Review: Book of Night by Holly Black

Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: May 3rd, 2022
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Violence, con artists, stalking, abuse, self-harm (to get blood), cancer, toxic living situations, drugging

Book of Night is Holly Black’s adult debut novel. In other words, it’s the first novel of hers that isn’t labeled young adult, and I am here for it. If you love darker fantasy stories, this will be a perfect read.

Charlie Hall has been a liar and a thief for most of her life. Despite this history, she’s been trying to go clean. She really has. She has a new boyfriend, a job (a legal one too!), and is even paying the rent. This could be her big second chance.

Only…life doesn’t work that way. Charlie can’t keep her nose out of it; there are just too many compelling things happening around her. It doesn’t help that her boyfriend keeps secrets or that old not-really-friends demand her help. Yet even Charlie isn’t prepared for the level of shit she’s about to stick her nose in.

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t sure what to expect from Book of Night. You never know how a super hyped book will turn out, you know? But let me tell you – I was not disappointed! This is Holly Black’s first adult novel, and it is intense and brilliant.

As an adult novel, it’s probably good to note that there are more trigger warnings than Holly Black’s YA counterparts. I didn’t think it was too much – but if you go into it expecting something lighter, you might be in for a bad time. Trigger warnings include (but are not limited to, since there are several milder ones) violence, gore, con artists, stalking, abuse, toxic living situations, cancer, self-harm (with the intent to get blood), and drugging.

I love the world that Black has built here. Where shadows can create magic, but only those that can waken (quicken) their shadows. It’s a magical system I wouldn’t mind seeing more of, so I hope that she returns to this world sometimes.

On that note, I was under the impression that this was a standalone novel, but I could easily see it becoming a series. It’s one of those books with an ambiguous ending where it works either way, which I like in this case.

Overall I would have to say that I enjoyed Book of Night. I like this darker take on Black’s writing style and worldbuilding and hope that it is something we’ll see more of in the future.

Thanks to Tor Books and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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