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Review: Nightfall by Simon R. Green

NightfallGrade: B-

Stop!! If you haven’t read the rest of the “Secret Histories” novels, do not start here. “Nightfall” is the final book in the series and while the main story is self-contained, the back stories and continuing threads require knowledge of the other books.

The Drood family has dedicated their lives to protecting the planet. Generation after generation have given their service to protect the family and humanity. The Nightside is the land of eternal darkness. Where neon lights shine over the debauchery of humans, demons, aliens, superheroes and super villains, and the gods themselves. When the Nightside expands beyond its agreed upon borders, the two sides are set on a collision course that could destroy everything.

Nightfall explores the balance of good and evil, focusing on the lack of absolutes between the two. The dichotomy of the Droods, ostensibly fighting for order and good, as a relentless invading army while the Nightside, home of all sorts of depravity, is cast as the victim stands as a reminder that what we call good and evil are much closer than most people think.

Beyond the morality play, Green crafts a rollicking adventure story where high tech meets magic and anything is possible. The drawback in the story is the number of characters. In an effort to wrap up everything in the series, Green throws everything into the mix, including the kitchen sink. The result is a mashup so chaotic even the author mistakes the character names at point (My assumption is that the editor caught that between the galleys and the final version of the book). Characters jump into the story for no apparent reason and are rapidly killed off. While the characters may have been important in their own stories, here they feel random and underwhelming.

While the battles and the quest of main characters Eddie Drood and Molly Metcalf of the Drood and John Taylor and Shotgun Suzie of the Nightside to end the war is engaging and enjoyable, the end comes as a disappointment because, while the ultimate villains of the book were important in their own stories (or may have been) they appear out of nowhere in this volume. The result is that the conclusion feels tacked on and hurried.

While the book is a good read, its flaws are many and the ending spoils the fun, making the reader feel cheated.