nightfall gardens by allen houston4 out of 5 stars

Wow. I was really pleasantly surprised by Nightfall Gardens. I mean, I definitely found the synopsis interesting, but I was not expecting the level of imagery I got once I was ensnared inside the Nightfall Gardens. This is one of those stories that you read that the world, and it’s inhabitants, are so rich and completely incredible that you crave to see these ideas brought to life! Seriously, this book could SLAY as a graphic novel, with the right artist, although I have seen the other covers for the books in this series and those are pretty spectacular, so maybe there is already an amazing artist around. Just thinking out loud, or rather on paper, here.

I LOVE that the creepiness factor is easily enough for both an older child, or an adult to enjoy. There were a few monster in here that gave me the chills! The most chilling thing about them (beyond their creeptastically frightening physical appearances) was that they attracted you as much as they repelled you. They beckoned you with their terrible beauty. You could be frightened or repulsed, and yet still find yourself gravitating towards them, full of curiosity.

I was captivated by the dark beauty of Nightfall Gardens. It had a creepy Pan’s Labyrinth feel to it, if you could envision living inside of the Labyrinth 24 hours aday and  being trapped there for long periods of time. And I loved it!! I don’t even know what part I enjoyed more, the garden areas, or the house! The idea that the house was a living thing, constantly changing and dangerous, but also your only haven for Blackwood women and the strange staff. I liked the idea that the manor was essentially like the Blackwood’s guard dog, but one that had a mind of it’s own with vicious teeth that could turn on the same one that it’s sheltering. Brilliant!  I feel as if we have really only scratched the surface of Nightfall Gardens and I already can’t get enough.

scary monster house

I appreciated feeling like a character in the story myself. We got to take this trip and discover all the wonders and atrocities right along with Lily and Silas. They stood out like shinning stars in the darkness surrounding them. I immediately liked Silas, he seems smart, and sweet and just good. Lily took me awhile longer to warm up to. She’s rather vain, and selfish. I did like  that Lily evolved throughout the story though, and by the end I had pretty high hopes for the person she could become one day. I do wish that the characters were just a little more fleshed out. I felt like we never quite got beyond their exteriors. There were bits and pieces there, but I would have adored more. One more dimension to these characters could have, in my mind, brought this story up to 5 stars. I am undoubtedly intrigued by them, but I’m not quite invested in them emotional….yet. The great thing is, this is only the first book in the series, so there is a lot of potential there for everything to grow. I really look forward to seeing what the next installment holds!

Lastly I have to say thank you to Houston, not only for this gifted copy, but also because my daughter is 12 years old, and you gave me a perfect book recommendation for her. I know this seems rather small, but my picky, rambunctious girl is, much to my dismay, not an avid reader. It is very hard to find a book that can grasp her attention and hold it for the entirety of the story. I think Nightfall Gardens is perfect for her! This fast paced story with all it’s dark wonders is precisely the kind of book that she will love!!

   I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review


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