Adventures are best served with a drizzle of moonlight and a sprinkling of stars.
The Midnighters is a mesmerising gothic adventure that swept me into a world brimming with wonderment, intrigue and anticipation that kept me utterly entranced throughout.
Prague, 1877: Ema Vašková is the twelfth child born into a gifted, driven family of scientists, at the stroke of midnight on 12th December 1877 at the exact moment her grandmother, Liliana, dies. Whilst she is loved and nurtured by her family, she does not find an accepted field of science in which to excel. Instead, she has a sixth sense for predicting impending doom, a heightened fear of shadows and an uncanny ability to remain unnoticed by others: abilities that make her feel lost and alone in a world that doesn’t understand her.
When Ema’s parents leave to join their eldest daughter on an expedition, 12-year-old Ema is sent to stay with her mother’s eccentric twin brother, Josef, where she is given her grandmother’s attic room. At midnight, she looks across to the nearby window of the abandoned house opposite and meets Silvie, a mysterious, fearless girl with a heart for adventure, who promises to take Ema on secret midnight escapades to help conquer her fears. The girls enjoy exciting monthly adventures across the city until the night Silvie disappears …
Ema is determined to search the city to find her friend and, when she uncovers a clue from Silvie, she is led to the spectacle of the Midnight Guild, a secret society under the city, and into the heart of a mesmerising mystery which pulsates with excitement, danger, twists and revelations. Will Ema find the courage to face her fears and save her friend? What secrets are so dangerous that someone may be prepared to murder to keep them hidden?
I really enjoyed the dark, tense atmosphere with spine-tingling frissons of fear and a sense of almost unbearable anticipation as the mystery crescendoed. This darker mood is relieved with lighter tones as Ema and Silvie explore the city at night not to mention the wonderful Maine Coone, Ferkel, who causes mayhem for Josef – and plenty of baking opportunities! And then there is the Midnight Guild: breath-taking, dazzling and intriguing, but also rather intense and beguiling.
Ema is an incredibly sympathetic protagonist who struggles to find her place within her scientist family. It is only when she meets Silvie, who believes in her, that she feels encouraged to overcome her fears as they build a trusting friendship and undertake daring midnight adventures. Both girls are enigmas and I was just as entranced by Ema’s intuitiveness, curiosity and journey to self-discovery and acceptance as I was with unravelling Silvie’s secrets.
The dustjacket and hardback cover illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and really capture the intrigue and wonder of Prague that is to be found within the pages of the adventure. Each chapter heading has a stunning, detailed oval miniature which complements the story perfectly.
The Midnighters is an exhilarating, spellbinding adventure of friendship, fearlessness and acceptance, perfect for readers of 9+.
Thank you so much to Kaleidoscopic Tours for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour, and to Puffin Books for providing me with a gorgeous finished hardback copy of The Midnighters in exchange for my honest opinion.
Do check out the other stops on this week’s Blog Tour below: