Book of Night

Macmillan Audio. (Book of Night, Bk. 1). May 2022. 12:33 hrs. ISBN 9781250850133. $26.99. FANTASY
Black’s (“Spiderwick Chronicles”) adult fantasy debut features a system of magic based on shadows—people can detach from their shadows, augment or embellish them, and, in some cases, train them to act separately from their person. People who can manipulate shadows are called gloamists, or “glooms.” Charlie Hall is a bartender and a mostly reformed con artist and thief of magical artifacts, stealing objects from and then selling them to various gloamists. She lives in the Berkshires with her boyfriend, Vince, and younger sister Posey. Charlie is trying to stay under the radar and on the straight and narrow, but when she finds the body of a murdered man who may have stolen a rare book of magic from evil billionaire Lionel Salt, she gets pulled back into the—literally—shadowy underworld. Black’s world building is strong, and while the central plotline wraps up at the end, she leaves room for future books set in the world of the gloamists. Sara Amini’s narration is exceptional, providing unique voices for the broad range of characters.

CORRECTION: Due to an error in editing, the original version of this review gave an incorrect title for one of Leigh Bardugo’s novels; it is called Ninth House, not The House of Night. LJ regrets the error.

VERDICT Listeners who enjoy real-world fantasy such as Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House will delight in Black’s latest.
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