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Review: Nightstruck

Nightstruck - Jenna Black

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This is another one I’m not entirely sure what to make of. It’s described on Netgalley as “the start of a spooky yet romantic dark paranormal horror”. There is nothing romantic whatsoever in this book, at least not to this reader. It certainly managed the dark paranormal horror bit well. It starts off with a scary incident, and the dark creepiness doesn’t let up at all. Not even at the end. 

 

Becket lives in Center City in Philadelphia. She sees something strange in an alley, hears a cry that might be an abandoned baby whilst walking her dog Bob. All her instincts are telling her to run away and never look back but morality wins out. But that single incident is the start of a host of catastrophic events that change Becket’s world forever. It’s subtle changes that barely register at first. 

 

Her dad is the police commissioner and seems to be under the idea that all teenagers are vandals and morons and only out to do no good. Even his sensible daughter. Her best friend is Piper, one of the most popular girls at school. I loathed Piper. Piper is so popular that Becket practically has to make appointments to hang out with her when she can “fit into Piper’s schedule”. Not exactly my idea of a best friend no matter how nice they might be when you hang out. Piper comes from a very rich family and seems to do whatever the hell she wants to regardless of any consequences. 

 

She’s also dating Becket’s neighbor Luke, who unknown to Piper, Becket has had a big old crush on Luke, like, forever, just never done anything about it. She’s too shy. Becket follows the rules, is a good student and generally does what she’s supposed to. Even though occasionally Piper helps her rebel which usually goes wrong. Her police commissioner father is always harsh with the punishments (he doesn’t like Piper at all)

 

The city seems to be having a rash of violent crimes and bizzare incidents happening. A few of these are described in single chapters from the victim’s view points. Becket’s dad’s nerves are stretched to the breaking point. Becket starts noticing weird things herself and doesn’t know what to think, she’s either going crazy or something really really freaky could be happening. Since that baby incident. She rationalises every possibility that it could be, tries taking pictures of uncomfortable weird things she spots. Anything to prove that it’s not something supernaturally dark or weird. 

 

As a main character Becket is actually very likable. She’s strong, smart and despite bad taste in best friends, a capable girl who thinks things through and doesn’t jump to stupid conclusions. Even when things take a turn for the worst. Thankfully she’s not the only one who’s noticed things are weird and scary out in the world, particularly when the sun goes down. She’s hanging out with Luke at one point and points things out to him - he’s noticed it too. 

 

So what does it all mean? To make things worse Piper’s behavior is getting worse. She’s more callous, she flaunts the rules more than ever and speaks with little regard to what she’s saying or who she might be hurting. Luke’s fed up with her, even Becket is getting irritated. All the while at night things are getting more dark more scary and more violent out in the city.

 

It soon becomes a city wide epidemic of catastrophic chaos, violence, death, murder and darkness. Though once the sun comes up, things turn to normal. Becket is smart enough to protect herself when the chaos starts going down. I suppose the romance part comes from her feelings for Luke developing throughout, even though he’s supposedly with Piper, even after Piper’s personality hits rock bottom and she becomes part of the people involved in creating chaos in the night. (There are reasons for this of course). It’s a well done relationship starting off slow and a where are we going does this mean anything, what’s happening here? Despite the unravelling madness of the city, Becket has some pretty good teenage crush moments. Kind of a relief from the darkness and unpleasant atmosphere the novel creates. 

 

It has all the makings for a pretty good book, but there was just something about it that didn’t work for me. The unending parade of violence and bizarre acts just bothered me. I actually like horror novels, and horror movies. I’ve seen my fair share of very violent horror movies and read some very disturbing books where the horror and the gore just doesn’t let up. I actually really liked Becket as a main character, I even liked Luke. I even liked the grownups in this novel.

 

There was just something in this one I just did not like. I didn’t like the end much at all. I’m glad though I read that it was the start of a series according to the Netgalley page on this title because as a standalone I would have dropped the rating. While I wasn’t overly impressed with this book, if there is a sequel I’m still interested enough to know where this story is going. 

 

Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for approving my request to view the title.