That feeling you get from exploring a good story. A bookish podcast discussing and reviewing books and films as I journey through my ever growing TBR backlog and watchlist.

Nightfall by Daniel Barnett

This series seemed to consume the horror community on Book Twitter about a year or so back, so I had grabbed it on my Kindle while the hype was hot. Late to the game, I finally cracked into this series and damn I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This one is good, real good.

Title: Nightfall
Page Count: 140
Published: 05/31/2020
Categories: ,
One morning on the last day of May, darkness and the night took over. The sun has vanished from the sky and people struggle to grasp the enormity of what has just happened. John lives a cold, solitary life but when darkness falls he seeks Mariah and together they traverse the very beginnings of the madness sure to follow.

When a book opens with a line like this:

“Tomorrow died on the last morning of May. There were those who saw it happen, who watched the shadow fall, who felt the chop of the guillotine as the world lost its head. Everyone else witnessed only the aftermath, for the event itself lasted no longer than a moment. They stepped outside from windowless rooms, they climbed up from crowded subways, they pulled back the blinds to let in the sun, and found the nightmare waiting for them.”

You just KNOW you are in for a wild ride, a very chilling and epic, wild ride.

There is so much to love about Nightfall and Barnett’s writing style. It’s at once incredibly brutal, visceral, heart wrenching, and chilling while also maintaining a beautifully lyrical or poetic quality that sings off the page. For a short novella, I don’t know if I’ve EVER highlighted and saved SO MANY passages and lines that I absolutely adored.

We are treated to the apparent end of the world through multiple character POV’s, but primarily through the eyes of John and Mariah. Both of whom, in their own ways, seem so cold and detached from the world…even BEFORE the darkness stakes it’s claim to the Earth. However, as cold and detached as they are, they also seem locked on a sub-conscious level to each other. Maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s desperation, but for better or worse their stories feel intertwined.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a short novella that serves as ONLY book ONE of a SIX book series, so while there are undertones of a larger “world ending” threat, this book is clearly set-up to introduce the plot and a few of the main characters. As such the story stays focused on a small community and the events unfolding through the eyes of just a handful of characters, yet we get hints that things are about to continue to spiral into chaos and the threat and scope of this story is only going to continue to grow with each passing entry into the series.

If I had to sum Nightfall up in just one paragraph I’d say this:

It’s lyrical, poetic, and grim without celebrating it’s bleak outlook. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and hints at a desolate world forming rapidly with the falling darkness, starting very local in scope but hinting at the widespread terror spreading across the Earth. All of this wrapped in an air of growing tension around the fact that as dark and brutal as this first book gets, we’re just getting started.

Nightfall (Nightmareland Chronicles #1) by Daniel Barnett gets 5/5 stars.

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