The Midnighters : The Secret Hour – Scott Westerfeld

“He put his head down and edged toward class.
then he saw the new girl. 
She was his age, maybe a year younger. Her hair was deep red, and she was carrying a green book bag over on shoulder. Rex had never seen her before, and in a school as small as Bixby High, that was unusual enough. But novelty wasn’t the strangest thing about her. 
She was out of focus. 
A faint blur clung to her face and hands, as if she were standing behind thick glass. The other faces in the crowded hall were clear in the bright sunlight, but hers wouldn’t resolve no matter how hard he stared. She seemed to exist just out of the reach of focus, like music played from a copy of a copy of an old cassette tape.”

When Jessica Day starts her new school, Bixby High, she expects everything to be pretty much what it was in Chicago; boring, dull, everyday high school. She soon learns that although Bixby High is the same as any high school the town itself isn’t. She’s the first “new kid” in years and everyone wants to know her, and share the weird things about Bixby with her. She feels strange being the new kid but other than that everythings normal. However when she catches the eye of Rex Greene, one of the schools “weirdos” he soon figures that she’s not like every other student at Bixby; even before she realizes it herself.

When Jessica awakes one night and finds that the world has stopped around her she thinks shes having a beautiful dream, walking through raindrops that have stopped mid fall. The next night though she finds her parents and sister pale and cold lying in their beds, follows a kitten into the street and is chased by a panther, and she thinks its a terrible nightmare. That is until Rex, Dess and Melissa turn up and explain that she’s a Midnighter, and while her family is actually safe, she seems to have attracted trouble that doesn’t seem keen to leave her.

I’d not read anything other than the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld before I picked up The Secret Hour so I was kinda expecting it to be very similar (authors tend to stick to the same kinda thing) so when I started reading I realised straight away that I was wrong and this book was completely different to Uglies. I would love to delve into the mind of Scott Westerfeld because he has obviously got an AMAZING imagination.

The story is based around Jess, but because of the use of external narration you get stuff from the point of view of a few of the other characters. The first character we even meet is Rex, albeit when he first notices Jess but never mind, and although he gets a bit, well, bossy later in the book, he is my second favourite character. He has depth and focus and I would love to know more about him.

My favourite character has to be Dess though. She is awesome, I love her talents, the way the brain just picks up on calculations and stuff to do with numbers instantly. I’m in awe of Dess. The descriptions of her working things out are incredible, they really jumped out at me. I felt like I could really feel the calculations winding down to the equation and I loved the combinations and relationships that the numbers had with the words, that fascinated me. Dess really had something going on, she was alive as a character and I loved her for it.

The descriptions were really what grabbed me throughout a lot of the book if I’m honest. I love the way Scott Westerfeld writes and the flow his words seem to have. While Jess walks through the raindrops the first night she awakes the way its described is magical. I love the thought of her walking through them and creating a tunnel between them. I want to be able to do that!

The story kept you guessing for a long time, I wasn’t certain what the Midnighters were, how they got their talents or even if they were the “goodies” or “baddies” until near the middle of the book really. That’s not to say it was dragged out though, it really wasn’t, it kept my attention grabbed and my excitement growing all the way through to the end.

The mythology behind The Midnighters was very clearly thought out, there were elements of other supernatural “creatures of the night” types going on but I had never seen it done in this was before. The Midnighters are exactly what their names imply and they don’t come from a long line of “seers,” “mind-casters” or “acrobats,” they were just themselves.

As expected with the first book of a series there were plenty of questions left open – I was going to mention a few of the ones I picked up on but I don’t want to spoil any of the plot for you! – but I guess for the answers I will just have to read on, and I plan to do this as soon as possible! Scott Westerfeld really does grab, and pulls you right into the world he creates, and it is truly magical, beautiful, and quite scary, in The Secret Hour. 


  • Raimy-rawr

    I loved the Uglies/Pretties series. It was incredible but after reading this I think maybe its him thats incredible! He really takes you into the world and I love it!
    You have to read the rest of the series! πŸ˜€

  • Clover

    I avbsolutely adored this series and just Scott Westerfeld in general! πŸ™‚ Hope you love the rest of the series just as much .. (I remember liking them, but can’t remember much of the details πŸ™ )

  • Raimy-rawr

    Thats sometimes the problem with reading so many books, you need a refresher! I have the second of this series on reserve from the library and I’m picking it up tomorrow. I cant wait to read it! πŸ˜€

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