Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

28504425On 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 fourteen years of 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 has 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.

(via Goodreads)

I purchased this book from Booktopia for my Young Adult book club.

An island exists where there is 14 years of sunlight and 14 years of darkness. During the daylight cycle, a civilisation of islanders prosper in their ‘heaven’. As nightfall hits, they arrange their homes to specific instructions and evacuate the island for the Desert Lands.

At the beginning of the book, twins Marin and Kana, and their best friend Line (yes, that’s his name) become stranded on the island and are forced to flee through the darkness in the hopes of reaching the open ocean and the Desert Lands. However, with the darkness brings fear and death, and one of our characters is slowly beginning to change.

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What I liked about this book: an interesting (though unoriginal) story. The character of Kana was interesting, and I really wanted to know more about it him. Why did he react the way he did when darkness began to fall? Why did some of his vision return? Why was he becoming stronger? What connection did he have to the island? And why does he look completely different to his twin, Marin?

I liked that the strengths of the characters are found in the natural world, in this instance rock climbing. I liked that they were unsure with weapons, they were forced to be more resourceful. I liked the added mystery of what happened with the other islanders. Why did they leave all their belongings behind? Why did the farriers leave so quickly? Could this also have some connection to the island?

The book was set up to be an enjoyable mystery.

What I didn’t like about this book: Marin. Marin. Marin. And Marin. I was so disappointed she was the main character. You had this multi-layered character of Kana and the book follows Marin and her puppy dog love for Line. WHY? She is so cliched and two dimensional. Her character went nowhere.

The plot felt superficial. There was this secondary plot about missing villagImage result for nightfall jake halperners, the origin of the island, the Cloister. Why would you not explore these devices?

You can show and not tell, but there is a line. Half of the monsters felt unrealised. I couldn’t picture some. I didn’t feel like they belonged to the world or the island. They appeared to be as ‘visitors’ to the island, just like the islanders themselves. And the explanation we got fell short of what I would have loved to see.

The verdict: This book was disappointing overall. It left me with more questions. If it is a ploy to get us to read the second book, fine, but it was frustrating. I felt a bit cheated. I probably wouldn’t recommend it, but I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it for themselves.

2.5/5

 

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