Monday, March 19, 2012

Review of the Nightworld by Jack Blaine

Harper Collins
The Nightworld
by Jack Blaine
4 Scribbles
Release Date 5/1/2012
Nick’s senior year starts looking up the moment stunning Lara Hanover invites him to her summer kickoff party. If all goes as planned, Nick will not be doomed to spend as much time alone as he has since his mother died and his dad went underground to his "off-limits" basement where work on a government project engages him around the clock. Yes, hooking up with Lara might make everything right in Nick’s world. But when the world outside changes and a mysterious storm engulfs the sky, everything turns to night. Danger, panic and chaos reign and suddenly, Nick can no longer see what lies ahead.

Young adults are no strangers to apocalyptic narratives, yet this novel offers a new approach to the genre. Far from being permanently destroyed, there may be salvation for the human race and for the skies above, and Nick may hold it in his hands. Who better than Nick? Nick’s character is old-school gentleman meets teenaged boy. Nick sticks by his best friend, Charlie, even when it means possible alienation from others, he wants to rescue his damsel in distress, Lara, he continues to see the best in others, even after he has proof that the human race is in self-destruct, and oh—he rescues a dog. Throughout the increasingly violent events in the story, Nick manages to maintain his sense of morality and optimism. Hand in hand with Lara, who turns out to be stunning and humble, Nick continues to move stoically forward searching for a place he thinks is safe and trying desperately to figure out his father’s scientific device that may bring light back to the world. The reader will dismiss more convenient plot turns, like sweet old man Gus’s appearance and the gift of Gus’s "bike" because the remainder of the story is true to reality—tough times call for tough choices and measures—and Nick makes those calls the way they should be made time and time again without sacrificing his character. The author might have placed more emphasis on the impact of darkness on the environment and the characters; as the novel stands there is a hint of the darkness, but the tremendous action and repeated encounters with others make it seem less of a "Nightworld" than a "Duskworld." Otherwise, readers of books like Ashfall by Mike Mullin and The Last Survivors Series by Susan Beth Pfeffer, will devour this book.

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