BOOK OF NIGHT
BY HOLLY BLACK
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.
Well it’s done so yay? I read the first few chapters and decided to DNF this one, but then a few weeks later my audiobook loan came in and I decided to give it a second chance. After that ending though I’m wishing I had just not bothered picking it up again.
“There’d always been something wrong with Charlie Hall. Crooked, from the day she was born. Never met a bad decision she wasn’t willing to double down on.” I actually really liked Charlie. She’d made a name for herself in the magical community as one of the best criminals while simultaneously keeping her identity a secret and supporting herself and her sister. I liked her don’t give a fu** attitude and the struggle she faced throughout the book of wanting to get away from her life of crime but it being a fundamental part of who she was. She can’t just walk away from her old life and it didn’t want to let her go.
The magic system in this book made absolutely no sense to me. The idea of “quickened” or magical shadows sounded cool but even now I couldn’t tell you how they came to be or really what they could do? It just didn’t seem very well thought out, structured or maybe it just wasn’t explained well. I also didn’t really see their use and it sounded like having one required you to slowly kill yourself to keep it alive but it could hold all the feelings you didn’t want to feel. They didn’t seem worth it to me.
I found the writing and pacing of the story to be abysmal. It wasn’t this urban fantasy page turner that I was expecting but instead fell flat for like 90% of the book. Even the characters fell flat for me including Charlie and Vince who I actually liked. If I hadn’t been listening to the audiobook as background noise there’s no way I would have continued reading it.
While it did have a couple interesting twists, that I did manage to call, I felt like the ending was the real let down in how anticlimactic it was and how it wrapped the romance. Once the twist was revealed I was actually excited to keep reading, but disappointment has a name and it’s The Book of Night. I’m glad it was a stand-alone so I don’t have to slog through anymore books to get this shit ending. I also don’t see how this was Adult and thought it read more upper YA. If you loved The Cruel Prince I don’t think this one is for you. Waste your time on a better book