The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder
|The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Monsters and magic and mayhem in this action-packed fantasy adventure!|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: February 2019|
|Publisher: Chicken House|
|External links: Author's website|
After a big blow-up fight with her mum, Emily is left alone with her dad. Her mum has gone away on some strange job (even though Emily didn't think her mum even had a job) and so she is not quite sure what is going on. Things turn even stranger still when her dad goes off to find her mum, and then doesn't come back. She heads out to investigate and discovers a strange, secret world called the Midnight Hour, which seems to be London during Victorian times, and is full of magical beings (and monsters!) What were her parents doing here? And will she be able to find them and rescue them, so her life can go back to normal?
This is a real action-adventure fantasy tale, with a great mix of the recognisable and the phantasmagorical. It rolls along at a good pace, with an interesting mixture of characters along the way. Being a Librarian, I was probably biased with having 'the Library' as my favourite character, but when you read the book I'm sure you'll see why! I also really liked Tarkus too, who helps Emily but still allows her to be heroic. Having the parents trapped and in trouble also makes for an interesting situation, with poor Emily, who knows nothing about the Midnight Hour having been told nothing by her parents, is lost and baffled by everything she sees. She does take a friend along with her for the ride, a hedgehog. I actually thought the hedgehog was going to play a bigger part. It felt like there was going to be more of a reveal around him, but he's a funny little hedgehog and I liked how he eats through Emily's snacks that she's packed for her trip!
I wasn't always sure about the way Emily is depicted, with much mention of her 'gob' and how it gets her into trouble. This was partly because I don't think I've ever heard my tween daughter refer to a 'gob' - that was a word I grew up with in the eighties so it sat a little oddly thinking about the way she and her friends speak. But also because it didn't quite feel like the right way to be talking about Emily's bravado. She does speak out, and speak up, and it does get her into trouble sometimes, but I didn't like that this gets put down to gobbiness. It's possible I'm over-thinking things, but each time it cropped up in the story it gave me pause.
Still, I liked the inclusion of Big Ben in the tale (though I won't tell you how it plays a part - spoilers!) and there were some unexpected events that I didn't see coming that I enjoyed. I also really liked the various useful adages that Emily's mum has instilled in her, such as never be knowingly under-snacked which is surely one of the most important pieces of advice to share, ever! There were some moments that I found pretty scary, even though I'm really quite grown up now! I felt those push it towards the higher end of the tween age bracket. I have a feeling, from the ending, that there may well be a sequel. It will be interesting to see where the story goes next.
Further reading suggestion: You might also like to try reading Mistress of the Storm by Melanie Welsh .
You can read more book reviews or buy The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder at Amazon.com.
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