The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery - Review

Thank you Rhys (aged 10) for this brilliant and insightful review of The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery

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The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery is an action packed and thought-provoking book set in World War 2. 

Col is an evacuee in Buxton in the valleys of the Peak District. When his childhood imaginary friends, a Bengal tiger, a badger in a waistcoat and a miniature knight, come to life, they show him a horrifying vision of the future. Col’s sister Rose is in danger in London because the Nazis are going to start bombing the city so Col and his guardians must travel to London to save her. But the terrifying Midwinter King stands in their way; he is gaining power and wants to cover the world in eternal darkness. Can Col and his friends save Rose and defeat the Midwinter King?

Ross Montgomery’s ability to create extremely likeable characters is second to none. The protagonist Col is brave and kind. He keeps going even though there are obstacles in his way and looks out for others. It is incredibly easy to like him and want him to succeed. Col’s guardians are entirely endearing characters; Pendlebury is selfless and courageous, Mr. Noakes is kind and the King of Rogues is small but fierce. There is a huge amount of humour in their arguments and insults. Ruth has escaped from Germany through Kindertransport and misses her parents. She is determined and brave and is an outstanding character. Everybody loves a villain and the Midwinter King is deliciously dark. The author has created a genuinely scary baddie. There is a magical cast of supporting characters who add a lot of laughs.

Although the book is very funny, it looks at some serious and important themes. Firstly, the book sensitively shows young people dealing with grief and loss. Love is another important theme. It is Col’s love for his sister that takes him on his journey to save her and it is love that creates an unbreakable bond between Col and his guardians. Linked to this is the theme of hope. Even in the darkest days of winter, there is still hope, something that is very relevant at the moment.

There are many strengths in The Midnight Guardians. Probably the greatest strength is the heart-stopping and thrilling action. There are many of these moments in the book, making it intensely gripping. Readers will learn many things about World War Two experiences, including Kindertransport, the blackout and air raid shelters in London underground stations. It is a particular strength of the book that you learn so much even though it is not a factual book.

Above all else, The Midnight Guardians is a riveting, magical and entertaining book. It will be loved by young and old alike.

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