This book was NOT at all what I was expecting… except, I was actually expecting it not to be what I was expecting, so maybe it was what I was expecting? I’m not a hundred percent sure. What I do know is that if you’re looking for a book that will continuously fight against your expectations and theories, this is definitely the book for you.
Stefan Bachmann has created something incredible strange and twisted and horrifying here, but I don’t mean any of that in a bad way. This book is meant to be horrifying. It’s meant to be twisted and strange and constantly grasping at you. I think a lot of reviewers have gone a bit off the rails about how this book “wasn’t” whatever they wanted it to be, and they’ve judged it harshly for that.
But I have to say… I liked this strange book. I thought it was crazy, sure. It wasn’t the adventure-thriller I had been looking for, sure. But that doesn’t mean that what it is isn’t good. Just because it didn’t really fit the mold I wanted it to fit doesn’t mean it was without merits.
Here are some things that went really well in A Drop of Night:
I really loved the two interlocking time periods. I really liked the parts that were set in the French Revolution, though there is certainly more action going on in the modern day. I also thought it was very clever how the two timelines end up fitting together, but I’ll leave that at that, so as not to spoil it for you.
Stefan Bachmann has also drawn up an incredibly detailed world for readers to imagine. I thought that the underground palace came off clear as day in my mind, and I appreciated that he kept the descriptions detailed but not overly verbose. The setting brought depth to the entire story.
This book is unlike any other I’ve read, and I DID NOT see many of the twists and turns coming, not until we were right up close to them already. That’s refreshing, and since this is supposed to be a thriller, than I’d say it’s pretty dang important that the twists actually be twisty.
Now, on the flip side, here are some things that I felt were a little strained:
I think it takes a little too long to get under the cold uncaring shell that is Anouk for the first two-thirds of this book. I would have warmed up to the story sooner had I seen her progression as a character come more quickly. We don’t find out why she is the way she is until the book is nearing its end, and that’s sad because seeing the full picture of Anouk is important, and it helps us connect with her and root for her to come through her trials in one piece.
I would have liked a bit more of an ending. Especially for Anouk, since she’s the main protagonist. I would have liked to see some progress between her and her parents, and I would have liked to know that this experience really changed things for her. It’s hinted at, but that, in my mind, just isn’t quite enough to satisfy.
That being said, I would have just liked more from all of the other protagonists. I think that shifting the POV between four modern protagonists and one historical one might have been too much, but I still would have liked to see Anouk’s companions sketched out in greater detail. I liked Lily and Jules and Will. I think the book would have benefited from allowing them all a bit more page time.
The biggest flaw in this story, as I see it, is that there is just A HECKOFALOT going on here. Maybe a little too much, to be honest. As I said before, I liked that I didn’t see a lot of the twists and turns coming, but at the same time, some of them were just so out of this world that it was hard to believe them. For instance, I was not expecting anything supernatural to happen, and when it did I was left going, oooohhhhhkkkkaaaaayyyyy…… with my mouth gaping open. Not a very attractive look.
While I commend Bachmann for his daring, as well as his ability to somehow pull all the crazy together into one cohesive story, I was still overwhelmed by it all, which is one of the main reasons I couldn’t give this one a higher rating.
If you like to be surprised, or are looking for a suspenseful read, this one is definitely for you. Just don’t be like the main characters in A Drop of Night, and actually know what you’re getting into before you sign up for it.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Have y’all read A Drop of Night? What’d you think? Do you like paranormal mysteries?