Sunday, February 28, 2010

Midnighters - 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.

Here's a fast pace and original new story by Scott Westerfield, acclaimed author of the Uglies serie.

Westerfield seems to never be short on neat plots and ideas. I really loved the whole setting of the story; the 25th hour, all the things related to the number thirteen, the power of metal against the Darklings... The book has a very errie and supernatural feel to it.

This book's characters are very interesting and intriguing. They are very likable with their different personalities and attitudes. Only Jessica seemed a bit flat to me. Contrary to the others, she's very plain. There isn't anything about her that bugged me to a wide extant, though. She's not mary-sueish or annoying, but there isn't anything standing out about her either. She also holds the status of 'the one that every antagonist fears', but she doesn't even live up to this status with her plainness. In my opinion, she could have been more developed. It's a good thing the point of view changes from character to character, because I would have gotten enough of her after an entire book.

I liked how the story centers on a new generation of teens with special aptitudes, and how they are digging for knowledge in the past, around the mid of the 20th century, and how the plot is linked to the beginning of industrialization and how it affected the way of people. Westerfield always uses subjects that directly impact and make the readers reflect.

On another note, the writing is as enthralling as always. Descriptive, engaging, smooth. The Secret Hour is a book you read fast and that lets you asking for me. I can't say it's better than Uglies and its continuation, but it's another good work by Westerfield.

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfield
Rating: 8,2 /10

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