Saturday, January 28, 2012

YA Fantasy and Scott Westerfeld

The Midnighter's trilogy was Westerfeld's first foray in YA Fantasy.  He has since written several other award winning YA series including the Uglies and the Leviathan trilogy.  In The Secret Hour, the first of the Midnighter novels, Westerfeld builds his YA tale around the fifteen year old Jessica Day who has just moved to Bixby, Oklahoma from Chicago along with a sister, unemployed Dad, and her mother who is an aviation engineer working on a top secret wing design.  The book opens on Jessica's first day at her new high school and Westerfeld immediately picks up the usual YA themes; family problems, belonging, peer pressure, and to be a goth or not, but these themes quickly take a backseat to plot as Jessica discovers that she is a Midnighter, an individual born at midnight who has access to a 25th hour world created by the dark creatures who once hunted us and then were forced by our advancements to hide themselves away in a secret time zone that very few humans can even visit.  Jessica is one of five teen Midnighters and while each of the others has a special ability, Jessica and the others cannot figure out hers.  But unlike the others, Jessica attracts the attention of the dark things and they come risking all to kill her.  It is obvious that whatever her special ability, it is dangerous to the dark things, and they cannot allow her to live.  Westerfeld concludes this story with the Midnighter's battle to save Jessica and themselves.  Melissa the Mindcaster is worth special mention as she is the most interesting of the Midnighters.  Her ability to read minds has forced her into isolation all of her young life.  Touch is a veritable torture as it immediately opens a window into the others complete personality and personal history.  There is a black, angry and very conflicted side to Melissa which should be very interesting to watch as the trilogy continues especially because it appears she has the ability to enter people's dreams at night and impact their future behaviors.  There is the implication that she has secretly used this ability in the past to get her way.

I found the second book in the Midnighter's series at a garage sale and picked it up for 50 cents.  Last week at the half off Goodwill sales, I found the first book for a dollar and I read it, yesterday.  Funny how books that you are kinda looking for pop up when you least expect them.  I will continue to look for the third book, Blue Noon.  All three books as a set - ffs in very good condition - should sell for around twenty five dollars although I have not seen such a set priced and for sale.  I found Behemoth at a Goodwill bookstore for 3.99 and decided to take a chance because Simon Pulse did such a nice job producing the book.  It has a bold graphic cover, marvelous end paper maps and contains dark, almost Dickensian illustrations by Keith Thompson.  It is about a ten dollar book.  I bought Leviathan, the first book in the series, online for ten dollars plus shipping, and I will continue to look for the final book in that series during my travels.  I like purchasing an entire series before reading and I also think that having the series enhances the book's values, but that is speculation.  The collectability and future value of YA is also highly speculative, even though certain early YA has attained great value.  A 1967 Viking edition of The Outsiders in very good condition is currently selling for 1500.00 dollars and there is only one available at abebooks.  Of course, I am hoping that will be my next find.  Watch out though, they did issue an exact replica in 2007.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what Clara's YA series will be worth ... when she finishes writing it.