Nightfall is a light horror/mystery and full of action that is probably going to be most engaging for the middle school reader. The characters come across as too naive, and it did lack some depth, but it managed to surprise me with its twists and turns. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted or expected, but you might be hard pressed not to give it a try once you read the premise – all I could think was The Village, and I couldn’t resist! Three star read.
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.
Nightfall is a book that will draw a wide range of readers with its intruiging premise, but, as I said, it will probably be most satisfying to a middle school crowd. The narrative is shared by three teens who have been left behind in the bustle of an exodus of their village from an island. This island goes dark every fourteen years, and as the night gets closer, the villagers engage in some strange rituals that have been part of their migration for hundreds of years. While readers will quickly guess what nightfall on the island brings, the young protagonists don’t. The fact that they don’t put the pieces together until the answer is staring them right in the face is one of the many reasons that they come across as younger than expected. Their character arcs, too, are fairly simple. Growth seems small in comparison to their experiences through the course of the novel, and that left me a little disappointed in the end, especially since the biggest epiphany is one that I guessed at nearly the beginning of the story. I think middle school readers will be less bothered by this because they will probably be focused on the action and the atmosphere more than character growth. There is a lot of action once the story gets rolling, and there is certainly enough threat to the characters to keep readers engaged. I honestly couldn’t predict what was going to happen next, and I wasn’t certain how this would end until it drew to a close. I enjoyed it for what it was, a fast and light adventure with a side of menace, but I was left a little disappointed by the character development.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.