Book Review: Nightfall

Posted September 17, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 5 Comments

Book Review: NightfallNightfall by Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Published by Putnam Juvenile on September 22nd 2015
Genres: young adult, horror
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.
On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.

Do me a favor. You should definitely read this book, particularly if you like to be scared. It has all the elements to make it a perfect ya horror/creature feature. Buy it when it releases to support the author, but save reading it for the month of October. It absolutely should have been an October release. Because it is perfect for Halloween. I read it earlier because I had to, but you don’t!

Marin lives on Bliss, an island that has 14 years of day, and 14 years of night. Every time the sun starts to set, the citizens prepare to leave because no resident is allowed to be on the island during night. They clean their houses, hang odd animals on the wall, knives in the fireplace mantle, and they sprinkle the floors with lime. But why? No one will tell Marin, her brother Kana, or her “special” friend Line.

“The houses must be without stain.”

Well, circumstances happen, and the three of them end up getting left behind, and a fight for survival ensues. Without spoiling anything, I will say that in some ways this is a typical monster novel, but it is also extremely atmospheric and spine-chilling. Aside from a technical issue that I will discuss later, the writing was pretty superb because the authors were great at building tension and anxiety. It happens slowly, but it’s a perfect pace because I was pretty scared by the time things got really dire.

Having a book set on an island with no escape, a creepy forest, and monsters roaming around with your characters having no knowledge of where they are, well that’s the perfect recipe for a freaking terrifying book. And yet, though it scared me. I somehow wanted a little bit more. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t find the creatures that menacing. After all, I understood their motivations. Everything leading up to the reveal of the creatures scared the shit out of me. I still enjoyed the book after that, but I wasn’t that scared any longer. I can say, though, that the tension was still there right until the very end.

My only major complaint was the head jumping in the writing. This was a horrible writing/editing decision. It might not bother most readers, but because I edit for a living, this is one of the things I make all my authors change because keeping head jumping in a narrative has a tendency to yank readers right out of the story. The book was written in third-person limited and head jumping is a no-no. You can’t be in different characters’ heads in the same chapter. You have to stay in one head. It just gets confusing. So I had a problem with that. Check this blog out for reference. It says everything I couldn’t.

Other than that, I really enjoyed Nightfall. But because of the issues I mentioned, I could only give it 4 stars. I debated a 3.5 because the head jumping was REALLY annoying, but I liked it too much to knock that much off.

I do hope you read it, but try to save it for Halloween if you can!

Kara Sig Plant

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