Nightfall by Ellen Connor (Dark Age Dawning #1)
June 7, 2011
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “If survival means kissing somebody who smells like you, I want no part of it.”
The world is coming to an end. Changing in ways people can not comprehend – and that is if you can live to see tomorrow. Technology is failing. Cars won’t start. And maybe the scariest, there are what people refer to as demon dogs - hunting, eating, and devastating the human population. It started in eastern Europe and has slowly made its way west. Because there is no communication, and worse, not many people left who have survived this apocalypse, the people in the western United States do not know what is headed for them. Except Mason. Mason met up with a man named Mitch Barclay when he was young. Mitch was crazy to most people, spouting off crazy theories about the world ending. But Mason listened, and then watched as a demon dog killed him. The last thing Mitch asks of Mason is to save his daughter when the time comes.
That is how Mason ends up kidnapping the unknowing Jenna one night in Oregon. Jenna knows the world isn’t exactly a safe place, but she never thought danger lurked out by her mailbox. Mason ties her up, and takes her to a secluded cabin in the woods. It is here where she first is angry and upset that she has been kidnapped. But it is also here where she witnesses the demon dogs up close. Sees what they can actually do to a human. She learns of Mitch and Mason’s relationship, and they bunker down for a long cold winter.
But they aren’t going to be alone for long. A group of five strangers show up at their cabin door, pleading for a safe place to stay. Low on food already and patience Mason wants nothing to do with them but Jenna’s heart is too big to turn them away. Together, this misfit group must face a new world.
Nightfall is the first book in the Dark Age of Dawning series by Ellen Connor (aka the writing team of Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty). Dark, intense, and downright scary, this book is pretty full of awesome. The world they have created just might give you nightmares, but I also bet you won’t be able to put this book down. The fear that comes off these characters, as they try to outwit these viscous beings can be felt off the pages. These demon dogs were actually once human. Some even shift to somewhat of a human if killed. But there is no humanity in these dogs. They need to eat, and they have ways of communicating with each other. Towns, cities, even states have been wiped out. Mason, an ex-marine becomes this little group’s leader. Having knowledge and warnings from Jenna’s father years ago, he is somewhat prepared to lead this group. Jenna is more the heart. She is strong, and level headed, but she also is kind and is the glue that holds these strangers together.
We also meet Tru, a teenager who is quick to throw an insult, but deep down is just as unsure about himself than every other teenager. He is good with a gun and becomes Mason’s second. We also have the 44 year old Angela, with her young daughter, Penelope who never speaks, but eerie things happen with her as the book progresses.
There are some gruesome scenes in this book, where my eyes went very wide (I may never look at a spider the same way again). When a demon dog bites you, you don’t necessarily turn into one of them but you turn into…something. As Jenna and Mason run through a town, they see dead half-human half-other animal people everywhere. At the core of this book is a story of survival. And accepting the fact that life will never go back to “normal.” Throughout their struggle, Mason and Jenna have this very intense romance. Mason likes to be in charge, and likes everything to go his way. Even though their attraction is very evident between them, Jenna refuses to proceed with it until Mason gives her something back. And boy is he stubborn. However, I love that the romance is just as hard and even dark like the book is.
There are some crazy twists in this one, especially towards the end. For as much action and suspense we get in this book, I kind of wish it was a little longer. Or the ramifications that happen to certain characters were explored more. I love this book, but I wanted a little more at the end. I kind of expected this to be more of an urban fantasy series, but instead, the next book is about a supporting character. I don’t’ want to be done with Jenna and Mason yet. There is still so much to explore.
That being said, I’m very excited to see where Ellen Connor takes us in this world. There is much to be explored and the last two books of this trilogy feature characters you meet here.