July 13, 2006

Midnighters Again

Last December work started on bringing Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters series into serial television form. The Sci-Fi Channel News reported that the show might even have a Fall 2006 pilot ready. I'm ambivalent... seeing as how I hate most novels made into movies, could TV be much better? Well, with myriad episodes, maybe, just maybe, the medium of television can do these novels justice... but maybe not.

It's hard to review sequels, so allow me to summarize all of the Midnighter novels:

The first novel in the Scott Westerfeld's Midnighter series taught us what every Midnighter knows: that there are really 25 hours in a day. If you were born anytime between about 11:30PM and 1:30AM, you could be a midnighter, someone who takes advantage of that magical thirteenth hour, someone who is awake when all else in humanity is frozen and still. In the first novel, the Midnighters in Bixby find each other. At least, most of them do...

The second novel in the series explores why Midnight exists, and reveals the Midnighters learning who they are, and how their talents work together. Dess finds she protects the group best as a polymath, and thinks of multiple tridecalogisms with their thirteen-lettered power, creating weapons of will and intent in bright untarnished steel that do more damage to the Darklings than before. And Jessica Day, the new girl, is wanted fiercely... by someone. The Darklings? The weird old Seer? Who? And who is Jessica, anyway? Melissa uses her mindcasting skills to find out.

In Touching Darkness the danger is increased, as the Bixby Midnighters find themselves unprepared for the level of pain the Darkings are ready to inflict. Their Seer, Rex, is kidnapped and finds the Darklings have a way inside of him. Jonathan's acrobatic skills in the blue hour help save his life, but Melissa reaches inside of Jessica and Dess's minds to save him -- frightening them all, and maybe destroying some friendships and some minds for good.

Blue Noon, the third and final piece to the Midnighters trilogy, returns with Rex, Dess, Jessica, Jonathan and Melissa moving confidently through the frozen stillness of what Dess calls "the blue hour." Midnight isn't just a time to Dess, by defined by her mathematically, it's a place governed by laws and longitude and latitude. And these days, the blue hour isn't following the rules. Midnight has begun to arrive at seemingly random intervals -- noon one Monday, six a.m. one Sunday morning. Dess is baffled, and more than a little scared. Rex seems to know something... but he's not telling. The "slithers," the monstrous Darklings who prowl through that time to feed on human nightmares, are plotting something... something to gain control over the waking world. It might be that Rex knows what that is, too, but he's not telling, and for once, Melissa can't make him. It's got something to do with Jessica, the 'flame-bringer' according to the ancient lore. She's supposed to be there, but why? Jonathan's determined that nothing should happen to her -- and he really wishes nothing would change about the blue hour. But it is changing, and Bixby isn't safe anymore -- for anyone.

An open-ended conclusion to the Midnighters series, leaving room for further single adventures from Dess in a larger world that Bixby, and keeping its fast paced and nerve-wracking plot twists until the very end. Mostly satisfying, even as it fails to feed reader greed by tying up the ending nicely or promising sequels. Readers will hope it's not the end of the Midnighters for good!

No comments: