Lullaby is volume two in Daniel Barnett’s Nightmareland Chronicles, a post-apocalyptic horror series that so far has the potential to be something epic in scope and truly special. In Nightfall, volume one of the series, it felt like Barnett was placing all of the pieces upon the board, setting the stage if you will. Lullaby feels like the author is now making his first moves with those pieces and the game is beginning to get underway. All that said I really enjoyed Nightfall. Throwing us the readers into an apocalyptic scenario that felt fresh and different, the sun going out and plunging the entirety of the world, as far as we know, into complete and utter darkness. Hence the name Nightfall, the last day in May when the night fell. Very cool and intriguing setup. I had a ton of questions as to what was going on. What caused this? Was it an attack? Some natural cause? Supernatural forces at play? We don’t get any answers yet but to say the least I was hooked right from the start.

Now let’s get into Lullaby. The continuation of John and Mariah’s story after the events of volume one. The second entry into the series is shorter than the first, but I think I liked Lullaby even more. It had a claustrophobic, isolated feel to it. We do encounter other people out within the darkened wasteland but the focus was really on John and Mariah. Inside the closed cabin of John’s truck, the darkness outside felt like a palpable force constricting around the psyche of our characters, the only saving grace the headlights of the vehicle feebly holding the blackness at bay.

For a book only 97 pages long we get a surprisingly huge amount of character development here. We really start to delve into what makes these characters tick, what their motivations are, what they are thinking and how they are processing this new and scary world they find themselves in. What surprised me the most was how much we get from Mariah. She for me took center stage here. Barnett wrote some chilling and riveting scenes for Mariah and I wonder if she might end up being the main character we follow throughout the rest of our long journey. That isn’t to say that John is left by the wayside, quite the opposite, but due to certain circumstances that I won’t talk about due to spoilers, we get to spend a lot of time with Mariah, experiencing her thoughts and fears which I really enjoyed.

I want to touch on the setting just briefly for a moment. It dripped atmosphere. While reading I kept finding myself closing my eyes and picturing what our characters were witnessing. John and Mariah are traversing the bleak desolate expanse of Death Valley. Along the mountainous horizon, they can see the faint orange glow of the fire as the wilderness is burning. Ash rains down like snow as it cuts across the headlights of the truck. To me, it was a beautifully painted picture that gave off eerie, ominous end of the world vibes.

As far as the big mystery, what happened to the sun, we start to get small clues. Bits and pieces of this puzzle start to emerge but I have no idea how they all fit together and we still have many more pieces scattered and lost in the darkness waiting to be uncovered. I am completely captivated by this story and cannot wait to have more revealed. I have already donned by tinfoil hat and have fallen deep into the well of conspiracy theories with a few friends as to what all may be transpiring here.

As with Nightfall, Lullaby is gorgeously written. Barnett’s prose is something to be relished and ingested slowly so as to make sure no detail is missed. As with a painter where every stroke of the brush is important and essential to creating the final work of art, Barnett wastes no words here, propelling the narrative forward but with a finely honed literary flare. Speaking of artists, Daniele Serra has done an outstanding job on the covers for this series so far.

Beautifully hypnotic and vividly chilling. Lullaby by Daniel Barnett eases off of the gas, slowing down to allow that crucial time to burrow deeper into the minds of the characters as they grow and flourish upon the page. Barnett has me on the edge of my seat waiting for this mystery to unfold. If you cannot tell I am eagerly anticipating volume three, Sleepwalking. It is going straight to the top of my TBR stack whenever I am able to get my hands on it.

I received an ARC of this book from the author for review consideration.

Brad Proctor

Brad Proctor


Book reviewer & Booktuber who focuses mostly on small press & indie horror, sci-fi, fantasy, & southern literature. 

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