bookofthenightThis is the story of Lukas Lohenfels, whose family is driven apart by an evil monk, intent upon finding a relic of power. Along the path to revenge and redemption, Lucas makes some friends, some enemies, and discovers that magic may be realer than he imagined.

Who are the Black Musketeers anyway?: “The Black Musketeers were the best fighters in the Reich,” he began, “trained in the use of all sorts of weapons and fear by everyone. They served as bodyguards to the Imperial General Wallenstein … We fought and shot like the devil, with swords, pikes, daggers, muskets, and pistols, and drove the Danes and their allies back across the Elbe River.” loc 129, ebook. This is the 1600’s Germany, a land of princes and shifting alliances. The war has been going on for a very long time.

Lukas is forced to grow up quickly, not only because of what happens to his family, but also because of the unending war: “Lukas thought of the dreadful stories he’d heard about the war. Last year in Magedeburg, twenty thousand citizens had been slaughtered by mercenaries, who then completely destroyed the city. Similar things had happened in other parts of the Reich. Whenever the troops passed by, no matter which side they were on, they left behind death, destruction, hunger, and disease. When he was young, Lukas had always imagined war as something heroic. … but for some time now, he had understood that war was not an adventure, but left horror and misery in its wake.” loc 1112, ebook.

A moment of homage to the classic, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas: “If you have something to tell me or the others,” Gionvanni said softly, in order not to waken the other sleeping boys, “please don’t hesitate. We’re always here for you, do you understand?” He smiled. “One for all and all for one. I heard those words somewhere before, and they apply to us as well.” loc 1148, ebook.

I liked how Lukas and his friends were never entirely certain about the existence of magic until it entered their lives in a very real way: “Nonsense,” Paulus muttered. “Magic is humbug! I only believe things I can see and fight with my sword.” “It’s said there are certain vapors and gases that make people sick and can even cause the plague,” Giovanni replied matter-of-factly. “Can you see them, Paulus? No. But still they’re there, invisible, all around us. Perhaps there’s lots more out there that we simpleminded little men can’t even imagine.” loc 1428, ebook.

I saw the name, Oliver Pötzsch, and snapped up this book from NetGalley, not realizing that Book of the Night is intended for a young adult audience. It is very well written and I had a lot of fun reading it but, the Book of the Night isn’t very sophisticated nor are there any true surprises within its pages. But, it is perfect for anyone in the 12 to 16 age group, who enjoys an adventure with some magical undertones. Some magical/coming of age young adult read alikes: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace, and Jackaby by William Ritter.

Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Crossing Publishing for a free digital copy of this book!  And, thank you for reading.

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