Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Nightlife (Nightlife, #1)

NightlifeAuthor: Matthew Quinn Martin
Series: Nightlife, #1
Released: October 21st 2013
Publisher: Pocket Star
Format: ebook, 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.
Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it's up to her to find out what happened.
Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the "Night Angel"-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.
Nightlife is a book that has a lot to offer, but it’s also filled with flaws. I will certainly point out at least some of those flaws, but I’ll never tell you that the book isn’t worth reading, because it is. The positives outweigh the negatives, and overall, Nightlife offers an enjoyable experience, as much as the horror genre can.

One can’t ignore the fact that Nightlife is poorly structured and often slightly amateurish. There are far too many points of view, which quickly becomes terribly distracting and prevents readers from immersing themselves into the narrative. The first part is composed of one scary scene after another, most of them, of course, told from different perspectives, thus denying the reader a chance to make a proper connection with any of the characters. Later in the book, the additional POVs slowly vanish, or their number dwindles, at least, leaving only Beth and Jack to tell the story.

Starting with multiple points of view and then settling into two is a rather odd choice. Generally, multiple narrators and third-person narrative mode is my least favorite option, but I can get used to it if done well and consistently. In this case, however, it was almost like Martin started one thing, and then changed his mind halfway through.

I rather liked Beth. Her strength and independence, determination and the slightly superior attitude are all qualities I look for in a proper heroine. But the fact that I liked her as much as I did only made the additional POVs more jarring. I wanted more time with her, a chance to learn more about her, but her story kept being interrupted by unnecessary gruesome scenes.

Martin’s take on vampires is entirely different from everything I’ve stumbled upon in other books and movies. He portrays them as gorgeous, irresistible and evil predators, but there’s so much more to it than that. It’s a pity he only revealed their true nature in the very last part of the book. Knowing exactly what they are from the start would make this book far more terrifying. Mindless evil with no nuance whatsoever is rarely truly frightening to me, often I find it more cartoonish than anything else, which seemed to be the case here, until the truth came to light.

When it comes to books, I am rarely this conflicted. I either like something or I don’t, but with Nightlife, the decision is much harder to make. There are some very good and original parts, and there are some sloppy and poorly thought through parts. In the end, I believe the good parts prevailed, but I fear that not everyone will feel the same.

Nightlife is $1.99 on Amazon so make sure to get a copy when you can.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I'm a little tired of vampires and not entirely sure this is for me, so I think I'll wait to see how the series unfolds before picking this up. It seems to hold a lot of potential, which is promising. Thanks for your honest review, Maja!

  2. This sounds like a great story and while it does seem to have some structural problems. I think I can live with that. I like how vampires are shown here, it seems really interesting. Great review, Maja :)

  3. Sounds like the author needed to start out with only two POVs and go from there. Find a different way to include the other information. Not sure I'm going to pick this up...maybe after the next book or two, if they improve!

  4. Oh gosh, I know you say the positives outweigh the negatives but I think this is one that I will pass on. Great honest review though Maja and I am glad that you were still able to like this one despite it's flaws.

  5. I do like that cover for some reason. I too can put up with structural issues if the story itself is engaging and holds promise. I appreciate the honest review Maja, and I just might give this one a go =)

  6. Hmmmm. I have to say I'm curious about this one Maja, and the fact that your torn on your feelings makes me even more so. Would you say this book is gory? Horror is not a genre for me at all, but that's mostly because I start crying like a little girl when anything bloody happens, but if it's just creepy/scary, I'm usually good to go.

    I don't know that I love all the POVs in the beginning, I usually struggle with multiple POVs anyway, and that many right off the bat would be a lot to handle. I'm glad eventually we just get to focus on Beth and Jack though. Utterly beautiful review my friend!

  7. I don't think I've explored the horror genre much, but this sounds pretty interesting :) I'm curious about the POV change that you mentioned. Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  8. I am surprised he didn't reveal their darker side in the beginning..wouldn't that have made those terrifying events in the beginning more creepy? Hmm, I am curious since I love horror, but on the fence with this one. Lovely review Maja :)

  9. "Generally, multiple narrators and third-person narrative mode is my least favorite option, " Me too, Maja. I dislike this with a passion.
    It sounds like you were conflicted about it, but I have to say that I'm actually quite interested. The vampires especially sound very interesting. Still, I'm a bit worried about the multiple POVs. They almost never work for me.
    I'm glad that you liked it despite having some issues.
    Lovely review, Maja.

  10. The poor structure and too many pov sound like it wouldn't work for me, but glad you found things to enjoy in this one

  11. I was really curious about this one and after reading the synopsis I wasn't so sure it was for me. At the end I've read many mixed reviews so I think I'll still pass.

  12. Good parts, sloppy parts...tricky

  13. Hmm. I'm glad that you liked Beth, but the other points of view do seem really unnecessary - I'm positive that I would get really confused! It's so hard to rate books when you feel conflicted! I hope that your next read it better! :) Awesome review!

  14. I don't know. I had to stop the moment I heard this book had multiple point of views. I hardly like 2 point of views and any more then that I'd probably given up on the book. Sorry it had so many flaws, as the idea behind it seems kinda good.

  15. I'm not a horror fan even though I do like to read quite dark books. I also am not a fan of multi-POVs. I don't think this one is for me, but I'm glad to hear that the positives outweighed the negatives.

  16. Don't you hate it when that happens? When you so want to be on the right or wrong side of the fence instead of ON? Does that make sense? Great review, Maja.

  17. I've been enjoying multiple POV's but a few books have taken it too far (even giving animals a pov) but I'm glad to hear that the positives help overcome that.

  18. It sounds like Beth is a strong heroine so I can see how you'd want to spend time seeing the story through her eyes instead of a bunch of different POVs. I don't mind two POVs, in fact I like stories told that way, but more than that makes it hard to make a connection with any one of them. It's difficult to read a book where you really love certain parts but then other bits are just really bad. Nice to see you enjoyed this overall. Great review, Maja! :)

  19. I dislike shifting POV's for the most part, but if they're consistently handled I can roll with them a lot easier. I'm worried the good parts will outweigh the bad, but I'm in such a fickle reading mood these days that I might not get through to the end to discover that. I think I'll pass on this one until I'm in an energized reading period and I have more patience. Wonderful balanced review Maja!

  20. As always, this was a fantastic review, Maja! I'll probably be giving this one a chance since I like different takes on vampires and I haven't read a horror book in quite a while. Addind it to the TBR list for a later date when I'm not so slammed on review copies!

  21. I'm not a horror, at least contemporary horror, fan at all. The gore and the violence is what turns me off. While it may not be a book for me, I do know a few people who I will pass the recommendation along. Thanks, Maja!


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