Bestselling YA author Black (The Cruel Prince) conjures a dark world filled with crime, betrayal, and power in her atmospheric adult fantasy debut. Shadows are a valuable commodity to be manipulated, altered, traded, and experimented on—and there are many dangerous players looking to harvest them. Growing up in this treacherous world, Charlie Hall learned the arts of conning and thievery from a young age, and there’s no denying her skill. At 28, however, Charlie’s determined to stay on the straight and narrow, using a bartending job to distract herself from the thrill of her old lifestyle. But when she reluctantly agrees to an odd job, a horrifying encounter reveals the return of a sinister individual from her past, plunging her into the dark underworld of shadow trading. Investigating its secrets leads her to discover a magic even darker than the shadows themselves. As the narrative shifts between past and present and the skeletons in Charlie’s closet come to light, she must reckon with her dysfunctional childhood—and with just how powerful shadows can be. The many mysteries keep the suspense sizzling as Charlie guides readers through this slippery world. Black’s adult fans and readers looking for dark urban fantasy will be thrilled. (May)
From the Publisher
"Dark, strange, thick with mystery and twists—a story so believable in its magic, you'll be keeping one eye on your shadow as you turn the pages." — Leigh Bardugo, New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House
"If Neil Gaiman channeled Stephen King, the result might be this book . . . scintillating prose, whiplash twists, and a voice of character that demands to be heard from again.” — James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Starless Crown
“Heart, soul, and a bit of kink—Book of Night is smart, decadent fun.”— Kelly Link, Pulitzer Prize Finalist
"A dark romp full of danger and shadows with a razor sharp heroine and vivid magic." — Zoraida Córdova, Nationally bestselling author of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina
"A deliciously clever page-turner." —Paolo Bacigalupi, New York Times Bestselling author of The Water Knife
"Book of Night delivers hot sex, a breathless plot, perfect characters, and some of the most gorgeous writing I've read in years, sharp as a razor blade, clear as a one-way glass." — Ellen Kushner, award-winning author of Swordspoint
"A delicious, dark, adrenaline rush of a book. I'm already dying to see Charlie Hall's next con." - New York Times bestselling author, Alix E. Harrow
"A dark and glittering cocktail of a book, heady with glamour and seediness, deep magic and desperate grifters. Black's spiky, irresistible heroine will lead you like a will o' the wisp into the dark." — Melissa Albert New York Times Bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
"Holly Black is a master of fantasy with the Midas touchthere is no story she cannot turn to gold." — V.E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
"A gripping ride from start to finish. Book of Night invites you to reckon with the shadows of your past." — Olivie Blake, author of The Atlas Six
“Black is a master at world-building.” — The New York Times
Praise for The Cruel Prince:
“Lush, dangerous, a dark jewel of a book…. This delicious story will seduce you and leave you desperate for just one more page.” —Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows and the Shadow and Bone trilogy
“I require book two immediately. Holly is the Faerie Queen.” —Victoria Aveyard, #1 bestselling author of the Red Queen series
DEBUT Best-selling YA author Black (The Cruel Prince) makes her adult debut with this gritty urban fantasy where the shadows have not only eyes but teeth as well—and feeding them is the way to magical power. Charlie Hall, formerly a low-level con artist, is trying to live on the straight and narrow. She's gone from pulling jobs to pulling drinks, living with her totally mundane boyfriend, trying to keep her sister in school. At least until a shadow-mage dies in her bar, and her life is thrown into chaos and back into the underworld she tried so hard to leave. Her old life has just been waiting in the shadows to draw her back in—whether to destroy her illusions or kill her outright is the question. Charlie wishes she didn't have to find out the hard way, even if that's the only way she knows. VERDICT Charlie Hall is every "bad luck and worse trouble" protagonist to ever magic her way into urban fantasy. She's desperate, she's profane, she's fascinating, and she kicks ass and takes names with the best antiheroes of the genre. Her world is gritty and mysterious, the stakes are always high, and the power is always tempting.—Marlene Harris
A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.
Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.
Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.