Book Review: Child of the Night Guild

I’ve reviewed Peloquin’s novels before when he wrote the Hunter, but Child of the Night Guild was the only book that my partner read of Peloquin’s. When he took it off my bookshelf eleven times to look at the cover and the back, I had a feeling it was one book he would read.

And I was right. He did read it – even if it took M a month to finish. So, today’s book review will be told in two parts – one with my perspective and one with M’s.

Note: One major spoiler will be revealed in this review, since M questioned reading anymore of Peloquin’s books in the future. In addition, mentioning feedback for this spoiler will also give Peloquin feedback regarding a set of scenes we discussed when he was drafting the novel.

Without further ado, I give you Child of the Night Guild, book one in the Queen of Thieves series.

Overall score: 4.5/5


 

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

 

Cover art

Both of us agreed that the cover art was beautifully done. This is a feat because M is particular about women and children are pictured in the media, including anime, video games and novels. I’d say it did its job if he snagged it based on looks and blurb alone.

This is crisp enough to view as a thumbnail, but has enough detail that it doesn’t take away the most important message. Even the logo for the series fits in conjunction with the cover.

 

Characterization

The characterization of most of the characters was superb. I liked learning about the people Seven associated with and the relationships she cultivated, despite being reshaped into a tool for the Night Guild rather than as an individual.

On a side note: One thing I appreciated about Peloquin’s newest piece was asking the community for feedback in regards to certain actions inside the novel. Not only did he employ beta readers, but he asked individuals personally how they felt about one particular action in the book. Peloquin was professional in his discussion with me and understood the possibility of alienating readers if he executed certain scenes wrong. He also took from real experiences with PTSD and rape trauma to show this in the character, and I felt this was accurately portrayed within the novel.

And yes – Peloquin did so well that he upset M with how long this happened. However, this was the emotion I felt Peloquin wanted to portray so people would sympathize with Seven instead of seeing her as a helpless victim.

 

Plot

Here is where our differences in opinion started. I will share M’s feedback first here, since his is not as critical as mine 🙂

 

Reader’s feedback

I found Child of the Night Guild to be full of treasured moments. You really had to feel for this young girl in her struggle to find her place with in the Night Guild.

The book’s opening was heart wrenching. Along the way there were many plots and twists, but there were many rewarding moments as well. As the main heroine grew and adapted to her new surroundings, I felt myself hoping she would make it through the darkness.

This story will grip you and make you feel something inside of yourself. But be warned –  this story reflects upon the darker natures of humanity. I hope you enjoy Seven’s journey into finding herself. The perfect analogy to describe this book was “an eerie calm before plunging back into the storm”.

As you can see, M’s is from a reader’s perspective, but he left out one part, which I will detail below.

 

Reader/Author’s perspective

From my perspective, I thought the plot was well done. It started a little slow in the beginning, but readers needed to see Illana’s evolution from helpless Viola to nameless Seven, and then again from Seven to Illana. Another reason I agree with the somewhat slow start was because of several plotpoints that needed to be staged. If Peloquin just launched into his ending for this book without careful staging, reviewers would argue he overused one key trope in fantasy genres for “a cool plotpoint”.

Here is where the spoiler comes into play.

Personally, I knew where the book was going to end up because of how it was staged. Anyone who read it could put two + two other between two certain characters. When we discussed his issue, he was debating on if he should use those set of scenes, so I wasn’t sure if they were included.

I’m on the side of the fence that thinks everything should be accurately portrayed. If you stage the book properly, you don’t need to include a sticker label “trigger warning”. In this case, Peloquin’s lack of trigger warning did not effect my enjoyment of the book because it was staged properly. Readers would expect this outcome and could opt out earlier if they felt the need to.

For M, the ending of the book left a sour taste in his mouth, despite Peloquin staging the end between Seven and Nine. His feedback to me was this: “If he hadn’t hinted at the end result before I read it, I wouldn’t be reading any more of his novels. But since the animosity was clear, I saw where it was going from when Nine was introduced. I really need to know if there’s anymore sexual assault scenes before taking a chance with book two.”

However, M agreed that Peloquin staged the novel well, and liked seeing the progression of Seven’s character. Each time he read, he would talk about his excitement at where he left off, and kept wondering how she would deal with each new circumstance. So, M was interested in Seven from the beginning. This vested interest is what saved him from putting the book down completely.

Nonetheless, I did have a conversation with Peloquin about M’s feedback.

Peloquin handled the issue with grace. He offered to M read several chapters of book two to see if he would read the rest of the series. Because I’ve read the rest of Peloquin’s books, I did decline the offer. (They’ll just get stolen off my bookshelf again anyway.)

 

Wrap-up

Peloquin’s newest novel highlights his increased skill as a writer and the female perspective gives it a nice touch. Unlike the Hunter of Voramis, the Child of the Night Guild tugs more at your heartstrings and is a bit easier to digest. I enjoyed reading a book similar to Brent Weeks and look forward to the second book, Thief of the Night Guild.

Also, if you’ve read book one, Thief of the Night Guild released on July 18th, so grab your copy today!

To find more of Peloquin’s work, check out his Amazon page and website, where he offers his advice to aspiring writers. He is also a host on The Fantasy Fiends Podcast, where he talks about different topics within the fantasy writing community.

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