Review: Nightfall by Ellen Connor

7 Jun

Nightfall by Ellen Connor (I adore the cover art!)
Penguin Group (June 7, 2011)
ebook: $9.99; Trade: $15.00
ISBN: 9780425241691

Favorite Lines: “He rolled onto her and tore down her panties in one motion. His hands were clumsy, shaking with desire…No foreplay. Just do it.” (p. 196)

First in a stunning new post-apocalyptic paranormal romance trilogy.

Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought in her wildest nightmares that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her-one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.

The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna’s father. Skilled and steadfast, he’s ready for the prophesied Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and mutant dogs attack-vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong.

When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion-a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.

Ellen Connor…Ellen Connor…What can I say. You are an awesome writing duo. I like the premise of Nightfall, the first book in your Dark Age Dawning trilogy. Watching the world as its characters knew it fall apart was a pleasure.Following the efforts of its characters to survive was nail-biting.  The heroine didn’t always make the smart choice, but heck like a horror movie, it’s what I expected her to do. I know I’d let the strangers in if I were her, but damn…it’s like being the blonde girl who strips before getting in the shower while a serial killer is on the loose. But her very human action is part of a prophesy that just might save her life.

Nightfall is a paranormal apocalyptic romance and a nice change from the light-hearted paranormal books which seem to have been published in droves this year. (Don’t get me wrong. Funny romances are wonderful and have their place. I just have a problem with the silly ones which leave me rolling my eyes and huffy with frustration.) Nightfall is hands down one of the most serious, as in will-the-lead-couple-die-before-finding-out-they-love-each-other, romance book I can remember reading. Sure I know you are guaranteed a happy ending with a romance, but it seriously looked to be in jeopardy for quite a while.

Despite all the pleasure I found in reading the book as a whole, periodically I became confused about whose perspective the story was being told from. The story is told in third person and popped from character to character.  The initial chapters pluck thoughts from the heroine, Jenna, or the hero, Mason’s mind. Perfect, right? Well, yeah up until five or six more characters are introduced and we randomly see the situation through their eyes. For example, chapters 21 and 41 are told from a teenager’s perspective and chapter 36 from a potential male survivor’s perspective. I think the switch in perspective was made to build a connection between me (the reader) and the different characters, but it left me confused and forced me to re-read sections until I understood the shift.

Another downer for me was my inability to connect with any character. I didn’t really like Jenna or most of the survivors. Mason was…meh, but I still had no solid “I love this character” feelings. Logically I understood why things were happening, but that emotional bond that usually forces me to feel something for the characters just wasn’t there. I didn’t see their romance building, it was just there. I didn’t see the survivor’s connecting with one another either, despite the story telling me they did.

I will say the action is awesome. Twists come from the left and the right. I felt like two people were telling a story and one writer told the other one, “There. Let’s see you top that” or “Show me what you can do with it.” (Yes, I know Ellen Connor is a writing team.) It wasn’t bad, it added excitement and anticipation, but without a connection I’m left with a mid-road feeling with this book. I liked the story, but didn’t get into the romantic aspect. As a whole it was enjoyable, but I don’t see myself re-reading it. 😦

What’s to come? The next book in the series, Midnight, will be released Sept. 6, 2011. Its main character is introduced in Nightfall and I didn’t like him at all. The blurb sounds like he’s grown as an individual, but it’s going to be hard for me to see him in a different light after watching his actions in Nightfall. The final book in the series, Daybreak, follows a couple of the other survivors from Nightfall. Now that book is going to be the sh*t. Yep, I’m callin’ it now. lol

So you wanna know if you should read this book? Yes. It’s dark and full of adventure. Don’t expect your average romance. Most of the book focused on surviving  the apocalypse (hello. No survive = no romance). I felt the sexual attraction between the characters, but not so much when it came to the hero and heroine trying to understand each other and make an effort to meet in an attempt at finding love. In the end, I’m glad I read the story.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a copy of this book posted at the end of my interview with the Ellen Connor writing duo.

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