CITY OF BLOOD (NIGHTMARELAND VOL.5) – by Daniel Barnett
Publisher: Daniel Barnett
Available: May 2021
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5.0
Overview: (Synopsis copied over from Goodreads listing) There’s a house on Utah Lake. A safe haven resting in the shadow of the unspeakable, the locale promises refuge for the Flashlighters after tragedy drives them back to civilization with John and company in tow. But grief is a nightmare of its own, and people will take desperate measures to escape its dominion. Even if the way out is drenched in blood. // City of Blood is the fifth volume of the Nightmareland Chronicles, an ongoing serialized adventure horror epic following one man’s journey to reach his estranged daughter in a world claimed by eternal night.
The Good: The addition of the Flashlighters in volume four is made more important in City of Blood, especially now that we are learning more about their pasts and the way they operate. When Marcus begins his journey down State Canyon Drive, he encounters a nightmare that proves to be a wonderful blend of IT and the sirens of the sea. And though not as explosive a finale as I was expecting, the closing scene within the Peaks Ice Arena is coupled with a shocking revelation that will surely excite readers and bring about speculation.
The Bad: With this being a continued series of many books (five so far, with at least twelve expected), it would be useful if Barnett explained previously introduced people and interactions a little more when they come back around. Multiple times, I was left smacking the side of my head as I tried to remember a name that was mentioned on the fly and why they were important. Sequels generally have “recap” moments to bring everyone back up to speed, but these books haven’t really done that.
The Takeaway: City of Blood continues to flesh out our vision of Nightmareland, while also providing new avenues for horror. Not only does this volume conclude with a surprising revelation that will get your heart working double time, Barnett notes that volume six is a major turning point that acts as a season finale for the series thus far. Judging by the provided synopsis for Lily, we will likely follow the Flashlighters the most this Fall when Nightmareland is expected to return. Though some readers may question such a shift in this character base, I am personally excited for a new group to take focus and surprise us some more. This series has been good at that every step of the way!
> File Under: horror series … epic … horror epic … nightmares … monsters … apocalyptic … swallowing darkness … dread
> Also Read: Previous volumes in this series include Nightfall, Lullaby, Sleepwalking, and The Flashlighters
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> Aiden’s scoring system – (5) Perfection (4) Loved it (3) Enjoyed it (2) Disliked it (1) Hard pass / Aiden generally will not write a review for anything that scores lower than a (3) in his mind / DNF means “Did Not Finish” – this could be because of the writing, scheduling conflicts, lack of interest, or content; it does not necessarily mean the book was terrible