Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.
Or so she thought.
But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . . (goodreads.com)
This was a hell of an interesting and original book that I just could not put down. Bachmann gave enough details as the plot progressed to keep me intrigued but didn’t deny me too much that I became annoyed. He struck a good balance between intrigue and trickling information in enough to keep the reader turning the pages.
I wasn’t that big of a fan of Anouk as a character. She comes off brash and unlikeable with a really bad attitude. They all kind of do, actually, except Lilly. But she’s annoying due to her way too chipper of an attitude and her need to be overtly nice to absolutely everyone. As more poop hit the fan the sardonic attitude of them all leveled out, to be replaced by the pure need to survive. As that’s wont to happen.
The setting is really interesting and I liked how the storyline toggled between present day and the French Revolution when the underground palace was completed. It’s such a demented place, equal parts vivid in his descriptions and unknowable in its terror, it’s something that truly creeped me out. And that doesn’t happen very often. That overarching unknown of WHY all of this was happening was, I think, the creepiest part of all. And when everything was revealed I wasn’t disappointed! That’s actually a huge thing. I’m so used to horror building up and building up and building up only to be completely let down. So to not be let down at the end was pretty spectacular.
There were still some unanswered questions at the end, but I think that lends itself to being even more creepy, not knowing every single little detail of what was going on. And I liked the darkness of it all. When the kids were down there, running for their lives, there were shadows everywhere in my head. There was just enough description to get me through, but it was shrouded enough in darkness that I really felt like I was there with them as they worked their way through this underground maze. I kept finding myself referring back to The Catacombs movie and the minotaur of Crete, the latter of which was even mentioned as a reference for what they were all going through. It’s apt, that’s for sure.
A DROP OF NIGHT is creepy in its insanity, in its unknown, and in the bits and pieces you do know. Bachmann does have something unique here, even though it reminded me of other things. Mostly horror, part thriller, and just all around creepy, I couldn’t put the book down and I certainly didn’t want to read it when it was dark. Not too many books freak me out, but this one did. Bravo!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.