Saturday, November 04, 2006

Midnighters: Blue Noon - Scott Westerfeld

I read and reviewed the first two books in the Midnighters trilogy, Midnighters: The Secret Hour and Midnighters: Touching Darkness back in August after Touching Darkness came out. The third book, Blue Noon came out this week from Atom and I couldn't wait to read it immediately.

This review is over here because those who haven't read Touching Darkness yet, won't know what happened to Rex in that book, and that event is pivotal to events in this book. In Touching Darkness Rex the Seer of the Midnighters group was kidnapped by a group who support the Darklings who want to control Bixby, Oklahoma and he was transformed into a half human/half Darkling being. As the third book opens, he's still learning to live with the consequences of this transformation and although he looks human, he senses have been magnified and at times his Darkling self takes over from the human self.

The secret hour still arrives every midnight but something new has begun happening: the blue time is appearing randomly during the day. Rex and his four friends know that this is a dangerous situation as "regular" humans make become trapped in the midnight hour. Whilst they try to figure out what might be causing this aberration, they must deal with personal issues and relationships. Jessica (the Flame Bringer) and Jonathan (Flyboy), Melissa (the mindreader), and the brilliant Dess, who works on the numerical calculations and weapons used against the Darklings, find themselves thrown into a frantic race against time. According to Dess' calculations, it will be only a matter of a few weeks before the world as they all know it will end as the "Rip" that has developed, allowing the blue time to arrive during the day, begins to expand. Once the Rip expands far enough, the Darklings will take over Bixby and the blue time will envelop them all.

One of the many things complicating their attempts to investigate the Rip is Jessica's very nosy and interfering little sister, Beth, who wants to know why Jessica keeps disappearing around midnight, and how she can get involved in the great adventure. Jessica wants to protect Beth, but even she is unable to prevent Beth from finding out the truth in a frightening way.

As the barrier between the secret hour and normal time becomes weaker, other mysteries must be resolved. Just what are the connections between the Grayfoot family and the Darklings ? How can Rex and his friends stop the Darklings from destroying Bixby ? And is there a specific reason why they hate and fear Jessica Day more than any other Midnighter ? Does Jessica have more power than she realises ?

This is an interesting and intriguing finale to the Midnighters series, and although there were a couple of things that I didn't feel were resolved quite as well as they might have been, I think Westerfeld has done a good job of tying up the series.