Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection
by Catherine Holt
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Pub Date 01 Sep 2018 | Archive Date 01 Aug 2018
Twelve-year-old Midnight Reynolds has a huge secret—she’s a spectral protector, someone who helps ghosts cross over into the afterlife. Alongside her best friend Tabitha, Midnight is busy juggling the wilds of middle school with her undercover ghost-hunting job. When mysterious and dangerous robberies start happening in their small town, all signs point to some sort of spectral manipulation, and Midnight’s boss asks her to take over the investigation. Can Midnight find the culprit and stop them before the spectral energy endangers their town?
This series has twists and turns galore for budding mystery lovers, all seen through the lens of a lovable and smart heroine. And the positive female friendships and hysterical writing will keep series fans coming back for more.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
I adored this cute paranormal detective series! I doesn't realize until I for a ways into it that this was actually not the first in the series. I want to read the others but this one can definitely stand on its own. Midnight and her best friend are hilarious and I love that the story has a ton of different elements to it. It's not just a kids detective story, it also deals with bullying, trust, honesty, and when to trust your instincts over what an adult tells you and that's just what I thought of off the top of my head. While there's a tiny bit of violence, it's more in the line of peril, not gory at all and safe for kids to read. Overall, I'd definitely recommend this series, especially if you want one to read to your kids since adults will be entertained as well.
I would like to thank the publisher, author, and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Such a fun series for middle grade readers! In this second book, Midnight and her friend Tabitha must protect the town from mysterious robberies that are spectral in nature and causing excessive rain and could cause much worse problems for the town and it's people and possibly ruin Midnight's mother's plans for an outdoor viking themed wedding. Mystery, friendship, and a little bit of romance make this book a wonderfully fun read!
Awkward Premise; Engaging Characters
The premise here is a bit labored. Our heroine, Midnight, is a twelve year old who works for the Agency of Spectral Protection, (ASP). It turns out that ghosts, (spectral emanations), are good guys who just sometimes need to be helped into the Stream on their way to the Afterglow. ASP, through undercover agents like Midnight, helps them find their way, especially if they get trapped in some inanimate object. Easy Peasy. But, bad guys can draw spectral power from the Stream and it becomes concentrated and then turns into evil stuff called "planodiume", which makes the bad guys crazy bad, messes up the Stream, traps innocent ghosts, and generally causes havoc. As you might guess, in these books, (this is the second), Midnight never gets to do just the easy stuff, and keeps coming up against planodiume stoked villains.
Now, there are lots of books about kids who interact with and either fight or help ghosts, depending on which type of ghost book the author is writing. Most of those books have some sort of society that the kid is inducted into, which allows for plot exposition and the like. You get that here in spades. It takes a few chapters for what I summarized above to become clear, but if a reader is patient it is all eventually explained and filled in. The question is how much patience will your reader have?
I was not particularly drawn to this premise because it seemed awfully busy and was neither really serious nor intentionally goofy, but rather just needlessly complicated. That said, I kept reading because of the characters, the surprisingly snappy dialogue and amusing asides and bits of business, and some secondary storylines that were ambitious and interesting.
Our heroine is steadfast, diligent and responsible. She's just fine in a vulnerable/competent way and her style is fine for a middle grade heroine. Her sidekick, Tabitha, a Goth-ish sort, is funny, loosey-goosey and free spirited in a good way, and both reliable and supportive. So they make an excellent team, and make the book appealing just in a girls'-own adventure, buddy-cop sort of way. They do research and investigate and lurk and so on, and the book is spirited and fun whenever it focuses on the two of them just doing their thing.
The parents of the girls are a little goofy but dependable and grown-up, which is a nice change from the clueless sorts you often see. There's some school drama that adds a bit of spice but is restrained. There's some crushing on a guy who ends up sort of on the team, but that was fresh and understated and felt pretty authentic. As a bonus there is running conflict between Midnight and her older sister and this ends up being very important to the tale and surprisingly resolved. There's a lot of gratuitous sibling conflict in books at this level, and it was a pleasure to see that the rivalry had a point and went somewhere in this book.
So, I wasn't taken by the action plot, which plays out fairly predictably, but the process by which our two heroines navigate to the big perilous and suspenseful climax was fun and engaging, and so I ended up coming around on this mainly for its buddy-action-comedy appeal. An interesting choice.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Midnight and Tabitha are a team. Even though they are only twelve, for the past six months they have been working with the Agency of Spectral Protection, ASP, to release trapped spectral energy. After witnessing a spectacular robbery, ASP requests the two to investigate the situation. They soon realize that this case is far beyond what was covered in their training. They forge ahead none the less.
This is a fun middle school story. It involves two friends who are trying to stay under the radar at school and home when they are carrying out work for ASP. Both use different approaches to keeping life and work separated and now they have added dating into the ix. Midnight and Tabitha appear quite different, they they understand each other and work together well. They have turned their differences into assets. Did I mention the vikings and ray gun.
I enjoyed this story, but wish I had read Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer, the first book in the series, before hand.
I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Albert Whitman and Company and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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