Everyone is not as they seem in this fantasy novel, replete with war, witchcraft and secrets.
Christophor Morden lives in a world where everybody changes with the rising and setting of the sun. For every person contains two distinct identities – a day brother and a night brother. One never sees the light, the other nothing of night.
One evening Christophor, one of the king’s special unit of witch hunters, is woken early by a call to the city prison. A young woman has torn her own eyes out, and the police suspect supernatural causes. The investigation takes Christophor far from home, to a village on the edge of the kingdom.
There he will find his witch – and his night brother will find himself desperate to save her. And as this battle of the self rages, the witch’s ancient and apocalyptic ritual comes ever closer to completion…
This book tells the story of Christophor Morden, an investigator, and his day brother Alexsander. In this world everyone changes when the sun sets or rises between their day identity and their night identity. It has elements of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story. Christophor is brought in to investigate a crime with paranormal circumstances, and things slowly develop to reveal a much darker secret.
The plot and setting of this story reminded me a lot of tales like Sleepy Hollow or Tam O’Shanter. It’s full of darkness and some parts really made me squirm. The atmosphere of the story is created quite well, and is a great blend of 18th century countryside village, with plenty of magic and creepiness to keep you looking over your shoulder.
There is a solid crime solving element to this story too. As Christophor gets thrust deeper into things beyond his control the line between what is real and what is not gets blurred. As a result the plot can seem slow-paced but it’s not because the author wastes time on things that he shouldn’t. Rather it’s because reveals and mysteries are done with purpose and care, and are done slowly.
One aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the world building. The idea of everyone sharing a body between two people, and changing to become someone totally different each day or night is done very well. It’s a complex idea to convey in a believable way and I really found the author nailed it perfectly. It doesn’t take over the entire story but it is a solid and well realised concept that is different and really set this story apart from the rest for me.
My main improvement I would suggest would be that while I loved the story and the setting, I didn’t get quite as invested in the characters as I hoped I would. The conflict and tension between Christophor and his day brother Alexsander didn’t get the emotional reaction from me as a reader as was perhaps intended. However, I tend to be a character focused reader so perhaps this point is subjective to an extent.
Overall, this book has many promising elements and I’m glad I picked it up. It’s different to what I would typically read and I would love to thank the author and publisher for the ARC copy. This book comes out on May 12th.