The Midnighters Trilogy
written by Scott Westerfeld
The Secret Hour
Scott Westerfeld comes up with a fascinating new world in his Midnighters series. It's a brilliant concept to begin with, and one that only Westerfeld could ever have come up with. The book begins with an ordinary girl, and as she learns of her new life in the "secret hour", so do the readers along with her, providing a unique and relatable point of view. While the first novel of the series sets up for an amazing plot to come, on its own, it's nothing special. The writing, particularly the descriptive portions, is at times sloppy and weak, and too much of the focus is put on Jessica (although you do get to know and love all of the other characters as well). Nevertheless, it's worth working your way through, if only for the fact that the next two books will blow your mind.
Touching Darkness significantly advances the plot from where The Secret Hour left off. All of the characters' stories are told in much more depth, and they are all developed as characters, particularly Melissa, Rex, and Dess, where we mostly only got Jessica in the first book. There is, amidst all the character development, plenty of significant plot development going on, although as a bridge between the first and the last, it does get a little dull sometimes. The dullness, however, is necessary to build up to the stunning conclusion delivered in Blue Noon. I really noticed in reading this particular one the differences between other book series and the Midnighters series. It's not very clear cut at all, it's not one good guy vs. one bad guy. The books introduce a whole new dynamic of a group of kids battling not only their inner demons, but a TIME, an hour, making for a fantastic story. Touching Darkness continues with the series stupendous suspensefulness and plenty of plot-twists everywhere.
Now here is a man who knows how to end a series with a bang, quite literally. While some of the incessant recapping gets to be incredibly annoying, the plot is moved along really well. You know the characters now, so the things they do make more sense, although Rex & Melissa, v. 2.0's characters are still gradually being advanced. Much like Breaking Dawn, I love how the focus is on logic vs. 'let's go kill things!' Things are thought out, plans are made, and it all involves actually thought and regard for history instead of running into battle, killing things left and right with no clear cut plans whatsoever. Those books just annoy me. Way to bring thinkers into your books, Westerfeld! Loose ends are tied up, and the story is brought to a bittersweet, open-ended close, bringing things full circle. I found myself thinking multiple times of the series as a whole. What if it had been five books, one per character, instead of just the trilogy? Will we ever get a short story or another book even for what happens afterward? My only complaint, in the end, is that we never got to learn much about Jonathan's life, why he thinks the way he thinks, what his home life is like. Not much at all. Nevertheless, it is a mostly satisfying conclusion that I think everyone was happy with.
The Secret Hour is for exposition, Touching Darkness is for character, Blue Noon is for plot. I advise you to read them all for a full helping of amazing storytelling.