Night Magic (Nightstruck #2)
Author: Jenna Black
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Jenna Black returns to the quarantined city of Philadelphia, where an unsuspecting seventeen-year-old has unknowingly unleashed a dark power that transforms the city into a monstrous hellscape in Night Magic.
Philadelphia is locked in the grip of an evil magic that transforms its streets into a nightmare landscape the minute the sun sets each night. While most of the city hunkers down and hopes to survive the long winter nights, Becket Walker is roaming the darkened streets having the time of her life.
Once, the guilt of having inadvertently let the night magic into the city―and of having killed her onetime best friend―had threatened to destroy her. But now she’s been Nightstruck, and all her grief and guilt and terror have been swept away―along with her conscience. So what if she’s lost her friends, her family, and her home? And so what if her hot new boyfriend is super-controlling and downright malevolent?
Mesmerized by the power and freedom of not having to care about anyone but herself, Becket is sinking ever deeper into the night magic’s grasp. But those who love her refuse to give up on her―even if she’s given up on them. If they can’t find a way to help Becket break the night magic’s hold, the entire city might soon find itself shrouded in perpetual night. But the last thing Becket wants is to be “rescued” from her brand new life, and she will fight tooth and claw to stay exactly where she is.
Praise for NIGHT MAGIC:
“Suspenseful and savage―Jenna Black does horror right!”―Kimberly Derting, author of the Body Finder series
"Effectively blending grisly horror, teenage dilemmas, and a touch of romance, Black has built a genuinely scary city where the night literally has teeth.”―Publishers Weekly
I was determined to have a good time without Aleric, to prove to him that I didn’t need him. I was still my own person, just like I always had been. I had never been and never would be the kind of girl who needs a male around to validate her existence. The problem was that wandering around the city streets alone at night in the cold was a hard thing to make into fun. I thought about trying to break into some more stores for another shopping trip, but even if I could have gotten in somewhere without the help of Leo and Aleric and his sacrificial Nightstruck army, I didn’t think it would be all that exciting a second time. And, okay, it wouldn’t be that much fun alone, either. I shoved my hands deeper into the pockets of my coat as I walked down Chestnut Street, trying to think of something to do. Maybe I didn’t need some guy to make my life worthwhile, but I guess I wasn’t really made to be a loner. Within half an hour, I was bored out of my skull. Also cold. Also hungry. But Aleric wasn’t going to get the best of me that easily. No way in hell I was going to call for him, even if it meant wandering the city aimlessly until dawn swept me away again. When I finally realized there was a reason why the Nightstruck traveled in packs, I felt like a moron for not having thought of that before. Just because I didn’t want to hang out with Aleric all night didn’t mean I had to be alone. I fell in with the first pack I came across, tagging along at the tail end without waiting for anyone’s invitation. No one seemed to mind, though they didn’t go out of their way to be friendly, either. There were three men and two women other than me, and they were all high or drunk or both. Both of the women were dressed like stereotypical hookers, in high heels that made my ankles hurt in sympathy. It was too cold out for bare legs, but that didn’t seem to have discouraged them from wearing micromini skirts. They both walked with an exaggerated hip sway that the men seemed to enjoy. One of the men was okay-looking, or might have been without all the tattoos on his neck. Nothing against tattoos or anything, but these looked like they’d been drawn by a five- year-old. A blind five-year-old. The other two men had scraggly beards and mustaches and smelled like they spent a lot of their time under bridges. I quickly decided that these were not my type of people and veered away. One of the gross men voiced a protest and started describing the things he would do to me if I hung around. In his twisted mind, I think it was an invitation rather than a threat, but I hurried away anyway and was relieved not to be chased. I reminded myself that the Nightstruck didn’t prey on each other— and that Aleric would likely kill anyone who dared lay hands on me. After a little while, I found another pack, this one made up of mostly teens. They seemed boisterous and happy, all talking at once and laughing as they passed around a bottle. A girl with dreadlocks held the bottle out to me and beckoned me to join them. She looked friendly enough, and the guys in this group were a little more clean-cut, so I figured why not? I took the bottle and checked to make sure it wasn’t Sambuca before taking a swig. It was vodka— regrettably not the chocolate kind— and though I didn’t exactly love it, I had no trouble getting it down. Generally, the packs I’d run across seemed to be wandering aimlessly, just waiting for something to pique their interest. However, there seemed to be some focus and purpose to this group. They were drinking, but not drunk, and I soon picked up on a sense of low-level excitement. “Where are we going?” I asked the girl in dreadlocks. She smiled at me and pointed at one of the guys. “You see Damien over there? His girlfriend dumped him, and we’re going to help him mend his broken heart.” I frowned. “I didn’t think the Nightstruck got their hearts broken.” The girl sniffed. “The bitch broke his heart before he was Nightstruck. Now we’re going to teach her a lesson.” The others chorused agreement as Damien threw back his head and howled. They all laughed and punched each other in the shoulder or gave each other high fives. I doubted any of them had ever met Damien before tonight, and there was certainly no reason why they should be taking revenge on the girl who dumped him. But an awful lot of the Nightstruck seemed to find crap like that fun. Piper and her skeevy friends had had a great time torturing my dad to death before my eyes. I searched for that spark of malice inside myself, wondering why the idea of terrifying and hurting some girl I didn’t know held no appeal to me. I tried to imagine myself whooping it up as these Nightstruck did...whatever it was they were planning to do, and the image just wouldn’t come to me. I’d expected to become a wholly different person when I was Nightstruck, but that wasn’t at all what seemed to have happened. As far as I could tell, I was the same old Becket, minus the guilt, the grief, and the insecurity. I might be angry with Aleric and concerned about where those missing hours of my life were going to, but I was still incredibly glad I’d finally given in. If I’d known then that I wouldn’t become some cackling sadist, I never would have fought it so hard. Of course the old Becket probably would have felt honor-bound to try to stop this pack from tormenting Damien’s ex, but that Becket had been absurdly idealistic. I was one person, and if I had any supernatural powers, I had yet to see any sign of them. There would be absolutely nothing I could do to stop my Nightstruck companions from doing anything they wanted to do, and I certainly knew better than to try to talk them out of it. Maybe you think I was being cold and uncaring, but I think I was just being smart and rational when I let myself fall a little behind the group, then turned the corner and walked away when I had a chance. The reality was I would not find any great fun and entertainment by hanging out with a pack of Nightstruck. They just didn’t have the same definition of fun as I did. But being alone still sucked, and I was far too stubborn to call for Aleric. I didn’t consciously plan to do it, but after a few minutes of being completely lost in thoughts that circled pointlessly through my brain, I snapped out of it and realized my feet were taking me back toward my old house. Not that there was anything left there for me. Piper and the Nightstruck had broken, torn, spray- painted, and/or peed on everything I owned, so there was no good reason to go back there. But of course it wasn’t really my house my feet were leading me toward. No, they were leading me to the house across the courtyard from where I used to live. The house where Luke lived, and where I’d been making my home ever since Piper left me effectively homeless. The lights were on inside, though they were barely visible behind the mouth like openings the windows had become when the sun went down. Those mouths came complete with vicious fangs that were no doubt ready to chomp down on anyone who came too close. I kept a respectful distance from those fangs— they were decorative bars during the daytime—as I peeked through the first-floor window. There was a sudden and ferocious bark, and I leapt back in surprise as suddenly a familiar form threw itself against the window, claws scrabbling against the glass. I had never been on the receiving end of one of Bob’s tirades before, and I completely understood why people were generally terrified of him. “It’s just me, Bob,” I yelled, but I doubted he could hear me over the sound of his own barking and snarling. It was a good thing for me he was inside and I was out, because he seemed about ready to tear my throat out. I felt a mild twinge of regret that my own dog wanted to tear me apart, and the fur of my mink coat suddenly didn’t seem as soft or desirable. I wanted my dog curled up beside me on a couch as I dug my fingers into his ruff. But Bob could obviously tell I was Nightstruck, and he hated the Nightstruck and the constructs with all the fury a trained attack dog can muster. When Bob had been defending me from the terrible things that roamed the night, he’d been so mindless with fury he’d ripped his poor paws apart trying to claw his way out. I was glad to find I still cared about his well-being enough to back away from the window in hopes that he would quiet down. “I love you, too, Bob,” I whispered, but the love I had once felt for him was strangely muted. Yes, I would have loved for him to greet me with a wagging tail and happy eyes, and I would have liked to give him a little scratch behind the ears, but I wasn’t heartbroken or anything. Only mildly regretful in a way I knew would fade the moment he was out of my sight. Bob’s barking had drawn the attention of the house’s other inhabitant, and when Luke grabbed Bob’s collar and dragged him away from the window, my heart did a little flip-flop in my chest. I’m not sure if what I’d felt for Luke before I’d been Nightstruck could technically count as love, but it had at least been close. Close enough that my last act before being taken by the night was to text him with an embarrassing Luv U. Not my finest moment. Luke glanced out the window, but I’m guessing all he saw was his own reflection as he looked out from his lighted house to the dark street. I could hear Bob carrying on still. I knew I should give the poor guy a break—it couldn’t be good for him to get this worked up— but I couldn’t force my feet to move. Not while Luke stood in that window. Secure in the knowledge that he couldn’t see me, I stared to my heart’s content, drinking in the sight of him. For years, he’d been my ideal of masculine perfection, the boy I’d always wanted but thought was too good for me. He had the perfect lean, athletic build, beautifully warm hazel eyes, and a decadent baritone voice that made my insides melt no matter what he was saying. The time we’d spent together in the last few weeks had proven that his appeal went far beyond his good looks. He was loyal, and brave, and kind. And he was an awesome kisser. Maybe Aleric was the hotter of the two in a bad-boy kind of way, but Luke still pushed my buttons. Of course he had to hate my guts now. He and Piper had been well on their way to breaking up before she’d been Nightstruck, but in a sense she’d still officially been his girlfriend when I killed her. He might not have liked what Piper turned into, but he was way too loyal to have anything to do with her murderer. The lights went off inside the house. It took me a second to realize Luke had turned them off so he could see out the window, see what had gotten Bob all riled up. He blinked a couple of times as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. I could tell when he spotted me, because his entire body went still. Our eyes met through that closed window, and I felt a distinct pang of longing in my chest. I’d thought the daylight hours were the only part of my previous life I missed. Turned out I was wrong. The joy of being Nightstruck was that I could have anything I wanted— except, it turned out, the thing I wanted most. Piper had told Luke and me that he was not vulnerable to the charms of the night, that it wasn’t possible for him to be Nightstruck. I wondered if she’d known that for a fact, or if she’d just been parroting something Aleric had told her. I supposedly hadn’t been vulnerable, either, at least not until Aleric goaded me into killing Piper for all the wrong reasons. Maybe I could do to Luke what Piper had done to me, weaken his defenses so that he could be Nightstruck, too. My life would be perfect then. Luke slid the window open, and I felt like I might faint in shock when I saw he had a gun— and was pointing it right at me. “Get out of here, Becket.” He had to yell to make himself heard over Bob. “I don’t want to shoot you, but I will if I have to.” That was bravado speaking, and we both knew it. Luke was a total novice with guns, and though I couldn’t see clearly in the darkness, I figured the one he was holding was my dad’s old backup piece. Which meant Luke had gone through my things after I’d disappeared, which kinda pissed me off. I almost taunted him, almost said something monumentally stupid like, “You’re not going to shoot me.” You know, the kind of thing that always gets you killed in the movies. But though I didn’t believe he would shoot, there was no reason to be dumb about it. I raised my hands so he could see I was unarmed. “I’m not here to hurt anyone,” I yelled. “I just...wanted to check on you. See if you’re all right.” Luke snorted in disdain. “Yeah, right. Tell me another one.” After everything he’d been through, Luke had every right to be suspicious and distrust my motives. That didn’t mean I had to like having the guy I was at least halfway in love with pointing a gun at me and looking at me like I was some kind of disgusting creature he’d just as soon kill. Never mind that he was right. I couldn’t have told you exactly why I’d shown up on his doorstep, only it hadn’t been to check on him. “I’m not like Piper,” I tried. “I haven’t changed that much. I may be Nightstruck, but I’m still me.” “The Becket I knew wouldn’t strut around in a fur coat, and she wouldn’t act like some Peeping Tom looking in my windows. Get out of here. I’m serious.” His words didn’t exactly hurt, but they didn’t make me feel good, either. “Stop pounding your chest like some gorilla. We both know I’ll leave when I feel like leaving and not a moment before.” I crossed my arms over my chest and gave him my best stubborn glare. I noticed his arms were starting to quiver just a little from the strain of holding that gun pointed at me for so long. It wasn’t that heavy, so I figured the quivering meant he was holding on to it way too hard. Either that, or he was freezing from standing at the open window. I don’t know what I’d been hoping to accomplish by coming to Luke’s house. Maybe I’d been hoping for nothing more than a quick stolen peek. If it was more than that, I obviously wasn’t going to get it, but I was far too contrary to leave just because Luke told me to. Also, the fact that Luke had opened the window and was still standing there talking to me told me there was at least part of him that wasn’t in so much of a hurry to get rid of me. Luke shook his head and lowered the gun. There were too many shadows for me to get a good look at his expression, but I knew it wasn’t a happy one. He had loved Piper, and he had at least liked me a lot, and now both of us were lost to him. I imagined that felt pretty crappy. Maybe his defenses were already well on their way to weakening enough to become Nightstruck. If I could just push him a little further, maybe he could be like me, no longer burdened with grief or pain. For the first time, I understood why Piper had worked so hard to bring me over. How could I feel this free and not want to share that feeling with those I cared about? “It really isn’t so bad, being Nightstruck,” I said. “I haven’t turned into some psycho killer or anything. I’m not about to forgive Piper for how she went about showing me the light, so to speak, but I see now that it really was the best thing for me.” The gun rose again, and I realized belatedly that bringing up the girlfriend I had murdered in cold blood had been just a tad insensitive. “You come near me or my mom or my cousin, and I swear I will shoot you. I’m not going to let you hurt them.” Once again I put my hands up in a gesture of harmlessness. “I would never do that, Luke. I told you, I haven’t changed the way Piper did. I want you to come out and join me, but I would never hurt anyone to make that happen.” Luke’s mom had taken me in when my dad had died, and I still felt grateful for her kindness. Just as I felt grateful for the kindness of Luke’s cousin, Marlene, who had made cheering me up her personal mission over Thanksgiving, and who had revealed that Luke had always had a secret crush on me— just like I’d had on him. Maybe if the two of us hadn’t been too chicken to admit we liked each other, we wouldn’t be in this situation right now. “I don’t believe you,” Luke said flatly. “If I had any sense, I’d shoot you now and put us both out of our misery.” There was a hoarse, scratchy sound to his voice that worried me. Everyone has their breaking point, and it sounded like Luke was getting close to his. Was it possible he would pull that trigger after all? I never would have thought myself capable of shooting my best friend, but when I’d thought she was a danger to everyone else I cared about, I’d killed her just the same. If Luke was having those same thoughts . . . Arguing with Luke wasn’t going to get me anywhere, and since I couldn’t honestly say why I’d come to his house in the first place, there was no good reason not to make a strategic retreat. “Take good care of Bob,” I said as I began backing away. “And tell your mom I’m really grateful for everything she did for me. I’m sorry I ran off like I did. You both deserved better from me, but it was the only way I could see to keep you safe from Piper.” I don’t know if Luke would have answered me or not, because I turned and ran for the nearest corner as fast as I could. I wasn’t entirely surprised to find Aleric waiting there for me, lurking in the shadows.Night Magic is the mesmerizing second novel in a thrilling YA fantasy series that readers are going to want to pick up. I'll say right off that you're going to want to read the first book before this one, or you'll be pretty lost and might miss out on some fantastic details. Every aspect of this novel was incredibly well thought out and executed. The entire idea of night magic and the Nightstruck was fascinating, and I loved learning all I could about it. It's really unique and allows the series to stand out from others in the genre. I'm looking forward to learning even more in the next installment. The author uses wonderful attention to detail and vivid imagery to bring Becket's world to life for the reader right from the beginning. I easily slipped inside her world and didn't come back out until I had read the last word (which ended up being a few hours later since I couldn't put it down).
Becket is an interesting main character for the book and series. She keeps changing and growing throughout the story, and I liked watching her come into her own. She was realistic and easy to connect with - despite being Nightstruck. The author uses the first person writing style for the book, and I'm sure that played a big part in my identifying with Becket. She's the narrator of the story, so we get to really know her on a personal level during the novel. There's some romance woven into the plot, which I really liked. It didn't overshadow the main storyline though, which was a huge plus for me. I enjoyed watching Becket and her relationships with the secondary characters like Aleric and Luke change and grow. Overall, this was a wonderful sequel in an awesome series, and I can't wait to see what will happen in the next book. Very highly recommended!
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.
Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.
Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. Among her other experiences . . .
Traveling all seven continents. Yes, even Antarctica.
Becoming a Life Master in Bridge.
Singing in a barbershop chorus.
Read the true story of Jenna's first trip out of the country by herself at the age of 16: Jenna's Zaire Adventure. And remember, insanity is a good thing for a writer.
She's also a proud member of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and would love for her readers to support her fellow authors!
(10) Winners will receive a Copy of NIGHT MAGIC by Jenna Black
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter