Book Review: The Secret Hour (Midnighters #1) by Scott Westerfeld

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.

A story of courage, shadowy perils, and unexpected destiny, the secret hour is the first volume of the mesmerizing Midnighters trilogy by acclaimed author Scott Westerfeld.

This was a pretty good book.  I definitely enjoyed it more than Westerfeld's Peeps, but not as much as The Uglies series.  The story follows Jessica Day as she's moved into a new town.  This book is heavy into math, similar to how Peeps was heavy into biology and parasites.  There are a lot of numbers and focusing on numbers in The Secret Hour.  Westerfeld is nothing if not reliable, and this is reliable entertainment.  I continue to maintain that his characters have the emotional maturity of 12 year olds, no matter what their age is supposed to be.  One good thing I can say about Westerfeld is that all of his books are true YA books and are totally appropriate for ages 12 and up, unlike The House of Night, for example.  Apparently this book is the first in a trilogy.  My library doesn't have the second or third books, and I won't be buying them.  I guess that tells you that The Secret Hour is just not a super-compelling read.

Just One Gripe:
The emphasis on thirteen letter words was pretty corny.

The Best Thing About This Book:
The characters all discovering their secret hour abilities.

Appropriate for a younger audience:

Characters:  3/5
Plot:  3/5
Setting/Imagery:  3/5
Originality:  3/5
Ending:  3/5
Total Score:  15/25


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  1. you know its strange i read this book a few years back when i was 14/15 i remember being enthralled and it being so amazing that i read the 2nd, recently i went to the library determined to read it again i read the first chapter and it just fell flat, it has happened to me so many times, books that i have fond memories of enjoying now i wouldn't at all which is why i prefer not to re read becuase its always a shame

  2. I agree, I only re-read my favorite books. Otherwise I just pick them apart and focus on the flaws!


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