Nocturnal Farm - by Villimey Mist
The second book in the Nocturnal series picks up the threads from its predecessor, with Leia trying to continue her “life-after-vampires” existence. It’s a nice slower start this time, Villimey layers on aspects to strengthen her main character – with a therapist and combat sports training – in an attempt to prepare for any more Vampire interactions.
For those readers that have read the first part, the title of the book basically tells the story of this sequel – it leaves no doubt in the minds of the reader where we are going to go – even people that hadn’t read the first book could guess from “farm” the end location of the novel – and that’ works, it serves as foreshadowing all by itself. We are re-introduced to a couple of characters, Grigori and Kenji, and the trio head off to Amsterdam to rescue Leia’s brother, who has disappeared there after being
photographed next to vampires and their human servers.
Now I’m going to say straight up, that this book is set up pretty much as Empire Strikes Back – a brilliant film which was my favorite of the original three, but taken in isolation, is primarily world-building and character-building. In this second book, the characters are there, but it’s mainly the world-building we concentrate on. Mist focuses on the setup of the coven in Amsterdam. Under young leadership, that coven takes risks and considers itself progressive in its thinking. Unfortunately, the standing characters aren’t given a chance to shine – Grigori, supposedly one of the toughest and meanest vampires is left to the sidelines to sneer and be grumpy, is easily tricked, overcome in the first real fight, and isn’t showcased in any of the main fight sequences. Likewise, Kenji is purely emotional support to Leia, whose “new” abilities (fighting) are never used. Leia is sold on her personality, likable, and well-meaning. She’s someone to root for, but not an active force, in all of the scenes she finds herself in, other people save the day, rescue her or fight to allow her to escape.
Now before you mistake me, that does allow a narrative of the action – Leia is primarily used as an observer and as the motivational force to the other characters. She’s strong-willed, and someone to root for – absolutely. Without giving away the ending, something happens in the last couple of pages of the book that needed to happen in all fairness – it was the only possible way for further character progression, so honestly, it didn’t come as a surprise – likewise, the big boss baddie, when revealed – well, let’s say I saw that reveal coming, and unfortunately was used as a monologuing “bad guy reveals his plan to the world” moment. The plan was good – there’s a real threat and obvious storyline that is going to explode in book 3 – but I wish it could have been integrated into something more organic than bragging. A couple of times, items (an axe) or even humans (brought with the vampires just in case?) were brought into scenes when required, seemingly having waited in the sidelines until needed or left handily where they could be picked up before being rapidly dispatched – a vampire Leia liked happened to be readily available as a victim, circumstance presumably placing her in the right moment in the right place? Hmm. Probability aside, it felt unlikely.
I’m going to treat this book as the necessary middle book in an original trilogy (I think the fourth book is about to drop) – it all needed to happen and the world is much bigger and richer for all of the information in it, and the set up for the next book is fantastic. I don’t think you can really separate this book as a stand-alone and still be fair to the series. It’s always going to be compared to the original, which had a very strong secondary character who isn’t present except in memory in this book, and which had more set pieces. This needed to have happened, to get to the next book, but it was more work, my suspension of disbelief had to be tweaked at times.
In summary, I think this is a good fill-in book between the first and the next, which promises to be a lot more action-packed and brutal, if I have read the world-building correctly, and which will radically change the main character’s actions. This is getting a 3⭐ ‘s out of 5, and I look forward to Nocturnal Salvation in September, and hopefully some serious Vampire/zombie carnage.
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