Hopefully you’re reading this because you enjoyed the first book in Anthony Hains’ Nightshade Chronicles Series – Nightshade’s Requiem. If so, continue on good reader. If not, take a moment and check that review out. When I read a series, I always like to go in order, however I appreciate that some readers may want to know if that’s necessary here. In short, no. Sins of the Father works as a stand-alone, however it does move the story of Cole Nightshade forward, so there is character development you will miss out on if you jump right in here.
Sins of the Father picks up pretty immediately after Nightshade’s Requiem with Cole recovering from the events of the first book’s finale. Having grown up an orphan, Cole is surprised to discover an extended family he never knew. This leads to revelations about Cole’s father, a man he never knew anything about, and ultimately the uncovering of a new evil to wreak havoc upon the town.
At the beginning, the reader is treated to a novel that doesn’t reflect the horror tones present in the first book. It’s a story about Cole discovering who he is, what he’s made of, and a little more about his abilities as a seer. With the exception of a few visions here and there, we are more focused on Cole’s character than his surroundings. When it starts to go down, however, Hains brings it downhill in a great big hurry. The slow build makes a scene that occurs about halfway through shocking in it’s brutality, gore, and dispatch of characters who looked like they might be key players in the narrative.
The pacing never really lets up from that turning point as we go full-on ghoul meets creature feature. One thing that doesn’t change with the rest of the atmosphere is the heart with which Hains writes main character and series namesake, Cole Nightshade. It’s clear that the author has plans to continue writing in Nightshade’s world, and I aim to be a part of that journey going forward.
One element I missed from the first story was the interchange between the children in Saint Edward’s, borrowing the group coming-of-age element present in such stories as It or Stranger Things. There is a new cast of younger players this time around, but they don’t really play to the team element. In defense, it did feel like Hains moved on to new components as a way of storytelling in order to avoid retreading the same ground and just putting out the same novel twice. In that, he succeeds. This feeds the hope that the third book in the series, not yet announced, I’m simply jumping the gun, will be an entirely fresh story that keeps Cole at its heart, and continues to make his growth concern number one.
I’m happy to recommend this strongly to fans of the first book, as well as fans of supernatural creature horror, twisted family dynamics, and character-driven horror.
Publisher: PCNY Books
Release Date: April 12th, 2020
I was given a copy by author for review consideration.