A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.
Aden awakens naked in a bath tub, knowing only that he is dead. His new world is Nightfall, a place filled with characters bizarre, grotesque and magical: Julius the duke, the monstrous Gorr family, the goddess Muse, Slythe the deadly assassin.
On the night Aden awakens, the Forgetting closes in, erasing everything it touches. Aden has little time to discover why this world and its characters seem so familiar to him, and why they call his grandfather the Worldmaker… and he must work out if he is here to save this world, or to help destroy it.
Paradoxically Nightfall is simultaneously intense and whimsical, dark and yet humorous, creepy and at the same time compelling. It features a protagonist who wakes up in a bizarre world after committing suicide in his bath-tub. Not only is this world incredibly strange, it has some quirky characters too: shape shifters and witches, a mad Duke and his even madder advisors, and an evil priest. This is a world I loved to read about, blending the real and the uncanny into one of the weirdest books I have ever read, and I was sad to let it go.
Will Elliott’s writing is immensely clever and amazed me through the flawless execution of the story. In many ways the book feels like it is set in some kind of bizarre-o world, where everything feels familiar but nothing is. Somehow the reader, along with the perpetually bewildered Aden, is strung along on highly improbable adventures and comes to accept that nothing in this world will make completely make sense. Aden deals with this by asking those around him to kill him, for good this time, but for the reader this quality makes the story interesting and unique.
With all the bizarre things that happened in the book, I devoted a large part of my energy trying to figure out what was actually going on. I am happy to report that I was able to figure it out before the ‘big reveal’ but this knowledge was hard-won. At no point does the author make it easy for a reader – I don’t recall there being one thing that immediately tipped me off, but rather a series of vague and generally overlooked (by the characters) clues that nudged me in the right direction.
Nightfall is a contradictory book that I feel will generate a varied spectrum of responses from readers. There will be those who dislike it based on the confusion and strangeness it represents, but others, who love it for the same qualities. This book has been my first foray into Will Elliott’s work, but I will be looking out for his books in the future. Definitely not one to be missed by fans of dark fantasy.
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