Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Recommendation: Midnighters: The Secret Hour

You may be familiar with Scott Westerfeld through either his Uglies series or perhaps his recent Steampunk novel Leviathan.  (If you've never heard of Scott Westerfeld at all, then it's really time you did.  He's one of the key voices of current Young Adult fiction, and he's an excellent story craftsmen.)  Today I want to talk about one of his slightly lesser-known books, Midnighters: The Secret Hour, the first in a trilogy.

The Midnighters series is about a group of teenagers who experience a 25th hour of the day that occurs precisely at midnight and that everyone else lives through instantaneously.  This “witching hour” is full of mystery and magic.  Each of the characters has a special ability related to survival in this special hour.  And all the gifts are necessary; survival isn't easy.

There are Things that live in the midnight hour, dark things with long memories and an instinctive need to hunt.  The Midnighters have to use all their skills and all their ingenuity just to stay alive.

But they have a lot of both, and they aren't without defenses.  The dark things hate steel and they hate anything to do with the number thirteen.  One of my favorite characters, Dess, is a math wiz, and she uses both math and steel in deadly combination.  She makes math cool and exciting.  And now, in The Secret Hour, there's a new girl in town, whose ability has the dark things even more in terror.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read with fast-paced action and keen intelligence.  Scott Westerfeld does his research, and there are lots of interesting tidbits sprinkled through the pages of this book.  After reading you'll come away feeling smarter and having enjoyed every word.  Happy reading!

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