Book Review

Book Review: Book of Night by Holly Black

Rating: ★★☆
Audience: Urban Fantasy
Length: 320 pages
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: May 3rd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies in the vein of Ninth House and The Night Circus.

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.

With sharp angles and prose, and a sinister bent, Holly Black is a master of shadow and story stitching. Remember while you read, light isn’t playing tricks in Book of Night, the people are.


This might be the slowest book I have read in a long dang time. And not in a good way. Within the first few chapters I was worried this wasn’t going to be a great read for me, and unfortunately that was the case.

With terrible pacing came a plot that did have some good twists. I was surprised by a few things that were intriguing yes, but a major lack of dialogue left me desperate for more. Not to mention, lack of world building with info dumps. A 300 page fantasy book is a hard task to accomplish without some guides. I also don’t know why there were flashback chapters??? They didn’t add much of anything to the storyline.

Vince was probably the best person here. I liked him. He was an enigma I wanted to put together and carried much more of the story than I expected.

I just really struggled to read this. It was a fight and I think the ending should have pulled more emotion out of me, but I can’t see myself picking up the next book. Not one I’d recommend. Stick to Black’s The Cruel Prince series.

Overall audience notes:

  • Urban fantasy
  • Language: some
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: multiple blood/gore depictions of gruesome murders, self harm to get magic, child abuse, general violence, depression and grief, panic attacks, anxiety, gun violence, drugging

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