A great follow up to The Secret Hour, this book is one that I, personally, found hard to put down...Westerfeld weaves a great story about the midnighters, people who can see the 'blue hour' and move about in it: Rex, Melissa, Jessica, Dess, and Jonathan. As before, it seems that trouble is brewing among the darklings, and one of the midnighters is in danger (I'm not the best at plot descriptions, in case you haven't already noticed, lol), and it is not Jessica. The story of the midnighters and basically history of Bixby is explored more in this book, and a few things are pulled together, but the third volume of the series still has a long way to go (guessing by how my side-plots splintered out of Touching Darkness)...and so I will happily await the third installment.
The few complaints I have are as follows: Westerfeld uses the word 'maelstorm' way too many times to make the word, which normally is a good, mature adjective, into something forgetable. He used this once in Uglies, his other book which I am not finished reading, and I almost groaned at the thought of seeing this word another 5-billion times, but thankfully he only used it once there...I digress, however. This was not the major disappointment of the book. Just an annoyance. But the major complaint I had was that there weren't many interesting battle scenes up until the end, which was OK as it helped to focus on the characters but was also a bit of a let down. Westerfeld delves more into the midnighters and their fragile cooperation in this novel, relationships, etc, which is interesting. I was hoping to see more of Jessica, the kick-@$$ fire-bringer, but again, not really until the end. Still, it was a great, enjoyable read with a AWESOME ending, I think, semi-cliffhanger-ish but not to an extreme degree.
I would recommend this to all of my friends.