Amy Reviews: Scott Westerfeld—"Blue Noon" (Midnighters #3)
Just in case you’re coming to this review without having read the previous two books in the Midnighters series, this is going to be pretty heavy on the spoilers for The Secret Hour and Touching Darkness. You have been warned!
This is the fast-paced finale to the Midnighters trilogy, and it lives up to the first two books. The whole story arc takes place within a few months, but by book three, there’s a marked difference in every one of the characters compared to book one. By Blue Noon, the stakes are a lot higher than they were in The Secret Hour.
So what’s the premise of this final chapter? Toward the start, the ‘blue time’ that marks the twenty-fifth hour descends… during first period at the high school. The whole school is frozen, and only Jessica, Jonathan, Dess, Melissa and Rex are able to move.
Needless to say, this is a little unprecedented. The blue time doesn’t last a full hour, but during that brief period, the usual midnighter laws of physics apply – everything else stops moving, the darklings wake up, and Jonathan is no longer subject to normal gravity.
Once the world goes back to normal, the midnighters realise that a regular human was sucked into the blue time… and their problems are only just beginning.
Blue Noon turns the established laws of Westerfeld’s universe upside down. We as readers have no idea what’s going on, because neither do the midnighters. It’s also hard to predict the way some of them will behave.
Jonathan almost seems to welcome the changes – he relishes his ability to fly, and any extra flying time is worth the extra darkling risk. This puts a strain on his relationship with Jessica, who has her own problems to deal with – her little sister, Beth, is close to finding out the truth about the twenty-fifth hour.
Melissa is working on her mindcasting skills with Madeleine, the midnighter who’s been hiding in Bixby for her entire life, discovered by Dess during Touching Darkness. She’s arguably the most sane and stable midnighter now, a sharp reversal of her role in The Secret Hour.
Rex, on the other hand, is having trouble with his darkling side. Now that he has an aversion to the number thirteen, modern technology and alloys, life as a midnighter is a little difficult. He also has trouble keeping his dark, predatory instincts in check – but in certain ways, he’s still Rex.
As for Dess, her polymath powers really kick into gear in this instalment, and it’s down to her calculations that the midnighters come up with a plan to save the innocent citizens of Bixby. Jessica’s power as the light-bringer is also instrumental… with devastating consequences.
I found myself skipping paragraphs during the final race against time – not because I was bored, because I was impatient to see what was going to happen. Maybe that makes me a book-nerd, but mostly I just think it makes Westerfeld an amazing writer. Once I knew that the world wasn’t going to end, then I went back and read the parts I’d skipped again… and they were great.
I can’t recommend this series strongly enough. YA fiction is alive and well, thanks to some much-needed Westerfeld CPR. I have no idea what his other YA books are like, but I’m going to give them a shot!
Blue Noon – Scott Westerfeld
28 February, 2006 by HarperTeen
Paperback, 384 pages