The Darkwater Claims All Who Enter It.
All But One.
When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded, Willet Dura, reeve to the king of Bunard, is called to investigate. As he 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 his task, but the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers, and his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, as though he can divine 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 dangerous conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world–a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his inability to remember how he escaped the Darkwater Forest–and what happened to him inside it.
When the King’s Reeve is sought out to investigate a strange double murder, he gets a lot more than he bargained for! Now, with only a touch, anyone’s mind is opened to him to read. Only time will tell whether this gift is a blessing or a curse, as the strain the gift places on him threatens to tear his already broken mind apart.
His use of his powers quickly garners him unwanted attention and lands him under the scrutiny of the Vigil, a mysterious group with powers the same as his. They won’t trust him for fear of the darkness locked within his mind, left there courtesy of the mysterious and evil Darkwater forest. Ten years ago he came out the only survivor of a military unit that was forced into the forest. Though anyone who goes into the Darkwater usually succumbs to murderous insanity within the week, Willet hasn’t and no one knows why. As far as mst of the Vigil are concerned, he is a ticking time bomb that could go off in their faces at any moment, but he may be the only one who can unravel their Eldest’s murder and figure out the mystery behind the recent happenings in the Darkwater.
Carr weaves a strong tale with a myriad of twists and turns along the way. I never saw the answers coming, and I love that. It’s frustrating with some books when I can solve the mystery within the first handful of chapters, but A Shock of Night threw me nothing but curveballs.
The dark world he has created is gritty and real, from the streets of the poor quarter to the highest places of the castle. I really wasn’t sure of the religious beliefs in the book, though. they were a bit vague and confusing.
The characters are all fully fleshed out and unique. It can’t be easy to write a main character with mental problems and still make him easy to like and relatable, but Carr does it beautifully. The romance was a bit weak, but i’m hopeful it will shape up later in the series.
This book will hold your attention from beginning to end, but due to some of the content I would not recomend this book as the best choice for anyone under their mid-teens.
For a taste of this series, check out the free prequel novella, By Divine Right, here on Amazon.
This prequel is nearly essential to read before diving into the full-length Darkwater novels. It explains a lot of things that were only hinted at in the other books, showing the story of how he became the King’s Reeve as well as the beginning of Gael and Willet’s relationship.
It was much more difficult for me to get into this book than it was to get into A Shock of Night. The world and its characters can be a bit confusing at first and difficult to relate to, but stick with it, it’ll be worth it.
My Rating of A Shock of Night: Five Flames
Romance: Clean. Only a few kisses. There is mention of prostitution in the city and Willet had to rescue a girl from a man who was selling her.
Language: Clean. There is one word, kreppa, that is used as a bad word in this fantasy world.
Drinking/drugs: A main character was drugged at one point to make them cooperate. Several main characters do sip ale or wine, and Pellin plied more than one person with alcohol to get information
Violence/blood: There’s plenty of it. A Shock of Night is a dark tale, and Willet is a murder investigator. There are several crime scenes and bodies to examine, along with a wide variety of wounds gained, large and small. The book isn’t graphic, but nor does the author gloss over anything. There a quite a few battles, skirmishes, beatings, killing, and one torture scene.
Other: Mental illness is a big theme in this book. The main character battles dissociative disorder and, I suspect, PTSD as well. There is also a touch of supernatural warfare involved.
Happy Reading y’all!