Touching Darkness (Midnighters Series #2)

Touching Darkness (Midnighters Series #2)

by Scott Westerfeld


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This is the second book in New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighters series.

As the Midnighters search for the truth about the secret hour, they uncover terrifying mysteries woven into the very fabric of Bixby’s history, and a conspiracy that touches the world of daylight.

This time Jessica Day is not the only Midnighter in mortal danger, and if the group can’t find a way to come together, they could lose one of their own . . . forever.   

Touching Darkness is the second book in the Midnighters trilogy, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Uglies series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060519568
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/02/2008
Series: Midnighters Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 346,747
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.67(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Scott Westerfeld is the author of ten books for young adults, including Peeps, The Last Days, and the Midnighters trilogy. He was born in Texas in 1963, is married to the Hugo-nominated writer Justine Larbalestier, and splits his time between New York and Sydney. His latest book is Extras, the fourth in the bestselling Uglies series.

Read an Excerpt

Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness

Chapter One

Laws of Gravity
11:51 p.m.

At last, everything was sorted out.

Her clothes had finally found their way into the right drawers. Books lined their new shelves in alphabetical order, and her computer's tangled mop of cables had been subdued with rubber bands into a thick ponytail. The moving boxes were out in the garage, folded flat and wrapped with twine for Monday's recycling truck. Only one last box, labeled CRAP in black marker, sat in the corner of her room, filled with a dozen boy-band posters, two pink sweaters, and a stuffed dinosaur, all of which seemed way too childish for her new life.

Jessica Day wondered if she'd really changed that much since packing the box in Chicago. Maybe it was getting arrested that had suddenly made her feel older. (Okay, officially she'd been "detained and transported to parental custody." Whatever.) Or maybe it was having a boyfriend. (Although that wasn't official yet either, come to think of it.) Or maybe it was the secret world that had opened up around her here in Bixby and then had tried so hard to kill her.

But everything was organized now, she told herself again.

For example: thirteen thumbtacks were lined up under each window in her room, and thirteen paper clips rested on the lintel of the door. She wore a thirteen-pointed star around her neck, and in a shoe box under her bed were Anfractuously, Explosiveness, and Demonstration (also known as a bicycle lock, a highway flare, and a heavy flashlight). All their names had thirteen letters, and all three objects were made of bright stainless steel.

Looking at her bedside clock, Jessica felt the flutter of nerves that always came at this time of night. Excitement, an anxiousness to get started, and a suddenly dry tongue, as if she were about to take a driver's test at a hundred miles an hour.

She took a deep breath to calm herself and sat down carefully on her neatly made bed, unwilling to disturb anything. Even taking a book down from the shelf might unbalance the whole night. The room's neatness felt precarious, though; it could only go downhill from here.

Jessica got that feeling a lot these days.

Cross-legged on the bed, she felt something in the front pocket of her jeans. She fished it out: the quarter she'd found in the closet while cleaning up. The previous tenants must have left it behind. Jessica flipped it in the air, the metal flashing as it spun.

On the third flip, at the top of the coin's arc, a shudder seemed to pass through the room. . . .

No matter how carefully she watched her clock, the exact moment of change always startled Jessica, like the jolt of the L train back in Chicago when it began to roll. Color bled from the world, the light turned cool and flat and blue, and the low moan of the Oklahoma wind fell suddenly silent. Suspended in the air before her, the quarter shone softly, a tiny and motionless flying saucer. She stared at it hard for a while, careful not to get too close and break the spell.

"Heads," she finally declared, then reached under the bed to free Explosiveness and Demonstration from their shoe box. She stuffed them into the big front pocket of her sweatshirt and crawled out the window.

Out on the front lawn, Jessica waited again. She didn't bother to hide, although she was still grounded for another two weeks (one result of the whole getting-arrested thing). The houses around her glowed with a faint blue light. No one was watching, nothing moved on the street; even the scattering of falling autumn leaves hovered motionless in the air, trailing from the dark trees like long dresses. The world was Jessica's now.

But not hers alone.

A shape grew against the cloudy sky, arcing from rooftop to rooftop, gracefully and silently bounding toward her. He hit the same houses every night, like a pinball following a familiar route down the bumpers. Just like Dess said she could see numbers in her head, Jonathan claimed he could see the angles of his flight, the most elegant path appearing before him in bright lines.

Jess touched the reassuring weight of the flashlight through the sweatshirt's cotton. They all had their talents.

As Jonathan softly corkscrewed to the earth before her, Jessica's nervous energy began to turn into something more pleasurable. She watched his body coil, knees flexing and arms spreading, absorbing the impact of his scant midnight weight against the grass, and felt herself pack the last threads of her anxiety away in a box labeled CRAP at the back of her brain. Fear had been necessary for her first two weeks here in the secret hour-her survival had depended on it. But she didn't need it anymore.

"Hey," she said.

Jonathan swept his gaze around the horizon, checking for anything with wings. Then turned to her and smiled. "Hi, Jess."

She stood still, letting him cross the lawn to reach her. His steps carried him in soft arcs a foot high, kind of like an astronaut taking a stroll on the moon. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing. Just watching you walk."

He rolled his eyes. "It's harder than it looks, you know. I prefer flying."

"Me too." She leaned forward carefully, not reaching out with her hands, gently closing her eyes. As her lips brushed his, gravity lifted from Jessica, a familiar lightness flowing through her body.

She pulled away and sighed, her sneakers settling back into the grass.

His long, dark lashes blinked. "You're in a funny mood."

Jessica shrugged. "I'm just . . . happy." She turned around, taking in the softly glowing houses, the empty sky. "This all seems safe, finally."

"I get it. So you don't need me to protect you anymore?"

She whirled to face Jonathan. He was smiling broadly now.

"Maybe not." She patted Demonstration again. "But we do need to study for that physics test."

He held out his hand. Jessica took it, and the lightness filled her again.

Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness. Copyright (c) by Scott Westerfeld . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Touching Darkness 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 216 reviews.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
This second book in the Midnighters' Series delivered more than the first one could ever have hoped. In my review of book 1, I indicated that the characters were unlikable. They still are - which is sad because a reader should be able to connect with at least one character. However, the story has perked up and makes more sense which makes this book more pleasant reading. I will be reading the 3rd book. Let's see if Scott Westerfeld can deliver a clear, concise and satisfying ending to a series that struggles to make good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jessica and her frineds are part of a secret world. A world of special ablities and meatls that destroy. A world that only opens at the stroke of midnight and last for only one hour each day, halting time in the daylight realm, and opening the door was to the blue hour of midnight. Jessica and her midnighter friends are faced with a major problem, a daylight person knows of the secret midnight hour, and is stalking Jessica! Now it is a rush aginst time as they learn of a deadly plot, of the secrets of the darklings, and a grusome fate that could await one of their friends. Can they save him in time, or will he fall, helplessly, into the hands of their darkling enemys and their daylight allies. Can they save him? Find out in. Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness.
emma-bear_ More than 1 year ago
Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld was the second in the Midnighters Series. When you start this book, it starts you out about a day after the end of the first one, which wants you to believe that the events are happening in a perfectly created, chronological order. With Jessica so in love with Jonathan, Rex so in love with Melissa, and Dess all alone in her own little secret math world, the book has many stories going on at once. Yes, it can be confusing and yes, they do all eventually connecting, but this can be very confusing. One minute with Dess, the next with Jess, the next with Rex. I had to reread many of the things. Another problem that I have with this book is that Jessica, the main protagonist, is very dislikable at times. And I'm not sure if this is done on purpose on not, but I really do despise her at times. I think my favorite character in the book is probably Rex. He is the only one that doesn't really bother me. I did enjoy the ending of this book though. It did leave me wanting to read the next one, so I will. I hope that I am not disappointed.
The_Shadow412 More than 1 year ago
In TOUCHING DARKNESS, the Midnighters no longer just have the darklings to fear; now normal people are hunting them. When Jessica gets stalked by one of them, Melissa and Rex follow him into a nightmare. But not only Jessica is threatened by the stalkers, Rex is in trouble too because they need a new Seer. Dess finds a new friend who knows how the old Midnighters disappeared and can help her battle Jessica's stalkers. We learn more about the old Midnighters and why they disappeared so long ago. This Midnighters book was a lot darker than the other one and a little better.
lilmudduckmuffineater More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the Midnighters trilogy! It was awesome,this series is starting to grow on me. I'm gonna be sad when I finish reading the third and final book :(. Although I'm gonna say Jessica kind of got on my nerves just a lil in this book,that being said it's still an awesome book!! The plot is still original,fun, and fast paced. In the second book they find out there are daylight people who know about the secret hour and Midnighters, who are contacting the darklings. Dess discovers a Midnighter from an older generation(they had never met one before). She learns what happened to the older generations and that the Darklings want a Midnighter to make a halfing(half Midnighter, half darkling). Rex and Melissa get closer and Melissa learns how to deal with her gift.
TheOtherSarah More than 1 year ago
This book was clear and well thought out. It is a mystery intertwined with science and math. I enjoyed how the characters interacted with each other to learn the secrets within the secret hour. The conjoining of trigonometry and calculus was ingenious. This book contains a great storyline that isn't too difficult to follow. I didn't like the writer's description of the Darklings. His description never gave a good visual experience of how they look. How Scott Westerfeld ends this book with a cliffhanger leaves readers demanding to buy the next installment. His way of twists within the book creates thrilling tension for the reader. The unreal world of the secret hour gives the perfect scene for the Midnighters, Rex, Melissa, Dess, Jonathon, and Jessica. The author creates a shield of secrecy for these main characters in the extra hour. I appreciate how the author writes the chapters through each individual main character. How he ends each chapter with each characters own sign was well thought out because the reader doesn't understand until mid-book what the symbols mean. This page-turner leaves each chapter with an unsettled mystery. I very much liked how there were different places with more time than others in the town of Bixby. The book focuses on multiple points, the characters' development, the history of Bixby, and the mysteries of the secret hour all combined into one unforgettable book. It creates a whole new world for the reader to think about and follow. I would recommend this book to anyone who is creative, has clever thinking, or people who just enjoy fiction. This book is an excellent read and Scott Westerfeld has done a great job with it.
thehushsoundroxsox More than 1 year ago
if you read and enjoyed the first book (Midnighters: The Secret Hour) then you MUST read this sequel. it is great if you liked the first one. although i do think the first one was better overall, i still really enjoyed this book. this series is the kind that i wish would never end, but unfortunately there is only one more book for me to read (Midnighters: Blue Noon). if you enjoy this series, you may also enjoy the Wicked Lovely series. Beginning with Wicked Lovely, the Ink Exchange, and followed by the most recent Fragile Eternity, it is a great series. there is less action (but its still there) and more romance (not a dominating romance series) and i highly recommend it to Midnighters readers. Happy Reading!!
shelleyraec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as strong as the first for me and it seemed a little busy with calculations, but then numbers are not my thing, and in the Midnight they are essential. It was interesting to learn more about the characters, particularly Dess and Melissa, both of whom suprised me in this book by not being exactly what I thought they were. A solid read just not as personaly as engaging as the first for me. Still looking forward to the trilogy being wrapped up in the last book
Katharine_Ann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading the first book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one! I have to say, Touching Darkness did not disappoint me. I was delighted to be back in Midnight and back with the 5 MidnightersI am so happy that this book explored the other Midnighters rather than just focus on Jess, as I felt that they needed a little more attention in the first novel. Touching Darkness did just that, and I was utterly fascinated with the focus on Dess and her mathematics. I am also really happy to see the Midnighters a little less "Go Team" and have more problems between the 5 of them. I felt this made them completely more realistic, more like 5 teenagers who are put in this situation together. I was completely fascinated (and creeped out) by the halfling and the evil that came along with the Darklings. Westerfeld did an amazing job creating this image and showing the Midnighters horror at it - it certainly drew me into the story even more than I was before! This book was a great follow up to the first novel, and if you have read the first one, this is a must read!
flemmily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is darker than the last, and pleasantly so. More lore is revealed and both the humans and the darklings get a little creepier. A good read!
ethelmertz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another great read from Scott Westerfeld.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Now that Jessica's discovered her secret talent, and the Midnighters have found an effective weapon to keep the darklings at bay, it seems like things might be settling down in the town of Bixby, Oklahoma. Jessica's finally learning to enjoy the secret midnight hour, when time stops for everyone except her and her four fellow Midnighters. But they've all forgotten that danger can come at times other than midnight, and from sources other than the darklings. It seems impossible, but they discover evidence that regular humans know about the midnight hour, and that they want something that will imperil the Midnighter's lives, something bound up with the evil that stalks the blue hour of midnight... and something to do with why there are no Midnighters older than sixteen.Review: Oooh, so good. Just as good as the first, really. These books are compulsively, addictingly readable - I stayed up well past the midnight hour reading this one, practically tearing the pages I was in so much of a hurry to find out what was going to happen, and how it was going to end. Westerfeld's got a deft touch with the creepy, populating his world with a good balance of psychological menace and out-and-out gruesome nightmare fodder. (It's also highly effective - as I was getting out of my car last night at a few minutes before midnight, my neighbor's black cat followed me up to my front door, and Westerfeld's world is creepy enough that I was tempted to touch my metallic front door handle and whisper a tridecalogism as darkling deterrent.) He's a little bit cagier with his clues this time around; I suspect the necessities of the story ran afoul of some bits of the anchoring reality, and he opted for poetic license for some and slight obfuscation about the rest. The world of midnight still hangs together extremely neatly, though, and as I suspected, he adds to the lore and answers quite a few of the dangling questions from the first book.Westerfeld creates his characters as effectively as he creates his world. I particularly enjoy that the Midnighters aren't some group of super-powered heroes out to save the day - well, they are, but they're also normal teenagers, complete with the full array of teenager neuroses, jealousies, petty bickering, and sarcasm. That's true in the first book as well, but I felt like in Touching Darkness, Westerfeld did a very nice job of getting inside the heads (sorry, bad pun, considering one of them is a mind-reader) of each of the kids, looking at the way their individual gifts have both saved and scarred them, and making them into multidimensional people rather than flat stock characters. Overall, I am enjoying the heck out of this series, and unless Westerfeld totally flubs the third book, it's going to unseat the Uglies series in my ranking of Westerfeld's books. (Still doesn't beat Peeps, though; not enough biology!) 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: These books aren't stand-alones, so don't read this one first. Go pick up The Secret Hour first, and then I suspect my recommendation about whether or not to read Touching Darkness will be totally moot.
booksandbosox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was definitely better than the first. I didn't want to stop reading. Perhaps because I felt more connected to the characters and therefore concerned about their survival. Interesting to learn about this new world that Westerfeld created. I must admit that this whole series is a rather ingenious concept and I can certainly see the appeal to young readers. Very eager to see how this trilogy finishes out - the third one looks like it could be even better.
hpluver07 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Again, i loved it. That seems to be a recurring theme!!
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the series and is just as good as the first. Lots of action without losing the characters. That can be hard to do. I still think it is a fascinating concept and it is done so well that it really does not take too much of a stretch to believe it.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jessica is finally coming to terms with being a Midnighter and with the protection her power brings to the Blue Hour. That is, until she learns she is being stalked during the normal daylit hours. Soon Jessica, Jonathan, Rex, Melissa and Dess learn that there is more to fear in the world than just the darklings and the ancient evil is more than able to stalk them at any time it chooses.Once again I really loved Westerfeld's story. Although Touching Darkness didn't have the frantic pace the first story did I really enjoyed the more laid back pace and the interesting history uncovered by the Midnighters. But that's not to say the story wasn't exciting. The climax of the book had me reading as fast as I could (and yelling at those who just had to keep interrupting me!) to find out what would happen next. All in all I'm really enjoying the Midnighters world and am looking forward to reading the last book in the trilogy.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Second in the Midnighter¿s series. In this one, Jessica Day has found her Midnighter power. Also, it¿s not just slithers that are after Jessica and the rest of the gang, now humans also want to get them. Great addition to the series. Can¿t wait for the next one.
HannahRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jessica Day knows of the secret of the midnight hour, and has even come to enjoy the secret she shares with her new friends. But the danger has not passed, as she would like it to. Someone has figured out the secret, and wants in.
DinFaroreNaryu78 More than 1 year ago
You think that the second book in a series usually falls flat? Not this one. Westerfeld picks up this series right where he left off and keeps you on this great ride. The characters sound different and you can read the dialogue of separate characters, with never feeling like you're reading the same person talking. Westerfeld is one of the real talented authors for young adults
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and it was amazing. But i have not read the first book yet because i could not find it in my school library. But it was amazing. I will be looking forward to be reading the rest of the books.
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StarryLove More than 1 year ago
I liked this a lot more then the 1st book. This one was pretty interesting and kept me wanting to read more.
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