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The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr
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The Shock of Night

by Patrick W. Carr

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After quite enjoying the prequel novella 'By Divine Right' I decided to jump in and read the full length novel. It should be stated in advance that I am not a huge fantasy buff. I tend to prefer outright historical fiction, or what I call 'historic' fantasy- that which is similar to historical fiction but is set in a fictional country, and does not generally include fantasy elements, like magic or dragons or the like.
Not that I have any fundamental problem with the above (I was a big Narnia fan in my younger years), it’s just that most High Fantasy does not interest me that much-although I have a few such titles on this year's TBR pile.

The Shock of Night was promising at first, with the hero Willet (now Lord Dura), who is a bit of a social misfit, getting a new mystery to solve, and before long becomes inextricably linked with an ancient and secretive religious organization known as The Vigil.
As said above, the story had lots of elements that made it promising- with plenty of intrigue and mystery, not knowing who is good, or who is an enemy or friend. I think, however, the whole thing might have been a little too ambitious- too many characters, with conflicting motives, plots, subplots and disparate threads that were kind of hard to keep up with.

I almost think that the initial mystery plot-line just got lost in the complexity of the thing before long, and I know I found myself getting lost pretty early on. In fact, I almost did not finish the book, as I was getting rather frustrated, I think it was with things just becoming so long and drawn out, complicated and perhaps a bit repetitive or pointless. I'm still not entirely certain who killed the old chap at the beginning or exactly why.
The whole story could have been resolved a lot more quickly, I felt, had Willet followed up leads sooner, or had there not been yet another kidnap attempt, murder etc. …..Perhaps there was just too much intense action and moral angst that could leave the reader baffled or exhausted at the expense of character development or world-building.

As far as characterization was concerned, I think I rather found myself going off the hero Willet. He’s meant to be dark, brooding, and full of self-doubt and inner turmoil, and yes, that was there to some extent- but if it makes sense, he also seemed a little too perfect. He’s meant to be a something of badass/tough guy ex-warrior who relies on his wits- but I think his cynicism, sarcasm and wise-cracking could be rather grating, and perhaps he came across as too much of a smart Alec. For a guy who’s meant to be nearly 30, he could have been a little more mature.
His outlook and attitude seemed more like that of a stroppy teen or twentysomething who was way too full of themselves. I got the impression that this may have been the result of trying to cast him as a macho action hero.

Even though there were a lot of original details, some also did not ring true and seemed to give away the background of the author too much. Personally, chain mail and rapiers together just don’t seem to work for me- and seriously, bows of any kind could be a deadly weapon- a skilled archer would not have had to shoot someone ten times to kill them.
Also, the notion that the nobles were basically just a bunch of stupid, lazy fops who were scared of any real fighting, and happy to leave it to the rank and file- seemed far too much like an American misinterpretation of Medieval society for my liking. More often than not, it was the nobles and their retainers who were the warrior elite, trained for war.

I don’t know whether I would read the next one. Possibly, to find out how things pan out. I would say the author’s writing style has much improves since his first novel, A Cast of Stones was released a few years ago, but perhaps further development will come.

I received an e-Galley of this book free from the publisher via Netgalley for the purposes of review. I was not required to write a positive one, and all opinions expressed are my own.
( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
Well-written and engaging, The Shock of Night begins one of my new favorite fantasy series! I look forward to the rest of the series! It presents a different sort of fantasy world, in which gifts and talents are tangible entities to be given and received and when used correctly, produce a prosperous nation. The reality of darkness lingers, however, and those on the side of the light cannot ignore it.

Carr’s character and plot development is purposeful and has great depth. The protagonist (Willet Dura) possesses strength of moral character that is inspiring. The battle between darkness and light, right and wrong, truth and lies are on display and the lines are not blurred. There is a clear delineation between what is born of light and good and what is born of darkness and evil.

Note: Although this book is understandable by itself, there was an e-novella published entitled By Divine Right that provides some background information to Willet Dura’s story. I would recommend reading this novella first before reading The Shock of Night.

I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review.

This review was posted to Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Goodreads, CBD, Deeper Shopping, and Library Thing (if available). ( )
  LoverOfStory | Jul 19, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book was never received. ( )
  Jenn.S | Apr 11, 2016 |
Carr starts this series much like the last, with a damaged hero. His world building is excellent, and there are quite a few details left to bring out in the remaining books. Male primary characters are well developed and rounded - the primary female characters a little less so (and I am wondering if there is a reason for this - no spoilers, but there is a very good potential reason).

Carr is one of the best writers of Christian fantasy now - interesting theology but definitely does not hit you over the head with it. ( )
  Bill.Bradford | Mar 30, 2016 |
Willet Durra is a man who knows his place in society. He is the lowest noble, has enemies, he solves crimes, and he is about to marry the woman that he loves. His life may not be perfect, but he understands it. Until... a dying man screams a word and his life changes.

This is a fantasy book that has a complex plot and many characters involved. I had a hard time at first pulling everything together. Once I figured out who was who I was pulled into the world of Darkwater and had a hard time putting the book down, even when I knew I had other books that needed to be reviewed right away. I had to keep reading this book!

This book has a darkness to it. Evil is encroaching from the Darkwater Forest and finding its way to the city. The book threw a few surprises at me, while I didn't anticipate some of the events, they made sense in the world that Patrick Carr has created.

This is a series that I look forward to reading. The book contains violence. ( )
  Bookworm_Lisa | Mar 15, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764213466, Paperback)

Patrick Carr Launches a New Suspense-filled Fantasy Epic

When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dunham is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it's as though he can see their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he's been passed the rarest gift of all: a gift that's not supposed to exist.

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he's pulled into a much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 03 Aug 2015 18:12:29 -0400)

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