Book Review: City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter

City of Eternal NightCity of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 2 of Crescent City

Publisher: Orbit (December 2, 2014)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

My excitement to read this book is evidence enough for me that the first installment of this series ended a lot stronger than it began. I went through the first two-thirds of House of the Rising Sun feeling rather ambivalent towards the protagonists, but by the conclusion Augustine and Harlow managed to win me over. A couple of significant events in the previous novel taught both of them lessons in humility and responsibility, and Harlow especially did a lot of growing up. As such, I looked forward to City of Eternal Night with a newfound respect for the characters.

On top of that, this sequel raises the stakes in every way by setting up a new arc that is bigger, stronger, and more encompassing. The story now goes beyond Augustine and Harlow’s personal problems to involve the whole supernatural community. Of course, the diabolical Branzino also makes a return in an attempt to further disrupt Harlow’s life as well as kill Augustine, and as usual the witches’ coven are up to no good again, but the huge whammy that rocks the fae world this time around is the kidnapping of a young girl from the Mardi Gras Exemplar Ball, which is the by far most important and lavish fae event of the year. There’s no ransom price, just a demand for Augustine to relinquish his role as the city’s fae Guardian – and everyone knows the only way to resign from that position is death.

First, what I loved: speaking of Exemplar Ball, I continue to really enjoy Kristen Painter’s portrayal of the city of New Orleans and the fae community’s place in it. I was even more enchanted by the atmosphere of the ball in this book than I was with the scenes from Nokturnos in House of the Rising Sun. Of course, the Exemplar Ball had to be a masquerade and the theme is predictably “Enchanted Forest”. A little overindulgent, perhaps, but boy, what I wouldn’t give to have been invited to that particular shindig. The descriptions of the decorations, costumes and even the food were wild and extraordinary and magnificent.

I also appreciated Painter’s expansion of the fae world in this installment. It’s easy to forget that this series actually takes place in the future, so sometimes the advanced technology can be a bit jarring. But mixed in with this “new and high-tech” is also mythology and the ancient lore of faeries. The history and background of Lally, a secondary character, is further explored with several big revelations about the old mansion that belonged to Harlow’s mother, also explaining why Branzino also wants it so much. A lot of things start to come together in this sequel, and the author continues to tease the details little by little.

Now for a couple of criticisms, which are minor: firstly, there is absolutely no mystery at all when it comes to the kidnapping case. There are a very limited number of suspects, and despite Augustine and the fae council going nuts over trying to narrow down the culprit, the one responsible is practically named in the book’s own description.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other surprises.

Take the ending, for example. On the one hand, it was abrupt and left us with one hell of a cliffhanger, but on the other, we are set up for a pretty big conundrum which makes me mighty curious as to how things will be resolved.

Finally, despite maturing a bit since the first book, every once in a while Harlow still gets on my nerves. She may be less of a selfish brat, but she’s still terribly naïve (or dumb with a capital D, if you’re feeling less generous). Sad to say, but she brings a lot of her problems on herself. It’s one thing to be socially awkward and a little sheltered, it’s another to have someone tell you straight out NOT to do a certain thing because there will be dire consequences – and even give you examples! – and you go do it anyway. That’s Harlow for you.

Still, my feelings about her notwithstanding, I continue to believe Harlow will become a more sympathetic character, and I’m following the budding romance between her and Augustine with interest. I’m also enjoying the world of this series a lot, and the story is getting better. This sequel is without question an improvement over the first book, and I’m definitely on board for book three.

4 stars

A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Orbit Books!

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17 Comments on “Book Review: City of Eternal Night by Kristen Painter

  1. I have one book of her other series but I haven’t tried this one… I think I need to try the other if it’s the same world but I need more time. In any case I’m curious for this one.

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  2. It sounds like a pretty good series, especially the part where it’s set in New Orleans. Ever since Interview With the Vampire that’s been one of my favorite book settings. However, I still laugh every time I see this cover art. Something is really off about that girl. (Head too big??)

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    • Yep, I was a little hesitant about continuing after the first one, but now I’m glad I did. I’ll always give UF a chance, because they’re such quick, fun reads.

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  3. It’s always good when annoying protagonists grow up. (I’m hoping that happens for Golden Son too) The world building sounds so cool! I don’t usually mind if the conclusion is predictable if the rest of the book was good.

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  4. Pingback: Lootz: Mogsy’s Book Haul | The BiblioSanctum

  5. I haven’t read either of the books in this series, but it sounds like I might need to start it, Mogsy! I didn’t read too much beyond the fact that this is much stronger than the first book so I’m going in search of the books. As though I need another new series…LOL But I can’t help myself!

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  6. Pingback: Q&A with Kristen Painter + GIVEAWAY of the Crescent City Series | The BiblioSanctum

  7. Pingback: Book Review: Garden of Dreams & Desires by Kristen Painter | The BiblioSanctum

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