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The Shock of Night

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When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word. Willet ret When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet 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 the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it's as though he can see 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 much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive.


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When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word. Willet ret When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet 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 the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it's as though he can see 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 much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive.

30 review for The Shock of Night

  1. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    With dark books like this, it's the ending that determines whether I rate up or down. The key element I need is hope. Without it, my imagination can't expel the sense of doom and gloom when I return to real life. This book was dark enough that I'm struggling with it today. I was upset about some of the character losses, as well as the narrowing path that Willet is being forced down. I probably won't continue the series because I'm afraid of how much worse it can get and who else will die before With dark books like this, it's the ending that determines whether I rate up or down. The key element I need is hope. Without it, my imagination can't expel the sense of doom and gloom when I return to real life. This book was dark enough that I'm struggling with it today. I was upset about some of the character losses, as well as the narrowing path that Willet is being forced down. I probably won't continue the series because I'm afraid of how much worse it can get and who else will die before it gets better, assuming it ever does. Reading reviews for book two, it looks like hopelessness continues to be a key element. Grim, gritty, dark... these are all key words that don't bode well for me. If you don't have the same issues, this is an absorbing medieval-ish fantasy with an interesting magic system, characters that are easy to know and love, and a mystery to solve. It's a good story, but the tone is much darker than in the more traditional fantasy by Carr that I enjoyed (A Cast of Stones). Too dark for me, I think. Although marketed as Christian Fantasy, I haven't found this or any of Carr's other work to be obviously Christian. I'm sure the themes and inspirations are grounded there, but he's not hitting you over the head with it. Most obvious is the lack of gore (but not violence) and other adult content that is common in other dark fantasies, which I don't mind at all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christian Fiction Addiction

    When Patrick W. Carr first emerged onto the Christian fiction fantasy scene with his debut book, "A Cast of Stones", I knew that fans of this genre had found a new author to watch. Each book released since then has proved this conclusion to be true, and when his last series ended I certainly hoped that his stellar writing would continue. "The Shock of Night" has proven that he's getting better and better as a writer, as I liked this book even more than his prior series! The novel grabbed hold of When Patrick W. Carr first emerged onto the Christian fiction fantasy scene with his debut book, "A Cast of Stones", I knew that fans of this genre had found a new author to watch. Each book released since then has proved this conclusion to be true, and when his last series ended I certainly hoped that his stellar writing would continue. "The Shock of Night" has proven that he's getting better and better as a writer, as I liked this book even more than his prior series! The novel grabbed hold of me from the beginning and did not let go until I'd raced to the end - and that is saying something for a book that's over 450 pages! The scenes are vivid and packed with action, the dialogue is crisp and witty, and the plot is filled with many unexpected moments. Carr has created a highly unique world, with a primary character in Willet Dura that evoked my admiration as he is gifted with an incredible power, without the knowledge of how to use it without destroying himself. As evil intensifies itself against him, often unseen until the danger seems unconquerable, Willet emerges as a character of courage, and yet one who makes mistakes like any of us may do. And I think what I most appreciated is that in the midst of all the action, we also find moments of introspection, such as when Willet remarks about the nobles, "There's a spiritual lassitude that comes with wealth. When you can have anything you want, anytime you want it, very little is precious to you". This comment especially has stuck with me, as it is a warning to us all to be more thankful for what we have, and also ensure that our wealth (at least in our Western countries) does not cause us to wander from the fold of God. I greatly enjoyed the depth I encountered in this book, along with it being a highly entertaining read, and know that I will be thinking about this book for some time. The Shock of Night is a grand beginning for what is sure to be a fascinating series. I award this book a high rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    There’s something so fun about starting a new series, especially from a trusted author and genre. That’s exactly what this post is about. Patrick W. Carr’s newest series, The Darkwater Saga, has kicked off with all the awesome! I was a huge fan of Carr’s first series, The Staff and the Sword, so as I mentioned, I couldn’t wait to start this one. I can tell you it has been worth the wait! From the world created, the characters and the plot, I fully enjoyed every aspect. I really liked our main guy There’s something so fun about starting a new series, especially from a trusted author and genre. That’s exactly what this post is about. Patrick W. Carr’s newest series, The Darkwater Saga, has kicked off with all the awesome! I was a huge fan of Carr’s first series, The Staff and the Sword, so as I mentioned, I couldn’t wait to start this one. I can tell you it has been worth the wait! From the world created, the characters and the plot, I fully enjoyed every aspect. I really liked our main guy Willet. His story and his whole personality…I loved it! He’s different from a lot of the main characters I come across and I thought Carr did a fabulous job with him. I also really liked Bolt. He’s a secondary character, but trust me, he’s awesome! Plus his name is Bolt. The story is also intriguing and captivated me. The more I read, the more I got into it. With entertainment, twists and intrigue, this story keeps fantasy fans hooked. By the end, well, I didn’t want it to end and now I cannot wait for the next in the series! If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to start this series, there’s a novella to kick off the series, By Divine Right. And guess what? It will cost you zero cents to buy. My kinda book. What book can’t you wait to start reading? Originally posted at: http://booksandbeverages.org/2016/01/...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lemon

    I am properly impressed by this first book. I saw another review that said the book was dark and grim, and I agree. Personally, I loved how dark it was...bur under it all, I did see elements pointing towards hope. I haven't finished the series yet so I don't know what kind of hope but I think it's there. Anyway, that said, I did really enjoy the book...the characters, the PROTAGONIST, the complex world and its systems, and I am a huge fan of how the first person narrative was used and taken advant I am properly impressed by this first book. I saw another review that said the book was dark and grim, and I agree. Personally, I loved how dark it was...bur under it all, I did see elements pointing towards hope. I haven't finished the series yet so I don't know what kind of hope but I think it's there. Anyway, that said, I did really enjoy the book...the characters, the PROTAGONIST, the complex world and its systems, and I am a huge fan of how the first person narrative was used and taken advantage of here. I was a bit confused sometimes by the colorful narrative and sequence of events, though, but I overall understood how things played out. The book also ends in a bit of a cliffhanger and not all mysteries are solved...but the plot of the book itself is well wrapped up. And I cannot wait to finish and see what happens. I also thought the allegorical elements were well handled in this mystery world, and I am very intrigued by the way they'll play out. That said, it was a good book and I am SO looking forward to finishing!! Content: some character death, violence without unnecessary gore, and a kids or two. Mention of swearing but none actually happening. So clean with a bit of fight and tragedy

  5. 5 out of 5

    English

    After quite enjoying the prequel novella 'By Divine Right' I decided to jump in and read the full length novel. It should be stated in advance that I am not a huge fantasy buff. I tend to prefer outright historical fiction, or what I call 'historic' fantasy- that which is similar to historical fiction but is set in a fictional country, and does not generally include fantasy elements, like magic or dragons or the like. Not that I have any fundamental problem with the above (I was a big Narnia fan After quite enjoying the prequel novella 'By Divine Right' I decided to jump in and read the full length novel. It should be stated in advance that I am not a huge fantasy buff. I tend to prefer outright historical fiction, or what I call 'historic' fantasy- that which is similar to historical fiction but is set in a fictional country, and does not generally include fantasy elements, like magic or dragons or the like. Not that I have any fundamental problem with the above (I was a big Narnia fan in my younger years), it’s just that most High Fantasy does not interest me that much-although I have a few such titles on this year's TBR pile. The Shock of Night was promising at first, with the hero Willet (now Lord Dura), who is a bit of a social misfit, getting a new mystery to solve, and before long becomes inextricably linked with an ancient and secretive religious organization known as The Vigil. As said above, the story had lots of elements that made it promising- with plenty of intrigue and mystery, not knowing who is good, or who is an enemy or friend. I think, however, the whole thing might have been a little too ambitious- too many characters, with conflicting motives, plots, subplots and disparate threads that were kind of hard to keep up with. I almost think that the initial mystery plot-line just got lost in the complexity of the thing before long, and I know I found myself getting lost pretty early on. In fact, I almost did not finish the book, as I was getting rather frustrated, I think it was with things just becoming so long and drawn out, complicated and perhaps a bit repetitive or pointless. I'm still not entirely certain who killed the old chap at the beginning or exactly why. The whole story could have been resolved a lot more quickly, I felt, had Willet followed up leads sooner, or had there not been yet another kidnap attempt, murder etc. …..Perhaps there was just too much intense action and moral angst that could leave the reader baffled or exhausted at the expense of character development or world-building. As far as characterization was concerned, I think I rather found myself going off the hero Willet. He’s meant to be dark, brooding, and full of self-doubt and inner turmoil, and yes, that was there to some extent- but if it makes sense, he also seemed a little too perfect. He’s meant to be a something of badass/tough guy ex-warrior who relies on his wits- but I think his cynicism, sarcasm and wise-cracking could be rather grating, and perhaps he came across as too much of a smart Alec. For a guy who’s meant to be nearly 30, he could have been a little more mature. His outlook and attitude seemed more like that of a stroppy teen or twentysomething who was way too full of themselves. I got the impression that this may have been the result of trying to cast him as a macho action hero. Even though there were a lot of original details, some also did not ring true and seemed to give away the background of the author too much. Personally, chain mail and rapiers together just don’t seem to work for me- and seriously, bows of any kind could be a deadly weapon- a skilled archer would not have had to shoot someone ten times to kill them. Also, the notion that the nobles were basically just a bunch of stupid, lazy fops who were scared of any real fighting, and happy to leave it to the rank and file- seemed far too much like an American misinterpretation of Medieval society for my liking. More often than not, it was the nobles and their retainers who were the warrior elite, trained for war. I don’t know whether I would read the next one. Possibly, to find out how things pan out. I would say the author’s writing style has much improves since his first novel, A Cast of Stones was released a few years ago, but perhaps further development will come. I received an e-Galley of this book free from the publisher via Netgalley for the purposes of review. I was not required to write a positive one, and all opinions expressed are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Bergsland

    I’m almost sorry I have to review this as Christian fiction. I mean Bethany says it is. He’s represented by Steve Laube. Of course it’s Christian. Right? The book is entertaining, brilliant, creative, and very well written. It’s a professional production (though the map seems to be an afterthought). In all ways, I should be excited to share a book I highly recommend. It is a shock—of night. A Modern Traditionally Published Fantasy Thriller Really, I could leave the review right here. You should be I’m almost sorry I have to review this as Christian fiction. I mean Bethany says it is. He’s represented by Steve Laube. Of course it’s Christian. Right? The book is entertaining, brilliant, creative, and very well written. It’s a professional production (though the map seems to be an afterthought). In all ways, I should be excited to share a book I highly recommend. It is a shock—of night. A Modern Traditionally Published Fantasy Thriller Really, I could leave the review right here. You should be clear in your head what this book is. Entertaining Dark & horrific Depressing Clean Of course, what does that offer the Kingdom of God? Nothing. As has become common with tradepub releases recently, the free ebook intro, By Divine Right, is a far better tale than what this book offers—the first one in the new Darkwater Saga series. Much of the worldbuilding is found in the free novella. The Shock of Night actually assumes that you have read the prequel. Without that as a background, this first book in the series will be quite confusing As with all of Patrick’s books that I’ve read (all of them as far as I know), the characters are very complex, the social interactions are witty, the culture is full of intrigue, the twists come quickly and often, and all the pieces of a wonderful book are there. In fact, I expected the wonder and joy I found in A Cast of Stones. That was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. By Divine Right was the same type of book: exciting, hopeful, this expectation of a wonderful romantic relationship. But as I was brought down by books 2 & 3 in The Staff & the Sword series, The Shock of Night did the same. In fact, it is more disappointing. What’s missing? Most of the things I look for in fantasy like hope, exaltation, spiritual truth, and a happy ending are simply not there. What’s worse is that the book constantly puts those hopes in front of us, only to dash them later in the book. In some ways this is a horror book, but it’s not really scary because there is no spiritual reality here. The true horror is that a series like this has the potential of being A Game of Thrones-level hit—oh wait! No graphic sex or gore. I guess that makes it inspirational and a Hallmark channel blockbuster. Nope, too dark. Maybe the SciFi channel? Here’s a spiritual level of 0.2 stars There is no spiritual reality in this book at all. The characters are constantly offering vague prayers to a god unknown, or exclaiming “O God!” using the name for God which Patrick invented. But even this has the feel of being added under duress because it’s a Steve Laube/Bethany production. However, the world created is wonderfully inventive and clever. It’s all about spiritual gifts given by a God who is presented as knowing what he or she is doing (I think. But even the characters who use the gifts have no real idea why they have them or if god can be trusted). These are gifts which become talents usable by the characters on demand. Most of them are things like musical ability, amazing swordsmanship, fantastic craftsmanship, fashion design, dancing, kingship, and so on. They’re given to women and men alike (I think, but that’s only explored, a little, in the prequel). There is none of the reality of charisms given through a character for the building up of the Kingdom, and they have nothing to do with a Holy Spirit. God does not interact with this world. There is some sort of hinted savior, but I can’t really tell you who (or even if this savior appeared earlier or he or she is coming in the future). There is no Holy Spirit, at all. This book does not exist on the spiritual level. This is worldly entertainment. It will probably sell very well. I got a free review copy from Bethany. I glad I did. I’m not sorry I read the book, but it is so disappointing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula Vince

    I was really keen to start Patrick W. Carr's new series since I raced through his Staff and the Sword trilogy, being among my favourite reads of 2014. I've discovered the Darkwater Saga has the same complex, unique and carefully plotted new land I would have expected from him. There are some differences, though. We have an older, more experienced hero, for a start. Willet is more confident in the ways of the world than Errol was at the start of the other trilogy. He's already widely known for his I was really keen to start Patrick W. Carr's new series since I raced through his Staff and the Sword trilogy, being among my favourite reads of 2014. I've discovered the Darkwater Saga has the same complex, unique and carefully plotted new land I would have expected from him. There are some differences, though. We have an older, more experienced hero, for a start. Willet is more confident in the ways of the world than Errol was at the start of the other trilogy. He's already widely known for his combat skills, and is employed as a reeve by the king. As he tells his story in first person, it doesn't take long to realise that Willet, having fought in wars, suffers from PTSD and also the loss of a dream. He'd hoped to join the church, from which he is now barred owing to blood on his hands. He has his own personal terror. Several grisly murders occur on nights when he knows he's been sleepwalking, and returns to his room with blood on the hem of his robe. It takes a fair bit of brain power and mental connection from the reader at first, to latch onto the way this new world works, making it feel more like hard work than a good read, but once we've got it, then we're off. I'm hoping this review will also serve as a bit of a guide to make things easier than I found them to start off with. The religions are divided into four priestly orders or divisions, which roughly equate to Christian denominations. There is Servant, Vanguard, Absold and Merum, and Willet's personal leaning is the Merum order. Most significant to the plot is the way in which humans are able to inherit gifts - which come in six categories; beauty, craft, sum, parts, helps and devotion. They can be split into more specific attributes such as musician, artist etc. While we normally think of gifts as being randomly passed down through a person's genes, it's far more intentional in this world. Heads of families are able to decide who to pass their gifts on to, through laying on of hands. Knowing that too many splits dilutes a gift is also a consideration, and the more pure are regarded as more powerful and desirable. If somebody dies without formally handing on their gift, it is regarded as 'free' or up for grabs, so to speak. Although killing for a gift is a crime worthy of execution, murderers will still target those who are known to possess valuable, pure gifts, if they believe they can cover their tracks and get away with it. In this story, Willet becomes the recipient of an extremely rare gift believed by some to be extinct, that of dema or demere. Perhaps it happened because he was the only one around at the time, but the dying priest Elwin confers it on him as his last act. Willet is henceforth able to deduce the hidden thoughts, motives and histories of a person's heart through mere physical touch, often accidental. That's when the intrigue thickens. As he's also known to be investigating Elwin's death, ruthless crooks are out to kill him. I'd recommend reading the novella 'By Divine Right' before getting stuck straight into 'The Shock of Night' as it introduces some of the background, making things clearer for us. Thanks to Net Galley and Bethany House for my review copy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lekeisha The Booknerd

    *4.5 Stars* Find more of my reviews over at Lekeisha The Booknerd I’m all in for this saga, unless the next book proves otherwise. I love the world building here -the desperation of the people, the envy of not having a gift, the thieving and whoring, the evil lurking about, and just the spiritual mystery of it all. Willet is more driven here as he gets so frustrated trying to get answers. More killing, action, and spiritual magic at play here. I love that, although this is Christian Fiction, it d *4.5 Stars* Find more of my reviews over at Lekeisha The Booknerd I’m all in for this saga, unless the next book proves otherwise. I love the world building here -the desperation of the people, the envy of not having a gift, the thieving and whoring, the evil lurking about, and just the spiritual mystery of it all. Willet is more driven here as he gets so frustrated trying to get answers. More killing, action, and spiritual magic at play here. I love that, although this is Christian Fiction, it doesn’t read like it. Don’t get me wrong, there are no tasteless trysts going on, but I love that you do feel like you are IN FACT reading a fantasy book. As with most fantasy, there are political agendas. This is not heavy on that, per se, but there are lots of things at play around it. This is not a very character driven series, (so far), but the world building is great. The Darkwater Forest is quite intriguing and I love that there is magical mystery there. This is fantasy, magic, mayhem, spiritual warfare at it’s best. I am looking forward to reading the next book. Highly recommended!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    4,25 stars - English Ebook - I have dyslexia - - For the body, beauty and craft, For the soul sum of parts, For the spirit, help and devotion. - A new world of fantasy where four kind of gifts rule the land. Lord Dura is the one who resolves problems for the King. Murder problems. But when A gifted person and his guard get murdered a new world opens for Lord Willow Dura, former soldier and survivor of Darkwater forrest. In this book you never know who is Lord Dura's friend or enemy. In high tempo 4,25 stars - English Ebook - I have dyslexia - - For the body, beauty and craft, For the soul sum of parts, For the spirit, help and devotion. - A new world of fantasy where four kind of gifts rule the land. Lord Dura is the one who resolves problems for the King. Murder problems. But when A gifted person and his guard get murdered a new world opens for Lord Willow Dura, former soldier and survivor of Darkwater forrest. In this book you never know who is Lord Dura's friend or enemy. In high tempo the first book in the Darkwater saga inlights you. - An arrow from their volley flew by me close enough to hear the air whistling through the reflecting. -

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    If you're fans of fantasy, you'll surely want to run to the book store to buy a copy of "The Shock of Night" written by Mr. Carr. Full of creativity, entertainment and fantasy, you will have entered into a whole new world. I found this book to be deep, depressing and dark at many times throughout the book. However, this book does not shy away from creativity of a world that is innovative. The characters in the story have these amazing gifts given by God, which can be used on demand. How many of If you're fans of fantasy, you'll surely want to run to the book store to buy a copy of "The Shock of Night" written by Mr. Carr. Full of creativity, entertainment and fantasy, you will have entered into a whole new world. I found this book to be deep, depressing and dark at many times throughout the book. However, this book does not shy away from creativity of a world that is innovative. The characters in the story have these amazing gifts given by God, which can be used on demand. How many of us would love a certain talent or spiritual gift that we could use on demand? That would be amazing! Some characters have musical gifts, abilities to design, swordsmanship, building and so forth. You also have King. I was a fan of Willet and his personality. He had a sense of compassion for others, was a great thinker and wonderful at problem solving, which is exactly what he needed throughout this book. (No spoilers here) This book also had a bit of romance... The character depth was spot on and made for a great story. I loved Gael and can't wait to read more about her. We need more scenes with the two of them. If you're looking for a great fantasy sci-fic book, this book has a lot of depth, mystery, some darkness, a bit of romance, friendship and a world where God doesn't seem to be present. It's an interesting dynamic, which makes for an interesting read. I hope you'll give it chance. I can't wait to read what happens next. My heart was pounding the entire time and the last chapter will have you thinking about the characters long after the book is finished because you can't wait for Book 2!!!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Schuyler

    I've loved Patrick Carr's fantasy from page one of A Cast of Stones. He offered something new, rich, original in a crowded genre. I've read A Cast of Stones three times now, and it's just as magical every time. When I saw his newest release, I couldn't wait to see what he had to offer. He's grown immensely as a writer. The geography, history, religion, and plotting of his new land are all much more detailed but still within grasp of reader comprehension. His characterization is just as good as b I've loved Patrick Carr's fantasy from page one of A Cast of Stones. He offered something new, rich, original in a crowded genre. I've read A Cast of Stones three times now, and it's just as magical every time. When I saw his newest release, I couldn't wait to see what he had to offer. He's grown immensely as a writer. The geography, history, religion, and plotting of his new land are all much more detailed but still within grasp of reader comprehension. His characterization is just as good as before--adding darker and grittier elements, not afraid to plumb the depths of deepest pain and fear. This book deals with heavy subjects. Our own dark places. Other's dark places. Boundaries that should and should not be crossed. The evil of ambition. The deep, deep pain of being sacrificed by your friends for a greater cause. But in this tension, I see growth and hope.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Schoppa

    Before we begin…I don’t typically read reviews from others until I have finished mine as I don’t want to be influenced by their thoughts. I was getting a bit confused in the beginning of the story though and so I’m glad that I stopped over at Goodreads and read the first review that popped up by David Bergsland. Without it I wouldn’t have known that there is a free prequel, By Divine Right, which is intrinsic to the understanding of the story. Go grab it before you read The Shock of Night and it Before we begin…I don’t typically read reviews from others until I have finished mine as I don’t want to be influenced by their thoughts. I was getting a bit confused in the beginning of the story though and so I’m glad that I stopped over at Goodreads and read the first review that popped up by David Bergsland. Without it I wouldn’t have known that there is a free prequel, By Divine Right, which is intrinsic to the understanding of the story. Go grab it before you read The Shock of Night and it may save you some of the confusion that I experienced. I also recommend that you read Bergsland’s review as it is excellent. I absolutely love this book and I am absolutely frustrated by it at the same time. Here comes the positives and then my cautions for believers. Patrick Carr is a fantastic story crafter. I was captivated by The Shock of Night from beginning to end; it was tough to pull myself away and get back to real life. The ending truly was a mystery to me. Better minds than mine may have figured it out but it kept me wondering until the end. There is a feeling of Sherlock Holmes. Our protagonist, Reeve Willet Dura has crafted his gift of observation over the years and he is able to discern more than the average investigator as to what the crime scene and body have to say about the murderer. I enjoyed the intricacy and brilliance of it. Carr creates well-developed worlds and well-developed characters. As with any genuine relationship it takes time to determine someone’s character and in that manner we get to know our main character. Willet finds himself having to work with people who completely mistrust him; a feeling which is mutually shared. What is discovered over time is that Willet engenders loyalty. He is honest, brilliant, kind, and devoted to the poor. He is also intensely loyal. An eclectic cast of characters surround Willet that challenge, improve, and assist him in numerous ways. If you have read many of my reviews you will see that I almost always fall in love with a character; usually a minor character. My favorite in The Shock of Night is Custos the librarian. Oh to know a mind like that in such a humble man with such a kind soul. Don't worry...The evil characters are devilishly evil. They won’t disappoint as foils for our good Reeve. Cautions for Christians The Shock of Night is published under the genre Christian fiction by Bethany House Publishers. Unfortunately the term “Christian fiction” in today’s market is far too flexible. Even within this flexibility though The Shock of Night is pushing credulity to me. Patrick Carr presents us with four religious factions. Carr calls it the four-part church. You will find representatives, called criers, of the four distinct orders in the town square proselytizing on behalf of their particular sect daily. They have a set schedule and a set location within hearing distance of one another from which they speak. The factions do not make a complete whole and they are set upon disagreement. No single faction stands out as the Christian church. There exists a complete dichotomy between this pseudo religion and the Christian church, which worships and serves the triune God. The one true God that is one yet also three; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three parts of the trinity are not divided. They do not compete. They are one and the same. In contrast, Carr’s four-part church smacks of the religious dissension evident in the multitude of cultural religions rife throughout society. Carr does introduce a semblance of the trinity but it is not at all fleshed out and is mentioned only briefly. Throughout the book I was confused as to Carr’s intentions with this religious structure. I never understood clearly how the parts fit together; it is like a puzzle with several key pieces missing. The closest modern-day religion that Carr’s pseudo religion could be based upon is Catholicism as its structure contains bishops, cathedrals, unmarried priests, etc. but it still doesn’t fit. What is evident is that in no way shape or form is it Christian. In The Shock of Night the four orders theology is best described by quotes directly from the book (Aer is the name given for god): 1. The Servants “The purpose of man is to serve others, placing them above himself,” the Servant’s crier proclaimed, his brown robe ruffling in the breeze. “If every man looks to use his gift in his own interest, we will descend into selfish barbarity.” 2. The Vanguard “I must take issue with my brother,” a brazen-throated woman in white declaimed. “While service is a noble goal, there will always be evil in this world. Unless we are bold in confronting the enemy’s malice, servanthood will only provide fuel for its excesses.” Tall, her auburn hair floated in the breeze, wreathing her head in a flaming halo atop her spotless white robe. “The gifts of Aer are given so that we might eradicate evil from the world.” 3. The Absold The Absold’s crier—they were almost always attractive blue-clad women—had the largest portion of the crowd. Many of the men gazed at her with something other than religious fervor. “While I can sympathize with the desire to serve and to fight evil, as my brother and sister so eloquently express, I must disagree. Our principle purpose here is not dependent on what we do, but on what we are. We are all fallen. Only by extending forgiveness freely to each other, in imitation of Aer’s forgiveness for us, can we free ourselves from those internal chains that make us less than we are. Then you will see your gift shine forth.” 4. The Merum The Merum priest, dressed in red, waited for her to finish. The crowd in front of his stand, a simple stack of granite slabs at odds with the massive cathedral behind it, was smaller than the other three, and most of them waited passively, their faces neither pained nor expectant. “The strictures are these,” the priest intoned, reciting the daily office. “You must not delve the deep places of the earth, you must not covet another’s gift, and above all you must honor Aer, Iosa, and Gaoithe in all.” He stopped. The Merum never debated. They quoted the office in pieces between the proclamations of the other three. Most people, even those who didn’t adhere to their division, had heard it so many times, they could recite it themselves. As is discernible from the quotes above, many of the religious leaders are female. If you are unsure why I find this a concern, please read this article from CARM that can explain it far better than I could. In a nutshell…God’s authority structure does not provide for women leading men. If this book were not placed within the Christian fiction genre I would not take such issue with it. It is when fallacy, in it’s filthy ugly rags, purports itself as the pure and holy truth that our combined hackles should be raised. * Does a balance need to be found within Christian fiction?  NO * Should we delve in and avoid critically seeking out every theological point of disagreement? YES * Or should we enjoy the story as a whole, being aware that it contains biblical error but also knowing that it is enjoyable and clean?  I want to say yes but must say NO. * Do we need to major in the minors? YES, but then these points are not minor; Biblical inerrancy is not a minor detail.  Anything presenting itself as Christian must be held up to the light of scripture. There is one spiritual component presented that I can agree with and that is that the Darkwater are representative of our lives. Once we choose darkness it comes snarling out violently. Only the rare person can block those desires returning to Christ. The Shock of Night is such an engaging fantasy. I wish that I could give this review without reservation. I received a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher. For all of my reviews visit Blessed and Bewildered

  13. 4 out of 5

    (Jen) The Artist Librarian

    I've heard amazing things about Patrick W. Carr's work since his debut novel, A Cast of Stones, was released in 2013. I hadn't gotten the chance to get to any of his books, so I immediately jumped on the opportunity to review Carr's latest fantasy novel (and the start of a new series). Now I'm asking myself what took me to long to give his books a try! The Shock of Night is a thrilling crime procedural or mystery set in a medieval fantasy world. Full of political intrigue, action and swordplay, I've heard amazing things about Patrick W. Carr's work since his debut novel, A Cast of Stones, was released in 2013. I hadn't gotten the chance to get to any of his books, so I immediately jumped on the opportunity to review Carr's latest fantasy novel (and the start of a new series). Now I'm asking myself what took me to long to give his books a try! The Shock of Night is a thrilling crime procedural or mystery set in a medieval fantasy world. Full of political intrigue, action and swordplay, and mysterious powers, this novel has high crossover appeal to not only Adult/YA, but also the general fantasy market as well. Willet Dura is one of King Laidir's reeves: A detective of sorts, the medieval kingdom of Collum's equivalent to a modern-day police investigator. As someone who grew up reading mysteries and watching crime dramas on television, I thought this was a unique touch I hadn't encountered in any of the previous fantasy novels I've read. While called on to solve murders and other crimes, it quickly becomes clear to Willet that there is more at work here. In this fantastical world, people can be "gifted" --charisms from the god Aer which magnifies specific natural talents, abilities, or traits of an individual. Though often passed on from parent to child or mentor to apprentice, when Willet discovers he has been given one of the most powerful and uncommon gifts, he is thrust into the midst of intrigue and danger. Carr's writing is incredibly immersive. While including enough elements and world-building for a full, medieval, fantasy feel, he doesn't get bogged down in minutiae that a lot of fantasy authors can get caught in. The history of this world, concepts of gifting, and the political intrigue between nobles and between the different religious sects are intriguing and can't wait to see what's revealed next. He also masterfully incorporates flashbacks, first person and third person narratives in a logical fashion. While published by Bethany House, I think this fantasy novel could easily cross over into the general market. The spiritual thread isn't an obvious allegorical route that can often be used in Christian fantasy, and it could be considered part of the world-building since it's not "preachy." I'm interested to see how or if he expands upon this in the following books. I'm looking forward to reading more of Carr's Darkwater Saga in the future, especially since this novel ends with a more than a few loose ends! I'd highly recommend The Shock of Night to teens and adults that would enjoy clean but mature medieval fantasy with a mystery component. There's also a prequel e-book novella, By Divine Right, that I've just downloaded. I didn't have too much trouble following along in this novel, but if you're not a huge fantasy fiction reader, you might want to read the prequel first. From what I understand, there's some backstory and world-building in this prequel (currently available for free) that help clarify things in the novel. [Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aldii - perfectioninbooks

    (I recived an ARC copy from Net Galley in exchange of a honest review) I really liked this book! The writing: It was good, I enjoyed it. Sometimes it seemed like the book was too long but anyway I enjoyed it. Other problem I had was that for me was a bit difficult to get into the story at first but once that I did, it was really good. You know a thing I loved about the writing? It made me doubt of everything and everyone and I love when that happens. You have two POVs: from the main character Wille (I recived an ARC copy from Net Galley in exchange of a honest review) I really liked this book! The writing: It was good, I enjoyed it. Sometimes it seemed like the book was too long but anyway I enjoyed it. Other problem I had was that for me was a bit difficult to get into the story at first but once that I did, it was really good. You know a thing I loved about the writing? It made me doubt of everything and everyone and I love when that happens. You have two POVs: from the main character Willet and from The Vigil. It was great to read from both POVs. The story: I'm going to be honest, I didn't read the blurb before getting into it. I liked the cover so, why not? But I liked reading it knowing anything. It made the story a real and great surprise. I didn't know what to expect and I ended up reading a great fantasy. You have this society with a king and some people have gifts. These gifts are something maybe you are more good at than the normal or something supernatural you can do. I really liked the gift Willet was given and at the same time I didn't. (view spoiler)[If you touch someone, you will know everything about them. And I think that gift can be a blessing or a curse. Maybe its good to know somethings and some real intentions but everything? Mmm...I doubt it. (hide spoiler)] It has a good part of mystery. You want to know what is happening, why, when and how will everything end. Oh, and this book has an unexpected evil and a lot of things related to human's mind (which I loved) It has a bit of romance,which I really liked, but its definitely not the center of this story. The characters: I really liked Willet personality and sense of humor. He helped with everything he could, and cared for others. I loved his ability to slove problems, see things that others wouldn't and to read people's actions and expressions. He can control his own expressions and actions so others would see something he isn't, how cool is that? And, he is a survivor, he has been through lots of things and he will have to face more things in this book. Bolt, I loved his quotes and personality. The friendship between him and Willet was great because they complemented each other with ideas, theories or protecting each other. I definitely want to read more about Gael. Her character is strong and she doesn't fear to follow her heart. She has a beautiful relationship with Willet based in trust and true love. I want to read more scenes with them together. Can I say I hated the Vigil some times (like often)? They were so frustrating! This is a great fantasy sci-fi, with good writing and story. A main character that is a mystery but his sense of humor is great. A good friendship and true love. Mystery,a bit of action and romance that makes you want to read more. I want to know what happens next! "Men and women are stories. The tale of their lives contain triumph and tragedy, but far too many of their stories end long before their hearts have counted their alloted number".

  15. 4 out of 5

    Merenwen Inglorion

    Not quite sure what to think of this yet... GET THE PREQUEL By Divine Right BEFORE YOU READ THIS AND YOU WON'T WANT TO throw the characters in a bottomless pit PUT IT DOWN IN FRUSTRATION. All in all, not quite what I expected/was hoping for. I was hoping for a flawed man, who was offered a smidgen of hope, then did everything he could to a) test it (because he's been let down so many times its impossible to not resist it at first) and then b) make the best of the situation and make friends along t Not quite sure what to think of this yet... GET THE PREQUEL By Divine Right BEFORE YOU READ THIS AND YOU WON'T WANT TO throw the characters in a bottomless pit PUT IT DOWN IN FRUSTRATION. All in all, not quite what I expected/was hoping for. I was hoping for a flawed man, who was offered a smidgen of hope, then did everything he could to a) test it (because he's been let down so many times its impossible to not resist it at first) and then b) make the best of the situation and make friends along the way. Like Errol in A Cast of Stones. I loved him. <3 I got a broken man, who was given superpowers (which was the main reason I continued even when I was confused; MEDIEVAL SUPERPOWERS), then twisted and thrown against the wall by both himself and the "good guys". He also had trust issues (understandable), but let himself go weaponless around quite a few people...and I was given the impression early on that he was quite skilled with the blade, but then later it's like...well, it kind of felt like Power Rangers: ultra-powerful weapons/people are obsolete come the next threat. And he somehow managed to survive when all the "best" were dying like flies. (view spoiler)[Despite his stupidity and an incident with flash powder. :P (hide spoiler)] I was also looking for Hope. God in this fantasy world is called Aer, and was abstract at best. There are factions of priests who yell at each other, and by the end of the book the charries were saying, "Aer help us," "Oh Aer," "Aer have mercy," etc., at least every other page. Willet harangues him once in a chapel, but other than that, Aer seems to have no part in this story. By the end of the book, I wanted more Myles (who was on-scene what, once? Twice?) and Lady Gael (who reminded me of Sherlock). I liked Willet as a dark character, but I felt like he would fit in more with DC's or Marvel's universes and their assorted (lovable <3) psychos. A couple threads left dangling partway through the book ((view spoiler)[Guess Ealdor took a vacation off the face of the earth? Was he a figment of Willet's imagination? A result of the black scroll in his mind? Did he ever actually exist and Willet was seeing ghosts?? And I never did see an explanation as to why he wasn't able to be controlled like the rest of the people who emerged from the Darkwater... (hide spoiler)] ). There were some other things--mostly annoyance at certain descriptions, but I can usually look past those ((view spoiler)[a "well-lubricated guard"? I can only picture a guard being used as a door-hinge :P Also, the words "leering" and "lurid" don't bring to mind "a gift of physical beauty"... (hide spoiler)] )... Not sure if I'll be hanging onto this book or continuing the series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Reinstedt

    Though this book confused me for the first half, like many fantasies do, as mysteries became clear and the pace sped up I was drawn in and truly enjoyed the read. By the last third, I couldn’t put the book down. I can’t wait to read book 2!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    The Darkwater claims all who enter it. And yet here is Willet Dura. Somehow he's escaped it, the lone survivor of a company of soldiers to escape it. Now plagued with sleep walking, (or so he believes it to be,) he is haunted by the things he cannot recall. Head reeve to the King of Bunard in a world divided by those with gifts and those without, Willet is tasked with solving the mysterious murder of two men - a simple guard and the man he serves. But as the priest is dying, he grasps Willet and s The Darkwater claims all who enter it. And yet here is Willet Dura. Somehow he's escaped it, the lone survivor of a company of soldiers to escape it. Now plagued with sleep walking, (or so he believes it to be,) he is haunted by the things he cannot recall. Head reeve to the King of Bunard in a world divided by those with gifts and those without, Willet is tasked with solving the mysterious murder of two men - a simple guard and the man he serves. But as the priest is dying, he grasps Willet and screams in a strange tongue. He dies without explaining. Now Willet is back to the task of solving the murders. As more and more people show up dead, he discovers a new power to see into the deepest, darkest thoughts of those he touches. Digging deeper, Willet discovers he is now one of the gifted - with a gift that shouldn't exist. Join Willet as he strives to solve the murders of those around him and come to grips with his new and potential deadly gift. ♥♥♥ Patrick Carr is one of my all time favorite fantasy writers! Like, seriously his book Cast of Stones was captivating on so many levels! That said, when I saw this book on the Book Club Network I was ecstatic! I was slightly less so when I saw the font! It is a super duper tiny font that made the book daunting for those of us having a hard time focusing. Add that to the fact that the book is already 450 pages and it makes it quite a heavy read! But despite that, I still was enthralled with the premise and twist in The Shock of Night. Nothing is as it seems. While the back of the book seems to tell you exactly what will happen, the characters and settings take on a whole new meaning as more and more facts come to light. The characters were so refreshing! Willet Dura and Gale, his fiance, were fun and witty. The description of the little pickpockets followed nicely with the Prequel Novella I read a few months back. All and all, Patrick W, Carr has introduced us to a whole new world of good versus evil and I have to applaud him! I give this book a 4/5! Bravo Mr Carr! I can't wait for the sequel to The Shock of Night! I was given this book by the Book Club Network for my honest review, which I have given.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    (This review is replicated for The Wounded Shadow, book three of the series) I had considered the reviewing each book of the trilogy separately, but the reality is they could be one near-1500 page volume, so close do the books follow on each other and so intricately are they entwined. There's hardly any repeat of information from the previous books (which I, reading them all in the course of a week, appreciated, but I feel for anyone who had to wait a year to complete the series). This is one int (This review is replicated for The Wounded Shadow, book three of the series) I had considered the reviewing each book of the trilogy separately, but the reality is they could be one near-1500 page volume, so close do the books follow on each other and so intricately are they entwined. There's hardly any repeat of information from the previous books (which I, reading them all in the course of a week, appreciated, but I feel for anyone who had to wait a year to complete the series). This is one intricately-plotted story. Nothing is wasted; everything is important enough to come back again, no matter how inconsequential it seems at the beginning. The world-building is incredibly intricate, with complex politics not only amongst monarchs and their courts, but also within the church (and their relations to said monarchs), and even those politics vary by region, as they would in real life. From one kingdom to the next, cultures change, traditions differ, accents appear. There was a ton of thought put into building this world. The characters, no matter how young or old, wise or foolish, all have their flaws, and all are given ample opportunity to grow. It's discouraging at times how long it takes the members of the Vigil to trust Willet, but in spite of his frustration and anger, he doesn't give in to pettiness, but learns profound grace, as they themselves also learn. I liked how the author created Willet; there is no doubt he's a good guy, but he is much darker than the typical hero, and he stands out all the more for it. As allegory goes, it isn't nearly as heavy-handed as CS Lewis. There are many parallels with the bible--Lucifer's fall, the triune God, gifts of the Spirit; there are also many parallels with today's church, in both its truth and brokenness, that can convict from this fantasy world as easily as straight up admonitions from ours. There are powerful examples of grace and redemption, especially in the final volume. The author does an incredible job of pointing to truth while remaining true to the spirit of his story. While I enjoyed these earlier volumes of the story, the final is truly the masterpiece, making it a 5-star series (the whole being so much stronger than the part).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Carr has created another medieval world with elements of supernatural with theological implications, mystery, plotting, rich characterization and creative story telling par excellence. I loved "The Staff and the Sword" trilogy, and I loved this first book in the Darkwater Saga. I don't read many books that leave my heart pounding as this one did...do not read it at bedtime, if you value your sleep. Carr has created another medieval world with elements of supernatural with theological implications, mystery, plotting, rich characterization and creative story telling par excellence. I loved "The Staff and the Sword" trilogy, and I loved this first book in the Darkwater Saga. I don't read many books that leave my heart pounding as this one did...do not read it at bedtime, if you value your sleep.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aberdeen

    I don't know, it just didn't do it for me. It was definitely suspenseful—I didn't have trouble picking it up to keep reading. But at the end, I just felt dissatisfied with no interest in continuing the series. It's sad, because I thought it would be right up my alley: Christian fantasy that isn't preaching and that deals with dark, hard subjects. I didn't particularly like any of the characters (except Bolt, but he felt rather the stereotypical: the stoic, bulky bodyguard who ends up liking the I don't know, it just didn't do it for me. It was definitely suspenseful—I didn't have trouble picking it up to keep reading. But at the end, I just felt dissatisfied with no interest in continuing the series. It's sad, because I thought it would be right up my alley: Christian fantasy that isn't preaching and that deals with dark, hard subjects. I didn't particularly like any of the characters (except Bolt, but he felt rather the stereotypical: the stoic, bulky bodyguard who ends up liking the guy he's assigned to keep an eye on). The climax felt way too rushed. I didn't realize it actually happened until it was over, and I had to go back and realize that the thing we had been waiting for the whole book had occurred. And the writing made me roll my eyes several times, totally taking me out of the story. All the descriptions of sighing, drawing in breaths or breaths hissing out, gazes finding the floor or going flat, heads nodding, sneers mocking, and people growling, hissing, and blinking felt overdone. I might be extra sensitive because I tend to write like this, and I don't like that I do. None of these are reasons I wouldn't recommend it to someone else—I think many people would enjoy this and it has a lot of value for others. I just didn't care for it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    I am so so so glad I tried to read this again. The first time, I started it, and I couldn’t get into it. But this time WOW. I feel like this series is going to be better than the Staff and the Sword, even though that one was really good. This one feels better. And a little darker. I loved how there was lots of info that came out throughout the book, and you weren’t told everything about the world straightaway. And Bolt??? Best character ever. Allllmost better than the archer dude who I can’t reme I am so so so glad I tried to read this again. The first time, I started it, and I couldn’t get into it. But this time WOW. I feel like this series is going to be better than the Staff and the Sword, even though that one was really good. This one feels better. And a little darker. I loved how there was lots of info that came out throughout the book, and you weren’t told everything about the world straightaway. And Bolt??? Best character ever. Allllmost better than the archer dude who I can’t remember his name at the moment in A Cast of Stones.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

    Adventure, mystery and intrigue. The beginning was a bit confusing (1st two chp) but I soon got swept up in the mystery of what the heck was going on and what the heck had happened. I was on the edge if my seat the entire time. It was a great read and I look forward to the next one!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle R. Wood

    Patrick W. Carr isn't resting on the laurels garnered by his previous fantasy series. In this first of a brand new saga appropriately titled Darkwater, he reaches new heights as an author, crafting a rich setting full of vivid characters with stakes to match. Add all that to a potent mystery tackled by a wonderfully irascible sleuth, and I know what sequel I am most looking forward to in the new year. It's difficult to offer a summary of the book that doesn't completely give away the first major Patrick W. Carr isn't resting on the laurels garnered by his previous fantasy series. In this first of a brand new saga appropriately titled Darkwater, he reaches new heights as an author, crafting a rich setting full of vivid characters with stakes to match. Add all that to a potent mystery tackled by a wonderfully irascible sleuth, and I know what sequel I am most looking forward to in the new year. It's difficult to offer a summary of the book that doesn't completely give away the first major surprise. Indeed, I'd recommend potential readers who want an introduction to the world bypass any potential spoilers by simply reading Carr's delightful prequel novel (free on Amazon). Carr has always been good at worldbuilding. Here he again draws an environment in which the theological and political aspects are just as developed as the fantastic. Rather than a monolithic church that is either the sole voice of God or the corruption of such an institution, Carr envisions a world with various theological factions and orders which must form shifting alliances to keep their positions (and all of which have checkered pasts). The King is akin to those of the Old Testament: divinely appointed, but ruling by the most tenuous threads of support. The nobility roil with a desire for more power, and a new class of merchants are rising up to grasp at their share of influence. In fact, I'd say Carr's world isn't so much medieval as it is one in the first throes of early Renaissance-era upheaval and uncertainty. Certainly many fantasies should be more associated with later historic periods than the Middle Ages, but few have achieved such an authentic sense of place and time as Carr develops. Willet is a great fantasy detective, echoing the hardboiled gumshoe while still being very much a part of his fantasy setting. He's got a hunger to do the right thing but often stumbles to see past his own desires (even noble ones) in his pursuit. Sharp in his deductions but not preternaturally more intelligent than others, Willet is willing to embrace the help of allies but driven by his own sense of justice to pursue the truth past the endurance (and often patience) of others. Not to mention he has a wicked sense of dark humor. Nearly all the characters inhabiting this world show the same level of complexity. Part of a good mystery is not being able to immediately identify friend from foe, in sifting through competing motivations. The novel does an excellent job of assembling such a cast, all of whom have something to hide. I believed in these people and their lives, past and present, no easy task given some of their backgrounds. Thankfully, Carr has become a good enough writer to understand that "complex" does not automatically mean "dark;" characters surprised as much by their unexpected depths of honor as by hidden faults. The story is immersive and addictive, a real page-turner that kept me guessing with each new twist and turn. At times the plot gets a little too clever for its own good; some trails were more byzantine than necessary, making the final denouement feel a bit rushed in places. Clues that appeared important to begin with lost focus and were nearly forgotten toward the end. One key element of the climax might have been given a stronger setup to give it that extra emotional heft. Also, while Willet's finance was a key element of the prequel and one I looked forward to seeing more of, The Shock of the Night does little to develop her character (something I hope future sequels improve on). Yet these are minor complaints compared to the enjoyment I received from this book, which managed to consider a great many weighty topics without belaboring them: the trauma experienced by survivors of war, the neglect of the poor by those ostensibly out to do God's work on Earth, the corruption of God's gifts by both practical necessity and ambition (even the desire to do good). Every time I sensed a flaw I would be blown away by the next revelation or plot thread (Willet employs a particularly ingenious feint against a more powerful foe that's stuck with me for weeks since I first read it). Perhaps the greatest praise I can offer for this novel is my intense desire to read it anew, experiencing it all over again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carissa (Regency Woman)

    First off, you should know that despite my love of Tolkien, I don't read all that much fantasy. So my mind tends to wander when I pick up a fantasy book, which is what, unfortunately, happened with The Shock of Night. It had nothing at all to do with the author's work, just my lack of attention span for this novel. Have you ever read The Lord of the Rings? How about the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters? Somehow, and I'm not sure exactly how, Patrick Carr managed to create a nearly perfect combinatio First off, you should know that despite my love of Tolkien, I don't read all that much fantasy. So my mind tends to wander when I pick up a fantasy book, which is what, unfortunately, happened with The Shock of Night. It had nothing at all to do with the author's work, just my lack of attention span for this novel. Have you ever read The Lord of the Rings? How about the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters? Somehow, and I'm not sure exactly how, Patrick Carr managed to create a nearly perfect combination of the two concepts. So if you're wondering how The Shock of Night feels, well, there you go. It's a really good mixture, very enjoyable. I will say the story itself lagged just a tad in the middle, but I forced myself past the slow part and the action got going again. The story does tend to wander a bit, which didn't help with my attention problem. I'm not sure the story was ever quite as clear as the author intended. Sometimes the characters had those profound "Ahha" moments that should have been obvious to the reader, but it took me a few times reading the paragraph to finally grasp what had just happened and why it was important. The author skirts around out and out mentioning what just happened, leaving it to the reader to make an educated guess, which is fine, but a little bit of extra clarity would have been very helpful. Then there's the names. Pellin. Dura. Bolt. Volsk. Toria Deel. Ealdor. None of these are easy names to remember. The only reason I remember Dura and Bolt is because they're the lead characters, Dura especially and so you kind of HAVE to remember them. But some of the others, well, they're easy to forget if you don't encounter them for a few pages. Easier names would have proven themselves most helpful. Just because Tolkien loved to make up his own names doesn't necessarily mean every other fantasy writer should do the same thing. As for the story, it's funny that Carr would use the concept of spiritual gifts in such a way. Where they're tangible things that you can actually feel in how a person interacts with you. The gifts make you stronger, smarter, faster, gentler, more compassionate, etc. And then you have the use of the mind palace, locking memories away, delving minds for information, breaking vaults in someone's mind. These are all very popular elements with the modern audience today, partially thanks to Sherlock I'm sure. Also, I've heard a few arguments that this isn't a Christian story and shouldn't be marketed as such. A Christian man wrote it, but I agree, the church in Carr's story is not a whole reflection of Christ's followers. This is a fantasy world, so while you might see a little bit of allegory, it's not intended to be a blatant copy of the Christian church. That said, there is enough comparison, especially dislike among denominations and fractures that result from that dislike. Carr may have used the fractures in an extreme way, but the church in his story does serve as a reminder that believers should never see one another as the enemy. On the whole, the book was entertaining. It's the first in a series, but I do think it felt more like the second in a series. As if there was part of the story missing, which left me with a slightly disjointed feeling, hence the 3 stars. I rather wish I'd read the short story first, since there is one called By Divine Right and I suspect it fills in some gaps. But you shouldn't need a short story to fill in gaps that the book itself is missing. A good read, but I'm not sure I'll continue with the series. Bolt was pretty awesome though. I almost wish the story had been from his perspective. Bodyguards are almost always the coolest! * I received a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review, which I have given*

  25. 4 out of 5

    S.A. Thorup

    “Despite their conviction of my guilt, they weren't stupid, and the village idiot could piece the reason for the attack together.” Willet Dura stated this over 200 pages into the book. After 300 pages, I still couldn't “piece the reason” together for why anything was happening in this story. Maybe it was because I would read this before bed, so I was tired, but I've read engaging books while being exhausted and understood them. I didn't finish this book, but I may finish it at a later time. This b “Despite their conviction of my guilt, they weren't stupid, and the village idiot could piece the reason for the attack together.” Willet Dura stated this over 200 pages into the book. After 300 pages, I still couldn't “piece the reason” together for why anything was happening in this story. Maybe it was because I would read this before bed, so I was tired, but I've read engaging books while being exhausted and understood them. I didn't finish this book, but I may finish it at a later time. This book had some interesting concepts going on. Religious orders and magical gifts that enhance people's abilities were some of the biggest ones. The concepts and setting took a background to the story probably too much. World-building should contribute to the plot, but there was such a lack of world-buildling that it weakened the plot. Points in the plot were presented briefly before jumping to another plot point, and then to another, and another. Then we would return to one of those plot points, and then jump back to another one or a new one. Characters were mentioned that I had never heard of without explanation, or hadn't read about for a while, as if I as the reader should know everything about the characters already. The story became rather convoluted and jerky, and I easily became lost in the overall plot. Part of my problem with the story was the whole ordeal about Willet's “vault.” I guess cracking it can make a guy a vegetable, but I don't understand why it was so important that they do it except to figure out how he stumbled out alive from the Darkwater. When I put this book down I had finally gotten somewhere interesting. Another problem I had were Willet's investigations into these different murders, but I had a hard time tying their importance together because the narration didn't give me enough information. When Willet talked about the village idiot, I felt kind of insulted, because I was deep in the dark at that point. I had a hard time understanding the role of the Vigil. They pretended to be this really secretive group of people, and for some reason their gift is really outstanding, yet they openly interact with the king and members of the religious orders. They don't bother a lot to keep themselves hidden. They can read the memories of people...and that's about it. In the book the leader of the Vigil warns about reading too many memories from multiple people to learn who's guilty...but isn't that what you would use it for, just in moderation? I didn't understand the reason for the Vigil's existence, or why they held so much sway except to shatter people's minds (while implying to be the “good guys”) and they only seemed to be there to hound the main character. I wanted to like this book. I like a good tome of fantasy. However, this book was all over the place, and when one of the only times I can read is right before bed, I need a book that's easy to understand while still maintaining good twists and mysteries. This book strove to hold up its fantastical elements, but it was too busy stumbling around trying to piece a convoluted plot together to let those elements shine. I think maybe if I return to this book at a later time and start from the beginning I may be able to piece things together better. Also, there were lots of comma splices.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr —What darkness lurks in the Darkwater Forest? Have you ever wished you could read someone’s thoughts? Do a mind meld like Spock? Maybe you don’t. King Laidir’s reeve, Willet Dura, is unwillingly given the gift of domere by a dying member of the Vigil—a group of gifted individuals who weren’t supposed to exist. With a simple touch he can delve not only into the thoughts of someone, but he becomes that person for a few minutes, and sometimes he has to fight to co The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr —What darkness lurks in the Darkwater Forest? Have you ever wished you could read someone’s thoughts? Do a mind meld like Spock? Maybe you don’t. King Laidir’s reeve, Willet Dura, is unwillingly given the gift of domere by a dying member of the Vigil—a group of gifted individuals who weren’t supposed to exist. With a simple touch he can delve not only into the thoughts of someone, but he becomes that person for a few minutes, and sometimes he has to fight to come back out and reclaim his own identity. It’s a gift he’d rather not have. Holding on to other’s secrets is a something he didn’t ask for. And his mind has its own hidden locked doors that even he can’t find the key to open. What does he do in those restless nights when he finally wakes and finds blood on his cloak? Tasked with the investigation of a brutal murder, Willet is thrust into a world of mind melding and deception around every corner. Who can he trust? Even those closest to the King are suspects. Will he be able solve the mystery and unlock his own mind before it’s too late? Or will the one seeking to steal his gift win the battle and destroy the Vigil? Patrick W. Carr creates a fantasy world with such great description that it steps the reader into the pages and streets of Bunard. The Shock of Night, book one of The Darkwater Saga, is well written and sets you up for more to come. For background and to prepare the reader for the series, the novella, By Divine Right, is a good place to start. I recommend reading this first. The characters are dimensional with each holding their own secrets. I liked Bolt’s sayings and the friendship they developed even though Willet struggled to trust his guard. The plot was interesting and kept me reading. I also liked the fight of good vs evil and the symbolic meaning of how each of us has different gifts. This was well done. What I didn’t enjoy about this novel was the overwhelming pages of prose. I found myself skimming, but the danger in doing this was I found myself lost at times, so I had to stop doing it. I felt the author could have cut down a lot of on the prose and added more dialogue. It slowed the pace down for me and I had to put the book down every now and then. I also felt confused by some of the characters and who they were. Some names were very similar. Also, the hype leading up to the battle was well done, but I felt cheated by the actual death of the villain. It was too quick. I did enjoy this book, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s dark and a bit gritty in spots. Will I continue to follow the series? Probably. I do want to see where the Mr. Carr takes us in the saga as he doesn’t tie some loose ends up in a nice bow. You will want to keep going with the Vigil! I give The Shock of Night 3.5 stars. You may want to read it in the light of day! **Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jalynn Patterson

    About the Book: When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet 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 the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to hav About the Book: When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet 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 the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it's as though he can see 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 much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world--a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive. My Review: Something is wrong among the kingdom. One man is killed for an unknown cause, his skull cracked open. The man’s servant is also killed. But why? What would someone want to do with someone no more than a church functionary? Willet Dura believes there is something more going on than meets the eye. Going to the King’s throne room and speaking privately with him, Willet learns that the church knows more than they are willing to let on. They wish for nothing more than the king and Willet to look aside. Knowing that there is no justice in that, the king sends Willet to investigate but not get caught in the act. Things begin to happen to Willet, having odd fainting spells and weird visions, he knows something is wrong. He knows he must find answers, but the answer he gets, will change his life forever. Forced to remember what happened to him in the Darkwater Forest, he learns that he may be more than just Willet Dura the king’s reeve. The Shock of Night is book one in the Darkwater Saga. This book was full action and adventure. I loved every minute of reading it. I really enjoyed the medieval aspect of the whole thing. This book was a wonderful read. And I cant wait until I can read more books from this series. **Disclosure** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from the author.

  28. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Mbewe

    Sherlock meets Warbreaker meets The Follower of the Word series. I'm not sure what to think of this adventure. On one hand, it was so good! On the other hand…I have so many unanswered questions. Overall, I enjoyed it, but the ending felt a little anticlimactic for me. Yet, I'm over here like where's the next book??? What I loved: It's deep. Intense. Fast-paced. Dark. The worldbuilding is amazing. The gifts/talents, which got me thinking about the talents we possess in our world. The four religious Sherlock meets Warbreaker meets The Follower of the Word series. I'm not sure what to think of this adventure. On one hand, it was so good! On the other hand…I have so many unanswered questions. Overall, I enjoyed it, but the ending felt a little anticlimactic for me. Yet, I'm over here like where's the next book??? What I loved: It's deep. Intense. Fast-paced. Dark. The worldbuilding is amazing. The gifts/talents, which got me thinking about the talents we possess in our world. The four religious orders, the court, and the culture. We have only scraped the surface of this world, and I look forward to seeing what Carr will do with it. But I think even better are the characters. Myles the apothecary, Bolt, the swordsman protector but will slit your throat if need be, Custos, the librarian priest. Rory and all the street urchins. They are complex, quirky, and broken. Just like us. They felt so real. As in I-am-missing-my-friends-real. Some of my hang-ups: I was a bit confused at what the characters were alluding to at times. And I almost walked away from the novel when Dura received the "gift". If I hadn't read the novella first and Dura's character hadn't been already established, I might have. But I knew Dura from By Divine Right, so I pushed through, and I'm so glad I did. It's a murder mystery fantasy and that's what hooked me when I first heard about it, but don't let that label fool you. The story and world are so much bigger, and I wonder how the story will continue. Will Dura still be solving murders like he did as a reeve? Or now that he has this "gift", will the flavor of the next books be changed? Will it be more like the classic fantasy stories where the world hangs in the balance between the battle of good and evil? It seems as such, and not that that is a bad thing. Those are the kind of books I love the most. Still, I wonder can a murder mystery novel exist in a fantasy world without the end of the world type feel? I would definitely recommend this book, but make sure you read By Divine Right first. It will help. Trust me. *** I received this book from the publisher to read and review in conjunction with the CSFF blog tour.***

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen R

    Posting this on behalf of my dd who is not on goodreads: Complex Page Turner, Action-filled Fantasy! By Lauren Rochon This review is for: The Shock of Night (The Darkwater Saga) (Paperback) This action, fantasy story is set in a medieval time period. In this world, there are many special powers/gifts that some people are given which make them masters at their craft/job/skill. Others are not so fortunate, which causes some degree of tension in the kingdoms. The protagonist gains a very rare power/gi Posting this on behalf of my dd who is not on goodreads: Complex Page Turner, Action-filled Fantasy! By Lauren Rochon This review is for: The Shock of Night (The Darkwater Saga) (Paperback) This action, fantasy story is set in a medieval time period. In this world, there are many special powers/gifts that some people are given which make them masters at their craft/job/skill. Others are not so fortunate, which causes some degree of tension in the kingdoms. The protagonist gains a very rare power/gift which sets in motion an exciting plot involving multiple kingdoms and religious factions. There are many ethical dilemmas in this story which cause the reader to consider their own beliefs--very thought provoking. "The Shock of Night" is a great page-turner, but is not to be taken lightly. War, death, destruction, sword/fist-fights, betrayal, good vs evil, love, hate, fear, and redemption are some of the many themes in this story. This book is great for anyone who likes action, fantasy, swordplay, and romance. I highly recommend this well-written book by Patrick Carr, and I look forward to its sequel. (Book provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    The world is the limit when you read or write fantasy, and Patrick Carr draws the reader in as surely as the Darkwater lures its unsuspecting victims in. A world where the caste system is alive and well, and your worth and status is determined by the gift you have been given. This world might not be so very different from worlds created by any author of fiction. As I read this, I could almost believe that the world I live in really is so simple, and is divided into the groups of that world. It i The world is the limit when you read or write fantasy, and Patrick Carr draws the reader in as surely as the Darkwater lures its unsuspecting victims in. A world where the caste system is alive and well, and your worth and status is determined by the gift you have been given. This world might not be so very different from worlds created by any author of fiction. As I read this, I could almost believe that the world I live in really is so simple, and is divided into the groups of that world. It is when you put the book aside that this world comes back into focus and you remember that today the world around you is the one you are most familiar with and that this is the real world that we breathe and live in! If you are a fantasy reader this is a novel you do not want to miss! Thank you to Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Graf-Martin Publicity Group through their Nuts About Books program for the opportunity to read this book. I was given a free book in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.

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