It’s Ellen Connor Day today at The Book Pushers! First up, Has & Minn bring you their review of Nightfall, the first in the Dark Age Dawning Series. Be sure to come back this afternoon for an Interview with Ann & Carrie, as well as a chance to win your very own copy of Nightfall!
Publish Date: June 6th
How we got this book: ARC from author
Their instincts will save them.
Their passion will transform them.
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 Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and the 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.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
MinnChica: I love post-apocalyptic books, and when the covers were released for the new Ellen Connor duo, I knew right then and there that I would have to read these books. When I discovered that Connor was non other than long time favorite Ann Aguirre and new to me Carrie Lofty, I was even more stoked. I love when authors come together and write kick ass books. Nightfall is no exception. This book seriously kicked ass!!
Has: When I heard they were teaming up, I was in geektastic heaven. I loved Carrie’s historicals (if anyone who hasn’t picked her books up before, I implore that you do because they are historically rich in details and her characters are beyond fantastic). And I haven’t made it a secret that I AM A HUGE fangirl of Ann. I also love Apocalyptic themed books and the fact that two of my favourite authors have written a series is beyond good gravy!
MinnChica: I honestly had no idea what to expect going into the new series, and I loved the magical spin that they put on the world. My mind is still reeling, weeks later, over how intense and descriptive and well thought out and just mind boggling the world building really is in this series. Fans of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance alike should all read this book, ASAP!
Has: Agree! The gritty and stark tone was conveyed really well to me. In a lot of ways, I felt I was watching a movie in my head, because the descriptions and imagery was so vivid and real. They were also claustrophobic and so so tense. The early scenes in the cabin and later on in the station, I swear I could cut the tension with a knife.
MinnChica: Yes, the tension was definitely at an extreme all though out. I personally had a hard time getting through the first part of the book. To me the first few chapters were slow and a little confusing, being that the world was so complicated and changing right before our eyes. But once our characters left the cabin, went out into the world on their quest to find the Ranger Station and other survivors, I found I couldn’t put it down anymore.
Has: I found the same with the introduction scenes too. I felt just like Jenna, confused and unaware of what was going on. And I wished we saw more of that be expanded. But the characters and that exciting chase out of the cabin kick-started the pace and tension in the story. The introduction of the secondary characters was a fantastic way to show how much the old world had crumbled. I loved how the inner and outer conflict affected each other, because it definitely ratcheted the danger and personal tension amongst them.
MinnChica: Oh most definitely! The trek through the forest, encountering all the changes within people and to the world, the race to get to safety before another one of their little group was lost to them, even though they were still weary around one another. AHHH it was amazing!!
Has: I think this is what made the book for me. The characters! They were real, relatable and they had flaws. There was no easy way outs and how that affected their plight to survive. I really loved the snarky goth teen, Tru, who had a damaged past, and how much he developed in the story. The same goes for Mason and Jenna’s development too. I loved how they each challenged and changed each others’ views and outlook and it made them better people and definitely more able to survive in this chaotic and terrifying setting.
MinnChica: Me too. The characters did it for me, especially since they were all SO different from one another. I loved Mason’s growly and gruff ways; watching him learn to care for others instead of just himself. Jenna with her determination to make it work in the new world, she was great. And Tru was awesome too. I loved how he was the only one that was able to comfort and get through to Pen, the young girl who wouldn’t even open up to her own mother. Fabulous!!
Has: Oh yeah! And don’t forget the romance! OMG The romance! It was one of those romances that had the couple challenging and dancing around each other, and the tension between them. *Sigh* And I want my own Mason – just sayin’.
I have to quote one of my favourite scenes here, where they have a bit of an interlude from the world around them.
“I …I -” He cleared his throat. “I can’t do that again.”
“I left you wanting.”
“And that hurt.”
“You’re hurting. I get it now, John. You’re trying. Really trying. I know that.”
She was killing him by inches. He sensed what she needed — even now, asking him to reveal his own desires — but he couldn’t form the words.
“I felt your teeth on my skin and I trusted you,” she said. “Trust me now.”
MinnChica: I agree, I would love to have my very own Mason. I loved that the two of them had such a slow building romance. The time that they spent together out in the real world, and then hiding away in an abandoned store for safety and finally succumbing to each other… it was so romantic in it’s own way!
Has: Another aspect I loved was the rich description of the shifters, in the case of Jenna’s character. I loved it and how that transformed her character from the almost timid woman we met at the beginning. I loved how Ellen Connor turned the tables and the roles in the relationship between Mason and Jenna over the course of the book. I think it really helped to cement their relationship, and for me it was filled with emotional depth. I was glad Mason had to change too, because he was prepared and was warned about the upcoming apocalypse, and the inner conflicts that he experienced with Jenna and the other survivors fleshed out his character.
The scarier shifters, were quite horrific. It was really gory and definitely took elements out of horror. This really added atmosphere and an unnerving feel to the story.
MinnChica: Yes, the shape shifters in this story were CREEPY! I loved the contrast of the “good” versus “bad” people and how it had an impact on how the magic effected them. Even when the person wasn’t strong enough to accept magic, like in Edna’s case, it was very horrific and crazy, but awesome all at the same time.
Has: Oh definitely! I loved how the magical elements were incorporated into the story like this. I loved how Kris, the scientist, was in disbelief that his scientific views were being destroyed around him due to these events. That made it more believable for me because he was trying to analyse things, and he couldn’t. That helped to make this world feel really really real. I don’t think I have a read a PNR with these elements with the exception of one or two books.
MinnChica: All in all, I really enjoyed the first book in this new series. The world building was absolutely incredible, the character development was so in-depth, the plot was scary and creepy, but the romance was soft and sweet. Despite the very slow and somewhat confusing start, the book picked up and ran towards the end of the story, leaving me wanting more and more in this world.
I give Nightfall a B+
Has: Nightfall was a great start for this trilogy; the rich and flawed characters who find themselves in a world full of nightmares. The book was a tense, pacy and dark thrill-ride that continued right to the end of the story. The romance was also a joy to read and it was filled with intense emotions that really pushed the hero and the heroine. I also cannot wait for the next book. I highly recommend this book, because this is not your usual PNR.
I also give Nightfall a B+