NOTICE: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:
Title: The Midnight Glass
Author: D.T. Vaughn
Publisher: Branford Books
Release Date: September 20th 2016
Genre: Middle Reader, Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 251 (paperback)
Every town has a secret… but Davenport has the darkest of them all…
Life is rough for eleven-year-old Wyatt Dumont. He’s too small to fend off his mean older sister, and the school bully picks on him every day. But life changes when his mother is offered a job in the secretive town of Davenport. Wyatt is excited for the move until he notices that some of the townsfolk are more than human. There’s a man with green skin and gills, and a middle school teacher with red eyes and fangs! Even Wyatt s new classmates are a spark elf and a wulfyn–a werewolf, but don t call him that… or else!
Wyatt is panicked. But nothing alarms him more than the darkest secret of all: Davenport hasn’t seen the sun in over four hundred years. Wyatt quickly becomes obsessed with the town’s mysteries, and he begins to uncover the truth–one deadly secret at a time.
My First Thoughts:
I’m always looking for good middle reader books to add to my library, and this story really interested me. The idea behind the story also intrigued me, it sounded rather unique, and something I haven’t read of this genre yet.
For the most part, this is a pretty solid book. The setting is pretty interesting, though I did spend some time trying to figure out how everything would work with just moonlight. After a while I had to completely turn off the scientific-thinking part of my brain to be able to read through this book at a good pace. For a book like this for a target audience of children, that’s really not a mark against the story but more like an observation. Children won’t sit there and question why the moon is always in the sky instead of a period of total darkness when the sun is supposed to be out. They won’t question how all the plants are growing off of just moonlight, or why only the bugs have strange mutations and not the vegetation or the people too. These were just a few of the things my brain tried to work out while reading. Kids probably won’t notice or care about these things, however the adults reading this to kids or reading it to themselves may find this a bit annoying. For the category, it’s okay for things like this not be explained because it may bore the target audience or go right over their heads.
Wyatt was a rather interesting hero to follow as he fumbled his way through the mystery of the Midnight Glass. For those of you who care, and I know some of you reading this will, he isn’t your typical white male lead. Not much is said about what he look like except that he has a mop of curly hair and dark tanned skin like his father. This didn’t really change anything for me while reading this story, but I do know that there are readers out there that really want popular literature to be more diverse. The story never mentions anything about nationality or race just that Wyatt and his sister look a lot like their father. As a character, Wyatt seemed rather mature for his age even before he moved or solved the mystery. His only true development came when he overcame his negative reactions to the people of the town, accepting and treating them like people. The other characters were pretty flat, staying pretty much the same from start to finish, which was fine really since the story was focused on Wyatt. My only real grievance with the characters came from Wyatt’s sister, Roxanne. Her character changed as well, but it seemed so superficial that it made me a bit sick to read. At first she was completely repulsed by the people in the town but then kind of got over it a bit after finding a hot guy that happened to be a werewolf. The switch was so sudden that I was caught by surprise, but it made me sick because it seemed like the only way a girl could grow to like a place is if she found a hot guy that lives there too. I know that most kids reading this might not pick up on that, but it still bothers me.
Other than that, there really isn’t that much else to say. The story was pretty solid, and it was a mystery that kept me stumped for a while. I wasn’t surprised by the reveal of the villain, but it did take me a good chunk of the book to figure it out. The pacing of the book seemed a little bit off to me and I can’t really place it. While I was enjoying the story, by the time I neared the end I really wanted to get it over with. That isn’t a feeling I normally get with books that I’m enjoying, however, I can’t figure out why.
This is a pretty good book to read, especially if you’re still in the mood for monsters, paranormal, or mystery. I recommend this book for parents to read to their children, or for children that want something new to read. I must advise caution though. There is death in this book and mentions of suicide. One character actually has a bit of a gruesome death, even though the author made light of it, parents might still want to investigate it for themselves before their children read it.
I would also recommend this book to any adult looking for a fun, light read. If you can turn off your brain and not overthink the plot and some of the things that happen in this book, then you’re golden. If you can’t, or like me who had a hard time turning off their brain, this book may frustrate you a bit. So I wouldn’t recommend this book to all adult, but those who really like to read within this genre.
Overall, The Midnight Glass has a pretty solid story, one best suited for children in middle school. Wyatt is a hero that I think a good number of kids can identify with nowadays, and he learns a pretty important lesson that I think everyone needs to learn: accept those who are different from you. The setting is rather creative and fun to imagine in your head, especially with the unique townsfolk. Wyatt’s journey is an interesting one, and the narration behind it adds to the mystic nature of the book. D.T. Vaughn has a rather interesting narrative voice, one that I wouldn’t mind reading again in other books.
My biggest complaint was Wyatt’s sister, Roxanne. She was your stereotypical big sister who antagonized her younger brother for no apparent reason most of the time. She was also the second character to have any major development and it was all because she found a hot guy, which is something that made me a bit angry. I saw the need for her character in this story, but I believe that she was the weakest part of this story.