Hana Tooke’s THE MIDNIGHTERS is a richly imagined middle grade adventure with a double dollop of mystery and magic mixed in. And you can’t help but expect the same qualities from main character Ema, born at the stroke of midnight on the twelfth day of the twelfth month, and the twelfth child in her family. Indeed, Ema appears to have a psychic ability that allows her to feel impending doom in her very bones. But her uncanny intuition about the arrival of bad news has no place in a household that values fact over fancy.
A misfit in a family of esteemed scientists, and naturally fearful given her abilities, Ema is taught a variety of disciplines by her many successful siblings, but all she really wants to study is herself, and the enigma of her presentiments. Ema even tries to do this in a scientific manner, but when she plucks up the courage to share her findings, she is met with scepticism and disdain.
But all this changes when Ema meets the mysterious Sylvie, and the two girls bond over midnight meetings in the atmospheric setting of Prague. Sylvie helps Ema challenge her fears, and, for the first time ever, Ema finds someone who appreciates her for who she really is. It is no surprise then, that when Sylvie goes missing, Ema suffers the loss of their blossoming friendship. And when her bones tell her something sinister is afoot, Ema follows a series of clues that lead her into the underground world of the Midnight Guild – where inventors and illusionists hold secret show-stopping spectacles and sell their innovative inventions to privileged patrons.
Suspecting Sylvie has uncovered a murder cover-up and been kidnapped for her findings, Ema decides she must lean into her psychic ability to uncover Sylvie’s whereabouts, and the truth behind the death of a man who shared abilities similar to her own.
Science meets superstition in the gothic atmosphere of nighttime Prague, beautifully reflected in Ayesha L. Rubio’s magnificent cover art.