If his name is familiar, we have toured the last book in Carr's previous series, The Staff and the Sword. You can read my contribution to that tour.
I enjoyed The Staff and The Sword and looked forward to Carr's next project. So far he doesn't disappoint.
Being a fan of his previous work, it's hard not to compare the two series but Carr shows diversity and growth. I loved Errol, the protagonist in The Staff and The Sword, and I liked Willet Dura, the protagonist in The Shock of Night, as well but Carr handled them very different.
When we meet Willet, even in the novella, he's already been through a lot. He's been through war and some pretty horrific events that have shaped the man he has become. This plays into the story.
Willet Dura is the reeve of the king and newly made noble (I have never heard the term "reeve" before but I think it's something like a private investigator). He has many enemies both high and low. And now, thanks to a dying man, he is thrown into the midst of mystery and intrigue.
Gifts of the Spirit
One of the interesting plot points in the book are spiritual gifts. Carr introduces the controversy of spiritual gifts that is prevalent in the Church in a unique way that fits the story and world without making light of either side.
In this world families have different gifts that help them make a living or get along in life. Some gifts are passed down to family members or can be given away. Some are like the traditional gifts of the spirit. But all rely on their god, Aer. Like our world, the Church is powerful and there are sects vying for power. Carr really takes real life situations a places them in this world in a way that makes sense.
Narrative and Storytelling
One thing I thought was odd and bothered me at first was the way the story shifted points of view and narrative from first to third person. I'm used to the traditional way of telling a story all from one narrative. I would still say it should be the rule. But rules are made to be broken.
As the story goes along and Willet is fleshed out it is obvious that the story needs to be told not only from Willet's point of view but in a first person narrative. It's also important we see the story from point of view of others and telling it in third person makes sense. The Shock of Night is one case when this shift works, but it should be used only when the author knows what they are doing. Carr does.
The Shock of Night is a thrilling mystery with lots of twists and turns down dark corridors. It's great to be at the beginning of a series and I can't wait for the next book to see where the story goes.
*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour I received a free copy of the book
To see what Patrick Carr's up to, visit his website.
Get a copy of The Shock of Night.
Check out what others on the tour have to say:
Thomas Clayton Booher
Carol Bruce Collett
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Michelle R. Wood