My Thoughts About Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall #1) by Elena May (Book Review #134)

It’s been a while since I last read a young adult fantasy book. You might have noticed the lack of that genre in this blog. The reason being is, aside from I want to make this blog as diverse as possible, meaning I want to read different books of different genres, I am more of a contemporary type of YA reader. The last young adult fantasy book that I can remember reading was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas which was like ages ago. But from time to time though, when my mood switches, I crave for young adult fantasy books and be lost in an imaginative dystopian settings. And if you ask me about this book? It gave me that Throne of Glass feel with its strong bad*ss character and crazy but definitely immersing world.

I receive this book from the author last year and I am quite guilty that I was only reviewing it now. I have been meaning to read it after I received it but I don’t know, there’s always like a force that makes me put it down. I believe it might be because the book is really a chunker. If you don’t know me, I don’t usually go well with chunky books as I easily get intimidated. I added this book to my TBR for this year as I really want to get to it already and I know that there will come a day that I will crave for a fantasy book and this is definitely on top of my list. And that day finally arrived, so I immediately plunged into this book with my eyes shut but full of optimism that I will finish it and not get bored. Did I get bored? NO. Did I want more after finishing it? OH YES.

The book describes the world where it was overtaken by vampires. Man created a device that eventually was used against them, the Weather Wizard. The device controls the weather and Prince Vladimir, the leader of the vampires, seeing their chance to overpower the humankind, devised a plan which they called the Nightfall to attack every place in the world. Eventually able to control the Weather Wizard, they controlled the clouds and hid the sun. The captured humans were either turned to vampires or captured to be taken to Farms to bred to provide their food supplies. The main character of the book, Myra, belongs to the Resistance which is a group of people who were able to escape and hide from the vampires. They live in hideouts untraceable to vampires. The vampires and the Resistance members story became a cat and mouse chase. Each capturing a member of the other, torturing and killing one another.

“She had become the author of her own fate.”
– Elena May, Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall #1)

With food supplies dwindling and suffering terrible losses, the Resistance decided to make a plan to kill Prince Vladimir. They believe that by killing Prince Vladimir, the leader, will cause chaos among the vampires which will make it easier for the Resistance to kill them all. Myra volunteered and what she thought as an easy plan became the opposite. She was captured by the vampires. She was expecting to be tortured by the vampires but it turned out the other way around. She was treated like a princess and provided with the luxuries of the world before it was overtaken. Being a lover of art and literature, Myra can’t help but be amazed with plays that were staged and the castle’s million books. She became entangled with the affairs of the palace and, though, she doesn’t want to admit it, she’s enjoying her stay. She eventually came to understand the vampires’ complexities and be astonished how they act and feel the same way as humans. As her connection with the vampires continue to go deeper, he was caught in a dilemma of what to do. Will he follow the original plan or kill or Prince? Or will she follow her heart and instincts as it tells her otherwise? The plot thickens when she learned the reason why the Prince is keeping her alive. The Prince wants a favor from her. A favor she believes she can use to make the Prince follow her. But in a place where it’s politics is as complicated as her situation, how will she know whom to trust? Will she be able to carry out her plans without any complications? Who will win the battle between the vampires and the Resistance?

I connected with the main character as she’s always thirsty for new stories. She loves art and literature. Growing up, having not being born before the Nightfall, she can only imagine what it feels like during those days when all were in its normal state. Her only resort for her literary cravings were the books that were salvaged by the Resistance during their rounds outside their hideout. Lacking resources, she decided to create her own stories. I was able to feel her elation when she was introduced to her captor’s library. I like how she became so curious about the world and its literary wonders. I can’t imagine myself being deprived of books. Her discourses with Prince Vladimir about writing novels are really insightful. I felt like I was also being given advises about how to write better. As per her actions at the palace, some of here decisions became questionable at first but I definitely still understood where she’s coming from. The author was able to make me to eventually understood her actions.

The vampires became this intriguing characters that were so hard to decipher. I believe that the author purposely did that to add mystery to the book. I like how the author was able to make me questions each other’s motives and be anxious for their next moves. I don’t know who will make the biggest movement and who’s who in who’s side.

What I like best about this book is how it was able to maintain the intensity throughout until it ends. That’s what I dread the most when I read a thick book. I am not sure if the author will able to make me interested with the story or will bore me midway. For this book, I like how the author was able to balance drama, suspense and thrill. I did not experience any dull moment. It kept me hooked and engaged in the story. The world building was not done in a way that is not too overwhelming. The author slowly introduced facts about the world and describe the world in a very vivid way which made it easier for me to understood the world she wants me to visualize.

Overall, this is a good first novel. If you’re looking for an intense, fast paced and intriguing read with a lot twists and turns, you should definitely pick this one up. It made me think about a lot of things particularly about the actions that we do. There’s that But please take note that this is the first in a series, so expect that after finishing the book, you’ll definitely crave more.

5 stars out of 5.

Note: My gratitude to the author for providing me a review copy in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. In no way was my opinion about the book influenced.


Author: Elena May
Format: Paperback
Part of a Series: Yes (Book #1)
Release Year: October 2016
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
No. of Pages: 540 pages

About the Author

Elena May is a fantasy and science fiction author. Born and raised in Bulgaria, she has studied in New Zealand and the US, worked in Germany and the UK, participated in various research or volunteer projects in Israel, Liechtenstein and Turkey, and traveled to over forty countries. After years of moving around, she has settled in beautiful East Berlin.

Out of all the places she has visited, the one that provided the greatest inspiration for her Nightfall vampire series is foggy London. She spent a year there, sharing a tiny basement room with a humongous rat and wishing her landlord allowed cats. In the absence of cats, she faced the rat in battle, armed with both modern and traditional weapons, including ultrasound, garlic, chili peppers, and fresh mint. The rat wasn’t impressed, but at least all vampires stayed away.

She holds a B.Sc. degree in Physics and a M. Sc. degree in Mathematics, but her one true love remains speculative fiction. Her debut novel, NIGHTFALL: KINGDOM OF ASHES, was published on Halloween 2016 and received stellar reviews from multiple bloggers. She is currently working on the sequel, NIGHTFALL: MEN AND MONSTERS.

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