Review: Book of Night

Title: Book of Night
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Rating: ★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Holly Black makes her adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies.

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.


In this world, shadows can be altered and can sometimes take on a life of their own. Charlie Hall is a con artist with a bartending day job, with a sister who is obsessed with shadows. When Charlie is approached for a new job, she reluctantly takes it. This job thrusts her into the world of shadows, which is closer to her than she imagined. 

I’m sorry to say this book was disappointing for me. I went into the story blind, and I had no idea what was going on for quite a while. The first third of it was slow paced, then there was a surprising twist that made it pick up the pace but then the momentum slowed when the story became too complicated. 

I think this story should have been longer, with more descriptive characters or shorter with a simpler plot. By the end, I had most of the male characters mixed up, especially when they were in the same room. The characters were also so similar that I couldn’t differentiate between them. 

I really wanted to love this book, but it didn’t work for me.

What to read next:

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Have you read Book of Night? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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