Book Review: Nightstruck

Nightstruck by Jenna Black


It starts with a cry in the night.

Becket, walking her dog one winter evening, fears it’s an abandoned baby left out in the cold. But it is something else—something evil—and it tricks Becket into opening a doorway to another realm, letting a darkness into our world, a corruption that begins transforming Philadelphia into a sinister and menacing version of itself…but only at night.

The changes are subtle at first, causing Becket to doubt her senses and her sanity. But soon the nightmarish truth is impossible to deny: By day, the city is just a city, but at night it literally comes alive with malevolent purpose. Brick and steel become bone, streetlights turn into gallows, and hungry alleys wait to snare mortal victims. Terrified citizens huddle indoors after dusk, as others succumb to the siren song of the night, letting their darker sides run wild.

Once, Becket’s biggest problems were living up to her police commissioner father’s high expectations and a secret crush on her best friend’s boyfriend. Now she must find a way to survive and protect her loved ones…before the darkness takes her as well.

(Via Goodreads)

About the Author

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she’s an “experience junkie.” She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life’s work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation.

(Via author’s website)

My Impressions

Picked Nightstruck up by accident. I was shooting for another Holly Black book and took this one home, thinking a concept like a city filled with monsters at night would be spun gold in Black’s capable hands. But I missed again and only realized I’d picked up Jenna Black after I left the library.

Oh well, might as well give it a shot, right?

Interesting concept, boring execution. The main character, Beckett, has almost zero impact on the events of the plot, spends most of her time pining after a boy who has all the personality of a piece of paper, and precedes far too many sentences of her internal monologues with the phrase “as the police commissioner’s daughter…” The narrative itself involves so much exposition that it almost physically hurts to read as the tension drops over and over, often culminating in Beckett deciding to do nothing for the 37th time. Things don’t even begin to get interesting until the end, but by then I was so exasperated with Beckett that I didn’t care. It ends on a cliffhanger; I won’t be picking up the sequel.

I dust my hands of this nonsense.


Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s