Plot: A paranormal romance that is suitable for young adults, this book takes on a southern Gothic charm while creating suspense and drama. Unpredictable twists in the plot keep the reader interested and wanting to know what is going to happen next. Intriguing and engaging, most readers will want to continue reading more beyond this first installment in The Nightgarden Saga.
Prose/Style: An accessible read and appropriate for a young adult audience, the story is engaging and creates a consistent surreal mood. At times the reader struggles to know which male character is speaking and must backtrack for clarification.
Originality: Fans of vampire novels will find this intriguing with twists throughout. While there are some details that are reminiscent of L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries, there are enough differences to make this a unique experience for those that enjoy this genre. The history behind the area tribe is well-researched and engrossing for the reader.
Character Development/Execution: The characters awaiting in the shadows, as well as those who are hearing the history lesson for the first time along with the reader, are smart and cunning. Those characters that give off a mystical vibe prove to be supernatural and mysterious. The romance between the mortal and immortal characters proves to be a pleasant addition to the story.
Date Submitted: June 16, 2021
Holden sets a fast pace, starting with a prologue that thrusts readers into Harper’s grief-stricken world. The momentum continues as mythical elements surrounding Harper’s new home are quickly introduced, and Holden establishes what’s at stake for Harper and Connor. As she hears voices and wonders about Antoine’s motives, Harper’s character proves wise beyond her teenage years, moving the story into new adult territory, as does the complex, distinctive relationship she and Antoine develop.
With a seeming effortlessness, Holden constructs a plot that weaves together elements of mystery with young adult romance and Southern Gothic fantasy. The heat level is mild at best, and while there is a significant age gap between Harper and Antoine, Holden cleverly keeps the steam appropriate yet intense. Although at times the romance takes a backseat to fantasy elements in the plot, fans of these genres will quickly become engrossed in this paranormal saga of ancient magic and generational curses.
Takeaway: This young adult romance combines paranormal and Southern Gothic elements into an intriguing, unconventional love story.
Great for fans of: Lauren Kate, L. J. Smith.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A