by Scott Westerfeld
The final book of the Midnighters trilogy confronts five teenage heroes
with a danger their kind has never faced before. By "their kind," I mean those
special people, born at the stroke of midnight, who experience the twenty-fifth hour
of every day: the hour hidden within a moment at midnight. While everyone else
stands frozen, unaware that time is passing, five high school kids in Bixby,
Oklahoma move through a world filled with an eerie blue glow, shared only by the
ancient, hungry darklings that dwell beyond the town limits. The darklings are
trouble enough one hour a day; but when rips of blue time start opening up during
daylight hours, Jessica and her friends must consider the possibility that the World
Is Coming to an End.
Rex, the group's seer, can find nothing about this in the lore of past generations
of midnighters. But he has other troubles - such as controlling the predatory
instincts of the darkling that has become a part of him. Melissa, gifted as a
mindcaster, plumbs the mind of the reclusive old shrew who alone survived when the
town's last midnighters were wiped out in the 1950s; but she has nothing to say
about this either. To find out what's happening, the midnighters must turn to the
hated Grayfoot family, who collaborated with the darklings in that awful massacre,
and who believe the midnighters to be the true monsters.
What they find out is worse than confirming their worst fears. They learn that at
midnight on the upcoming Halloween, the blue time will rip wide open and everyone in
Bixby - if not the whole world - will be fair game for the darklings. Which is to
say, prey. If there is a way to keep mankind from moving down the food chain, it's
up to five scared teenagers who, at times, can barely stand each other. It will
depend on Dess, the math genius and expert in designing anti-darkling weapons; on
Jonathan, the high-flying acrobat; and finally on Jessica, the nightmares' worst
nightmare, who will be torn between saving her kid sister and making the ultimate
leap-in-the-dark to save the world.
I found this whole trilogy to be a swift, compelling read. I am greatly impressed by
this author's inventiveness in crafting such a strange, threatening world, and by
his skill in making it believable and even somehow inviting. It is a world that
combines a sense of ancient power with an easy familiarity with the way young people
talk, and the things they talk about, right at this moment. I would like to hope
such a cleverly made book might stretch this moment out forever, but I suspect that
the time to appreciate it is right now. So what are you waiting for?
Recommended Age: 14+
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