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Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Nightingale by David Farland

Like The Golden Queen, Nightingale ramps up the speculation to deeper and wilder speculations.  The Kindle is enhanced with sequential art illustrations (and music apparently, but I have an older Kindle, so that doesn’t work).  If you enjoyed Stephen Gould’s YA novel Jumper, Nightingale is likely to appeal.  Where Jumper is systematic in its uncovering of powers,  Nightingale’s speculation unveils like a mystery.  (Readers, who do not care for YA point of view, may not want to read this.)

Nightingale thrusts the reader immediately with Sommer, a masaak, fleeing three mastiffs and a Draghoul.  While she is able to overcome the mastiffs by calming them mentally, she is unable to do so to the Draghoul, a minion of Lucius, who wants to know where her child is.  She doesn’t recall having a child.  The memory must been erased.  The Draghoul promises to hold the lives of her family hostage unless she helps them find the child.

Sixteen years later, Bron is shuffled to another foster home; finally, he finds a home with Olivia, a woman who senses who Bron is, what his potential is, though she doesn’t yet know his abilities might.  Despite the danger of drawing Draghouls to her and her masaak family, Olivia decides to adopt.  Meanwhile, she teaches him how to act kingly and how to play guitar professionally in one night--one night of working his memories while he slept fitfully.  Years as an unwanted foster child left scars on Bron, so Olivia extracts harmful memories.

When they go shopping for clothes, they run into five Draghouls who threaten them but back down when Bron employs his newly learned acting skills to fool them who he is.  However, they figure out the ruse and pursue.  After an accident, not only are the Draghoul in pursuit, combing the schools, so are the police.  None of this helps Bron when the police suspect him in the disappearance of his neighbor, Galadriel, a pretty girl his age.

Bron attends school where he’s immediately entangled in a love triangle, with a rival that’s out to get him--a rival who coincidentally is the police officer’s son who came to investigate Galadriel’s disappearance.  Meanwhile, Draghouls stop by to check if Bron is registered to attend classes here.

Then Bron learns of his talent--a rare and dangerous one.  He had done something to the girl that brought her close to death.  After a visit to the Weigher of Souls, he realizes this battle has lasted far longer than he could have imagined.

From there, it only gets cooler.

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