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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.6 out of 5
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  • Topnotch writing and original concept

    First - the setting - 19th Century Venice. From Shakespeare to Thomas Mann, there's been many portrayals of this mysteriously beautiful city and this book manages to put a new spin on it. That is astonishing. Second - the concept - hollywood monsters are the teenage x men - basically it's teenagers who happen to have the abilities of standard "evil creatures", set in a REALLY interesting world. Third - the writing - absolutely top form. The author's a linguist too, using Venetian dialect and other snippets to add verisimilitude. The short, vivid sentences have an MTV-like immediacy which brings the alien setting to life. What else can one say without giving away the twisted, intelligently wrought plot? Even the heroine's name, Ayanda Draculesti, is redolent. When we learn that it's part African (? or from the southernmost part of the world, as the author puts it) with a Romanian twist, it adds to the lived-in quality of the character, and the world around her. Strongly recommended.

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  • Great mix of steampunk, fantasy and horror!

    (4,5 ☆) Sixteen year old Ayanda Draculesti has no memory of where she's from. As a small child she was found on the streets of Venice with a mangled left arm. She knows she's an Unnatural, created by alchemy, and if anyone finds out her life is in danger. But she's not the only Unnatural in Venice. Yurei, the Phantom, is on the run from his captors who want to turn him into an assassin. Jette Jekyll and Belle Frankenstein have escaped alchemists who want to do experiment on them. When a strong vampire comes to the city they have to work together, because she's not only out to kill. She wants to conquer and destroy... A mix of steampunk and urban fantasy, where the scene is historical Venice in 1865, and the characters based on classic horror icons: Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, Jekyll & Mr Hyde and Frankenstein. This setup could either be a mess, or the best thing ever. I'm happy to say that Zan Safra verge on the latter! I enjoy the environment, to spend time with and get to know the characters, and the whole atmosphere! This book is really close to getting a full score from me, but there's a couple of things that make me hold back slightly. Usually I love books that are written in first person, but here we get too many POV's. When chapters are split between four different characters I often forget whose head I'm in at the moment. I also have some problem with understanding all their abilities, and that too makes it easy to mix up the characters. I also have to admit that I don't always understand everything that's happening, but I think that has more to do with me than with the author's writing. 😉 I look forward to get to know more about Ayanda and the others in the next book in the series, which is scheduled to release in May 2022. Before that there will be a follow-up novella, in December. Give it to me, please! * I received an ARC from the author and I'm giving my honest review. *

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  • Excellent!

    [NO SPOILERS] I’m very impressed with Zan Safra’s ‘Children of the Night’—imaginative, vivid, engrossing. The reader is hooked from the vampire-slaying in the opening chapter onward. The unfolding of the plot, the way characters are introduced and developed, and (especially!) the atmosphere; it’s all superbly written. (Full disclosure: I’m still reading it. But I’m far enough along to recognize 5-star material.)

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  • enthralling

    from the first line, this book drawls the reader in. admittedly this is way out of my usual reading preference, but I loved it the gore, the anticipation the rich storytelling. this is so well done. I can see why more adults are reading YA now more than ever... what a fun adventure... into a fortunately fictitious realm. happy with my purchase. well worth it.

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  • A fantastic setting and a distinct writing style m

    Not usually a fan of the vampire genre (though I have read some I like), but I liked Children of the Night much more than I thought I would. The setting and the writing style go a long way to distancing itself from the traditional, schlocky fare of the genre. I particularly thought the characters were much more interesting than anything I've seen of the genre before. Recommended, and I'll be sure to check the second one out.

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