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City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter
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City of Eternal Night

by Kristen Painter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Crescent City (2)

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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A 16-year-old girl has been abducted, and it’s up to Augustine and Harlow to find her before it’s too late. This second installment in the Crescent City series is well-written and fast-paced, but it ultimately felt like something was missing, making it less addictive than the first book.

Opening Sentence: Harlow woke with a gasp.

The Review:

Harlow Goodwin is still coming to terms with her fae side, but she really wants to learn to embrace it. She’s agreed to self-defense lessons with Augustine, and he’s also promised to help her find a good tutor in all things fae. While she knows her father is out there, she hasn’t heard from him lately, which is definitely a good thing. Augustine is adjusting well to being the city’s Guardian and has acquired a small group of people he trusts completely. So all in all, life is looking good. Then, the annual ball happens. Traditionally, the girl who has been elected Faerie Queen is “abducted” and brought safely to a hotel, where she has a fun night with her friends. On this night, however, the abduction is real. The ransom note is simple, Augustine must no longer be the city’s Guardian. Once that occurs, the girl will be delivered safely to her parents. The only problem is, the only way for Augustine to abdicate is to die. That’s obviously not going to happen, so Augustine, Harlow, and their friends must figure out where the girl is before the kidnapper follows through on his threat to kill her. Will they be able to find her in time?

While I gave this book the same rating as the first, I wasn’t nearly as swept away this time around. It’s still good, fast paced,and interesting, but there just seemed to be something missing. There were a couple things that really annoyed me with this one. First, there’s a twist towards the end that is ultimately super predictable. I basically spent most of the last portion of the book just waiting for it to happen, which took a lot of enjoyment out of the book.

Secondly, I had a hard time with Giselle’s sections of the book. While I understand it’s necessary to have her narration so that we know what she’s up to, whenever I would see her name pop up, I’d inwardly sigh and just try to get through the section as quickly as I could. Part of this is ironically due to the fact that Painter has portrayed her so well that I just can’t stand her and am anxious for her to receive her comeuppance. Watching her plot and scheme and seemingly get away with everything for now just frustrates me and makes me want to reach into the book and slap her.

On the bright side, I liked Harlow a lot better this time around. She does some very stupid things here and is entirely too trusting, but she doesn’t come off nearly as self-centered as she did in the first book. She’s really trying to embrace her fae side, and given everything that’s happened recently, that makes me really respect her as a character.

In the end, I did still enjoy this second book despite the items that frustrated me; I just didn’t love it as much as I did the first one. I’m interested to see what happens in the next book!

Notable Scene:

“Dates are easy,” Augustine answered. “But I’m not interested in anyone but you.”

“Me either,” Nekai quickly added.

Her brows lifted with shock and the kind of appraising look that caused Augustine to wonder if he’d done the right thing. Or maybe she just thought she was watching two overgrown teenagers fighting over her. If she chose Nekai…

“I don’t know.” She tapped a finger on her chin. “The ball is tomorrow night?”

“Yes.” Nekai shot Augustine a vicious look.

She sighed. “That’s short notice. Really short notice. From both of you.”

Nekai straightened a little. “I’m a well-respected member of fae society. We’d be sitting close to the head table.”

Augustine snorted. “I’m the Guardian. We’ll be sitting at the head table.” He shook his head.

Amateur.

“My point exactly,” Nekai shot back. “Harlow may not want that kind of scrutiny.”

“Scrutiny?” Harlow’s brow furrowed.

Damn it, Nekai had figured out one of Harlow’s weaknesses.

Nekai nodded with sudden concern. “Harlow, you should know there will be a lot of people there. Almost exclusively fae. If you don’t feel comfortable going at all, I understand.”

She paled a bit, then squared her shoulders. “It’s a masquerade, right?”

“Yes.”

She swallowed and nodded gently. “I can handle that.”

“I would never let anything happen to you.” Nekai put his hand on his chest. “I swear it.”

“Neither would I. Obviously.” Augustine barely controlled the urge to growl at the fool next to him.

An amused sparkle lit her eyes. “That’s very noble of you, Nekai. Can I assume you have some dangerous spells at your disposal then?”

He nodded. “I can be as lethal as Augustine when necessary.”

Augustine snorted. “I doubt that.” Then he remembered she’d seen him kill a vampire by slipping inside it shadeux style and was now acting a little afraid of him. “But then what do I know about weavers?”

Nekai growled softly before returning his attention to Harlow. “So which one of us would you like to accompany you?”

She picked her LMD up off the table, tucked it into the pocket of her sweater and shrugged, her eyes alight with pleasure. “I don’t know. I guess you’ll both have to show up tomorrow night and find out.”

FTC Advisory: Hachette/Orbit provided me with a copy of City of Eternal Night. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Oct 26, 2015 |
My excitement to read this book is evidence enough for me that the first installment of this series ended a lot stronger than it began. I went through the first two-thirds of House of the Rising Sun feeling rather ambivalent towards the protagonists, but by the conclusion Augustine and Harlow managed to win me over. A couple of significant events in the previous novel taught both of them lessons in humility and responsibility, and Harlow especially did a lot of growing up. As such, I looked forward to City of Eternal Night with a newfound respect for the characters.

On top of that, this sequel raises the stakes in every way by setting up a new arc that is bigger, stronger, and more encompassing. The story now goes beyond Augustine and Harlow’s personal problems to involve the whole supernatural community. Of course, the diabolical Branzino also makes a return in an attempt to further disrupt Harlow’s life as well as kill Augustine, and as usual the witches’ coven are up to no good again, but the huge whammy that rocks the fae world this time around is the kidnapping of a young girl from the Mardi Gras Exemplar Ball, which is the by far most important and lavish fae event of the year. There’s no ransom price, just a demand for Augustine to relinquish his role as the city’s fae Guardian – and everyone knows the only way to resign from that position is death.

First, what I loved: speaking of Exemplar Ball, I continue to really enjoy Kristen Painter’s portrayal of the city of New Orleans and the fae community’s place in it. I was even more enchanted by the atmosphere of the ball in this book than I was with the scenes from Nokturnos in House of the Rising Sun. Of course, the Exemplar Ball had to be a masquerade and the theme is predictably “Enchanted Forest”. A little overindulgent, perhaps, but boy, what I wouldn’t give to have been invited to that particular shindig. The descriptions of the decorations, costumes and even the food were wild and extraordinary and magnificent.

I also appreciated Painter’s expansion of the fae world in this installment. It’s easy to forget that this series actually takes place in the future, so sometimes the advanced technology can be a bit jarring. But mixed in with this “new and high-tech” is also mythology and the ancient lore of faeries. The history and background of Lally, a secondary character, is further explored with several big revelations about the old mansion that belonged to Harlow’s mother, also explaining why Branzino also wants it so much. A lot of things start to come together in this sequel, and the author continues to tease the details little by little.

Now for a couple of criticisms, which are minor: firstly, there is absolutely no mystery at all when it comes to the kidnapping case. There are a very limited number of suspects, and despite Augustine and the fae council going nuts over trying to narrow down the culprit, the one responsible is practically named in the book’s own description.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other surprises.

Take the ending, for example. On the one hand, it was abrupt and left us with one hell of a cliffhanger, but on the other, we are set up for a pretty big conundrum which makes me mighty curious as to how things will be resolved.

Finally, despite maturing a bit since the first book, every once in a while Harlow still gets on my nerves. She may be less of a selfish brat, but she’s still terribly naïve (or dumb with a capital D, if you’re feeling less generous). Sad to say, but she brings a lot of her problems on herself. It’s one thing to be socially awkward and a little sheltered, it’s another to have someone tell you straight out NOT to do a certain thing because there will be dire consequences – and even give you examples! – and you go do it anyway. That’s Harlow for you.

Still, my feelings about her notwithstanding, I continue to believe Harlow will become a more sympathetic character, and I’m following the budding romance between her and Augustine with interest. I’m also enjoying the world of this series a lot, and the story is getting better. This sequel is without question an improvement over the first book, and I’m definitely on board for book three. ( )
  stefferoo | Dec 12, 2014 |
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads.

The second installment in Kristen Painter’s CRESCENT CITY series was more plot than character driven which was a welcomed tweak because my prevailing criticism about book 1 was the heroine. In fact, I re-read my review of HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN before writing this one, and observed that all of the elements that I’d previously gripped over were amended in CITY OF ETERNAL NIGHT which is exactly what you want to see in a sequel. I asked for more fae mythology & less brattiness, and that’s precisely what the author delivered. Harlow did however make one rash decision towards the end which resulted in a super predictable ending, but other than that, I was one happy camper.

This universe is chock-full of magic and techie excellence; the gaming references, neato gadgets, and spelled clothing fed the nerd. I got a kick out of Harlow and Cy’s Realm of Zauron exchanges, the too-cool-for-school contact lens with built-in facial recognition, and that the beautiful dress that’s featured on the cover was described in vivid detail. The author also tackled well-known fae lore such as mirror travel, and the alternate plane which made for some very robust world-building. In addition, the real reason why Branzino (the villain) wants Olivia’s house so bad was explained, and both the witch & voodoo aspects of this story were in evidence as well.

In the earlier chapters I feared that a love triangle was on the brink of developing between Augustine, Nekai & Harlow, but Painter quickly put the kibosh on that which was a relief. I enjoyed this novel’s investigative-style plot line, and how the author used the various characters’ abilities to her advantage to solve the Fairy Queen’s kidnapping case. Lally’s back story was alarming to say the least, and I liked how all of the threads came together to form an exquisitely crafted cohesive whole. I was surprised that the antagonist was subdued this early on, but there are plenty of contenders to take his place, so I’m not the least bit concerned about this trilogy’s staying power.

Harlow finally showed remorse over her mother’s death, and seemed more open to her fae ancestry which were big pluses for me. I liked that she was deeply involved in Guardian business; it kept her character looking forward instead of wallowing in self-pity. I’m content with how her relationship with Augustine is progressing, and found that their chemistry was much improved in this installment. The only thing that stopped this from being an A+ read were the closing chapters; the heroine was quick to jump the gun after acquiring new info which in turn led to an ending that prompted more than one I-told-you-so moment. I hope this lamentable mistake won’t take all of book 3 to repair.

Kristen Painter’s fae were a head above the rest in CITY OF ETERNAL NIGHT—I ❤ this world! ( )
  RabidReads | Nov 27, 2014 |
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Delon, MelanieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316278335, Paperback)

Still coming to terms with their unexpected partnership, Augustine and Harlow have a tentative truce. Although with Harlow slowly working to accept being fae, Augustine still learning how to be Guardian, and feelings growing on both sides, they do not have an easy road ahead.

But when a young girl is stolen from the Mardi Gras Exemplar Ball -- the biggest fae event of the year -- Harlow and Augustine must put all their issues aside to bring her home alive. Harlow's father, Branzino, is of course their number one suspect, but evil lurks in every corner of the city and time is running out. Their only choices: Either find a way to rescue the girl, or Augustine must die.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:00 -0400)

"Still coming to terms with their unexpected partnership, Augustine and Harlow have a tentative truce. Although with Harlow slowly working to accept being fae, Augustine still learning how to be Guardian, and feelings growing on both sides, they do not have an easy road ahead. But when a young girl is stolen from the Mardi Gras Exemplar Ball -- the biggest fae event of the year -- Harlow and Augustine must put all their issues aside to bring her home alive. Harlow's father, Braziano, is of course their number one suspect, but evil lurks in every corner of the city and time is running out. Their only choices: Either find a way to rescue the girl, or Augustine must die"--… (more)

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