She was not to be trusted. She was reckless, dangerous, a monster. Enya was right. Oro deserved so much better.
SERIES: The Lightlark Saga (Book #2)
LENGTH: 416 pages
GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction
PUBLISHER: Amulet Books
RELEASE DATE: 7 November 2023
Isla Crown has secured the love of two powerful rulers and broken the curses that plagued the six realms for centuries.
But few know the true origins of her powers. Now, in the wake of a crushing betrayal, Isla finds herself hungry for distraction, preferring to frequent Lightlark’s seductive haunts instead of embracing her duties as the newly crowned leader of two separate realms.
Worse, her fellow rulers haven’t ceded victory quietly, and there are others in Isla’s midst who don’t believe her ascent to power was earned. As certain death races toward Lightlark and secrets from the past begin to unravel, Isla must weigh her responsibility to her people against the whims of the most dangerous traitor of all: her heart.
Alex Aster’s intricate world expands after the riveting culmination of the Centennial games, delving more deeply into Isla’s memories of her past, as her future hurtles toward two possible fates.
“Nightbane,” someone whispered from a stall. She slowed in front of it, curious. There were small vials of something dark. The seller’s face lit up at her attention. “Takes away all troubles and pain…”
Goddamn this book. Lightlark was mediocre, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and bumped up the rating a bit because I thought that Alex Aster might be able to improve. There was just a little bit of promise – and I sometimes can’t help but give novels some slack.
I shouldn’t have.
Nightbane was a very, very bad book. It’s not my most hated read ever, and I’m sure I’ll read books I dislike even more in the future, but it’s not even close to remotely in the realm of good.
I could rant about how much this book just gets on my nerves for paragraphs, but I’m not gonna. Because that isn’t how I do things. Let’s start this review off proper with the only thing I can give Aster props for.
The prose has improved (…a little) ▼
The author has improved her writing. (Technically.) No more insert-adjective-here thing. But that’s really all that I can say. Aster could honestly do to improve more – a lot more. But I am surprised that she improved as a writer as much as she did – I really didn’t expect it, lol.
And that’s all for the pros. Nothing else about this book is good.
The writing still isn’t that good ▼
I know, I know. I just gave her some props for this. But the prose and dialogue still isn’t that great guys! Like, some of the descriptions are really weirdly worded, and the dialogue sounds somewhat unnatural some of the time.
Aster also makes some odd decisions when it comes to plot and pacing that I do not understand. I didn’t enjoy reading any of it. But the most annoying stuff was still her description choices. Here are some of my personal favorites…
Isla wondered if Grim was like that necklace- insistent and refusing to let her go. Would he kill people just to have her?
What does this mean? How is a necklace able to be insistent?
If the word debauchery had been a place, Isla was looking at it.
This one might be nitpicking, but don’t add “word” as a descriptor for “debauchery.” It messes the whole thing up.
He had relatively long black hair like spilled ink, falling across his forehead, curling around his ears.
This is not relatively long black hair. Relatively long black hair is black hair long enough to fall the down someone’s back. (Say long one more time, lol.)
And I can’t forget about…
The sound of his pants being discarded seemed to echo through the vast bathroom. Then, the sound of water parting, letting him in, settling around him.
WHAT?!? The sound of his pants?!?
The characters ▼
They aren’t any better here than in book one. Isla is still stupid and annoying, and still barely has a defined personality. The desire to root for her was even smaller than in Lightlark. She was also an absolutely horrible person to pretty much everyone around her.
Oro can hardly be called a character here. But at least he still has one. I was very worried about a Tamlin situation happening here, but was pleasantly surprised that Aster didn’t go that route. For now. (What she did do pissed me off though.) As of post Nightbane, Isla definitely does not deserve this man, cardboard cutout that he is.
Grim was still annoying. I can’t even think about him without being filled with rage. I hate Walmart Rhysand.
No one else matters. They just… they really don’t matter. As much as I wanted to like the new characters… they just don’t matter.
The romance ▼
Her nostrils flared. “You don’t respect me?”
“You don’t seem to respect your own life. Why should I?”
She scoffed. “Fine. Don’t respect me. I don’t care. You weren’t why I came here.”
“Clearly. Why are you here?” he demanded.
The romance here makes me gag. Like, thinking about it makes me have to swallow back bile. It’s disgusting. (Both the romance and the bile.)
Oro and Isla had the potential to build a sweet, healthy and wholesome relationship, but Alex Aster just went straight for the sex. Again. Just like with Isla and Grim.
Speaking of which, it was basically the same thing with those two in Nightbane. Except it started out a little less horny. Isla and Grim weren’t quite as ready to jump each other’s bones – they legitimately didn’t like each other to begin with. But like all good things, this quickly came to an end, and it was the first novel all over again. Except this time, it was in a flashback. That spanned half the book.
But yeah, Isla definitely doesn’t deserve Oro. Honestly, I don’t want her to end up with everyone. The only happily ever after I see possible is if Lightlark (the island) blew up. With Isla, Grim and everyone else on it.
Final Thoughts ▼
This book sucks. If/When a third one comes out, I’ll probably read it, because I enjoy my own suffering, apparently. I guess if you really, really, really enjoyed Lightlark then you might like its sequel. But that’s all I can say regarding recommendations.
Anyway, thanks to everyone so much for reading, and I hope that you have a much better day/night than I’ve had, lol.
See ya ~Mar