Nightfall by Shannon Messenger

Rating: 4/5 stars Nightfall.jpg

Length: 794 pages

Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book 6

Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult


A tiny voice in the back of her mind warned that she was losing control, and that if she didn’t stop, everyone in the room would suffer. But the voice was drowned out by the thunderous fury (Ch. 33, p. 330).

Can I just say how hard it is to reminded about a loss that’s happened in the series when you’re not prepared for it? I have to admit, my mind had blocked out some of the events that happened in previous books in this series, almost as if I didn’t want to admit that they’d actually happened. Yet, once again, Messenger was able to make me feel things that I didn’t want to feel. The heartbreaking truths that are revealed in this series have hit me time and time again.

While I still greatly enjoyed this novel, this read was the first time that I found myself questioning some of Messenger’s choices with the way the plot was laying out. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why certain things happened the way that they did in this novel. It’s just that I wouldn’t have thought these things were the way the story was heading. I’m in no way saying that the choices that Messenger did anything wrong with the plot, since it is her world to do with as she sees fit. I’m more saying that some of the choices that she made have left me quite confused.

All that being said, I really am looking forward to continuing on with the series by picking up Flashback in the new year. (And only partially because I didn’t bring the book with me during my visit to my parents until January 1st…) True to her word, Messenger loves to leave her readers on cliffhangers – Nightfall being no exception.

If you’re looking for a book to give someone who’s not the biggest reader (and won’t be thrown off by the size of this series), I’d recommend giving this series a try. If you’ve found yourself in a reading slump and need something to draw you into a new world and get you to remember your love of reading, I’d recommend giving this series a try. If you’re just looking for an amazing fantasy world filled with a unique cast of characters and an engaging world, I’d recommend you giving this series a try. Heck, if you’re just looking for a fun fantasy read (and aren’t afraid to get emotional), I’d recommend you give this series a try. (Have I hammered in how much I enjoy this series yet?)

Of course, you’ll need to start with Book 1 – The Keeper of the Lost Cities (my review here; pick up your own copy here).



*Spoilers ahead*

To decrypt-ify the weirdly long tangent I placed in the spoiler free section of this review, I was mostly referring to the fact that Mr. Forkle is dead but not dead. While it was an interesting plot point to make him have a secret twin with whom he shared every aspect of his life, it really did feel like a plot device only used to keep the story easy. I say this in the nicest way possible, but the story would have been more difficult for Sophie and her crew, more gripping to me as a reader, if Mr. Forkle had remained gone. It would have been a huge blow for the good guys but would have made for a more impactful struggle as well. Instead, Mr. Forkle is still around to make all of the same decisions and play all of the same roles that he did before his half death.

Honestly, my heart was in my throat when I remembered that Mr. Forkle was dead. My eyes watered a bit when Sophie was trying not to remind herself about the events surrounding Lumenaria, remembering how she was there when Mr. Forkle took his last breath. Part of me feels as if this whole part of the series was weakened by the emergence of a second Mr. Forkle. We mourned his death, accept that the Black Swan is going to need to figure out a different way to handle things, and then he’s back and ready to continue to solve the crew’s problems. He’s also back to being overprotective over Sophie, but so many other characters play this role that it’s no change for him to slip back into this role.

On a completely different note, as much as I hate Keefe’s father, his theory of “The Heart of the Matter” was a stroke of brilliance. The idea that the mind and the heart have two different sets of emotions is a fascinating one. As an empath – and a strong one at that – it must have been hard for Keefe to consider there were two different emotional centers within a person. However, thanks to Sophie’s enhancing abilities Keefe was able to see that his father might just be onto something.

It seems that Sophie’s brain is telling her that she’s got a thing for Fitz, but her heart might not be. Of course, Keefe is worried that by telling Sophie the truth about what her other emotional center is feeling she’d get her brain to override these emotions. Since it seems as if her heart is leading towards Keefe, it makes sense as to why he wouldn’t want Sophie to try and change these emotions.

While I’d love to say that I’m still firmly in the “Team Fitz” camp, I have to say his wooing in Nightfall has been lacking. Sure it’s sweet that he wants to spend all of his spare time with Sophie and he baked her sweets. Yes all of the little gifts were sweet of him. But he wasn’t really there for Sophie the way that she needed him to be. He didn’t try to get her mind off of things or try to help her come up with solutions to the issues – at least not really. More than anything it seemed as if Fitz was just hoping that she’d get over it and be the Sophie that he likes as more than a friend.

On the other hand, Keefe really stepped up his game. He’s tried time and time again to try and protect Sophie from the realities of how desperate their position seems at times. Heck, he literally tried to save Sophie from King Dimitar’s wrath by becoming her Mercadir. Sure he made mistakes by constantly trying to take control of the situation so as to alleviate some pressure from Sophie, since that’s not really how to please a control freak like Sophie. But he was there where it counted. Heck, Keefe knew how serious Sophie was about him staying on bed rest so he listened to her even when it drove him crazy to be excluded from everything. It seems to be more and more likely that Keefe is Sophie’s end game… and I’m not mad about it.

On the opposite side of love interests, I’m glad that Sophie and Dex finally got stuff out of the way. It’s cute that they were each others first kiss and that Sophie was the one to initiate it. While I felt Sophie’s rejection through the pages (even though she was hoping Dex would realized they were better off as friends), I’m glad that the awkwardness between them can finally start to be put behind them – even if it does take a while for things to go back to normal.

I also hope that Biana’s going to be okay with the fact that Sophie and Keefe are going to end up together. After Sophie and Fitz try to make things work, of course. Because I don’t see how that’s going to be awkward at all.

Going back to Keefe and Sophie’s relationship for a minute, I love how Keefe figured out how to use his empathic abilities to stop Sophie from Inflicting on everyone on multiple occasions within this novel. Of course, once he figured out how to keep Sophie from inflicting, he was able to do it on a lesser scale without her enhancing his powers. Good thing, too, since Sophie’s so chock full of emotions at all times that she’s on the brink of releasing the buildup at any giving moment.

Unfortunately, Keefe’s just about the only one in his family that I can stand. Lord Cassius is a jerk and is emotionally abusive to his son without even realizing it. He claims that he’s just trying to get Keefe to live up to his potential, but he goes about it in the worst ways possible. And then instead of trying to prove to Keefe that he isn’t a total douchenozzle, he tries to coerce Keefe to move back in with him in order to satisfy his own wants – without even considering what would be best for Keefe.

Then we get to Lady Gisela. She’s convinced that her vision is the right thing for the world, even though she has to keep making what she refers to as the “tough choices” but are really just manipulative and harmful choices to both the people she claims to love and innocents. Even getting Ro to be Keefe’s bodyguard was a double edged sword – she could ensure that her son had at least some protection while still ensuring that she’d be given the opportunity to exact her revenge on King Dimitar for sentencing her to prison.

Thankfully, Sophie and her friends were prepared well enough to keep Ro alive long enough to get her to either Elwin or Livvy. If it wasn’t for the Panakes petals that Sophie now keeps on her at all times, a bunch of injuries that her friends sustained would have been much worse – possibly resulting in death. Thank you Calla, once again, for everything you sacrificed. And thank you King Dimitar for realizing that Ro should stay with the Black Swan in order to bring the Neverseen down even after everything that Lady Gisela put you and your people through.

It must be terrifying to know that Lady Gisela is now with the person who gave her the vision that caused her to lead the Neverseen. Vespera is one nasty lady, belittling Lady Gisela for having any emotional tie to her son or even thinking that he’s got some potential. Her experimenting on humans even before the treaty between the races was broken was a horrifying realization for the crew to make, though the clues were there for a while. Why else would Fintan have Keefe stare at humans in order to test why he would save specific people over others? I’m certainly not looking forward to how Lady Gisela and Vespera are going to mess with Sophie and her friends in the near future. At least Sophie has Keefe for support.

Speaking of supportive people, I have to acknowledge how amazing of a brother Tam is to Linh. Of course he’s being over protective by trying to prevent Linh from being around their parents so that they can’t play mind games on her, but he’s doing it from a place of love (which sound eerily similar to Keefe’s reasoning for trying to take over and save Sophie from having to make all of the tough decisions). He did decide to exile himself, after all, in order to stay with Linh and prove to her that she wasn’t in the wrong for having exceptionally strong powers that she didn’t have complete control over – yet.

Linh showed time and time again in this series how far she’s come since being the Girl of Many Floods. Heck, she was even able to come to Atlantis at the climax of the novel without flooding it… again. What’s even more impressive than that (to me) is the fact that she found the control to help save Atlantis from the flooding that Ruy caused by breaking the barrier. She’d tried so hard to say away from Sophie’s enhancing abilities for fear of what that increased power would get her to do and yet when push came to shove she ended up using her increased powers in order to save Atlantis. If she has to go through what Sophie described when holding Linh’s hand every second of the day, I can imagine how hard it must be for her to maintain any control – even when not submerged in the ocean. Well done Linh for being such a good person and not letting the power corrupt her… even if the water was constantly calling to her.

I love the dynamics of Sophie enhancing Linh so that she could plug up the hole while also enhancing Keefe so that they could remain focused on the task at hand and not be overwhelmed while waiting for the Psionipaths. It must have been hell for the three of them to go through, but they managed to do it because they had each other. It’s no wonder that they were so exhausted after the ordeal – I’m sure they used up more power than they should have been able to in order to succeed.

Grady, on the other hand, is one scary man while being enhanced. If it wasn’t for Sophie calling him Dad, I’m sure that he would have gone too far with his powers. He’s already admitted to going beyond the point he should have with his powers years ago, before he even realized that it was the wrong thing to do, so it’s no wonder that the increased power made it even harder for him to not control. I just hope that he’s able to listen to himself when he says that he can never do that again.

Before I end this post, I’d just like to say how much I loved reading about Sophie and Amy becoming closer as sisters. They were practically strangers when they lived together, and now that they’ve been given a second chance at everything they’re willing to try and see things through. It’s so sweet that Amy was willing to have her memories erased so that she wouldn’t be able to trigger her parents’ forgotten memories even though she didn’t want to forget about her time in the Lost Cities. It’s even sweeter than when she no longer needed to worry about triggering these memories Bronte ensured that she’d be able to keep her knowledge even though she’s a human. I have to admit, Bronte is really starting to grow on me.

Finally, I can’t wait to read what’s going to happen to Alvar. It sucks that the Neverseen were able to erase his memories, but I’m hoping that the Black Swan will be able to get some of him back in time to make it worthwhile. That sounds crass, but he really was an awful person while working with the Neverseen. I’m hoping that enough of Alvar can be brought back so that they can get some insight into the Neverseen – just not so much that he’s going to go back to his douchey ways.



If you’ve made it this far into the review, I have to assume that you’ve already read (and loved) Nightfall. What did you think about this installment of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series? What did you think about the existence of two Nightfalls?

As always, I’d love to hear if you felt the same way about things as I did or if you felt different about anything at all. A nice, hearty discussion is always welcome.



Other Reviews from the Series:

  1. Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book 1)
  2. Exile (Book 2)
  3. Everblaze (Book 3)
  4. Neverseen (Book 4)
  5. Lodestar (Book 5)
  6. Flashback (Book 7)

6 thoughts on “Nightfall by Shannon Messenger

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