Reviews of The Field & Midnight House


Check out some reviews of The Field below!


Reviewed By Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite

The Field by Ian Dawson is a young adult adventure involving kidnapping and exceptional courage from young characters. Just as he neared the awkward stage of puberty, fourteen-year–old Daniel Robinson is kidnapped during a game of hide-and-seek. He finds himself locked up in a dingy room and he knows there are just two options from what he overhears of an argument between his captors —let him go or kill him. But he knows letting him go won’t be happening, so he must find a way to escape. His best friend, Kyle, who has helplessly witnessed the kidnapping is determined to free his friend, but does he have what it takes?

This is a beautiful story about friendship and courage and young readers can find a lot of inspiration in it. Ian Dawson makes the writing cinematic, atmospheric, and gripping, allowing readers to get clear images of the action in their minds. Character development is top-notch and the author creates a world of escape for readers who still miss the fun world of adolescence. The plot is also well developed with intricacies that will surprise readers as they follow the three-dimensional characters through intense action. The story is emotionally rich and it’s interesting to follow the protagonists as they face complex issues, feel the psychological strain and what it takes to survive against the odds. The Field features excellent prose punctuated by exciting and realistic dialogues and a setting that feels like the next street. This is one of the best novels I have read for young adults in a while, and readers will be drawn in by the crisp writing, the compelling characters, and the well-handled conflict.


Reviewed By Gisela Dixon for Readers’ Favorite

The Field by Ian Dawson is a fairly straightforward YA novel about two friends, Daniel and Kyle, and what happens when one of them is kidnapped. The book starts with an introduction to both boys and their friendship, and all of the normal adolescent school life adventures and girl crushes. There is also a parallel story of Austin and James, another pair of so-called friends, but in reality they are in a power and abuse-based dynamic. Austin is the one who ends up kidnapping Daniel one day, with James as his unwilling apprentice. This is not the first time Austin has abducted someone or abused them in captivity. Once Daniel goes missing, Kyle rises to the occasion and tries to find and rescue his friend. This is their story of friendship and also about those relationships in youth that are power based and what the youth of today can learn from this and protect themselves from abuse of this kind.

The Field is a fairly quick read and the time line moves quickly from showing the normal life of two teenage boys with their usual teenage problems to one where suddenly there is danger and kidnapping involved. I enjoyed Daniel’s character and he is very relatable and believable as a young 14-year-old boy. The book also highlights an important aspect of teenage life, where either due to peer pressure or bullying, young people often get dragged into and stuck in unhealthy, abusive relationships with peers. This book serves as an educational attempt to recognize these warning signs and not hesitate to try to get help. There is a website provided at the end, but I also think this book would benefit from having an entire list of references of websites and phone numbers teenagers can call in case of such difficulty. This is a good read for young adults and teenagers.


Reviewed By Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite

Like many teenage boys, Daniel Robinson and Kyle Hanson look for adventure in all the places they should not in The Field by Ian Dawson. They play pranks and humor each other. Still, beneath their mischievous natures lies a deep-seated friendship that grows with each passing day. On the other hand, Austin and James are inseparable, not because of love but out of fear. James is constantly afraid. He dreads what Austin would do to him if he even thought of breaking off their friendship. He already has a blinded eye to show for an earlier attempt of defiance. For Daniel and Kyle, everything seems to be going well until they encounter Austin.

Fast-paced and graphic, The Field by Ian Dawson presents a coming-of-age story that explores the theme of friendship. Two friendships are paralleled; one toxic and the other inspirational. Issues of parental neglect, lack of trust and communication, and lack of information on where to turn when trapped in unhealthy relationships appear in The Field. The lack of parental attention from James’ mother makes it difficult for James to turn to her for help. Additionally, Kyle resolves to handle challenges by himself instead of turning to his parents. Ian Dawson brilliantly covers the symptoms of destructive friendships. Mostly he brings out Austin’s controlling nature and disguised cruelty. The graphic descriptions highlight the darker sides of toxic relationships. The consequences that the antagonists face are an eye-opener that will serve as a deterrent to possible perpetrators. The Field is a powerful prompting that reminds us of what we deserve from the people around us.

Check out some reviews of Midnight House below!


Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

Midnight House by Ian Dawson continues the journey of Daniel and his best friend Kyle as their friendship and sanity are tested once again. Daniel is now 16 years old and the horrible event of two years ago still haunts him. Insomnia has become a normal part of his life and there is nothing that he can do about it. He knows he needs help, but something is stopping him from asking his family, friends, or even his girlfriend for help. To make matters worse, his friend Kyle seems to have landed himself in a mess. Kyle is invited by the captain of a basketball team to join their Varsity team’s ritual. He is supposed to go to the strange Midnight House and Daniel knows nothing good will come out of that visit. He needs to do something to protect his friend and make sure he is safe. Can they once again defy the odds and come out of a mess victorious? Or is this going to be the end of the road for them?

This is a heart-stopping and exciting story. Ian Dawson gives just the right amount of suspense, drama, and emotions to make sure readers stay in the moment with the characters and do not put the book down. Midnight House is one of those novels that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Daniel and Kyle make a great team; they have their differences, but they work together to bridge the gap and make sure they communicate. Daniel’s dilemmas act as the perfect background to the story and readers get ample opportunities to immerse themselves in the mystery behind the Midnight House. Everything about this story is perfect. This is a highly recommended novel!


Reviewed By Vincent Dublado for Readers’ Favorite

Midnight House is Ian Dawson’s sequel to The Field. Sixteen-year-old Daniel Robinson is still haunted by the horrors of his abduction two years ago, becoming paranoid and experiencing nightmares in between his sleepless nights. Cautious that his family and friends do not find out, he tries to cope and live a normal life. Amber somehow manages to add meaning to his life. On top of that, there is his best friend Kyle, who is invited by varsity basketball captain Luke Darden to take part in an initiation rite to gain a position in the basketball team. But Daniel’s gut feeling tells him there is something more sinister that takes place in those dopey rituals at the Midnight House, and it is up to him to save his best friend from the danger of hazing. 

Midnight House has a great psychological element that you rarely find in young adult fiction. Dawson fleshes out a protagonist burdened by so much mental pressure from dealing with his own demons and protecting those that he cares about. Daniel’s psychological trauma makes this novel gripping and relevant. You get a balanced look at Daniel and Kyle as chapters alternate between their situations. If you put yourself as a character in the story, as one of the important people in Daniel’s life, and finds out that he intends to save his best friend, you cannot help but question if it is paranoia or genuine instinct that is driving him to risk his life. That being said, you should be thankful that you are merely a spectator to the tale. This narrative will challenge your contemporary sensibilities, and that makes this book highly recommended.


Reviewed By Foluso Falaye for Readers’ Favorite

Midnight House by Ian Dawson follows the story of Daniel that started in The Field. Two years after escaping his traumatic time in the field, Daniel decides to be physically prepared for such cases by exercising and taking self-defense classes. Although he still suffers from PTSD due to the experience, he finds it hard to get past it. As everyone around him, including his girlfriend (Amber), is concerned about his well-being, he must find ways to heal completely and stop the nightmares from coming. A new problem arises when his best friend (Kyle) gets invited by his school’s basketball captain (Luke) to partake in the Varsity team’s rituals as Luke has a questionable character. But how questionable is Luke, and can Daniel repay his best friend by saving him if it comes to that? 

Three words: thrilling, suspenseful, and relatable. Midnight House is a perfect book for young adults as it involves several things that they experience, like first kisses, bullying, hazing rituals, building friendship, school sports, jealousy, and more. However, it gets very dark as some brutal fight scenes and plans for murder are portrayed in the plot. This adds to the thrill though; I was genuinely afraid that the protagonists might get killed or fall into the set traps. The story has a broad view, mainly shifting between four main viewpoints: Daniel, Amber, Kyle, and Luke. Prepare for some curse words and some graphic scenes, nothing sexually explicit though. All in all, there are no boring moments in Midnight House as it is very well put together. I would not hesitate to read other books by Ian Dawson.