Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Night and Nothing series
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. I was intrigued by the synopsis and lured in by the beautiful cover which is much different from other YA books out there. The story was beautifully written but wandering. At times it reminded me a bit of the style of Elizabeth Hand’s Waking the Moon, but with less substance than that book. This is supposed to be retelling of the Tam Lin fairy tale.
Finn moves with her dad to his home town of Fair Hollow after the death of her sister Lily. There her and her dad hope for a new start. Things start off well for Finn, when she meets Christie and his friend Sylvie they really hit it off. Then Finn meets Jack, he is dark and mysterious and draws Finn in. As Finn spends more time with Jack she is drawn into the dangerous world of the Fey. She hopes Jack can help her unravel the reason behind the death of her sister, but in the end it may be all Finn can do to escape with her life.
A lot of people have compared this book to Twilight. It does have that same sort of depressed girl meets hot mysterious dangerous boy thing going on. Of course the dangerous boy has a tender side and will do anything to protect said girl. However, this book was a lot more beautifully written. It is full of lush descriptions and tons of literature references which I really enjoyed. This book is also a lot darker; there is death, drugs, and many somewhat surreal scenes where you aren’t sure what is real and what isn’t.
More than Twilight this book reminds of a some of Elizabeth Hand’s early books (Waking the Moon, Blacklight). There are similar elements of dark rituals. There are also similar dark party scenes that are somewhat surreal. In these scenes there is heavy drug use and drinking and the reader is left to figure out what is magic and what is humans being under the influence. It all blends together to make somewhat wild and dark scenes that are beautifully gothic and dreamy, as well as being somewhat disturbing and dark.
I thought the imagery throughout was amazing, this is one of those book where the scenes are described so well they really really come alive…they are just so vivid. I loved the inclusion of fey mythology and ritual throughout. I am a huge fan of faerie themed stories, especially those that venture into the darker side of faerie. I love fairy tale retellings and this story definitely has a number of elements from the original Tam Lin fairy tale (which it is supposed to be a retelling of).
My biggest complaint about this book is that it felt very long. All the beautiful descriptions got to be a bit too much at times and slowed the story down; so this is something that could have been balanced better. Also the story felt like it wandered at times, so the pacing could have been more consistent.
The book ends well and ties up most of the loose ends, which I liked. I think this author has huge potentially, some of this book is really beautiful. The storyline just needed to be tightened up a bit, paced better, and made a bit cleaner.
Overall a beautifully written retelling of Tam Lin. I loved the dark faerie lore and ritual throughout. I also really enjoyed the lush descriptions and beautiful writing. The story did wander some and at times the description was a bit too heavy…this made the book feel really long while I was reading it. So while I enjoyed it, there were a couple times when I found myself thinking “Isn’t this story over yet!” I would recommend to those who love dark and gothic fairy tale retellings, or to those who love to read about the darker side of the Fae.