I haven’t had much of a chance to do sequel reviews, so this is exciting! I reviewed Birthright all the way back in March of 2021. This month I finally had a chance to sit down and read its exciting follow-up, Nightfall.
*** Important note. I did my absolute best to write this without spoilers and that was HARD. So if I don’t talk about certain things in the book, that’s why. ***
The cover of Nightfall is absolutely gorgeous. I love the art that features a different main character from the previous book, but maintains the same design elements. It’s clear that this is a cohesive series. If this section were only for external design, it would be a 5 out of 5.
As for interior design, it is also consistent with the first book. This means it has many of the same formatting choices that I personally don’t care for. This includes extra spacing between paragraphs and jagged left alignment of text. Like the prevous book, this is a 3 out 5 for me on interior design.
Overall, I give the design a section total of 4/5.
*** Please note that if you have one of the first run of paperbacks, there may be some formatting issues that have since been addressed. ***
From the back:
A bitter war with Raazzenia has seized Sylva. Beaten-down revolutionaries fight for survival in the Drak World. As the Order searches for a way forward in the face of rampant uncertainty, Mianna is forced to confront dark secrets about the order she has served all of her life that will shake the foundations of everything she has ever known.
As Z’xolkuloth’s iron grip increases on the dark world of Hatheg Kla, the last scraps of revolt may at last find the leader they have long searched for…
There’s a lot to unpack in this blurb. It seems that everything is not as we the readers may have been lead to believe during the events of Birthright. We’re also introduced to the idea of a revolt in the “dark world” that was only glimpsed in the previous book.
It’s sort of hard to separate this book from the previous one when I think about the premise of the book. I know a lot more reading this blurb than I did the previous, of course. However, I found the first book fascinating, and I was eager to read the second (although didn’t get around to it for a while for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with my enthusiasm for the book) so I’m going to give premise 5/5.
The characters were the thing that I loved most about Birthright. I came in to Nightfall very invested in their stories.
Brunhart and Joaquin did a lot of the emotional heavy-lifting for me in Nightfall. Watching their relationship evolve was very sweet and also very sad for much of the book.
Ismarie also experienced some interesting growth. I’m very curious to see more of her past being revealed in the next book.
I think what I found most disappointing about the characters in Nightfall was probably Mianna. She just felt very flat and one note, even after certain, uh, events took place.
Characters were 4/5 for me this time around.
We got to see Vice flex more fantasy world-building muscles with so much of the action taking place in the “dark world.” I do think I would have liked to see more description and maybe gain more of an understanding of what day-to-day life looks like for the Shadrans in the city who aren’t roaming the wilderness with daemons. I have a lot of questions about Hatheg Kla and what life was like before Z’xolkuloth destroyed the place. I’m hoping we get more of Shadran culture and history in the next book.
I give world building 4/5.
I have mixed feelings about a lot of the plot. I’m glad certain characters experienced a lot of setbacks. The struggle was definitely necessary. However, I didn’t find the battle scenes for Sylva particularly interesting. And as busy and stretched thin as the text kept saying Mianna was, it didn’t actually feel like she did anything for much of the book. I also found the pacing to be somewhat uneven.
One thing that I do absolutely have to give it is that Vice once again absolutely sticks the ending annd leaves me dying to know what happens next.
Overall, I give the plot 3/5. I liked it.
I struggled with the prose a little more this time around. My one complaint about Birthright was that some sentence were complicated to the point of awkward. That remains the case for Nightfall. Additionally, there were some technical things that threw me out of the reading flow from time to time. I think the book would have benefited from a line edit to help reduce repetitive words and phrases. 3/5.
All in all, I enjoyed Nightfall. It was an interesting follow-up to events of Birthright and has set us up nicely for whatever is to come in the third installment. I’m still very much looking forward to reading the next book when it comes out. My overall rating is 3.75/5.