NIGHTINGALE by David Farland is an intriguing fantasy novel presented in a very unique package – an enhanced e-book, with pictures, animations, music,NIGHTINGALE by David Farland is an intriguing fantasy novel presented in a very unique package – an enhanced e-book, with pictures, animations, music, video interviews with the author and more. My review will of the story itself goes along with my 3 heart rating. I’ll talk about the presentation of the story at the bottom, since I feel the format needs to be mentioned.
Our main narrator is Bron Jones, a foster kid who’s been shuffled through the system into increasingly unsuitable home situations. But it’s not until he comes to live with Olivia that his entire world changes, and not really for the better. Bron is a masaak – not human, he has powers available to him that he can only begin to control. When he stumbles across others like him, Bron and Olivia are in a race against time to hide their whereabouts and discover just who Bron really is, and what he can do. The chapters alternate between Bron, Olivia and a few other characters. The ones narrated by a character other than Bron tend on the shorter side and give glimpses into how Bron’s presence is affecting those people around him.
I found it difficult to connect with the characters in NIGHTINGALE. Bron is very hard to pin down, and though we see most of the story through his eyes you’re never quite sure of his motivations or mindset. Olivia does what she thinks is right, and the best course of action, but I think she’s in over her head and making decisions for Bron that may backfire when he finds out the extent of her ‘helping’. The two female characters that are, of course, immediately in like with Bron are just that – in like with Bron. There’s a sinister male classmate, Bron’s father and mother and a few more characters who advance the plot and are probably important down the road. I enjoyed the story but felt some parts were a little rushed, or missing details that would have given a better picture of some events. A few of the details about masaaks, their powers and such were a bit confusing. I definitely enjoyed the story and want to see where it goes – especially with Bron, since he seems to be something new to the masaak groups (Aels and Draghouls) – but it didn’t suck me in and keep me hooked from page to page, and the ending was a bit too abrupt for my tastes. I’m thinking the sequels will delve more into Bron and his decisions regarding the two factions of masaaks and the main villains big plans.
I think NIGHTINGALE has a strong young adult/adult crossover appeal, and that the enhanced web/iPad version of the book is amazing – but not the best for my reading experience. I don’t own an iPad, so had to read the web version. Which means that I had to wait until when I had long enough moments to sit in front of my computer to read it. I really loved the chapter heading illustrations, music and animations and then the fact that the rest of the chapter was regular e-book. The videos from David Farland were informative, as were the highlighted words or sentences throughout the story that could be clicked on to provide information from the author about why that particular word or phrase or thing is in the book – but they could be distracting and break the flow of reading. Eventually I just stopped clicking and kept reading. Also, by about half way around the book, the chapter headings were just blank white pages with a quote. This may be because I was reading an advance view of the book, but it left me unable to fully appreciate the media aspect of the story.
Although I did not connect with the characters as much as I would have liked, and the format of the story was not my favourite (I still prefer traditional print over e-books), NIGHTINGALE by David Farland is a fairly solid fantasy that I think will appeal to fans of Davids other work and those who enjoy a fast-paced, detailed fantasy world.
The only life Sydelle has ever known is life in her small desert town on the border of her country. Until the wizard Wayland North arrives and whisksThe only life Sydelle has ever known is life in her small desert town on the border of her country. Until the wizard Wayland North arrives and whisks her away, just before the bordering country’s army invades her home. Sydelle always wanted to leave and see her country, but following a wizard – who has no sense of direction and doesn’t seem to bath – all the way to the capitol is not really what she had in mind. On the run from Wayland’s enemy and experiencing freak storms and a lack of money, Sydelle and Wayland reach the capitol only to have things continue to go wrong, including some interesting news and a trip to Auster (the country declaring war on Sydelle’s country of Palmarta).
I loved Wayland North. He’s such a unique character. A wizard who works alone, likes his ale a bit too much and an aversion to bathing. He seems rough, brash and abrupt at times, but he has a good and kind heart. He genuinely wants to do the right thing, he just has to learn that actually telling people what’s going on might get them to agree with him rather than fight him the whole way. Which Sydelle does. Sydelle is a very confident young woman. She’s smart and capable, and doesn’t let Wayland walk all over her. She has her moments of temper tantrums – which lead to more trouble than they should, but that way leads to spoilers – and naivety (she’s from a very remote town, after all) but overall Sydelle is a strong, likeable character.
The draw to this book for me was the adventure. Above all else, the story is Sydelle’s journey from small town girl, to larger than life, during a crazy adventure across country. Yes, there’s a bit of romance but it’s not the focus of the story. The novel is very plot and character driven and I was sucked right in. The detail given to each place Sydelle and Wayland stopped, and to the people they met, was wonderful. The history and culture that Alexandra Bracken put into her world really brought it to life. It was never an information dump, and there weren’t pages devoted to this new world. Rather, we are given the information to understand as Sydelle thinks it and lives it. It was definitely the right way to go about it.
BRIGHTLY WOVEN weaves a wonderful tale of adventure, magic, friendship and romance with well-written characters fueling the story....more
GENESIS is such a remarkable story. Written entirely in dialogue and the thoughts of the main character, Anaximander, the novel tells the story of AdaGENESIS is such a remarkable story. Written entirely in dialogue and the thoughts of the main character, Anaximander, the novel tells the story of Adam and Art, and the beginning of The Great War.
Anax is sitting an examination to try and get into the Academy. The Examiners ask her questions relating to her topic – the life of Adam Forde. Through the questions and Anax’s answers, the history of the Republic is uncovered (and what happened to the world to make the Republic ‘necessary’), as well as how Adam became such an important historical figure.
Although I came across this book because it was listed as a dystopia – and there are definite elements involved that would classify it as such – I see it as science fiction first and foremost. Adam was instrumental in the development of an AI robot called Art. As Anax’s exam progresses it comes to light that it is Adam’s and Art’s interaction together that threw a wrench into the Republic and changed the course of their history.
There is a huge revelation at the end of the book, one which I confess I did not see coming. I’m a history major, and so I was swept up in the details of the Republic’s society and the psychological aspects of the story. GENESIS is a huge look into humanity and society, and it really made me think about what I was reading, and the implications of AI technology. The writing was captivating and the plot was wonderfully done; I recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction, no matter your age....more