Review of ‘Black Fall’

Rating: 4/5

There’s something about getting review copies from publishers that sings to the inner nerd in me. Thanks to Netgalley, I’ve had the opportunity to review plenty of such books. Some of them were good, others were better.

‘Black Fall’ is a book I received from Netgalley.

Written by DJ Bodden, ‘Black Fall’ has restive vampires, honourable werewolves and a murderous lich.

I know. When I first realise this was a story about vampires, I blanched. But, I owed it to the publisher to finish the book, and boy! Am I glad I did.

This is a coming of age story with Jonas Black, the son of Victor and Alice Black, takes his first steps into the shadowy (not) world of vampires.

A year after his father mysteriously died, Jonas discovers he is a rather unconventional vampire, the rare vampire offspring who also happens to be the result of an experiment to enhance the vampires’ resistance to deadly sunlight.

As a result, Jonas can go out in the Sun and not get burnt to a crisp.

But that’s where the story just begins.

The easiest parallel I can draw to this book is ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’. Think Harry and his initiation into the parallel wizarding world.

It is much the same for Jonas, the only difference(s) being that he is not being hunted by a dark lord, and the world of vampires, werewolves and “supernaturals” is prone to violence.

Jonas, who spent all his life oblivious to his heritage (at one point, a character refers to him as vampire royalty), assumed he was an ordinary human child with a regular girlfriend.

But then his genes (?) kick in and he is yanked navel first into the world.

But he adapts admirably, and even leads the charge to cleanse the governing ‘Agency’.

In a nutshell, Jonas Black and his allies, Eve the vampire, Kieran the unusual werewolf, Madoc the spectre and many others,  must take on the bad guys, in this case the ‘Order of Shadows’, and win the battle for a journal that could very well change the lives of vampires forever.

It is a testament to the author’s skill that I was easily drawn into the world. There is not a single word or phrase or even a sentence that feels out-of-place. The style of writing is very economical and, by that virtue, very effective. There is no unnecessary flair; Bodden wants to tell a story and tell it in the simplest way possible.

For that reason, there is very little exposition in the book. The few instances when the characters must expound, they do it so in a matter-of-fact manner, making it easy for the reader to flow along.

The characters too are very well fleshed out. They fall into three broad categories — the good, the bad and the ambiguous, and it makes for a thrilling read to see the characters develop.

I cannot wait to lay my hands on the next book in the series, ‘White Winter’.

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