“Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.
The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.
What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?”
Five out of five stars!
I can’t say no to a good origin story. Granted, this book is the first in the series, but I still count this as an origin story, and one that really raises the bar.
After the death of her mother and baby sister, Viola is sold to the Night Guild to cover her father’s debts. Trained by a sadistic master, Viola is stripped of her identity and becomes nothing but a number, and a potential asset to the Night Guild.
We follow Viola as she transforms from a scared little girl into a determined young woman desperate not only to survive, but to succeed in the Night Guild. She becomes a member of House Hawk, one of the Guild’s several factions, and chooses her own name. Now known as Ilanna of House Hawk, she becomes a master lock-picker, pickpocket and thief. But a bitter rivalry between her and the thuggish Sabat builds over their years at the Night Guild, and their battles become more violent, and more deadly.
It kills me that I can’t talk more about the plot, because it’s a fantastic story – but I refuse to dish out the spoilers. You’ll just have to have your mind blown when you read it!
I’ve read a lot of books by Andy Peloquin, many of them as a beta-reader, and Child of the Night Guild was actually the first book of his I hadn’t previously read in the editing stages. But a hallmark of Andy Peloquin’s work is exquisite imagery. The Night Guild and the city of Praamis are beautifully painted, and sets the scene for a really immersive story. Gritty, and dark, Child of the Night Guild is a tale of friendship and community in the sinister world of child slavery, and organised crime.
Ilanna is the female protagonist of our dreams. She’s not just strong, she is unshakable and no matter what horrors life throws at her, she powers through. Not only that, but Ilanna uses every abuse to armour herself against the harshness of her new life. Her resilience and adaptability is something to aspire to, although her circumstances certainly aren’t.
Child of the Night Guild is incredibly well-written, chock-full of characters we are compelled to support from the beginning, and alive with incredible imagery. A page turner from the very start, this is a book that epic fantasy fans will go crazy for. I wondered to begin with if this novel might be more appealing to female fans of epic fantasy, but I really don’t think that’s true. While Child of the Night Guild does tackle some strictly female issues, I don’t see why this should detract any enjoyment for male readers.
I couldn’t recommend this book more, it’s such an enjoyable read!
You can find Child of the Night Guild on Amazon in e-book and paperback formats, starting at $2.99 (at the time of this review.) Andy Peloquin’s books are pretty extensive at this point – follow him on Facebook or join his author group “Andy Peloquin’s Fantasy Fiends” to get more information on his other series.
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