Thursday, March 10, 2016

ARC Review: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

A Drop of Night
Author: Stefan Bachmann
Publication: Greenwillow Books (March 15, 2016)

Description: Modern-day teenagers meet a palace of terrors locked up since the French Revolution in this haunting, genre-bending thriller from Stefan Bachmann, the internationally bestselling author of The Peculiar and The Whatnot. A Drop of Night will thrill fans of Neal Shusterman and Jessica Khoury.

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she's been looking for―she's been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.

Or so she thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teens―bitter, iron-hearted Anouk, gentle Will, bubbly Lilly, and crazy Jules―soon find themselves trapped in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined.

My Thoughts: A DROP OF NIGHT was an engaging story whose primary narrator Anouk starts out unhappy, negative, cynical, anti-social, and generally unlikable but who grew on me as the story progressed and I learned more about the reasons for her behaviors. Anouk is a kid who has been chosen to take part in a archaeological expedition to explore a French palace built during the French Revolution deep below the ground with the purpose of protecting the aristocratic family. She had to go through all sorts of tests before being chosen and she is feeling excited and special. Four other teens were also chosen and they are all being whisked to France to explore. The kids come from a variety of locations and backgrounds and each has different talents.

When they get to France they find out that much of what they were told isn't true. They learn that those who found them and offered them this opportunity have a hidden agenda. They also find out that the palace has many hidden dangers including rooms that are various kinds of traps. There is also someone else in the palace who is very dangerous. The kids are torn between two sets of enemies as they try to find their way out of the maze of the palace and get to freedom. They encounter a resident of the palace that they name Perdu who may or may not actually be trying to help them escape.

Woven in with Anouk's story in the present day is the story of Aurelie who is the eldest daughter of the Duke who builds the castle and who tells her story of the time in 1789 when she and her sisters take up residence. Many mysterious things happen while she is in the palace and she is determined to find her sisters and escape.

I don't know that I would classify this story as horror so much as a sort of spooky adventure in the science fiction genre. It was the sort of story that sweeps up a reader and immerses them in a vividly drawn fantasy world. I enjoyed it.

Favorite Quote:
I curl myself into the corner, and I feel empty, straight-up miserable. Wave at your chances of friendship as they pass, Ooky. You're being diligent as ever. There's this special talent humans have that they can be unhappy no matter where they are. No matter who they're with and what they have. Or maybe that's just my talent.
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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