Wednesday 17 August 2022

Book Review: Book of Night by Holly Black (Fantasy)

Title: Book of Night
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 3 May 2022
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Bought Copy

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 doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.


Book of Night has been on my radar for a while, as the synopsis looked interesting, so, when I needed something new to read last week, I bought myself a copy. It took me five days to get through this, which is slow for me, but that is simply because I was tired this past week and couldn't read for as long as usual in the evenings; it's not a reflection on the book. Overall, I found the story enjoyable. The plot was original and fresh, and Charlie was a compelling character who I was happy to get behind. Once or twice I wished for some extra details, but the world building was mostly solid, with enough information offered to paint a picture of the shadows and their abilities. I also liked the fact that the ending surprised me a little, not going quite the way I'd expected. In the end, I am giving this work 4 stars. I definitely enjoyed it, but I was not so blown away that I could see myself wanting to reread. I would, however, not hesitate to pick up future works by this author.

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