Thursday, October 18, 2018

[Book Review] The Nightmarchers by J. Lincoln Fenn

Book Review of The Nightmarchers by J. Lincoln Fenn

The Nightmarchers by J. Lincoln Fenn was a totally nerve-wracking tale. While reading, you won't be able to guess what happens next.

Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this story.

Let's dive in to my review!

The Nightmarchers by J. Lincoln Fenn 

At the start of the book, we see a series of letters from Irene Greer, a botanical researcher that had traveled to a remote island in the Pacific. Things start out fine, but a bit tense. But soon we see Irene begin to act strange. Next we learn that Irene has fallen down a waterfall to her death. In her letters she had been convinced that the spirits of her dead husband and daughter had joined the night marchers, which were the ghosts of ancient warriors that rise from their burial sites on moonless nights and wander the island.

Then we jump to the present and meet Irene's descendant, Julia Greer, who is recovering from a nasty divorce. Her previous life and daughter had been suddenly taken away from her, and now she is barely able to make rent and she has no electricity because she hasn't paid that bill for awhile. When her elderly great-aunt (sister of Irene) offers Julia an outrageously large sum of money to travel to the remote island and collect samples of a flower and bring back Irene's remains, Julia can't turn it down. But while traveling to the island, she learns that there was a lot that her great-aunt had kept from her, and it only gets worse as her trip continues. Soon, Julia doesn't know who to trust and she begins to lose her grip on reality....

While reading, I really felt horrible for Julia when we first met her. Not just because she was going through the divorce and losing everything that she had once had, but because watching her try to keep up the fa├žade of the rich when she met with her great-aunt was so heartbreaking. This was her family, and she felt that she needed to play the meeting like a game. This made me wish we could have gotten to know more about Julia before she met her ex-husband... 

After the meeting with her great-aunt, I was so interested to see what was going to happen! While Julia was traveling, I started to feel super anxious and that feeling didn't let up until the last page. I was so intrigued by the overall mystery; I couldn't wait to start getting answers. Especially when things started to get really strange!

I really enjoyed the characters, even though, just like the main character, I could never really decide who to trust. Unfortunately, that's all I can say there without totally spoiling things!

There was one bit of the book that totally gave me The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon vibes! Julia went wandering into the jungle. Though she was warned not to touch many of the plants that she may encounter, one second of frustration put her in quite a scary situation! She had already been having trouble with keeping a grip on reality, and then she kicked a plant that snapped and oozed a sap that smelled funny and made Julia very lightheaded. Things suddenly weren't looking good; she was about to black out, couldn't stand up, her eyes were swollen, and she was having trouble breathing. And to make things worse, she had fallen into a bog that was full of twig-like leeches... I read this scene twice because it was so horrifying! I loved it!

I was SO into this book up until the very last few chapters. Unfortunately, it then took a turn that totally threw me... Perhaps I missed something, but it was so odd that I didn't care enough to go back and reread it...  

The twist was one that left me saying "What the heck just happened?! This was SO good until now... what?!" I mean, immaculate conception, suddenly just giving up and being okay with the overall "plan", a very short pregnancy and a boy that grows up rather quickly, and writing very mature letters to a young girl who literally knows nothing about your travels in the first place? Totally weird to me. And then it was just kind of left open ended... I did enjoy that in her last letter, she kept talking about the pen running out, and then how it just ended. But the text chat that was seen next left it off on a rather frustrating note. The worst part is that I think I would have liked the ending and how open-ended it was if it hadn't taken that odd twist. 

My favorite passages:
She doesn't notice the letter at first. Buried in the pile of mail threatening to become a paper avalanche, it takes her a good minute to pull all of it out of her mailbox, which resists her mightily, like there's something on the other side trying to pull her in.

Nothing poisons quite so well as rejection.

The thing that hides itself in plain sight, that's always the thing you have to watch out for.

Something inside Julia tears a little. Her soul maybe.

The greatest lie we ever tell our children is that we can protect them. The truth is, the world has teeth, and people are ferocious creates, and yes, half the world is trying to eat the other half. The truth is, there are witches in the woods with houses made of candy, who entice you inside with promises of cake, but have a dark purpose.

Thanks for reading! 
If you give this book a read, I would LOVE to discuss it!



  1. Sorry the ending threw you off, but this sounds like such an intriguing read!


    1. It definitely was! My god, the first 95% of the book was INSANE!

  2. Ooh this does sound good! I love anything spookified! x

  3. Sorry for the odd ending. It did sound interesting up until that point. We've all been there. Better luck on your next read.

    1. Yeah... maybe someday I'll go back and re-read to see if I missed something. Thank you! :)

  4. I love the title of this one. It’s creepy enough on its own. The story sounds creepy but I’m sorry to hear it ended weird.

    1. Right?! I just learned today that the nightmarchers are actually a known ghost story in Hawaii!! That certainly makes the read more interesting!

  5. So I didn't read the spoiler because I have this book too. It sounds like the MC is an unreliable narrator and 90% of the time (really most of the time except for two books I read this month - go figure) those books drive me crazy. Yet your review does have me curious and now I want to dive in so I can see about this ending! Great review Erica!

    1. I cannot wait to see what you think! I hope you have better luck with the ending. I'd love to hear your thoughts on if I just m missed something!! :)

  6. This actually sounds really good - too bad it went off the rails!

    1. Yeah!! I'm really wondering if I just missed something...

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I might have to add this to my tbr!