Review of The Midnight Howl by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder

Emily must battle the greatest evil that has threatened The Midnight Hour. Can she keep its magic from leaking into the real world?
They must have come from under beds, out of mirrors, up from caves, and down from attics, all out of the darkness and into the moonlight. They were the Night Folk, and this was their world.
Now that Emily knows that her blood ties her to The Midnight Hour, she feels more connected to this frozen pocket of time than ever. But not only does she have to come to terms with her new identity as a Pooka, her parents also had to go and have another baby. And how weird is that? Life is feeling frustrating from all angles…
But when Emily begins to encounter strange happenings within The Midnight Hour, her worst fears are confirmed: there is a hole in the Hour and it is leaking magic. Whoever is going through it is making the tear worse and worse, posing a threat to the survival of the whole world. With Emily’s parents distracted with the new baby, it’s up to Emily to find the hole and help fix it.

Biba and I went into the Midnight Howl without having read book one, The Midnight Hour, but we found that this can be read happily as a standalone with plenty of looks back to the first story to explain how it all fits in. The world is just wonderful though, utterly filled with magic and magical creatures that were fantastic to discover. The really is something for every reader in this book whether it be more on the spooky or more on the whimsical side, we both loved both the Library and Art!

Emily is a great protagonist, although she is probably more for the upper range with her thoughts and actions, however, Biba thought that she was very brave and determined, so what do I know! Emily admits that her “gob” runs away from her so despite her speak first attitude she does keep herself in check. The dynamic she has with her newly found family members is brilliantly played out. The Victorian backdrop lends itself perfectly to the story which is hugely atmospheric, plenty of cobbled streets and swirling mists and things that go bump in the night. It can also be incredibly beautiful, a thorough picture painted so as a reader you knew exactly how to visualise each scene.

I would say that this is probably better placed for the upper end of the middle grade market, Biba is a strong reader for nearly 10 years old but this book uses complex language at times, is very descriptive and she often stumbled whilst reading aloud with me.

If you enjoy darkly atmospheric, magical reads, with lots of humour and holes in the fabric of space, then you will love The Midnight Howl! Thank you so much to Chicken House for sending us a copy of this for review.


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