Note: Previously published on the author’s blog Read It or Not Reviews. To view the original post, click here.
The novel, Nightfall, by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski tells a haunting story of an island where day and night come every fourteen years.
Around the island, night is rapidly falling. The air is becoming colder and the shadows are growing longer. Following tradition and superstition, the villagers are studiously rearranging and a their houses. Traditions must be followed and no one asks why.
Marin helps her parents prepare the house for the long night as they await the arrival of the farriers who will ferry the island’s villagers to the Desert Lands (her mother’s homeland) where night comes every three days. But Kana, Marin’s twin brother, has taken to his room after being plagued by terrifying visions and nightmares.
Every fourteen years, the ferriers would travel to the island and ferry the villagers to the Desert
Lands (Marin and Kana’s mother’s homeland) where night comes every three days.
But when Line–Marin and Kana’s friend–goes missing, they must find him before it’s too late, even if it means endangering their own lives.
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.
For a book that I expected to be more plot-oriented due to its survival-story synopsis, I actually thought that it spent a fair amount of time developing the three protagonists: Marin, Kana, and Line. It was an interesting decision, but despite the extra time taken to develop the characters, I still didn’t end up really connecting or liking any of the characters. Whereas in Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, I connected to both the protagonist while the suspenseful plot kept me turning the pages.
Overall I think Nightfall had about three major plot twists. I actually figured out two of the three before they were fully revealed. The first had to do with what was happening to Kana as the night was progressing and why it was happening. The second was what the ending would be like, which I really disliked and will explain why later. The third surprise plot twist, which I didn’t think was particularly creative, did nothing to enamor me to Marin and Line, and actually did the opposite.
Nightfall’s ending is my least favorite type of book ending: expected, happy with a tinge of bittersweet, concise, and abrupt–with emphasis on the last. I won’t spoil the ending, but once I read the plot synopsis and saw the book width I had a pretty good idea of how the book would end. My theory was correct and I finished the book feeling unsatisfied and still wanting to find out what happened to the three main characters even if I didn’t really like any of them.
Due to the several aspects I disliked about Nightfall, I’m giving the book 3.5 stars because there were some parts I did like. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading books by Neil Gaiman or James Dashner and are looking for books with unique and intriguing premises.