particularly three-dimentional. They lack a certain amount of depth and felt I didn’t really get to know them as much as I would have liked. Other aspects to the story were only touched upon or alluded to and relationships were formed a bit too quickly. But there is some great dry, teenage humour, which I really enjoyed and which had me smiling throughout.
The Secret Hour has a bit of everything; mystery, intrigue, romance and the supernatural and although I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as I did ‘Uglies’, it is definitely an entertaining read.
SOURCE: Thank you to Atom for sending me this book for review.
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Next up on ’10 Fun Days of YA Fiction’: Later today, author Kevin Brooks stops by with a guest post. You will also have the chance to win a copy of his latest novel, iBoy!