This was the second of two new Roswell novels written by author Kevin Ryan. The first of the two was "A New Beginning", which was not that great a book. Well, "Nightscape" is the complete opposite in terms of quality compared to the first book. I actually sat down and read the whole book in four and a half hours. I couldn't put it down it was so good.
Unlike the last book, the author gets to the main action and interest of the story fairly quickly. After having an encounter with the Special Unit while traveling through Washington state, the group drives down a deserted logging road and finds a spooky old manshion to hide in for the night. During their stay, things happen to convince them they are not alone in the house, and the group end up encountering an evil from their past.
The plot of this book is a great mixture of character exploration and suspense. I'll start by analyzing the character development:
Max is really shown as being tired of having to take the lead all the time in this book, taking the time for the group to vote on even small decisions. He is determined to protect his friends, sister, and the girl he loves, but finds failure in his past efforts to do so, and wants to make up for it in the present. Liz is also exploring her powers more, and how they may be used to help Max and her friends.
Michael and Maria are really explored well in this book. Michael is shown as having felt freer than ever before. Now, he has firmly concluded that Maria is his future. Just as this happens, Maria is deliberately pushing Michael away. But, the reason she is doing so is logical. She knows about Liz's premonitions about how Max, Michael, and Isabel, all die in the future during some alien attack. She is afraid to let Michael get close to her again because she is afraid of the pain she would feel in losing him.
Isabel is really shown to be at a crossroads. She is stepping into a new life, but is looking back at the one she is leaving behind. She spends a lot of thought on how Alex's death has affected her, and how it may relate to her marriage to Jesse that she has given up. The events of this story allow her a chance to explore some of her emotional baggage and confront some of the feelings she has been suppressing for a long time, since Alex's death. Kyle doesn't get much play in this book, but he is shown as wanting to be closer to Isabel, and risking his life to save her from a powerful enemy.
Now, for the plot. This is really a suspense/mystery novel. It almost reminds me of a classic haunted house story, but with a twist regarding who is shown to be behind some of the spookiness of the house. The atmosphere of the old house they end up in has a sense of otherwordly presence, but one that is rather sophisticated, not relying on chains rattling and moans in the night. Isabel also connects with the unseen forces she thinks are may be at work in the house in ways that really draw out her emotions and aid in her exploration of her past, especially her loos of Alex.
As they explore the house, I was really interested in just why certain things are the way they are in the house. The reader continues to be drawn into the spooky and mysterious atmosphere, and can't wait to read on to see what the answer to all of it is. Then, in an action packed climax of the book, the group is in an all out battle for their lives against an evil foe who has occupied the house. All extremely well carried out by Kevin Ryan in his story.
There are also some funny moments along the way, such as when Max and Michael chase away some Special Unit guys who try to capture them before they even get to the old mansion. Plus, I am convinced Kevin Ryan must be an Andy Griffith fan. In the last book, he had a mechanic named Gomer. In this book, the group runs into a Sheriff named Taylor. All that was missing was a deputy named Barney and a little boy named Opie.
I highly recommend reading "Nightscape". It was trully an excellent book. Just give yourself a few hours, though, when you pick it up. Once you do, you are not going to want to put it down.