I feel the same way writing a review about Nightfall by Daniel Barnett that I did when I reviewed part one of John FD Taff’s serialized novel The Fearing. When you crack this open and start to dig into the characters, you start to realize that the story is not going to end at the end of this book and you have to commit to these characters for the long haul.
When I try to evaluate a book like this where I know there is more coming, I always end up doing so under the assumption that the author is going to deliver on the things they set up in the first volume. If the set up is good, but the execution turns out to be poor, it would bring down the whole book. However, since I’ve only read and therefore am only reviewing this first part of the Nightmareland series, it makes my job easy.
Barnett does an excellent job of setting the table for a fantastic post-apocalyptic series with Nightfall. The novel revolves around the question: what would happen if the sun just stopped working? There is no more light in the world and the entire place is plunged into darkness.
The descriptions in this book are incredible and present a world that is dark, gritty and pull the reader into the story right from the first page.
The characters are just as interesting as the descriptions. My favorite so far is John Hawthorne. He is the resident bad-ass and we find this out early in the book. From that point on, the chapters written in his point of view became the ones I looked forward to. Our other point of view character is Mariah Nowak who we meet for the first time as she is kneeling before “the porcelain god.” Her introduction and the story of Musty, Mariah’s childhood dog set her character up and originally made her character just as interesting as John. However, if I had a criticism of the book overall, it would be that the character of John continues to be so much more interesting than the character of Mariah. I found that when I was reading her chapters I was mostly just waiting for John to come back into the story. It wasn’t that I wasn’t into the story, I just found John more interesting and wanted to know more about him.
At the end, I found myself still wanting to know more about John Hawthorne and not getting enough answers. As I said before, Barnett poses many questions and does a good job of creating mystery and intrigue for the reader in this first novel. Some questions are answered, but not all. Working on the assumption that these questions will get answered at some point along the way, I can give Nightfall a strong 3/5. I will be looking for the other installments of the Nightmareland series.