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Nightfall #2

Men and Monsters

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The stakes have risen. For fifty years, Prince Vladimir has tolerated the Resistance, but now they threaten what he holds dear. The vicious vampire will no longer hold back. A plan he has been working on for decades will finally reveal itself and entangle everyone standing on the way.

For the first time after the Nightfall, the Resistance holds a true bargaining chip. For the first time, they have a chance to tip the scales of the war and ensure humanity’s survival. But Myra has made a promise, and breaking it will destroy all that is human in her. She is loyal to the Resistance, but nothing is black and white. Long-buried secrets emerge, showing her that vampires can be more honorable than humans, and humans can be more monstrous than beasts.

A desperate nobleman, fighting to save a doomed culture. A reclusive poet, choosing art over immortality. A vampire, rejecting her raw nature. Past and present weave together in an action-packed tale of power games, a hopeless fight for survival, and the indestructible human need to create art.

598 pages, Paperback

First published November 30, 2018

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About the author

Elena May

6 books686 followers
Elena May writes fantasy in dystopian and historical settings. Born and raised in Bulgaria, she has studied in New Zealand and the US, worked in Germany and the UK, participated in various research or volunteer projects in Israel, Liechtenstein and Turkey, and traveled to over forty-five countries. In 2020 she relocated once again, this time to the land of little mermaids, ugly ducklings and snow queens.

Out of all the places she has visited, the one that provided the greatest inspiration for her Nightfall vampire series is foggy London. She spent a year there, sharing a tiny basement room with a humongous rat and wishing her landlord allowed cats. In the absence of cats, she faced the rat in battle, armed with both modern and traditional weapons, including ultrasound, garlic, chili peppers, and fresh mint. The rat wasn’t impressed, but at least all vampires stayed away.

She holds a B.Sc. degree in Physics and a M. Sc. degree in Mathematics, but her one true love remains speculative fiction. Her debut novel, Nightfall: Kingdom of Ashes, was published on Halloween 2016 and received stellar reviews from multiple bloggers. She is working on more novels and novellas in the Nightfall universe and on a historical fantasy based on Hans Christian Andersen's biography and fairy tales.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Elena May.
Author 6 books686 followers
Want to read
May 16, 2019
Men and Monsters is out!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Men and Monsters Digital ARCs now available!

I’ve sent out an ARC to everyone who submitted a request following the instructions on my blog. If you haven’t requested an ARC yet, here’s how to do it. Happy reading!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

I'm obviously not going to rate or review my own book, but I thought I could use this space to share progress and random facts about writing Men and Monsters ;-)

May 5, 2018

I'm done with all content changes, and the manuscript is now with my proofreader. Since I don't want to make you wait too long, I've already posted the first 3 chapters on my website.

January 30, 2018

Progress update! I've incorporated most of my beta reader's feedback. Now I have to go through the whole manuscript again to make sure everything fits together after the changes. And the book is about 145k words now, so this takes some time.

Meanwhile, I visited a few more places associated with Vlad's journey:

Some spiritual...

Some wintry...

Some invaded by powerful armies...

Sadly, this guy didn't make it into the book:

But this beauty made it:

What comes next? One final round of content editing is coming up, before I start copy-editing and proofreading. The book comes out on November 30th, but I think I'll have a few review copies available long before that!

December 12, 2017

I had to add a "currently-writing" shelf for this one :D Why doesn't Goodreads have an official "currently-writing" shelf???

The manuscript is now with my beta-reader, and I'm panicallycalmly waiting for her feedback.

Compared to Kingdom of Ashes, Men and Mosters shows us a vaster world. Most of Kingdom of Ashes is set in the same time and place: 26th century post-apocalyptic Scotland. We see glimpses of other worlds in the characters' stories—London during the Nightfall, an indistinct village in 14th century southern Norway... and that's about it. But Men and Monsters delves deep into the vampires' histories, and we journey across a wide, multifaceted universe.

I thought I was done writing Prince Vladimir's story, but then I visited some of the places where he goes adventuring...

...and was so inspired that I had to rewrite the whole thing to make it more vivid and real.

There was some wind involved...

...and cows...

...I might have replaced the cows with bears for dramatic purposes. But the wind stayed.

Of course, in Men and Monsters we journey not only through space, but through time as well, and Vlad gets involved in some historical events.

Some of it involves mythology...

...some history...

...and some a bit of both...

Okay, Vlad's story is getting gloomy. Let's end on a positive note and have a look at the view from Armida's childhood home:

Artworks credit: Mårten Eskil Winge, Sean Munger (photos are mine :D)
Profile Image for Parnita Tolia.
106 reviews9 followers
June 19, 2018
I had a wonderful opportunity to review the eARC for of Men and Monsters and IT WAS A SUCH A GOOD READ HOLY WOW
we continue from nightfall and I get to read about Myra Vlad and Tristan again...! oh how I missed them

''for the first time after the Nightfall, the Resistance holds a true bargaining chip. For the first time, they have a chance to tip the scales of the war and ensure humanity’s survival."

Oh I dont know where to begin, without spoiling everything!!!
first of the book is bigggg n I LOVE BIG BOOKS...
CHARACTERS : Myra is the leading protagonist, she is flawed she is human and despite being struggling against the attraction of the night she still manages to stay true to herself and not be annoying.. She isnt your usual kick ass heroine but she is perfect.
"Human life was complex.Stories were easy to understand, with a clear plot structure and defined character arcs, but real life was messy and illogical"

We get to see a BIGGER view of Prince Vlad and how he is the way he is , a major part of story is Vlad tale and how little things led to him staging the Nightfall and his current plan *shh spoilers* to undo his reign. I STILL WANT A NOVELLA OF HIM AND HIS TRAVELS WITH TRISTAN N CALLISTO COZ HE HAD ADVENTURES!!!!
I am not doing anything to please you or disgust you.I am doing what I like"

Tristan is wonderfully antagonizing as always.. I love you so please be in the 3rd book, THERE MUST BE A 3RD BOOK COZ THE END OF THE BOOK LEFT ME REELING N EMPTY

please let there be a third book
p.s I just want to punch armida....
PLOT : The whole story is wonderful fusion of the past and present and it flows beautifully,I had trouble putting it down.There is no Love Triangle Hallelujah for that.I am so glad there is this series where the female lead doesn't throw herself at the attractive vampire.
We see new characters on the stage that Vlad has created but who is really in charge of directing the players, Vlad or Myra? or someone else..
"And this time, Myra was ready to write the story"
"Past and present weave together in an action-packed tale of power games, a hopeless fight for survival, and the indestructible human need to create art." this says everything...

in the end i just have to add, VLAD AND TRISTAN ARE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I SHALL STAND BY MY SHIP ALWAYS.
Profile Image for William Bitner Jr..
498 reviews21 followers
August 31, 2018
Men and Monsters (Nightfall - Book 2)
By Elena May

Genre - Dystopian Fantasy/Historical/Vampire
Pages -
Publication Info -
Format - Digital
Stars - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I had the great pleasure to be able to read Men and Monsters (Nightfall, Book 2), by Elena May before its November 2018 release. After reading Elena’s debut novel Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall, Book 1) last year about this time, and absolutely loving it, I was so looking forward to the continuing story and adventures of Myra, Vladimir, Tristan, the Resistance and the different Vampire covens and eclectic cast of characters. Elena blends history and fantasy with such ease and skill. These books, so far have in my opinion, been nothing short of masterful pieces of dystopian historical fantasy. A bit of mythology and lore from a few different areas of the globe, from Scandinavia to Slavic, Bulgarian, and Anglo-Saxon, with names like Khan, Ragnar Lodbrok, and King Ӕlla just to name a few. The history and lore ooze from and flows through the pages of this well researched piece of fantasy. If not for the fact that this is fiction, you’d think you were reading a well researched history syllabus. Elena blends the real and the unreal in such a way that makes it almost impossible to tell where reality begins and fantasy ends. I absolutely love the gothic feel, and the authentic and descriptive narrative of the characters and locations. These are not your sparkling, shimmering vampires - these are the gothic Vlad the Impaler and Prince Lestat and Louis (from Anne Rice novels) type vampires. I am falling in love with these characters and this story is fast becoming one of my favorites. The book ends with some stunners, there are twists that turn, and return and turn again. Give it a read, I’m almost positive you’ll love sinking your teeth into it.

Synopsis (from the back cover): The stakes have risen. For fifty years, Prince Vladimir has tolerated the Resistance, but now they threaten what he holds dear. The vicious vampire will no longer hold back. A plan he has been working on for decades will finally reveal itself and entangle everyone standing on the way.

For the first time after the Nightfall, the Resistance holds a true bargaining chip. For the first time, they have a chance to tip the scales of the war and ensure humanity’s survival. But Myra has made a promise, and breaking it will destroy all that is human in her. She is loyal to the Resistance, but nothing is black and white. Long-buried secrets emerge, showing her that vampires can be more honorable than humans, and humans can be more monstrous than beasts.

A desperate nobleman, fighting to save a doomed culture. A reclusive poet, choosing art over immortality. A vampire, rejecting her raw nature. Past and present weave together in an action-packed tale of power games, a hopeless fight for survival, and the indestructible human need to create art.

Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
1,741 reviews66 followers
December 12, 2020
Men and Monsters is the second book in the Nightfall series and it is an excellent companion piece to its prequel, Kingdom of Ashes. I will also say that this is a series that needs to be read in serial order. In book one, Myra was crystal clear what her goals were but the lines between black and white became quite blurred for her and I would call book one her discovery period. Which leads me to call book two, Myra’s upheaval. Everything that Myra thought she knew and felt has been called into question. Not that she questions who she is but rather what is the truth and what knowledge and actions can she live with.

From the start Myra is faced with knowing that every choice she makes will tear at her soul. She does not know what the “true” wrong or right is anymore. The more she learns the harder it becomes for her to cling to the Myra she knew in book one. All Myra can do is learn all that she can and keep her eyes wide open. With each new discovery it becomes clear to her that she needs to view and filter the information in an entirely new light. By the time this story comes to an end Myra is no longer confused and she is ready to take a stand! I was also ready to fight alongside of her because justice needed to be served.

The amazing amount of research that went in to writing Men and Monsters was clearly shown during the reading of this book. There were nods to several entirely different mythologies and cultures throughout this story but they were seamlessly blended together into an epic clash between the humans and vampires with a dash of fighting amongst factions. The writing was also quite descriptive and beautiful. I loved how the lore was expressed by the characters in this story because it was captivating. Overall, Men and Monsters was a nail-biting exposure of truth and deceit that was truly a pleasure to read. I highly recommend.

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Elena May. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Profile Image for Jeannette.
650 reviews139 followers
October 28, 2018
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author, Elena May, in exchange for an honest review.

I read and reviewed the first book in the series, Kingdom of Ashes , last year and I was very excited when I found out I will have the opportunity to read this one as well.

In order to fully express my thoughts and feelings about Men and Monsters, I will need to write about it in two completely separate directions.

« The part I loved »

If we take Men and Monsters completely out of the context of the series, it serves as a beautiful stand-alone story about something that I can't help but get excited about: Bulgarian history and mythology. As you may or may not know, I, myself, am Bulgarian, and after having read more than a thousand books about other people and other countries and other folklore, it deeply thrilled me to see a text, and especially one in English, which tells the story of my own people for once. More so, considering that Bulgaria is a small and rather unknown country, I think that people could be surprised by our rich folklore, as well as the history of our land and the mix of nations that have inhabited it, from the Bulgars who came from the Great Steppe and believed in the god of the blue sky Tangra, to the pagan Southern Slavs, and the mysterious Thracians who mixed with the two of those and all but disappeared. And come on, we have a mythological creature called "filikoshteritsa", which is the daughter of a castrated devil and a barren witch.


Therefore, the story of Vlad was very interesting for me and I flipped page after page, feeling like a whole new magical world has opened up. I also thought this changed his character a lot by adding some actual background to his pretty face and arrogant demeanor.

« The part I was contemptuous about »

Above I mentioned that those were my thoughts about the book as a standalone piece. Well, as an installment in a series, I felt like it was somewhat disconnected from the main story. At some point I kind of forgot what the book was actually about because I was enjoying this brief look in the live of Prince Vladimir more than anything else.

Things seemed to go a bit downhill for the characters, because they lost a lot of their substance. I remember enjoying the banter between Vlad and Tristan, but here there was nothing more to their relationship. They kept having these silly arguments and then overly dramatic reconciliations. Unfortunately, however, the worst was Myra. While I used to be able to relate to her indecisiveness somewhat, in this book she seemed like a completely irrelevant character who was around just to ponder on things. Time and again she wanted to kill Vlad, then to help him, then to kill him, then to save him, then to be a vampire, then to destroy all vampires. And I guess even the other characters reflected that, because few people seemed to actually be taking her seriously.

That put aside, and considering the fact that I managed to deal with this almost 600 page book in a day and a half, I think it's pretty obvious that I will be anxiously expecting the next installment in the series.
Profile Image for Natalia.
7 reviews
June 20, 2021

I just finished this wonderful book and I am very pleased to have chosen to read it. In addition to being a fantastic fiction, which I could talk about for hours, the book is a better history class than many I had at school, and certainly more interesting. The appreciation of culture touched me deeply, and I think it will change the way I see art and culture for a long time from now on. The characters are still fantastic (as they were in the first book). All the main characters have very credible qualities and flaws, which make them incredibly human, even the vampires, however ironic this may seem. The plot is full of twists and turns, and while some I predicted, like Armida's betrayal, others took me by surprise, like Vlad's plan to destroy the WeatherWizard.  Also, the twists are always well justified, without appearing out of nowhere just to shock the reader (as Myra herself reflects if didn't happen on her own stories). This is the other fantastic point of the book: metalanguage in the parallels between the stories Myra writes and the book itself. As someone who likes to write as a hobby, I can say that I learned a lot both from this book and from A Kingdom Of Ashes (thanks, Vlad!).

As it is a book heavy in flashbacks, I admit that I was a little afraid to find it boring since I was not as interested in the characters' past as in their present, but it was much better than I expected. Vlad's past, which is the biggest one, is quite interesting and, again, a history class. My deepest compliments to the author for her effort and dedication in researching and representing cultures and historical references in the most accurate way possible.

Well, that's it. Nightfall is a series that touched me deeply and quickly entered my list of favorites. A book I would recommend to all fans of fantasy, well-built characters with gray morality, history and vampires :) I can't wait for the next book in the series!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for JPC.
75 reviews
November 22, 2018
** Thank you to the author for providing a print ARC of Men and Monsters **

I was sucked into the world of Nightfall while reading Kingdom of Ashes, and now that I've finished Men and Monsters I NEED MORE . What I loved most about this second installment is that it is entirely it's own. Yes, it is a continuation of the Nightfall series and takes place moments after the ending of it's predecessor, but there is still a different story to be told. As much as I enjoy immersing myself in the same world when reading a series, sometimes it simply doesn't hold the same appeal - and here is a story that takes a world I'm already invested in, but goes even deeper in a direction I may not have been anticipating, letting me get lost in different world again without leaving the one we've established. Which is just my way of saying I loved the way Prince Vladimir's story was presented.

I also loved that Myra has such a hard time letting go of her black and white, good vs evil, beliefs. The more she learns about the world post and pre Nightfall, she still struggles to balance her convictions with her beliefs and even with her own actions. The world isn't simple, even if she wished it were. She's still not perfect, which makes her perfectly human.

Add in some conflict, some battles, some lies and betrayals, and I was not ready for the final chapter and pages. I can't wait (meaning I NEED) more!
Profile Image for Valya.
7 reviews
November 6, 2019
Wow. I had many ideas where this second book would go, but I never guessed it would take us back to the beginning, when Prince Vladimir started to become who he is. And I never hoped it would be so good. I'm a historian, and I loved, loved, loved the rich, vivid, and well researched historical bits. The 9th century comes alive, from the Balkans to Scandinavia. And the history and mythology is not what we often see in western media. I'm pretty sure I've never seen Tengriism represented before. I enjoyed becoming a part of this world for a short while. Hope to see more history in the next book.
Profile Image for ShannaBanana✨.
485 reviews29 followers
June 16, 2020
Ohhh my heart is in pieces right now. Vlad and poor Tristan! Now I have to wait for I don’t know how long for the next book! The struggle is real. This was absolutely amazing and heart wrenching. 5 ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
8 reviews
November 7, 2018
PLEASE tell me there is going to be another book in this series! That ending! I need to know what happens next.
Profile Image for reem.☽.
144 reviews70 followers
September 5, 2020
dnf @ page 123

the characters giving us naruto-esque monologues about their pasts is what didn't do it for me. might pick this up again later.
Profile Image for Somaya.
63 reviews11 followers
September 18, 2020
For the end, for making me cry on a multiple occasions, for the heartbreak I had towards the end, I would give this books 4.5 stars, the 0.5 was for the kind of boring story of Vlad’s, unnecessarily too long, tho I loved it.
Profile Image for David.
2 reviews
November 8, 2019
A unique interpretation of the classical vampire figure, and some nicely dark stuff going on in this book. Prince Vladimir's backstory added so much extra color to this already layered character. I have never seen 9th century Bulgarian history from this point of view. A nuanced portrayal of the religion change and how it affects the lives of ordinary people. I reread Kingdom of Ashes right after this book and noticed how all the reveals were hinted at from the beginning although it all flew over my head at the time. Carefully planned, structured series, that seems to grow in scope with every book.
Profile Image for Clint Seeber.
49 reviews
April 25, 2020
See my review of the previous book in this series. The same applies to this novel also. It is great, but quite long. Elena May is a good enough author to keep it from ever getting boring, though. There is a lot of backstory told through character monologue/dialog by the story's main antagonist (or is Prince Vlad actually the main antagonist at all). This series of novels is set in a post-apocalypse, sort of dystopian version of our own world - and the author has done a fabulous job of mixing historical facts and myths with her very own fiction. Kudos to this classy young lady for her erudition and well-researched historical knowledge which is stunningly accurate for the most part.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
529 reviews31 followers
December 26, 2018
I had a lot of the same issues with this book as I did the first. I found myself skimming..A LOT. Myra is still just as indecisive as she was in the first. She doesn't know her hand from her foot, I mean I get it, it's hard to know what you want when your young, but she was so wish washy it was annoying. It has some dark and twisted stuff in it, which made this book. That cover was beautiful so it definitely had that going for it.

**I got this from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review**
November 9, 2019
I'm divided. On one hand, I'm sooo happy Myra never falls in love with any of the dark and insanely charming vampires, and just fights her fight and never cares about any of that. But on the other, I'm obsessed with Vlad! So I don't see how she's not :D:D (or maybe she is, just not in a romantic way but more in a 'evil vampire overlord who teaches her how to write fiction and how to play political games in court and how to dance waltz while she still knows he's evil and want to kill him' kind of way)
Profile Image for Rachel.
883 reviews13 followers
August 11, 2018
So much information was thrown into this book that it could have easily bogged the reader down. Luckily, it was written in such a way that it was enthralling rather than coming off as textbook like. There were many twists and turns. Some so unexpected that I was thrown for a while, grasping to understand. I was sucked into the world of the Nightfall and truly miss the characters I spent so much time with.
Profile Image for Katlin.
2 reviews
November 7, 2019
Now I think I should try to read more books by non-Western authors. This series shows me I've been missing out. What a wonderful ownvoices tale.
Profile Image for Arwen.
21 reviews
November 7, 2019
The entire series has been a breath of fresh air from start to end. A YA paranormal book with a young female protagonist and a tall dark and handsome mysterious and wonderfully complicated antihero, which involves no love story between the two. Instead, the focus is on the meaning of art, the meaning of humanity, on what makes us human and are we really better than the supernatural monsters we fight. A story with deeply flawed, intriguing characters that make you want to learn everything about them. A Beauty and the Beast retelling in which Beauty knows what Stockholm Syndromes is and avoids it.
Profile Image for Janet.
2 reviews
November 8, 2019
Oh, good. I was feeling guilty about rooting for Prince Vladimir in the first book. As fun and charming as he is, he has enslaved humanity and is breeding people like livestock. But in this book he is, well, not the good guy exactly, but he fights the worse guys for his own political reasons, so I can now support him without feeling bad. And he's so unapologetic about being a baddie, he owns everything he's done and isn't looking for redemption. It's so refreshing. He doesn't try to be nice for the sake of his reluctant allies. He's all, that's who I am, deal with it or go away. And while his past is definitely tragic, he never uses it as an excuse.
Profile Image for Samantha.
18 reviews
November 9, 2019
Folklore. Magic. History. It all comes together beautifully to create a gripping tale of how our favorite antagonist, Prince Vladimir, became who he is. In this book Elena May takes us back to the origin, to where it all started. To a world of fire dancers, priestesses, enchanted women who live in the mountains, riding deer and using snakes as reigns. A world of people worshiping the eternal blue sky, who must change or die as a new religion consumes their world. The history and legends of the Balkans blends beautifully with vampire mythology to give us another gem in the Nightfall universe.
Profile Image for Ana-Maria.
14 reviews
November 7, 2019
Vlad's story reminded me of the Vampire Chronicles, in particular the second book where Lestat retells his life. It reminded me in terms of the energy, vividness, beauty, nostalgia and charm of this lost world of the past, but this is where the similarities end. Vlad's story is completely original, I don't think I've ever read anything like it. I learned so much history I didn't know before while standing on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Profile Image for Larissa.
11 reviews
November 7, 2019
Vlad's backstory has to be one of my favorite pieces of paranornal historical fiction. The atmosphere, the beauty, the sorrow, the depth. The clash of civilization, religion, values, politics. I so much want a full novella on his adventures throughout the centuries!
Profile Image for Anna.
2 reviews
November 7, 2019
This book reminded me of the Highlander TV series, with the vampires living through different periods of history and meeting different people. I'm fascinated by the ancient vampires from Vladimir's story, hope we see more of them in future books.
Profile Image for Magdalene.
2 reviews
November 8, 2019
This is so much better than the first book! The way Southern Slavic mythology was wrapped and twisted together with the vampire legends blew my mind. Everything makes sense and all myths fit together perfectly to form one coherent whole universe. 
Profile Image for Lily.
3 reviews
November 6, 2019
Together with Dracula from Castlevania, Prince Vladimir is my favorite vampire of all vampires! Is it wrong I'm most attracted to vampires who want to destroy human civilization???
Profile Image for Eloise.
2 reviews
November 7, 2019
A true story of humanity, where monsters might have more "humanity" than we do. A story of what it means to be human and if this is really a positive thing.
Profile Image for Annika.
5 reviews
November 7, 2019
The complex political games and twists and turns are next level awesome.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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