This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. Also, in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of The Shock of Night from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There is always a moment, when you first read an author’s work and fall in love with it, that you hesitate to pick up the next thing that they write.
Despite the fact that I had joined up with the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour by the time Patrick Carr’s first series (The Staff & The Sword) went through it, I didn’t actually sign up to review any of those books at that time. I don’t recall why. But this summer, I finally got around to reading those books, and I was hooked. I probably read the entire series in a week, and the only reason I didn’t read faster was because, you know… being an adult comes with responsibilities. A fact I have bemoaned since I turned 18 (which was quite a few years ago, so I am, perhaps, an expert bemoaner).
I’ll save my love of The Staff & The Sword series for another time, other than to say that I had several difficult moments where I was both excited and anxious to pick up anything else by Carr because what if I didn’t like it as much.
I’m sure any (every) avid reader knows the feeling. When they find a book they truly resonate with, it’s difficult to move past it and on to something else.
So, with some trepidation, I picked up the free novella prequel on Amazon (By Divine Right)a couple of months ago. And I fell in love again. Enough in love that I was trying to figure out how to fit a pre-order of The Shock of Night into the budget, especially since this was right around the time of the trip to Georgia and funds were really tight. And then I got the wonderful email about the next CSFF blog tour, and I really couldn’t contain my glee…
So, without further ado (because I’m tired, and I think I’m fighting off a cold, and I’ve had so much tea today it isn’t even funny so I’m rambling), here is my review of The Shock of Night.
Genre & Length: Christian Fantasy, 464 pages
The Darkwater Claims All Who Enter It.
All But One.
When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded, Willet Dura, reeve to the king of Bunard, is called to investigate. As he begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.
Willet returns to his task, but the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers, and his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, as though he can divine their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he’s been passed the rarest gift of all–a gift that’s not supposed to exist.
Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he’s pulled into a dangerous conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world–a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his inability to remember how he escaped the Darkwater Forest–and what happened to him inside it.
Plot: I’m not sure how lost I would have been if I hadn’t read By Divine Right beforehand. It certainly lent a great amount of depth to the novel, and there were definitely parts of the story that would have been watered down without knowing how exactly Willet and Gael’s relationship came to be, or the precariousness of Willet’s position within the royal court.
I found the prologue hard to follow at the start, but going back and reading it again after reading the rest of the novel made it much clearer. While I’m a huge fan of prologues myself, I do think that they need to mesh will with the story right from the start, and this one was a little lacking for me. We understand the characters in the prologue better later in the book anyway, just because of their impact on those close to them, and I think the starting point of the first chapter would have made a better entrance into the story.
Pacing: It was fine. There were a few places where I wanted to skip ahead, but that’s normal for me. I tend to get impatient, lol.
Writing Style: Excellent, despite some cliches. I’m hoping Gael isn’t going to become a character who’s just there to up the stakes for Willet, because at the end of this book, it seems to be setting up to do exactly that. And sometimes Willet’s realizations seemed a little too convenient. But otherwise, Carr’s voice and just the types of stories he comes up with are wonderful!
I also really enjoy the worldbuilding and the cultures Carr sets up. The gifts and talents that are passed from one person to another is such an interesting concept, and it’s definitely been fun to watch Willet learn to use his unexpected gift. I can’t wait to see how he deals with the next challenges!
Would I read this book again: Yes!
If you would like to find out more about the author and his other books, you can visit his website at www.patrickwcarr.com.
You can find the other CSFF Blog Tour participants below:
Thomas Clayton Booher
Carol Bruce Collett
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Michelle R. WoodDecember 9, 2015 - 10:28 pm ·
It’s very interesting to me that everyone is referencing the earlier love of Sword & the Staff. I have the opposite reaction: I didn’t particularly like that series, but am enamored with Darkwater. I’m definitely glad I read the prequel first: the novel doesn’t retread familiar ground (which I like) but would probably have been more difficult to dive into without the previous read under my belt.
Rebecca LuElla MillerDecember 9, 2015 - 10:50 pm ·
I read the two books back to back so have a little hard time remembering where By Divine Right stopped and The Shock Of Night started.
I enjoyed reading your thoughts, Rebekah. I’m glad you weren’t disappointed. I wasn’t either.