„13 Days of Midnight“ by Leo Hunt
When Luke Manchett’s estranged father dies suddenly, he leaves his son a dark inheritance. Luke has been left in charge of his father’s ghost collection: eight restless spirits. They want revenge for their long enslavement, and in the absence of the father, they’re more than happy to take his son. It isn’t fair, but you try and reason with the vengeful dead.
Halloween, the night when the ghosts reach the height of their power, is fast approaching. With the help of school witchlet Elza Moss, and his cowardly dog Ham, Luke has just thirteen days to uncover the closely guarded secrets of black magic, and send the unquiet spirits to their eternal rest. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
While reading „13 Days of Midnight“, I thought it was a middle grade book. It just felt like one, even though the main characters are in high school and it is being marketed as a YA horror novel. In middle grade you’d find it awesome to inherit $6M and 8 ghosts, you’d start buying cars and building houses like the one from the movie „Thir13en Ghosts“. For a YA audience, it’d have to be a lot less funny and therefore a lot scarier; sadly „13 Days of Midnight“ wasn’t scary at all.
Not even the main character seemed particularly scared of the ghosts, and that might have been the biggest problem with the book. If you’re not scared while your body is possessed by ghosts, than I’m not going to be scared either. That is not to say that Luke Manchett was a bad main character, it was okay to be in his head for a while, he just wasn’t anything special and didn’t react to certain situations as a normal teenager should have.
What also seemed a bit too middle grade-ish was that certain things just seemed too convenient. When you inherit 8 ghosts, obviously someone at your school is a witch and knows everything about everything and is willing to help you first thing. Also, if you have the main character find the answer to his biggest problem in a dream, at least explain how that happened. It might be okay for a middle grade book for things to just fall into place at every corner, but for a YA plot that’s just not enough.
There were a lot of things I did like though. As a fan of the SyFy „Ghost Hunters“, seeing a show like that incorporated into a book was fun. I liked the writing style, even though it slowed down the action at times by being too fluffy and descriptive. The 8 ghosts were well done and everyone had their own unique personality. It also didn’t seem too over the top, it made me feel like maybe this whole ghost/demons/necromancer thing could be going on in our world, right now.
So I gave it 4 out of 5 while I was still thinking it was middle grade. It would be an awesome middle grade book. I’m going to keep it at that. Just keep in mind: there are several points where it’s just not strong enough to hold up as a YA novel, so don’t go in expecting too much.
It’s a fun, light read. Probably best enjoyed 13 nights before Halloween, one chapter a day.