Review: Children of the Night

  • Title:
    • Children of the Night
  • Author:
    • Zan Safra
  • Release:
    • November 8, 2021
  • Format:
    • Audiobook
  • Narrator:
    • Naomi Rose-Mock
  • Series:
    • Children of the Night #1

Children of the Night leaves me with incredibly mixed feelings. I found the first-person PoV to be obnoxious as hell. The characters narrate their every action and I can’t help but constantly wonder who the fuck they’re narrating these actions to. It’s not told as if they’re relaying past events, in a story format, in a journal, or some other medium. It’s just “And then I did this! And then I did that! And then I thought this!” It gets old really damn fast.

What feels like 80% of the story is world-building and character setup. It got to the point where I was wondering if this story even had a plot, or if it was just a day in the life of these supernatural beings in Venice. It eventually went somewhere, but it felt more as if the author went “Oh yeah, this is supposed to be going somewhere…. AND THEN THIS HAPPENED!!”

On top of it all, the story is one of those “Hit the ground running.” stories where it just dumps you into the middle of a scene and expects you to follow along and understand what the hell is going on. Only to (several chapters later) explain what the fuck is going on and who (or what) anybody is. Initially, I made it several chapters in, but was totally lost and gave up. I returned several months later and began listening, and it still took me a while to get into it. I eventually had to slow the narration speed from 2.55x down to 1.50 and re-listen to the first few chapters to really follow along.

The story seems a bit confused, genre-wise, as it seems to blend fantasy and Sci-Fi, I never could quite figure out when it was supposed to be set. At one point in passing, I heard a character mention some date in the 1800s, but I was honestly having occasional trouble following along due to issues with the narration.

Despite the issues I mentioned above, I did enjoy this book. I like the world building and I’m happy to learn it’s part of a series. Aside from the excessive world-building, it never gave me any indication that it was part of a series, so I was a bit irked by that. It felt like all of this work was being set up for nothing.

As I mentioned above, it’s a very character-driven novel, but I occasionally had issues following along due to the narration. The narrator did an incredible job of scene-setting, accents (at least to my untrained ears), foreign words, and so on; I found some of her character voices to be lackluster. At times, I found it difficult to differentiate the characters from each other and I’d just give up on paying attention altogether. There were multiple instances of repeated dialogue, and unless a chapter or section was repeated from a different character’s PoV, there was an entire section that played twice.

I listened to this book over the course of weeks because I just couldn’t continually follow along and needed mental breaks from it. I have no problem DNF’ing a book, and I’m glad I stuck through it all, as I really did enjoy the world-building and unique lore. I think the series has a lot of potential and intrigue. I found the prose to be beautifully descriptive at times as well. It’s one of those books I suggest reading, but skip the audiobook, unfortunately.

NOTE: This copy was provided to me free of charge as a digital review copy. The opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone, I was not paid or requested to give this book a certain rating, suggestion, or approval.

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