"I’ve come a long way to get you. You’re special. More than you realise. A lot of people have been suffering for a long time so you might have a chance to live. Some have even died for it."
Saria has grown up in the secluded valley, Ma Lee her only companion and the old Dreamer Gaardi the only visitor. But that changes when Dariand arrives to take her away. Only now does Saria start to understand how special she is – the last of her kind and the final child of the Darklands. In a dying world, she is the last hope for her people. But how can she fulfil this hope when nobody understands just what it is she must do?
Nightpeople is an outstanding beginning to a new fantasy trilogy from award-winning West Australian author Anthony Eaton. Set in a sparse desert, quarantined because it has been contaminated many years ago by the mysterious Nightpeople, the story explores a future, which although it is fantasy, is frighteningly believable. The landscape, too, will be eerily familiar to many Australian readers.
This is fantasy at its best – a well-woven, absorbing tale with characters that are likeable yet flawed enough to make the story real.
First up, Nightpeople was amazing. It was sad, haunting, 'eerily familiar', and it reminded me of what might happen in the future if we don't protect the environment and conserve our energy sources. The story was extremely well written, but the plot was a bit...meh. I pretty much guessed what happened, but there was one unexpected twist in the end about Saria's mother that I wouldn't have guessed.
The characterisation was really, really good. Saria was thoroughly believable, and so was Dariand, although he was a bit annoying at times--he's the sort of character that you love and hate at the same time. There was a point in the story when I wasn't sure whether Dariand was a good or a bad guy, and I loved how Anthony Eaton didn't tell us, straight out.
I also enjoyed the mystery of the Nightpeople. While Dariand and Saria have to duck or hide every time the Nightpeople patrol the Darklands, in the end when Saria is willingly taken by the Nightpeople, they don't seem quite so bad. I'll find out more about that in the next book.
Saria being able to enter someone else's mind and even 'reach' into the Earth is really intriguing, and I look forward to reading more. There was so much left untold in Nightpeople, but I guess that is a good thing, since Eaton will have to keep us interested for another two books.