Nightworld, by Maureen Noel – Now here is a book (e-book only) that never stops moving. I feel it’s my duty to warn you before you pick up Noel’s Nightworld that you will probably not put it down until it’s done.
By day she is Sapphire, the heavily-pregnant off-season attendant to a small Orcas Island bookstore. By night she is Safire, a fierce warrior bent on freeing her people from the frozen wasteland of Nightworld. Her two lives have always seemed independent of one another until a man from Nightworld appears on Orcas Island, seeking revenge on Sapphire and her unborn child.
Noel weaves a complex dystopian fairy tale, accommodating not only the two separate lives of Sapphire and Safire, but also the forgotten memories of young Safire. It almost always works. When it doesn’t, it’s because Noel seems confused as to how the three stories intertwine–how much each character knows or remembers of another character’s life. After reading Noel’s blog, my guess is that she’d created two (almost three) separate universes at the outset and then had to tie them all together, and lost track of a few threads along the way.
Nevertheless, Noel paints a delicious and delightful heroine. I’ve always had a thing for girls that kick butt, and Safire is at the top of her class. But neither is Sapphire, pregnant through some mysterious, immaculate conception, any more demure than her Nightworld counterpart. She swings a sword, performs some beheadings, and makes clever quips.
My gripe with Nightworld was Sapphire’s kind and forthcoming companion, Thomas. He played a great character in the novel, but somewhere near the end, he seemed to simply vanish. I wasn’t sure what to make of that after Noel had primed me for a heroic Sapphire/Thomas romance. It just felt like another dropped thread.
Overall, I highly recommend Nightworld for Noel’s unique prose style, non-stop action, and a novel spin on the post-apocalyptic/dystopian fad. She deserves some serious praise for what she accomplished with this novel–though I’d have liked a few less descriptions about snow and some Thomas closure.
This book gets: ♥♥♥♥ out of 5