Review of Book of Night by Holly Black
“Love was a family religion, passed down to her when she’d been too young to protect herself from belief.”– Book of Night
I was expecting something more from ‘Book of Night’, the urban fantasy/mystery with unique elements in
In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.
Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgängers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.
I did it! I finally finished reading Book of Night. I couldn’t wait for the book and was super happy to read it when it came out in June. Yes, June. Four months later and I finished reading it. I think there were several factors that kept me from reading it faster. For one, the pacing – I’ll get into this in a moment – and the vibe of the story. This book I released in June while this is really a story to read during autumn (I think). So that’s why I was more keen to read Book of Night this month.
Book of Night is a mystery story with a pinch of urban fantasy. The mystery part sits well and I was intrigued by the storyline the whole way through, but I missed the fantasy elements. Those elements are so cool and make the story unique. There is a lot of talk about shadows and what a shadow can do, but a little less is shown. I did find the whole idea that a shadow can hold magic blissful and very original.
The mystery part in itself was well put together and I also enjoyed the plot twists. I wanted to know where the story was going and looked for all the little bits of information I could get. From me, those crumbs could come just a little faster and be just that tad more exciting. Most parts of the story of Book of Night were just dialogue and a little too boring.
The pacing is what makes this book less smooth and readable. The story moves extremely slowly and then we also get flashbacks to Charlie’s past. Every time I got into the flow of the book and the story, a flashback arrived. Sometimes it wasn’t entirely clear to me either what the flashback had to do with the situation.
I was a fan of the characters in Book of Night, though. Charlie and Posey are cute sisters and each has their own character too. I also liked Vince as a character, he is mysterious and intriguing. Otherwise, there are several characters in the book that don’t really fascinate me, including all of Charlie’s friends for example.
Book of Night really gets going in the second part. We get to know Vince better and find out that his past is not what we expected after all. I definitely did not see the plot twists coming. I, therefore, found the last 50% of the book much smoother and more interesting.
That ending though! I thought I was going to be bummed that there was a second book, but after that ending, I’m happy. I can’t wait for part 2!
Would I recommend it?
If you love a mystery, then yes! If you are expecting to read a new The Cruel Prince, then this is not the book you are looking for.
Alcohol, sexual assault, attempted murder, blood, child abuse, drugs, gore, gun violence, incest, murder, poisoning (ketamine), self-harm, violence
Urban fantasy, mystery
May 3rd 2022
About the author
Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty fantasy novels for kids and teens. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the Lodestar Award, and the recipient of the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. Her books have been translated into 32 languages worldwide and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret library.