10% off all books and free delivery over £40
Buy from our bookstore and 25% of the cover price will be given to a school of your choice to buy more books. *15% of eBooks.

The Midnighters Reader Reviews

Back To Book Page

The Midnighters

Intrigue, friendship, magic and deception are created in this totally immersive tale; nothing is really what is seems or is it? Beautifully descriptive, readers are drawn into a world of magic and deception that celebrates difference.

Mystery, intrigue, friendship, magic and deception are created in this totally immersive tale. Nothing is really what is seems or is it? Beautifully descriptive, Tooke draws the reader into a world of magic and deception through a friendship that celebrates difference and loyalty.
The twelfth child born to scientific parents at midnight on the twelfth day of the twelfth month with a misfortune looming; Ema is left with her uncle and within moments uncovers mysteries within mysteries. It starts with eyes staring through an attic window, midnight adventures, and eerie encounters in a mausoleum.
When Ema’s new friend goes missing, she finds clues to a secret magic society that takes the reader back to Victorian enigma of magic; themed rooms full of foreboding, creepy and yet beautiful. Both Ema and Silvie are strong characters leading the reader to root for them from the beginning to end.
It is a fabulous book of mystery but so much more, it fires the imagination, opens the mind and once the journey/mystery has been travelled/resolved, leaves you with a giant hug.

Sarah Rogers

An exciting fantasy adventure about finding your way in the world when no one understands you.

From the first page of this astonishing novel, I was drawn into Ema’s world. Hana’s use of language to describe the setting and characters is sleek and dramatic. I was present in the story from the start.
Ema Vaskova feels different. The 12th child in a large family she struggles to find her place amidst the skills of her brothers and sisters. When Ema is sent away to stay with her uncle, she meets Silvie who she forms a strong friendship. When Silvie disappears, Ema knows there is something wrong and she starts to delve into the dark and mysterious world of the Midnight Guild. At each turn in the story more mysteries emerge, and Ema must use her knowledge, skills and ultimately her confidence to discover the hidden secrets. A cleverly executed plot which reminded me very much of a classic whodunnit with the great revelation at the end, which I loved.
At 400 pages this is substantial novel but at no point was I weighed down by the length and any child who loves a well-crafted story with a brilliantly shaped mystery at the heart, will love this.

Claire Scothern

This is a varied and absorbing read, dipping into several genres

Ema Vaskova is the 12th child of a family of twins (baring her eldest sister) and grows up desperately wanting to be like the rest of her family who all excel in science in one discipline or another. As her siblings leave for further education Ema is left alone, and yet to find her scientific specialism. As her parents embark on an expedition Ema is sent to live with her Uncle. It is here she meets Silvie, a girl alike in appearance, yet where Ema is full of doubt and anxiety she is full of confidence and curiosity. Silvie , too, sees in Ema skills of her own and together they share several midnight adventures across night-time Prague - until one day Silvie goes missing! Determined to find her friend Ema becomes detective, tracing her friend to the enigmatic Midnight Guild who hold many secrets of their own...

This is a varied and absorbing read, dipping into several genres, and while Tooke loses some narrative momentum with her extensive scene setting and world building, she has created a varied cast of characters and detailed plot. Ema should speak to any reader that feels they don't fit in, and wants to find their place in the world, and that being different can be a strength, rather than a weakness.

Adam Rodgers


I can't wait to share this book with my UKS2 class - they will bond with the main characters and will want to keep reading to uncover the next adventure!

I was particularly drawn to the characters and their adventures and actually found it hard to stop reading. Set in Victorian London with elements of magic and adventure, the author's style is accessible and engaging, with a good balance between action-packed scenes and quieter moments of reflection. Themes of friendship, acceptance, and the importance of embracing one's unique abilities make it perfect to share in class.



Midnight, the witching hour, and the time when all the fun begins - come and join the Midnight Guild and help Ema search for her missing best friend!

Now, everyone should believe a wizard right? Well in this case, Gandalf was wrong, the author is no foolish Took (sic 'e'). Even though I'm not a big fan of the style of the cover (it is beautifully drawn though), I think I loved this book from the very first line (see above). The powerful description continues apace inside, as if the author truly is, in love with words and language. I loved this line with the contrast in meaning (I'm sure this technique has a name, but I can't remember it!): 'where she spent the rest of the day observing the thunderous quiet with ringing ears'.

The whole story is written in a particular style of writing which is brilliant: where you don't get the whole picture from the character as they can't understand it yet, but as a reader you can start to work out what is really happening, and it reminds me a lot of some other brilliant authors (this is not a bad thing!). For example, Ema says: 'why are you smiling if you're so sad?' Authors such as: Frances Hardinge and 'The Lie Tree'; Matt Killeen and 'Orphan Monster Spy'; Holly Goldberg Sloan and 'The Elephant in the Room'; and Francesca Gibbons and 'Clock of Stars' use a similar rhetoric. I love how Ema speaks to the wind that blows around her bedroom, almost like Philip Pullman's daemons or a classic Disney film character, allowing her thoughts to spoken out loud to the reader.

The beginning of the story is a bit like a fairy tale with each child having a special skill and then the baby being passed down, down and down through the siblings and the years as a new responsibility. I loved the end just as much as the beginning. What a great read!



A mysterious adventure set in the dark hours and shadows of the secret places of Prague in the late 1800s, which follows Ema, a misfit who desperately wants to please her family of scientists whilst being true to herself.

Prague in the late 19th century and Ema feels like an outsider in her family of scientific over-achievers especially as she has failed to find her own scientific calling and her parents seem to be embarrassed by her attempts to explain her own peculiarities. Sent to stay with her uncle whilst her parents set off on an expedition and her siblings are all away adventuring, Ema meets Silvie, whom she first spots hanging upside down, like a bat, from the rafters of the abandoned house opposite her uncle’s. Soon, Silvie begins to draw Ema out of herself and make her confront her many fears as the pair undertake their daring, daft and downright puzzling midnight adventures. That is until Silvie suddenly goes missing and Ema has to summon all of her courage in order to find her.
What follows is a dark and mystical adventure as Ema infiltrates the mysterious ‘Midnight Guild’, populated by strange illusionists and incredible spectacles, under the streets of Prague. Aided by a group of children within the guild, Ema is determined to help Silvie and also solve the mystery surrounding the death of Silvie’s mentor. But unsurprisingly, things do not go as planned and the plot twists and turns before the final sting in the tail.
Beautifully written, the book uses Prague in the late 1800s as an intriguing backdrop to the story but also creates a fantastical element through the Midnight Guild which Hana Tooke creates through her amazing description of the spectacles on display. At the heart of the book, is a simple story of friendship, loyalty and a yearning to belong.

Alison D'Urso