I tried to read from this author once before, and just really did not get along with her writing style or her topic choice, and so I said I’d never read from her again. But she turned up in an Illumicrate box… damn it! (I really need to pay more attention to what’s coming in those things). Book of Night by Holly Black didn’t sound too bad though, when I took at look at the synopsis.
The back of this book (under the dust jacket, printed in foiling – which I can’t deny was fucking stunning) was a sentence claiming that our protagonist breaks everything she touches and is good at blowing things up. This made me think she was gunna blow things up… she did not. How rude 😠
Instead this was a book about a young woman who used to live a life of crime, but tried to go straight to keep her family safe. But, of course, she is pulled back into the criminal world. And within this criminal world are magical shadows. They’re usually linked and bound to their owners, but these shadows can go rogue and separate from their human. Now this concept? Fascinating. The execution? Disappointing. There is so much that could have been done with this and Holly Black just… doesn’t.
Surprising no one, this book felt incredibly juvenile for an adult book. It still very much reads like YA, and whilst I love a good bit of YA when I’m going into an adult book that’s not what I’m expecting. I’ve heard about her other books and the levels of sexual tension present (those ones that are YA), this book had maybe 1% of sexual tension? Like if you don’t like that in books? This one will be fine for you!
Also, our main character of Charlie Hall is just so fucking annoying. Now I can deal with an unlikeable main character if they either have a redeeming characteristic, or if they’re written well (Mia Corvere anyone?) but Charlie? Nah. She’s an idiot approximately half of the time and I just could not be arsed with her.
It also felt odd that our main character constantly talks shit about tarot cards and that whole *vibe* when shadows can come to life in this world. Like… are you seriously going to insult something that could quite easily be real? In this world? Ya sure?
On CAWPILE I rated this book: Characters: 2, Atmosphere: 3, Writing: 2, Plot: 1, Intrigue: 3, Logic: 2, Enjoyment: 3 giving an average of 2.29 and a 1.5* rating. I’ll probably round that up to 2 on Goodreads. Just to be nice.
Highlight here for trigger warnings: alcohol, assault, attempted murder, blood, child abuse, drugs, gore, gun violence, incest, murder, poisoning (ketamine), self-harm, violence.
Overall, for me this was just super disappointing and I wouldn’t recommend people to pick it up. But have you read it? Do you think differently to me? Let me know!