Review: Thirteen Days to Midnight

A review by teen blogger, Timothy

Death is one of the only things you can't outrun, no matter how far or how fast you run. Another of these being love, and along with it comes the curse of heartbreak.

But what if we could outrun death, and live forever? Throughout history, people have tried to outrun or even escape death; but at what cost?

Thirteen Days to Midnight is a story that begins with Jacob Fielding standing in a small room, staring down at the cold, lifeless body of the person he just killed. He begins by telling the reader that he could have saved them, but it just didn't feel right to save them even if he would be labeled as a murderer. As Jacob mourns, he recalls the events of the past thirteen days: the day he discovered that death doesn't disappear; it catches up...

Thirteen Days to Midnight

As the story begins, he asks the question many of us pondered as kids, and sometimes still even now: “If you could have only one superpower, what would it be?”. He asks this question, because he knows that no matter what you choose, it will end up killing you, or someone you love, and that you will die alone, with nobody to love because no one has power over death.

Jacob begins his story by explaining how he got into this situation. For most of his life, Jacob had been living in the foster care system, explaining how challenging it is to get adopted and leave once you hit a certain age. Jacob was stuck in a never ending loop of changing houses until sixteen months prior to the events that would change his life forever when he met Mr. Fielding, a mysterious man with an interest in history and magic. As those sixteen months pass by, we learn that Jacob and Mr. Fielding grew close, and Jacob was enrolled into “Holy Cross", a dying Catholic school run by Father Tim - a man who knew Mr. Fielding longer than anyone else. Jacob didn't realize it at first, but he was about to wrapped up into a conspiracy over one hundred years old; one more deeper and dangerous than imaginable.

One evening, Jacob and Mr. Fielding are driving home from their usual routine of eating at odd and interesting restaurants when an accident occurs: the car hits a tree and throws both Jacob and Mr. Fielding flying. When Jacob wakes up, he finds himself unharmed and Mr. Fielding dead beside him. As the shock hits him, he remembers the last words Mr. Fielding said to him before he died: “You are indestructible.”

After a few weeks, Jacob returns to Holy Cross and is introduced Ophelia James - a young girl with an interest in adventure and saving lives- by his best friend Milo Coffin. Jacob notices Ophelia - Oh for short - has a pink cast over her arm, and when she asks him to sign it, he writes “You are indestructible.” Minutes later, Oh has a skateboarding accident, but walks away without a scrape, causing Milo and Oh to question Jacob about Mr. Fielding, and leading the trio towards the truth. Jacob, Oh, and Milo wander blindly into the depths of this power, learning that they can save people from dangerous situations, and help others as well as themselves narrowly escape from situations where they’d be killed. But there’s a problem: each time the power is used or given away, the power saves the individual from harm, but leaves with that individual a lust for the power. To make things even worse, the power doesn’t actually stop death; it only slows it down, because death is inevitable. As they continue to test this strange power, it leads them to believe that it gives them complete control over death, when in reality, death is controlling them; it always has been.

Thirteen Days to Midnight is an interesting story, because it revolves around one of life’s biggest mysterious: Death. As humans, we are full of curiosity, & as such we question the boundaries of certain powers and forces of nature, as well as things that cannot be answered indefinitely, such as what happens after death, or why we have to die. If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, I’m sure most of us have wondered what it would be like to be Immortal and live forever at least once in our life. As such, this book is meant for a mature audience due to dealing with dark topics such as death and depression, however it is a good book to read if you’re curious about it.

Now, at first the ability to live forever sounds great; we’d never miss an amazing book or video game release, or our favorite sports team finally winning something, or even our children's’ children growing up and watching the world become a better place. However, when you stop to think about it, if you were immortal and unable to die, you would be stuck living forever, unable to get too attached to anyone, or show any love in fear of having your heart broken as you watched your loved ones pass through their entire life in one moment of yours. The truth is, we would suffer so much as the world passed by us, forced to live in this world forever; whether it be a happy place full of rainbows and smiles where everyone got along, or a hellish world full of power-hungry monsters who care nothing about anyone else, and constantly plunge the world into darkness and chaos for their own benefit.

Then, the responsibilities that would come with the power, and the curse that would slowly consume you till you were just a husk of your former self. Would it really be worth the pain to live forever, knowing you would always be alone?

“And in my dreams, I saw a black lion of death coming to take me away…”