Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nightingale by David Farland

A book review on Nightingale by David Farland

I can already tell this is the start of something great. Based on what he has written on the last page it appears he has three more books in mind for this series. I can't wait for more!
In this book we get to meet the hero, Bron Smith. David Farland fulfills this beautifully as I think this is one of the best introductions I've read to a character in a long time. Bron Smith is a troubled child due to his unfortunate luck in foster care, which makes him a hard and sometimes unloving character. Yet, we see many scenes of Bron acting unselfishly towards others and caring for those around him; you just can't help but care and root for him.

At the beginning Bron is sent to a new foster home in a new town, St. George, UT. Olivia, his new foster mom, seems to know more about who Bron really is more than he can imagine. Throughout the book is a discovery to find out who exactly Bron is and what he is capable of, as he appears to be far from ordinary and possessed of a rare power of possible good or destruction. Will he be able to control himself? Can he come to grips with who he really is?

The majority of this book takes place in the City I live in (something I didn't know when I picked this book up). This really fascinated me because David Farland nails the geography perfect, such as the driving directions from nearby cities to the Tuacahn High School and Amphitheater and how our Best Buy lies in proportion to the freeway. It was exciting to see everything be spot on. The only thing that drove me nuts was his description of the St. George Police Department primarily because I work there. I'll have to give him a pass for not knowing the layout of the inside or some of the procedures that occur there. I'm sure I'll be one of the few bothered by this.
This book is filled with action, conflict, and tension. If it isn't one thing, it is another. There were several times where I thought, "How on earth is Bron going to get out of this mess?" Yet David Farland does a masterful job of resolving the problems in a believable way. Not only that, but he gives us even more insight on the character of Bron Smith, making us cheer for him even more. The action is well-paced as Farland does allow a little bit of a breather now and then. And just as you start to get comfortable, BAM, he throws in another scene of action.

There are even romantic elements throughout the book and I think he does a convincing job of writing how teenagers interact with each other and members of the opposite sex. Bron is not the only point of view character as you will see him through the eyes of three women, two of them being teenage girls. If you like romance in books, this has it but doesn't take things so far that I'd feel uncomfortable having my teenager read it. Except for the violence, this book keeps things in a solid PG rating.

I've heard this described as "Twilight for boys." I think that is a pretty apt description. If contemporary fantasy is your thing, I would highly suggest giving this a shot. However, this is not just for boys. Girls will also enjoy it and might even like it more than Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Series.

That said, two others popular books came to mind as I read Nightingale: the Lorien Legacies/I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore and the Michael Vey Series by Richard Paul Evans. I've read them both and the plot elements share a lot of similarity. I think this is much better than I Am Number Four and I'd put it right on par with Michael Vey. So if you enjoyed either of these books, I can guarantee you'll enjoy this one just as well, if not more.
So, if you haven't figured it out yet, I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait for the sequel. Again, if you like contemporary fantasy then this should be right up your ally. This isn't the epic fantasy that David Farland is usually known for (see his Runelord Series) but I completely enjoyed this just as much.