The Nightjar

Tor. Sept. 2019. 480p. ISBN 9781250239822. $18.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250239815. FANTASY
DEBUT Alice Wyndham and best friend Jen are living out their grown-up dreams in London when Alice encounters an elderly stranger who claims she is an aviarist: one who can see the mythical soul birds, nightjars that guard each individual’s soul. Also, she’s in grave danger. Shortly afterward, Jen is hit by a car while protecting Alice and rushed to the hospital. Devastated, Alice reluctantly accepts the help of another stranger, Crowley, who opens a magical door into the Rookery, where her pursuers cannot follow. Although Alice doesn’t trust Crowley, she believes him when he tells her that the only way to save Jen is to use her newfound powers and find Jen’s nightjar, which became untethered when Jen was injured. Frantically working against time and without complete information or much skill, Alice blunders from one poorly conceived scheme to the next as she attempts to complete her quest.
VERDICT Hewitt’s debut is an intense, bloody, and unfortunately flawed fantasy thriller with an intriguing story line that hamstrings itself with a frustratingly inept protagonist whose romantic feelings never ring true.
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