Darkest Hour by Meg Cabot: A

From the back cover:
Sixteen-year-old Susannah Simon acts as a middleman between ghosts and the real world. As a mediator, she helps the spirits move on into their next life, whatever that might be. Even though she tried not to, Suze has fallen head over heels for a 19th-century ghost, an extreme hottie named Jesse.

Most ghosts try not to antagonize a mediator when they want their help. So when Suze wakes up to a knife at her throat, she is scared and stunned to be facing such a disturbing dilemma. Should she find the secret to Jesse’s murder and lose him forever, or concede to the demands of his ex-fiancee’s ghost and condemn Jesse to spending eternity in her bedroom?

Darkest Hour is the best of The Mediator books so far for the simple reason that finally there is a plot that affects Suze personally. I never really believed that Jesse would be lost forever, but it gave a focus and a drive to the story that previous installments haven’t really had.

There were some Buffy parallels that I liked: Suze is forced to consider a lot of the things Buffy did regarding her relationship with Angel, like what sort of future could she and Jesse possibly have together? Later, events have made her numb, so hurt she can feel nothing but anger anymore. We’ve seen Buffy in this state a couple of times.

Not that the book wasn’t without flaws. The ghostly villains, Diego and Maria, were kind of lame. And if they’re new ghosts, then where have they been all this time? There was also another continuity error, this one having to do with the location of Suze’s bedroom. Shadowland makes a point of specifying that the windows in her room open onto the roof of the front porch. Yet somehow, in this book she manages to fall from said porch into a hole being dug in the backyard.

Darkest Hour also has the best ending of the series so far, including an intriguing mystery about another possible Mediator that was left in cliffhangery status. More like this, please!

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