Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)'s Reviews > A Drop of Night

A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2016, march-2016, read-for-review

You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
I... don't completely understand this book. There were certain things I enjoyed about it, and then certain things that I simply didn't get. Parts got incredibly confusing, and took some turns that I both kind of saw coming, but still had no clue about why they were coming. I know that may not be super helpful, but remember, I am a little lost myself. And also, spoilers.

The Good: 

The historical part was fabulousThere were short chapters from 1789-1790 dispersed throughout the book, kind of talking about some of the history of these tunnels.
The suspense was pretty great. I legitimately didn't know what was going to happen in this underground chaos!
I felt the darkness and claustrophobia of the setting, and I thought it was done really well. While I couldn't always picture the rooms themselves, I still had a solid grasp on the overall feel of the underground, dark confinement.
It's an old underground palace. That in itself is a win, right?

Not so good:

The aforementioned confusion was, well, confusing. See, this wasn't just about this underground palace. There were all kinds of people involved, and random other groups of people who may have been on the side of that first group (I can't tell you any of that, of course), and I really started getting lost. Literally and figuratively- because I also could not keep the layout of this place and all the rooms straight. The characters kept bouncing from one place to the next, and the way it was narrated made me feel like I was supposed to know where the hell Anouk was talking about. But I never did. So in my head, I would substitute whatever room Anouk was talking about for "Random Room". Because I was getting basically too lost.
The characters weren't as developed as I'd have liked. Especially since they are trapped down there together, I kind of needed to like them. Anouk started off as this awful, whining girl, and then like, one chapter in does a complete one-eighty and starts pulling everyone together. And the guys... the only actual thing different among them were their names.
Only one dude thought that none of this made sense. Because the very first question I asked myself as they all went to this underground chamber of creep was "who exactly thought that any of this was on the up and up?" Anouk didn't exactly tell her parents, so that I could understand. But the others, whose parents were like "yep, this sounds zero percent weird"? Nope. Even Jules, one of the random guys, wondered why everyone was so chill about this:
"'D'you think it's strange they're letting teenagers into a find like this? I mean, they could have gotten some veterans. Famous art historians or something. Doesn't it strike you as odd?'I squint at him. 'No.'"

Definite Parent-in-YA Syndrome. I mean, see above. They let their kids go off to... whatever. Like "Sure honey, go meet the strange man in the limo who won't tell us why you're going to France. See you in a few weeks, send a postcard!" How about no?
I felt like there were a lot of loose ends. It wasn't an open ending or anything, but there were so many questions unanswered in my mind, I think because there was a lot of different things going on in the story. Often, one was still left somewhat unanswered when some new thing came to light.

Bottom Line: I think if this was more coherent and a bit more developed, it could have been a huge win. It's still an intriguing premise, and the history stuff was very enjoyable. But overall, it lost me in the confusion.

*Copy provided by publisher for review
**Quotes taken from uncorrected proof, subject to change.
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Reading Progress

September 2, 2014 – Shelved
September 2, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
February 20, 2015 – Shelved as: 2016
June 27, 2015 – Shelved as: march-2016
February 26, 2016 – Started Reading
February 27, 2016 –
February 28, 2016 –
46.0% "This is strange. But also, I am wanting to know all the things."
February 29, 2016 –
March 1, 2016 – Finished Reading
March 12, 2016 – Shelved as: read-for-review

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