Black Fall by D.J. Bodden
Jonas Black’s life is not exactly what he thought it was. And now his parents need rescuing from a nasty demon. Good thing he’s developing some neat powers and amazing friends!
Title: Black Fall
Author: DJ Bodden
Series: The Black Year Saga Book 01
Publish Date: April 10, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author
Giveaway: The author is giving away a seat on his alpha reader and reviewer team. The winner gets free books and a character in the story! Check out the details on the giveaway page.
Black Fall is FREE ON AMAZON from now until Friday; don’t miss it!
Publisher’s Description: Jonas Black is a typical 16 year old, except for his lucid dreams, reclusive mother, and the two hulking bodyguards who walk him to school. When his father disappears, he’s forced to enter a dangerous, supernatural world hidden in modern day Manhattan, all while trying to come to grips with his unique heritage and keeping his battered MP3 player working. In the process, he’ll beat down a long-dead Frenchman, talk to a woman who has no tongue, find out what human ash tastes like, and learn to make friends who don’t want to kill him. The odds are against him, but he has a plan; if he’s lucky, he might even survive.
A high-paced supernatural thriller with strong male and female characters, century-old feuds, and dark humor, Black Fall is the first of four books in the Black Year saga by D.J. Bodden.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Nervous Nellie says…
First things first: this is an urban fantasy taking place in Manhattan, New York. No cliffhanger, does involve a 16 year old but isn’t exactly YA. I’m not keen on YA and this book is something to be keen over.
This story is told from a 16 year old’s perspective in an adventure of his life. He’s fairly mature for his age, I think, since he’s had to function on his own quite often. Jonas is thrust into a world that he knows nothing about and seems to take everything in stride. I’d be freaking out, if it were me.
I like this book because the main protagonist doesn’t feel all whiny and entitled like privileged kids often act. The story is an adventure and it has vampires and werewolves starring as supporting characters. Jonas has to deal with his grief and emotions throughout the book. It’s not a grief that made me into an emotional mess, so don’t pass on this book because of that. It is an adventure, not an emo sad story. The characters are plenty, but they are easy to follow. Each are somewhat developed and do not have a distracting back story to take away from the experience that Jonas is living.
I didn’t like every aspect of this book, though. I had a hard time with determining when I was in mindscape and when I was in reality. There are mind barrier building exercises that Jonas experiences that are incredibly detailed. I did get lost a couple of times, but I think it was more me than the story telling of the author. I also take a stutter step when I think of a 16 year old planning and taking chances like Jonas did. I felt it was a lot to ask of a kid of his age. With all that being said, I’m looking forward to Book 2 to see where this story leads me.
Invested Ivana says…
Jonas Black believes he is a normal sixteen-year old, with school and a girlfriend and a normal future ahead. His dad died when he was young, and his mom is distant and just slightly weird, having a skin condition that keeps her out of the sun. But shortly after we meet him, Jonas’s world is turned upside down, and everything he thought he knew turns out to be wrong.
As you may know, I’m not a huge fan of Young Adult novels. I’m WAY past that stage in life and don’t really care to revisit it. So I was a little hesitant to read about a sixteen-year old protagonist. But as Nell mentioned, Jonas isn’t whiny or entitled or so freaked out by his challenges that he rebels or waits to be saved. He grew up kinda like me, actually–no dad, distant mom, only child (for a long time, anyway), and pretty independent. So when weird/scary/cool stuff starts happening, he rolls with it, doing his best to learn what he can, keep up, and survive. While he is young, Jonas is doing what we all hope we would do in his situation — making the best of it.
And, holy cow, weird/scary/cool doesn’t really cover it. Jonas encounters vampires, werewolves, ghosts, hunters, demons, liches, and so much more, each with their own histories and agendas. Not only that, but he is changing as well, becoming something far from the normal kid he thought he was. And if that isn’t enough, he has to save his parents from… well, he’s not exactly sure what, but he’ll figure it out along the way.
Black Fall creates a really inventive world, and I know this novel just scratched the surface. I’m very eager to learn more about all of it and in seeing Jonas come into his own.
Kat Mandu says…
This is an exciting read that I put off for far too long. Jonas’s story begins with his father’s death, continues to lead him into a dangerous new world where he craves blood, people can read minds (and do so much more), and his mother is slowly going crazy.
What I loved: I really, really enjoyed the mental magic. The author is great at setting up these inner mind-worlds that are like fortresses. Jonas chooses a castle to barricade himself from enemies who want inside his head, and as he grows, so does his barrier. Not only does it grow, but it evolves with the help of sometimes enemy/sometimes ally Edwards. Not to mention the help of his inner voice, Sam, who represents a big part of his subconscious. I was a bit thrown off at the end when it went from Medieval warfare to a Halo kind of battleground. But I like Halo a lot, so, bring on the drop-pods and fancy schmancy sci-fi weapons. I also liked how Madoc was kind of like an AI.
I also enjoyed the characters. Kieran, and his modest ways; Eve with her dark secrets and anger; his mother, slowly going crazy from grief and secrets; and Fangston, the big baddie vamp who thinks he’s got the guts to harbor a demon in his head but discovers he’s very wrong. I also liked quite of few of the human Hunters, who are crazy in their own rights.
What I think could improve: Some of it didn’t flow well for me and I often got confused. I like books with sub-plots within the big plot, but I think the big plot gets lost sometimes among all those side-missions. It took me a long time to realize that the Fangston battle was the main plot, not figuring out where his father was. There were scenes that felt like they were thrown in to add something, but only added more confusion. And then there were scenes where I’m still left wondering what really happened. And overall, I liked the personal development of the character but I feel like I could have used more transformation. Sure, he becomes a badass when it comes to mind magic, but did he really mature from when we first met him in chapter one? I didn’t really think so.
Maybe I’ll find out in the next one! This is a great YA novel to start off a rocking series featuring vampires, werewolves, spirits, and other supernatural baddies. I give it a four for action, mayhem, and great characters I’m eager to read more about.
Luna Lovebooks says…
I loved the fact that this is another vampire story without being your *typical* vampire story. Jonas doesn’t even know he is a vampire at first! The transformation Bodden puts Jonas through is simply amazing. He takes a teenage boy not too worried about his future and changes him in to a bad ass teenage vampire who saves the world and we get to watch this transformation.
His other characters are simply amazing as well. I was drawn to Kieran who seems humble and noble for a rare type of werewolf and Eve, a teenager who was turned and is dealing with the consequences. Specters, zombies, and Hunters all make an appearance and worm their way into your heart, leaving you sad when they die or heartbroken when they betray Jonas.
The plot is original as well as the world that Jonas lives in. I love that it starts out slow and you get acquainted with the world as Jonas does and then the book takes off and leaves you wanting more. I am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series to find out if Jonas gets his father back, if Doris comes back to join the game, and what exactly a Winter Wolf is. I give this book four stars!
If you like this book…
…you might try the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz, the Boundary Magic series by Melissa F. Olson, or the Redneck Apocalypse series by eden Hudson. Kat also recommends the Sons of the Dark series by Lynne Ewing, Dangerous Girls duology by RL Stine, and the Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow.