Book Review: “Court of Nightfall” by Karpov Kinrade

Court of Nightfall (The Nightfall Chronicles, #1)Court of Nightfall by Karpov Kinrade
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Below is my original review for the first, non-extended, version of the book. I recieved a free copy of the extended version in exchange for an honest review. Sadly, the extended version did not improve the book at all in my opinion – in fact, it took what had been a 4-star novel and turned it into a 2-star mess. The problems included ooccasionally inconsistent characteizations, some new material that felt a bit more like filler than a vital part of the story, and a few times where the plot snuck across the line of suspension of disbelief, but I could forgive a lot of that. What ruined it for me were the incredible inconsistencies in the timeline.

Starting with the event that changes our heroine’s life irrevocably, the time frames in which things happen are shockingly muddled. Things are presented in chronological order, but the characters switch back and forth between referring to the event as having occurred the previous night and as them having been a week ago. And while just the sheer amount of things that happen between the event that caused her to flee Montana for New York and her return to her home would probably need a week, it’s the 24-hour time frame that’s mentioned the most often.

The writing itself was good, and the story has many interesting twists and turns. Unfortunately, the confusing time references had me going back to check things over and over again, trying to sort out the whole mess, that I really wasn’t able to enjoy the strengths the book has.

4 stars

I have to admit, the reason I initially picked up this book is simply because my husband’s nickname is Nyghtfall, and it made me curious about the book, so I had no real expectations for the story. I ended up liking it quite a bit. I usually have 3 or 4 books I’m working my way through at any given time, but this one was interesting, fast-paced and good enough that I read it almost straight through.

The story is set in an alternate, dystopian reality where society is primarily controlled by the Knights of the Four Orders: Templars, Teutonics, Hospitaliers and Inquisitors. In the not-too-distant past, humanity had fought a war against the Nephelim – a race of half a human / half-angelic beings that essentially function like vampires with wings – which ended with the destruction of the Nephelim. Also in the mix are humans with “parapowers” known as Zeniths. Because their powers are feared, Zeniths are socially ostracized and politically oppressed. Against this backdrop we meet Scarlett Night, her uber-cool parents and her best friend Jax. When her parents are attacked, however, Scarlett learns that not everything is at it seems, and finds that she and Jax are no longer safe. With that our story its off and running.

Though the initial setup follows a well-worn path, once the action begins, the story really starts to come into its own. The world-building is nicely done – and done without any excessive infodumps. Meeting with the heads of the Four Orders gives an idea of what each Order is like, and the general atmosphere is communicated by how people act and what our heroes observe. The history of the war its likewise presented more through dialogue without just tossing a big history lesson into the middle of the action.

I really only had a couple of issues with the book, none of which are major, but they did have an impact on my enjoyment.. I’m not a big fan of vampire stories – in part because there are just so many of them coming out these days. When I realized the Nephilim are, for all intents and purposes, vampires, I felt a bit “tricked” by the authors. I suppose in some ways its not a bad approach, since I might have skipped the book if is known that’s what they were, but it still irked me a bit. I will say, though, that the Nephilim seen to be without some off the typical vampire tropes that have led to my disliking them: They aren’t automatically evil, nor are the overly sexual. Personality-wise, so far, at least, they seem mostly like normal humans, which is rather nice.

There are several references to a Nephilim named Nyx. Most references to Nyx use a male pronoun, but at least once the female pronoun is used. Nyx is also referred to as both a god of the Nephilim and the name is also described as being “used” by their leader, so perhaps the god is one gender (traditionally, Nyx is the Greek goddess of night) and the leader is the other, but it really wasn’t clear.

Lastly, I found myself surprised when the book ended. It felt like like the players had just gotten all of their pieces set and were about to begin the game when the emcee came out, thanked everyone for a lovely evening and invited us all back in a few weeks for more.

As I said, they’re really fairly minor issues and I will certainly be tuning back in when the game continues. Overall is a fun read and I’m very interested to see where the story will be taking us.

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Book Review: Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson

Muddy Waters (Otherwhere #1)Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

I was really impressed with this book. When I started reading it, initially I was struck by several similarities between this book and the “Black Dog/Gemini/Lorimar Pack” books by Haley Edwards in that – like them – it too deals with a rip between our world and another where creatures of exist, and stars a half-human/half-other law enforcement officer dealing with cases that affect both realms. As I got further in two the story, however, I found similarity was only superficial, and that “Muddy Waters” is quite original in plot and in the structure of the universe in which the story takes place.

I really enjoyed the characters in the story, and Thompson has created an interesting and likable team to center the plot on. I also very much appreciated the balance she maintained between the mystery that forms the meat of the book’s plot and the overarching mystery that – presumably – will be further explored in the next book or books in this series.

The central mystery of this story is full of twists and turns and yet the pieces make sense when the puzzle is put together. As for the overarching mystery that will connect all the books in the series, rather than just offering a few cryptic dribs and drabs here and there, Thompson digs into the meat of this larger plot and brings it to an initial resolution while still ensuring there is enough left to keep you interested in and curious about what’s going to happen next. I just hope it won’t be too long before we get to find out.

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Goodreads | Kriselda Gray’s review of Ice Girl

Ice Girl by Andy Mulberry My rating: 3 of 5 stars<br

Source: Goodreads | Kriselda Gray’s review of Ice Girl

Ice Girl (A Tale of Witches and Wolves, #2)Ice Girl by Andy Mulberry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second part of Andy Mulberry’s “Of Witches and Wolves” series, and it’s a decent follow-up to the first volume, if a bit more flawed – something that isn’t all that uncommon with the second part of a series. The first part introduces us to the characters and familiarizes us with the world the story takes place in, while also setting up the pieces of the plot and putting them in motion. With all of that to accomplish, first tend to be pretty strong stories with just enough dangling threads to lure you back in for more. By contrast, second books serve more as bridges – picking up those threads and moving the plot pieces to their next place on the board before laying out some new threads to be picked up in the next book, fleshing out and evolving the main characters a bit, and maybe shining a bit more light on some secondary characters. Because they have less to accomplish, second books can end up feeling a bit weak by comparison. Unfortunately, “Ice Girl” suffers a bit from that.

In my review of “Fire Girl” I’d noted the romance seemed a bit lacking because one-half of the couple was under a spell that compelled those feelings, and I’d expected the romance to be more vibrant in this volume. Sadly, it wasn’t. We didn’t really see our main couple together that much, and both were feeling quite insecure about their relationship because they were making assumptions rather than talking to each other. We got to revisit some of the side characters from the first book, but in some ways, their appearances felt a bit like cameos. A few new characters were introduced and seem promising, though a couple didn’t have a whole lot to do besides establishing that they are a part of the story.

As for the story itself, it started pretty slow, but once it got going, it was one heck of a ride. Things went from bad to worse very quickly, and it was in figuring out how to resolve the situation that we really got to see how strong of a bond our main characters have, which was really nice.

So, even though it may be a weaker book overall – largely due to “second-part-itis,” there was certainly enough to hold my interest and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here.

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