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.
When I read the description for this book, I was surely intrigued; I definitely love a good fantasy with lots of twists and turns!
Upon reading the book, I was not disappointed on that front. Full of original elements: the different religious factions and government and the idea of the ‘gifts’ were definitely very interesting.
My disappointment was that, for a book with such intriguing premises, I found the prose hard to follow.
I kept feeling as though I had missed book two–because so much was seemingly supposed to be ‘implied’. There were times that I had to actually go back a couple of chapters and reread to try to figure out what was going on. This made the book very hard to get through for me. As I was trying to enjoy the story, it kept feeling like I was getting knocked off the train of thought…
I really enjoyed the ideas presented throughout the book; the different emotional pulls of the character and the political controversies.
The characters were diverse and fairly complex–my only complaint there is the lack of description upon meeting them. Having read through almost the whole book, then finding out that one of the female characters that I had been imagining to be fairly young was actually, in fact, a very old woman, I was thrown for a loop! But what I did really love about the characters was the fact that they were more complicated than they first appeared. I enjoyed reading the layers being peeled back from each one, revealing their unique pasts.
One last thought was the religious side of the book.
I was very confused at the beginning by the different religious factions–I didn’t know what to think of them. Were they good? Bad? And unfortunately, the question really isn’t answered. The spiritual parallels could be really fantastic with the idea of the Darkwater forest poisoning people’s minds…but the parallels seemed a little muddy to me. I had a difficult time grasping them–and maybe they’re there, but the prose caused it to be more difficult for me to understand it.
All in all, I really do enjoy a good complex fantasy every once in a while, and The Shock of Night was definitely that!
Since the end of this book left so many questions unanswered, setting up for book two, I may consider looking into the next installment upon its release.