Hot Best Seller

Night Shine

Availability: Ready to download

An orphan girl must face untold danger and an ancient evil to save her kingdom’s prince in this lush, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Girls of Paper and Fire and Tess of the Road. How can you live without your heart? In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the p An orphan girl must face untold danger and an ancient evil to save her kingdom’s prince in this lush, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Girls of Paper and Fire and Tess of the Road. How can you live without your heart? In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful woman who has plagued the land for decades. The sorceress has never bothered with boys before, but Nothing has uncovered many secrets in her sixteen years in the palace, including a few about the prince. As the empress’s army searches fruitlessly, Nothing and the bodyguard set out on a rescue mission, through demon-filled rain forests and past crossroads guarded by spirits. Their journey takes them to the gates of the Fifth Mountain, where the sorceress wields her power. There, Nothing will discover that all magic is a bargain, and she may be more powerful than she ever imagined. But the price the Sorceress demands for Kirin may very well cost Nothing her heart.


Compare

An orphan girl must face untold danger and an ancient evil to save her kingdom’s prince in this lush, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Girls of Paper and Fire and Tess of the Road. How can you live without your heart? In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the p An orphan girl must face untold danger and an ancient evil to save her kingdom’s prince in this lush, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Girls of Paper and Fire and Tess of the Road. How can you live without your heart? In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful woman who has plagued the land for decades. The sorceress has never bothered with boys before, but Nothing has uncovered many secrets in her sixteen years in the palace, including a few about the prince. As the empress’s army searches fruitlessly, Nothing and the bodyguard set out on a rescue mission, through demon-filled rain forests and past crossroads guarded by spirits. Their journey takes them to the gates of the Fifth Mountain, where the sorceress wields her power. There, Nothing will discover that all magic is a bargain, and she may be more powerful than she ever imagined. But the price the Sorceress demands for Kirin may very well cost Nothing her heart.

30 review for Night Shine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by the author "I would destroy a thousand heart to find you, again and again." Sapphic enemies to lovers romance, queer bodyguard and royalty romance, dark fairytale setting! Magic, gender and sexual fluidity, yearning! Demons, dragons, unicorns, lots of cute tiny creatures to love! Atmospheric, lush, purple prose perfection! Are any of these keywords getting you? Because I’m still ready to sell my soul for Tessa’s deleted scenes and notes! Okay, how about the ARC provided by the author "I would destroy a thousand heart to find you, again and again." Sapphic enemies to lovers romance, queer bodyguard and royalty romance, dark fairytale setting! Magic, gender and sexual fluidity, yearning! Demons, dragons, unicorns, lots of cute tiny creatures to love! Atmospheric, lush, purple prose perfection! Are any of these keywords getting you? Because I’m still ready to sell my soul for Tessa’s deleted scenes and notes! Okay, how about the Howl's Moving Castle comparison that completely is 100% accurate? This book is the book of my heart and dreams. Easily the best book I’ve read in 2020, so far. At the very start of this story, our main character realizes the prince is missing and chooses to set out on a quest with another to try to locate them. Meanwhile, there is a witch who lives in seclusion in the Fifth Mountain, except when she needs to kidnap beautiful girls to steal their hearts, never stopping until she finds the most beautiful girl of them all. I feel like I should just make a mini paragraph about demons, because this book is very demon heavy! There are so many kinds of demons in this book (from little ones, to big ones, to part demons like one of our characters), but greater demons live in places of power in this world! There is one in the Fifth Mountain and one living in the palace too! Also, there are other mountains (Second, Third, etc) where other powerful sorcerers live! But let’s get into our actual cast of characters! ➽ Nothing – queer, orphan who can’t remember anything from her past, not even her name, and the only thing she has as a reminder is a scar on her chest. She lives in the royal palace, where she is best friends with the prince. ➽ Kirin – non-binary, queer, crown prince, recently kidnapped ➽ Sky – queer, bodyguard for the royal family, demon-kissed ➽ The Sorceress Who Eats Girls – queer witch who lives in a mountain and waits and won’t give up "Everyone is capable of being bound. By duty or love or blood." And Tessa is being very deliberate in naming our MC Nothing (and the love interest the Sorceress Who Eats Girls)! Words have power, names have power, reclaiming things has immense power, what you choose to give to people has power! We are all products of our surroundings and circumstances, but ultimately only you get to decide who you are, and you get to choose all the parts of you, every single part of you. Sometimes it’s easy to just be nothing or a wicked witch, sometimes picking your own name is the most powerful thing in this whole wide world. "Everyone can be bigger than they seem, hold more than their bodies are capable of holding. You have always chosen to grow." Tessa normally doesn’t use actual terms in their books, but always shows constant multiple gender attraction and a lot of non-binary feels throughout. Honestly, everyone always feels pan in their books to me, but it could be me completely projecting. But we have main sapphic relationship (that is truly to die for), and a male and non-binary / gender queer character relationship (which also made my heart very, very full). But truly everyone reads queer and/or gender fluid, and we all know that gender and sexuality can be so very fluid, and we just love it here a lot. Also, like in true Tessa fashion, there are hints of polyamory and a constant beautiful light of how romantic and platonic relationships can be equally as important and… Tessa’s worlds >>> "You decide what you are. You." Also, all of these characters are flawed and make mistakes and can look villainous! There is a lot of ownvoices rep between these pages, and I think that Tessa perfectly executes villains who just also happen to be queer, instead of… queer villains, if you feel me. There are a lot of questionable actions throughout this book, maybe even some villainous acts, but it’s just done in a very realistic way from these characters and their circumstances. (Okay, maybe not Sky, who is a perfect angel always, imo! This book does very gently talk about abuse and toxic relationships and how those things can be very hard to see when the word love is involved. Codependency is also something felt in this book, and how that can also be something that is very unhealthy. We also get to see a lot of power dynamics and power imbalances and how those things are not okay and can easily also become dangerous. But people who really love you, unconditionally love you, will not only wait for you on your journeys, but they will support you and respect your boundaries, too. "I love you," the sorceress said. "What you are now." But seeing Nothing become the person she wants to be? Despite her past, despite her current situation, despite an unknown future? So very beautiful. And to have someone showing her that she is worth the wait, that she has always been worth the wait, that she never has to be alone, and that she has never and will never ever be nothing. Please, hold me. Forever preferably. "How strange, how thrilling, to be told your heart is half of someone else’s. A gift from a woman who loved you once." The romance in this book is out of this world. The perfect one-liners that Tessa has laced throughout this book? Makes me a bit speechless to even think about. All of you who constantly say you love enemies to lovers, who want to viscerally feel yearning, who want the characters to go through hell and back together, and you want it sapphic? Pick this up! I promise you, Tessa has some of the most gorgeous prose to every exist, and the way they weave these lines together is something of magic. Also, I’ll never eat a pear the same again, on all the higher powers. My only complaint is that some characters in this world can change their appearance magically, and in the ARC I realized that in the past one character had lighter skin, and now her skin is dark because she altered it that way. I am a biracial person with white skin, but it for sure made me side-eye a bit. But every other aspect of this book was absolutely perfect for me. Overall, I truly believe this will be my favorite book of 2020, just like how Strange Grace was my favorite book of 2018. Tessa and their worlds, and their characters, and their writing just makes me feel so seen in a way that no other author does. This book means so much to me. Tessa truly gave me the romantic, sapphic, whimsical, love story of my dreams. This story is everything I’ve ever wanted, and I feel like I’ve wanted it for so very long. I also feel like Tessa maybe redefined the word “yearning” and their power is just unmatched. I just want to spend the rest of my life reading their stories over and over again and feeling seen, and happy, and in love. Forever. "Everything poured into Nothing." Trigger and Content Warnings: gore, violence, murder, death, blood depictions, self-harm, magical coercion, kidnapping, incorrect use of pronouns upon meetings someone (is immediately corrected and the character learns and corrects themselves) and war themes. Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

  2. 4 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Update: not digging this cover, oof 😓 According to Tessa Gratton: "A dark, queer Howl's Moving Castle. After a crown prince is kidnapped, an orphan named Nothing sets out to rescue him, and discovers all magic is a bargain. The four MCs are three different dark love interest archetypes and a long-suffering bodyguard. Everybody is queer and/or genderqueer plus a fluid dragon, rival sorcerers, a tiny unicorn, and I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Update: not digging this cover, oof 😓 According to Tessa Gratton: "A dark, queer Howl's Moving Castle. After a crown prince is kidnapped, an orphan named Nothing sets out to rescue him, and discovers all magic is a bargain. The four MCs are three different dark love interest archetypes and a long-suffering bodyguard. Everybody is queer and/or genderqueer plus a fluid dragon, rival sorcerers, a tiny unicorn, and lots of demons." YES PLEASE!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Justina Ireland

    What can I say about this book that will get you to preorder it, devour it, and share it with all of your friends? *Queer Howl's Moving Castle. Yes. Exactly. *That cover is terrible and the publisher did this story wrong. Don't judge this beautiful book by that ultra meh cover. Read the first twenty five pages and THEN judge this book (it'll be too late, you'll be reading the whole thing). *Sapphic relationships in fantasy that aren't ultra male gaze-y get short shrift, especially in YA spaces. Let What can I say about this book that will get you to preorder it, devour it, and share it with all of your friends? *Queer Howl's Moving Castle. Yes. Exactly. *That cover is terrible and the publisher did this story wrong. Don't judge this beautiful book by that ultra meh cover. Read the first twenty five pages and THEN judge this book (it'll be too late, you'll be reading the whole thing). *Sapphic relationships in fantasy that aren't ultra male gaze-y get short shrift, especially in YA spaces. Let's change that! You can start with this book. *Also, I will always be here for Tessa's discussions of gender, because they are nuanced and never feel like they've been shoehorned into the story like some books. *My name from now on will be The Author Who Greatly Dislikes Everything And Is Mostly Made Of Salt. If this book doesn't inspire you to change your name you need to relook your life choices. *Yes, I could make note of Tessa's gorgeous turns of phrases and poetic language, but I started with QUEER HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE so why are you still here? GO BUY THIS BOOK.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maëlys

    ☆ 5 / 5 ☆ "I would destroy a thousand hearts to find you, again and again." I am still very in awe that what will most probably be my favourite release of 2020 (and it has very tough competition) shares a birthday with me and it makes it feel a little extra special. I’m also still very in awe of what this book made me feel and how amazingly written it is. Even just going back to the quotes I highlighted made me feel emotional all over again, feeling everything like I did like the very first ti ☆ 5 / 5 ☆ "I would destroy a thousand hearts to find you, again and again." I am still very in awe that what will most probably be my favourite release of 2020 (and it has very tough competition) shares a birthday with me and it makes it feel a little extra special. I’m also still very in awe of what this book made me feel and how amazingly written it is. Even just going back to the quotes I highlighted made me feel emotional all over again, feeling everything like I did like the very first time. It’s hard for me to pick a place to start with this review because there were so many aspects of this book that I loved so very deeply. What I will say is that this story is so much more than a queer Howl’s Moving Castle. It does have references and elements reminiscent of the story but it truly goes way beyond, in a league of its own. Night Shine follows Nothing, an orphan girl whose best friend is Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. However, he gets kidnapped by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls who so far has only ever stolen the hearts of maidens. She then sets off on a secret rescue mission with Sky, Kirin’s bodyguard, but ends up experiencing and discovering more than she bargained for once she reaches the Fifth Mountain. "Maybe it felt like this to be a mountain: the earth your body, bones of ancient crystals, blood like rivers of magma heating you up. Flowers and stones for skin and your mouth a lake." Night Shine is about Nothing’s journey to find herself, discover her own wants and take agency for herself. This is the first time she is truly given choices, where her decision only matters and where she has power over her destiny. This is the first time she realises she can have a choice. Nothing never thought about her own wants before because she didn’t know it was even something she could have. This is the first time that option has been presented to her and treated as someone who is important and worthy. "It has everything to do with what you believe you are. What you believe is right. What you call yourself." Names in general are very important in this world, names hold power. Names here are supposed to truly represent who you are and the truth you are willing to show to others. And so this is how Nothing becomes nothing, a shadow, inconsequential. I really enjoyed how Nothing also uses her name in smart ways and with wordplays, how teeming with clever wordings this book is. With the main character being named Nothing, there is obviously a lot pertaining to identity and self perception. This definitely delves into the power of the name you give yourself and the power of the names other people give you; how your perception of yourself can be molded by the perception of others. Nothing has diminished herself a lot through her life as a result of how others treat her. To others and herself she is nothing more but Prince Kirin’s possession, both protecting and alienating her. The journey she goes through is one of embracing yourself, for yourself, despite of others, finding someone who will embrace all the parts of you, the old and the new, the possibility of what you could be, just everything, as you are, as you want to be. While the book mainly focuses on Nothing and her journey to understand her own identity and coming to terms with all the parts of herself, Tessa Gratton also weaves in Kirin’s journey with his gender identity. It is seamlessly and tactfully presented, and while it is shown as difficult to explore due to his role as a prince, both Sky and Nothing are supportive. “This spirit was one of Nothing’s only friends. She had a few because once Kirin had told her it was safe to make them, so long as she never loved any more than she loved him. So she didn’t.” This book also explores many relationships and their different dynamics. Nothing has only ever known life at the palace, life by Kirin’s side, only wanting what he wanted, or doing what would be good for him, without really ever acknowledging or thinking about what she wanted for herself. The book slowly unfolds this friendship, showing its power imbalances and how it has affected Nothing’s image of herself. It never takes away any of the love they have for each other but does question where this love comes from and if love can really exist without choice. All the relationship dynamics in this book are layered and complex. We get to see Kirin and his bodyguard Sky explore their own relationship, how it is rooted in complete trust and making that choice to be together whatever the hurdles, over and over again. Sky and Nothing have that open-hearted / begrudgingly becoming friends dynamic where Sky slowly let’s himself show outwardly that he cares about Nothing and they share a lot of very cute and heartfelt moments. “It’s all real,” the sorceress said.“My body. All the shapes and colors. It’s all me.You are asking for what I was before, when I was not entirely myself. Because when I was only a girl, I was not entirely myself.” I would lay down my life for the Sorceress Who Eats Girls. I mean, who wouldn’t? She is charming and flirty, a little monstrous, feared by the whole kingdom for stealing hearts, powerful, passionate, and loyal.The Sorceress used to be only a girl, but she was a girl who went after and took power for herself, setting aside what had been decided for her. This power gives her the freedom to make her own choices, and that is something even more threatening than her magical powers because she can’t be restrained and she can’t be controlled. The Sorceress lives outside of the norm, that is also where her power lies, where the power of the main characters of this book lies. She made herself into who she wanted to be, not who she was supposed to be and found endless power in that. “Judge me for my weakness too, and give me a life of my own to ruin at your side. That is what I want, more than I want to devour the whole world. If that is not love, what is?” This sapphic relationship… I was swooning the whole way through. There was a constant tension and chemistry between the two of them, from their first meeting until the very end. The circumstances they find themselves in brought on so much yearning, it was truly through the roof; it was excruciating and brilliant. You can definitely tell the want lingering there, but there are still so many decisions standing between the two of them. And then their first kiss? It was perfect. The quotes I picked up from that moment alone, the culmination of this endless longing and feeling the passion pouring into it: “Everything poured into Nothing.” It truly took my breath away and made my heart feel so many things. This relationship is not “soft” and it is not constrained in the usual mold of f/f book relationships. Nothing and the Sorceress still have a strong sense of mutual respect and understanding, but their love and want runs deep and is very consuming, it is almost visceral. They also just fit together, and while they are both whole people separately, they share a heart. I honestly just loved every interaction they had and The Sorceress Who Eats Girls is perhaps the first person to give Nothing a choice, a true choice, one unburdened by obligations and lifelong bonds, a choice coming from her heart and own desires. The Sorceress gives Nothing power without a second thought, she loves Nothing in all her aspects and owning her power. Nothing might take time to warm up to the Sorceress, to truly understand if she wants this, wants her, but it is how deliberate this choice is that makes it all the more powerful. 2020 has also been the year of me realising how much love and any kind of relationship that survives different iterations and lifetimes affects me and it truly might be one of my favourite tropes now. “She thought of stars and the night sky, that vast feeling of infinite strength cupping the Fifth Mountain. She thought of the stars as butterflies and remembered [...] how the stars inside her had popped and swooped and fled just like a scatter of butterflies.” I’ll also quickly add that the writing is wonderful and the constant imagery brought up throughout the book is stunning. It describes nature and the backdrop of the story beautifully, it makes you want to lie down by the lake of the Fifth Mountain and walk the hallways of the castle. The surroundings of the characters are often used as metaphors for their identity and feelings and it felt really immersive. I also really enjoyed what we saw of the lore of spirits and demons in this book, how their magic works. It felt especially important to me as Nothing makes a lot of connections with the spirits and demons she encounters, way more than with the human characters, and the interactions she has with the magical beings of this book are very precious. I’d like to make a special mention of the great demon of the palace who likes to be tickled and has a very special bond with Nothing, it made me really really soft. I think I (willingly) left half of my heart with this story and I’ll cherish it for a very long time. It was enchanting and heartfelt and everything I didn’t know I wanted from a book. Youtube ☆ Twitter Buddy read with Melanie ♡ All quotes are taken from an arc and aren’t final. Please refer to a finished copy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Acqua

    this book: this mysterious, possibly evil character is known as The Sorceress Who Eats Girls Acqua, immediately: 👀 Night Shine is, more than anything, a story about the importance of having a choice. It follows a girl known as Nothing as she goes on a quest to rescue Kirin Dark-Smile, the prince and her closest friend, after he has been kidnapped by a Sorceress. Hearing this premise, one might think they already know this story. They don't. The first thing you should know about Night Shine is that i this book: this mysterious, possibly evil character is known as The Sorceress Who Eats Girls Acqua, immediately: 👀 Night Shine is, more than anything, a story about the importance of having a choice. It follows a girl known as Nothing as she goes on a quest to rescue Kirin Dark-Smile, the prince and her closest friend, after he has been kidnapped by a Sorceress. Hearing this premise, one might think they already know this story. They don't. The first thing you should know about Night Shine is that it is, from the surface to its heart, a very queer story. I'm not only talking about the characters, though of course that's a major factor; I'm talking about what it prioritizes as well. Night Shine is a story that says, you should get to choose. Your name, over the one that was given to you. Your relationships, over what has been forced on you either through magic or norms. The way you define yourself, over an assigned gender or other kinds of restrictive roles. For a story, having this kind of priorities means trope subversion, and this book is full of it. Maybe the girl and the prince love each other, but not the way one would think, and maybe the girl is going to rescue the prince with the help of the prince's secret boyfriend, his bodyguard Sky, and maybe the prince is charming, genderfluid, and also the most beautiful maiden of the realm, and maybe the sorceress is hot in a very gay way. Consider! I always love to find new books to recommend to other gay villain romance fans, and Night Shine might be my favorite F/F example so far. The tension between the main character and the Sorceress... to give you an idea, I had to pause many times because I felt like spontaneously combusting, and that's why this took me five days. That's far from the only reason this book deeply appealed to me, however. Another, maybe the most personal one, is that the main character's arc is about understanding who she is and can be, and the first step in that is learning to want things. I was drawn to "Nothing" from the moment I met her, because I know the appeal of being functionally invisible and haunting the place you live in, unpredictable and unseen but more than anything unassuming, never-bothering, never really even occupying space if you can. And maybe that's what you think you want, or maybe it's a coping mechanism because the world is cruel, and it's not all there is to you. Then there's the portrayal of intimacy. Back in 2018, Gratton's Strange Grace was described by many as "full of kissing", and I can say that it applies to Night Shine even more - people kiss! A lot! For different reasons and with different results! Like most binaries, the line between platonic and romantic isn't a concern to this book, and this is particularly clear in the dynamic between the main character, Sky, and Kirin, which was so fascinating to read. They all love each other, it's clear, but there are power imbalances and things turn sour - the relationship between Kirin and the main character takes a clear controlling bent, especially when contrasted with how she and Sky grow close without forcing any expectations on each other, allowing themselves to be surprised. About Kirin specifically, I loved how he was portrayed. I know I've talked many times about the importance of portrayals of queer villainy, and queer flawed characters, from queer authors - and just like we get to have a sorceress who eats girls' hearts and is a lesbian and a love interest, we get to have a genderfluid prince who is charming but also entitled and jealous, and portrayed sympathetically. We understand the reasons for his actions, and that's why they hurt even more to read. I'm always here for books that understand that good and evil exist in shadows. (Kirin is also not the only non-binary character who appears. The narration also uses he/him pronouns for Kirin, so that's what I did, while it uses they/them for the other n-b character who appears.) Another fascinating part of Night Shine are the names. Every character has a full name which almost reads like poetry; for example, Sky is The Day the Sky Opened, and another example is Sudden Spring Frost - and since we were on the topic of Kirin, it's said that the main character starts using different full names depending on what he says about his gender that day, among which "Neither Kirin", which is... so cool of a name. Then there's the matter of "Nothing"'s name, which is... plot-relevant and I'm not going to say more. The writing was dreamlike, and yet I could see the setting so clearly - because this book knows the balance between giving enough descriptions to make everything feel real and bright but not too much to still leave some mystery and distance. In a world of sorcerers, demons, spirits and dragons, it only feels right - and the meticulous attention to detail helped, as usual for Tessa Gratton's works. I loved Night Shine a lot, maybe even more than Strange Grace, and I think it might be a new favorite book; I can't say that for sure right now, but we'll see in a few days.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Robert Collins

    In the 1950s C. S Lewis created the Nania books to teach children about the joys of Christianity. Here Tessa Grafton has created a fantasy world series for young adults transgender in brilliant way. This a book about Nothing yet it turns into something that was not expected. Of love and a man who is woman. Just like Lewis had a lion we have The Sorceress who isn't all you want in evil. Eating your heart eating your love. Prince Kirin or is that Princess Kirin is not a nice person, but have to read In the 1950s C. S Lewis created the Nania books to teach children about the joys of Christianity. Here Tessa Grafton has created a fantasy world series for young adults transgender in brilliant way. This a book about Nothing yet it turns into something that was not expected. Of love and a man who is woman. Just like Lewis had a lion we have The Sorceress who isn't all you want in evil. Eating your heart eating your love. Prince Kirin or is that Princess Kirin is not a nice person, but have to read the book. There is sequal out next year

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    4.5 I received an ARC from an ARC fairy and this is my honest review! CW: some casual transphobia/lack of understanding about trans identities (challenged and the new way is learned), kidnapping, action scenes, mentions of kidnapped and killed children, and internalized self-doubt Ever since I read Gratton's Strange Grace, I've been a fan of her work and have been eagerly awaiting her next YA book. And I'm so glad that it's this one. I will say, it took me a while to sink into. I actually had to r 4.5 I received an ARC from an ARC fairy and this is my honest review! CW: some casual transphobia/lack of understanding about trans identities (challenged and the new way is learned), kidnapping, action scenes, mentions of kidnapped and killed children, and internalized self-doubt Ever since I read Gratton's Strange Grace, I've been a fan of her work and have been eagerly awaiting her next YA book. And I'm so glad that it's this one. I will say, it took me a while to sink into. I actually had to restart it once because it wasn't what I expected in some ways. It's like a fairytale and I really loved the language of it. Rather than it being written in our vernacular with our sort of things, it honestly felt like I was reading a classic fairytale. That took me a second to get used to (hence the restart) and I'm glad that I did that rather than pushing on. The general plot of the book follows Nothing, an orphaned girl who doesn't know much of her past. She's bound to the heir to the throne, Kirin, and kills him. But it isn't him. It's an imposter. Nothing sets off with Kirin's bodyguard (and perhaps something more than that), Sky, to capture him from the sorceress that took him. Except the sorceress is well-known by her name, the Sorceress Who Eats Girls. This sorceress only captures girls and eats their hearts, so why would she take Kirin? One of the things I loved in this book is the importance of names. For one, I loved it because the naming system really brought me back to the names monarchs were given. Examples of that are Aethelred the Unready or William the Conquerer or Edward the Confessor. I know these are Ango-centric, but it was all across different courts. And what I really loved about this book was how the names changed, how important they were to the characters, yet how they were malleable as they learned about themselves and grew as characters. It was beautifully done. Now, it's well-known that this book has a genderfluid character and I've already hinted at it. Kirin is that character. The book referred to Kirin basically with only male pronouns -- although, it's mentioned that in the past Kirin lived as a woman/wife with someone for a short span of time and was seen as that -- so I'm going to also use male pronouns for him. But, I loved it. There's been a lot of talk recently about ownvoices, but I also believe that cis authors should write trans side characters. And this was a GREAT example of that. I absolutely adored Kirin and he's definitely one of my favorite characters I've read this year. He was so sweet in it. Another thing I loved in this were the relationships, both platonic and romantic. Like, how soft the friendships were and were very close (nearly queer platonic, if you ask me). Sky and Nothing were great, as were Kirin and Nothing. Then the romances. I really loved Sky and Kirin together, as well as the dark sapphic relationship that crops up between Nothing and another character. There was such a great build to it all and it was all so wonderfully queer. Overall, check this book out. It's the queer, dark fairytale I definitely needed. There's also a preorder campaign going on with stickers for the book! I'm definitely going to have to get my copy because I need this on my shelf next to Strange Grace.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SOUNDS PERFECT I NEED IT IN MY HANDS RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!!!!! Instagram | Blog | Booktube Channel | Twitter EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SOUNDS PERFECT I NEED IT IN MY HANDS RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!!!!! Instagram | Blog | Booktube Channel | Twitter

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie - One Book More

    Night Shine is an interesting fantasy story with an immersive setting, dynamic characters, and poignant messages. The world-building is incredible and lush, with a unique caste system and fascinating supernatural beings including witches, demons, goblins, and more. It is a captivating read, one that I was quickly caught up in. I also like the strong messages about being true to yourself, standing up for what you believe in, and fighting for those you love. The characters are richly developed, es Night Shine is an interesting fantasy story with an immersive setting, dynamic characters, and poignant messages. The world-building is incredible and lush, with a unique caste system and fascinating supernatural beings including witches, demons, goblins, and more. It is a captivating read, one that I was quickly caught up in. I also like the strong messages about being true to yourself, standing up for what you believe in, and fighting for those you love. The characters are richly developed, especially Nothing, the protagonist. I loved her progression throughout the story. A girl who is usually ignored and invisible, she is the only one who realizes that the prince is not really the prince. She is a sharp, intelligent, and astute person who is vastly underestimated, as she proves time and again on her journey to rescue the prince. Overall, this is a good read that I recommend to readers that enjoy YA fantasy. Thanks so much to Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    BOY did this live up to the pitch. It’s like Howl’s Moving Castle meets Princess Mononoke with some Spirited Away vibes, tbh. The worldbuilding is incredible and gorgeous and so unique. The characters are fantastic and complicated. And it’s beautifully, unapologetically queer. // Original reaction: soooo this has been pitched as darker, queerer Howl's Moving Castle?? uhm heLLO??!!!! BOY did this live up to the pitch. It’s like Howl’s Moving Castle meets Princess Mononoke with some Spirited Away vibes, tbh. The worldbuilding is incredible and gorgeous and so unique. The characters are fantastic and complicated. And it’s beautifully, unapologetically queer. // Original reaction: soooo this has been pitched as darker, queerer Howl's Moving Castle?? uhm heLLO??!!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    3.5 Nothing is good at only 2 things: being invisible to the rest of the palace, and being a good friend to the prince. But when something returns, tricking everyone else into believing it is the prince, she must call attention to herself to show them its falsity and get the prince back. It's a quest full of danger and secrecy- for they're heading to the Sorcerer Who Eats Girls, a powerful magic user who could kill any of them in an instant, and whose interest in Prince Kirin might cost him the t 3.5 Nothing is good at only 2 things: being invisible to the rest of the palace, and being a good friend to the prince. But when something returns, tricking everyone else into believing it is the prince, she must call attention to herself to show them its falsity and get the prince back. It's a quest full of danger and secrecy- for they're heading to the Sorcerer Who Eats Girls, a powerful magic user who could kill any of them in an instant, and whose interest in Prince Kirin might cost him the throne, if any knew. I do love the rep in this book. I love Kirin being genderqueer (or, at least, somewhere under the umbrella of nonbinary) and the simple ways he's supported by Sky and by Nothing. I love Nothing's own inherent queerness that never gets called into question. I love the fact that the relationship between Sky and Kirin is only taboo because of Kirin's position, and not because of homophobia. It's still really refreshing to see worlds created both with queer characters and without mountains upon mountains of prejudice. Yes, there is some prejudice technically with Kirin's transness, but even that is only ever implied to be the expected judgement from the people of his kingdom, and everyone who actually interacts with him and knows him as not cisgender is very nice and casual about it. I love the lush world building and its subtleties. The different castes, the different spirits and demons, they all breathe life into this world. I wasn't sure if the comparison to Howl's Moving Castle was meant to be to the movie that's more popular in the general consensus, or to the book- and it's definitely the book. They both have a very structured, plotted sort of characterization with both story and world, giving you each thing with steady brush strokes but also making you wish there was more to play with. This is also a surprisingly romantic book! Not exactly in the way of swooning and falling slowly for each other, but there is a strong connection between the characters, especially in Nothing's romantic arc, and you can feel the compulsions between them. I was rooting for Nothing's romance when I 100% did not think I would be- but the exploration of the characters, as well as the slow and steady understanding of context and of the true feelings involved, made it impossible not to see how much they needed to be together. The themes of this book are gorgeously wrought as well. The binary metaphor throughout knocked me flat when it was brought back to the surface, as an echo of the relationship they hold with gender, and the relationships between what is known and what is not, what is good and what is bad. So much gray area! And that refusal to simplify is fantastic and such a strong stake. The answer to power in this book is, over and over again, to step outside of where you are expected. To not stay in your place, or choose between options A or B, but to make something new for yourself. The other major theme, seems to be in consent, which, when it struck solidly enough, felt both important well done. The whole idea of having control over yourself, not giving away your power, and love not asking for ownership or mastery over the other, is honestly fabulous when it's done completely straight with a little less of that gray area. See, the main thing that kept me from truly just enjoying this book was the characterization of Kirin and his relationships. It's clearly an unhealthy relationship between Kirin and Nothing right from the beginning, and while there's a better understanding of that made as the story progresses, I don't think it ever reaches a point of satisfactory closure or brings the lesson full force. Kirin consistently does increasingly worse things, even at his tamest clearly being self absorbed and self righteous, and the soft redemption by the ending felt completely unearned and bothersome. He's an abusive person who makes the wrong choice over and over again, and he deserved worse. As much as I love the romance and Nothing herself, and her character arc, and enjoyed the parts of the world shown, it still felt a bit flat for me, because there wasn't much world exploration. It felt more like a folktale, which does, of course, have its charm, but with so many details of the different types of magical beings and the possibilities in the world, I needed to see more, and felt kind of cheated by not being able to. This is in fact a dark queer fantasy, full of self actualization and embracing self questioning. I love what this book does, and respect what it tries to do. I'll be thinking about this one for a while at least. Initial review underneath "A dark, queer Howl's Moving Castle" WHAT DOES THAT MEAN. HOW IS THAT LEGAL. WHY DON'T I OWN THIS ALREADY. Update! Ya boi got an arc! So expect to hear a LOT.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cami L. González

    I got this arc from the author herself. So thank you so much, Tessa, for give us the chance to read your new book. English isn't my first language, so sorry if I can't write this review well. This book is weird, but honestly is what I expected it to be, I think. Full of magic, and representation of non binary and queer characters. Nothing just appeared in the castle. She doesn't have parents, only Kirin, the prince and he gave her the name of Nothing. When he was take away from the Sorceres Who Ea I got this arc from the author herself. So thank you so much, Tessa, for give us the chance to read your new book. English isn't my first language, so sorry if I can't write this review well. This book is weird, but honestly is what I expected it to be, I think. Full of magic, and representation of non binary and queer characters. Nothing just appeared in the castle. She doesn't have parents, only Kirin, the prince and he gave her the name of Nothing. When he was take away from the Sorceres Who Eat Girls, she and Sky will go in a mision to rescue him. Is really hard try to explain this book, but the other one I read from Tessa was the same weird and fascinating kind of story. Is like a fairytale, a twisting and a little bit darker one. Full of demons, whitches, sorceress and promises. I totally loved the things with de names, the importance of the names, just because someone gave it to you or because you chose the name. That was beautiful. And the differents names we can read in here, the meaning of them, so so so great. Other thing I totally loved was the relationships between the characters. The way Sky and Nothing became friends or something more and complicated and beautiful was my favorite one. The relationship between Kirin and Nothing, so weird, so intense, so demanding sometimes, but still so pure. Same with Kirin and Sky, the love between them was wonderful and a little bit sad. The only relationship I wasn't really into was with the Sorceress. I'm not sure why, but it didn't work for me. I didn't hate it, or the character, but it didn't give me the feelings the others. And that was sad, because it was beautiful, and I loved the way Tessa wrote it and how it was growing little by little, but I couldn't feel it. I really like the book, the characters and the world, but the story was a little bit of simple. It felt like nothing is happening, I spend the most part of the book waiting for the story to begin. I know it was most a story about characters and people who find them self. I know. But still I would love a little more. The world and the story have a lot more to give. I enjoyed reading the book, but it cost me a lot to find the willing to seat and read because because I wasn't thrilled to know what was going to happen now. My feelings while I was reading were always so calm and relax. I enjoyed the travel, yes, but when I wasn't reading I didn't think in the book. The last thing I want to mention is about Kirin. I like the character, the dark parts of they and that they were the climax. This books hasn't have a villain as such and I like that. And I like the thing about that Kirin have to be pure, always is about women be pure. It proof that it was the same foolishness that with women, and I enjoy that. It silly, a detail, but I like it. To finish, I enjoyed the book and the characters. It wasn't that exciting like I was hoping for, but it was good and weird in the most beautiful way. I love so much the way Tessa writes, and how she imagine the same stories we all know, but without the heteronormative restrictions of the society. It feels so liberating.

  13. 4 out of 5

    linnea h.

    Releases 9/8/20 and you REALLY should go preorder it I am JUST saying. I rarely have adequate enough words for a Gratton book, but this one might be vying for my favorite, and I feel whole and molten and all of the best things.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Overall, I am now screaming about this book and need to start diving headfirst into more of Tessa Gratton's backlist. Spoiler-free Review: https://amberinoface.wordpress.com/20... I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own. Overall, I am now screaming about this book and need to start diving headfirst into more of Tessa Gratton's backlist. Spoiler-free Review: https://amberinoface.wordpress.com/20... I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Izzy

    this book did not deserve this monstrosity of a cover

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gretal

    This book was really frustrating. The initial pitch was super exciting, but alas I came to realize fairly soon after I started this book that I just did not care at all. It was super atmospheric, but altogether too plotty for my liking. And I really didn't like much of the plot. Nevertheless, I think this is a well-written book, and I'm sure many people will like this so much more than I did. This book was really frustrating. The initial pitch was super exciting, but alas I came to realize fairly soon after I started this book that I just did not care at all. It was super atmospheric, but altogether too plotty for my liking. And I really didn't like much of the plot. Nevertheless, I think this is a well-written book, and I'm sure many people will like this so much more than I did.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Izzy

    Don't judge it by the awful cover lol, just ride the queer Howl's Moving Castle wave and trust me on this. I had the opportunity to receive an e-ARC of "Night Shine", and it is GOOD. It was one of those books that's going to stick with me, because in a beautiful and lyrical way, Tessa Gratton showed me a quietly powerful perspective on gender I don't think I fully understood before. I'm grateful for that. Gratton kept the energy and tension up throughout, and I loved every character and the overl Don't judge it by the awful cover lol, just ride the queer Howl's Moving Castle wave and trust me on this. I had the opportunity to receive an e-ARC of "Night Shine", and it is GOOD. It was one of those books that's going to stick with me, because in a beautiful and lyrical way, Tessa Gratton showed me a quietly powerful perspective on gender I don't think I fully understood before. I'm grateful for that. Gratton kept the energy and tension up throughout, and I loved every character and the overlapping relationships between them. They were intriguing and messy and very real, and all a little bit in love with each other. The whole thing was lovely and haunting, about learning who you are and the power in defining yourself. Definitely a strong recommend from me!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wagner

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What a wonderful story about Nothing turning into something that really stands out and shines. A really awesome story about change, character driven, with real characters whom you will absolutely love and absolutely, totally, incredibly, hate, with all the might you can muster.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Huck

    Not sure if it’s a 4 or 3.5

  20. 4 out of 5

    Misago

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a really difficult choice to make. About 80% through the book I was already making plans to praise this book to high heavens. I thought about recommending this book to everyone I know who reads, and getting really excited about how to rouse their interest. There's so much to like about this book. The world building, the way spirits and magic work, the main character, the way she interacts with the world, the way she grows and changes and what she becomes, and her love interest. The divers This was a really difficult choice to make. About 80% through the book I was already making plans to praise this book to high heavens. I thought about recommending this book to everyone I know who reads, and getting really excited about how to rouse their interest. There's so much to like about this book. The world building, the way spirits and magic work, the main character, the way she interacts with the world, the way she grows and changes and what she becomes, and her love interest. The diversity and the way it is woven into the story, allowing for a wide variety of LGBTQA+ rep without it feeling forced or anything else. However, I ultimately cannot support the messenge this book presents me in the end, and it all comes down to the prince. Now, I am fully aware that "the kinda selfish and arrogant, but well-meaning at heart prince" is kind of an understandable and common archetype. For a lot of the story, I went from being intrigued by his personal issues and wanting to learn more about him to finding him an annoyance, taking away screen time that could be spent on the main character and her pretty-villainess-dragon-lady gf, to being mad at what he did, to seeing him as outright abusive and toxic. At first, the way he bound the main character to himself, making himself her best friend and person of focus could be put down to the prince thing again. Even him being the one responsible for her name, Nothing, which she identified with in a number of ways, at first seemed innocent. But later on, when it came out that the main character was, first unknowingly to them both, then knowingly by the prince until Nothing found out, bound to her by a sort of true name magic situation, gains really toxic connotations by the actions of the prince. Even after acknowledging how he is taking her free will through their bond, he STILL uses the power he has over her to manipulate her feelings, then make her forget about them, driving a wedge between her and her love interest. In fact, a lot of the conflict in the story is caused by him being a selfish p**** who uses and abuses others for his benefit. At the end, his actions nearly cause Nothing's love interest to be killed. I really, really hated him, and the fact that in the end, the main character just... basically forgive him, after telling him to his face not two scenes ago that she never would. Overall, a lot of their relationship, with the prince demeaning, manipulating, isolating and just generally tying Nothing down, it feels a lot like an abusive boyfriend. The more I thought about it, the creepier the whole thing got. And now this selfish bastard is in charge of the whole empire. Super. By comparison, the love interest, who is a villainess (they call her a murderer, but it is a bit more complicated), is a complex, powerful and so much kinder and more supportive to Nothing. She courts her overtly, but she never acts crass, is open with her feelings and wishes, and she gives Nothing all the space she needs. In fact, her desire to not force Nothing into anything is so big that it ends up nearly killing her. If this story had been just about Nothing and the villainess, or the prince had been treated and ultimately punished like the **** he is, I'd have no qualms giving this story a perfect score and recommending it far and wide, but this just doesn't sit right with me. Powerful sapphic enemies to lovers couple helping each other grow and being supportive is basically my idea of a perfect story setup, so this really had a long way down. The other main character, the prince's lover and bodyguard, is less obnoxious, just kind of bland, and I am not sure why Nothing likes him. Starting to suspect (as she probably did) that that true name thing from the prince forced her to. THe rest of the supporting cast was really good. I loved the unicorn, the river spirit, and even the sorceror the Scale was really interesting in the short time we saw them. I hate to give a not-quite-good rating because of the ending, but it and the context it gave the rest of the story just makes this a bit like propaganda movies. It may have a great story, acting and directing, but the message behind it just ruins all my enjoyment I could have taken from it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nathália

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 4.5 stars rounded down Alright, so I have some feelings about this book and I need to talk about them. Night Shine is a book about transition: gender transition, quite obviously, but also a transition of beliefs, power, magnitude, and even the transition into adulthood. Our main character, Nothing, become something more specific than a mere Something by the end of the book. In order for that to happen, she has to let go of most of what she believed and loved. In exchange for that, she gets accepta 4.5 stars rounded down Alright, so I have some feelings about this book and I need to talk about them. Night Shine is a book about transition: gender transition, quite obviously, but also a transition of beliefs, power, magnitude, and even the transition into adulthood. Our main character, Nothing, become something more specific than a mere Something by the end of the book. In order for that to happen, she has to let go of most of what she believed and loved. In exchange for that, she gets acceptance, a sense of belonging, a personality, and a name, which are great, so way to go Shine! I guess the main message of this book is that all of us will change throughout our lives, and our loved ones may not like that change too much. They may try and stop us, they may not accept us; we may have to leave all we loved, or most of it, behind and start anew, but that's alright, because it may result in a better life than before, if we try. Since I read Strange Grace, I already knew I would be falling in love with the characters. It was a given, really: Tessa's characters bear all nuances of humanity, it's impossible not to like them for what they are, the good and the bad. When the book started hinting at the polyamorous relationship between a few of them, I was SOLD, for I'm a sucker for polyamory (and I REFUSE calling this a threesome!!!!!!!!! Shadows and Selegan, you are not forgotten!!!!). Everything was going very, very well, and then... And then... Kirin happened. I don't think I hated a character so much ever since I read Captive Prince. Kirin FUCKED EVERYTHING UP so tremendously I don't ever have words for it. And then he goes on, like NOTHING HAPPENED, because yes that's right, Nothing DID happen and that's YOUR FAULT???????????? FUCK. After the rage subsided and I was left with disappointment only I started thinking, alright, maybe he just made a mistake? I wouldn't be able to forgive this but maybe Shine will? I know she has NO IDEA he's a fucker, but!!!! And then, right when I was trying to excuse him for being an abusive fucking insecure fucking patronizing fucking asshole with serious power issues, he fucking did it again. Even so, this book was a solid 5 stars up until the last chapter. On the last motherfucking chapter, Shine FORGIVES Kirin because SKY ASKED. THAT EASY. You know what? I don't need to feel this rage for it to be forgiven THIS EASY AND QUICKLY. Kirin was an asshole and he deserved to know that, at least, which he DID NOT. I don't think Shine's distance from him did the trick, since he knew he was hurting her and went on with his idea of being an asshole anyway. And that's how the book lost 0.5 star for me. I even rounded it DOWN because this last chapter was a serious problem for me. And this book is a FAVORITE. (Any book who makes me feel so much for a character is a potential favorite. Also the narrator's voice is a MASTERPIECE.) So, TL;DR: Love Shine, marry Sky, FUCK YOU KIRIN. Also marry Shine, Shadows, and Selegan, because of the whole polyamorous bitch thing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelesea

    Title: Night Shine Author: Tessa Gratton Age Group: Teen/Young Adult Genre: Fantasy Series: Standalone Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it. Tessa Gratton is one of my very favorite authors, so when I saw that she had a brand-new book coming out, I ordered it from my local library. I decided to read it as soon as I was finished reading The Burning. This book might be my favorite in Gratton’s entire body of work: A dark, gorgeous fairy tale wit Title: Night Shine Author: Tessa Gratton Age Group: Teen/Young Adult Genre: Fantasy Series: Standalone Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it. Tessa Gratton is one of my very favorite authors, so when I saw that she had a brand-new book coming out, I ordered it from my local library. I decided to read it as soon as I was finished reading The Burning. This book might be my favorite in Gratton’s entire body of work: A dark, gorgeous fairy tale with every trope flipped inside out, this book reminded me of all of the classic Greek epics and myths that I grew up reading. It also surprised me, because it was a fairy tale in which the heroine chose not a love interest, but herself and her own freedom! This book is a beautiful, dark gem, full of magic, betrayal, desire, and self-discovery! This book is definitely one of my favorites of 2020, and I’m tempted to buy it for my personal collection! Nothing’s purpose is simple: to serve as a companion to The Heir of the Moon, Kirin Dark-Smile. She is unacknowledged by everyone but him and the Great Demon who lives in the palace. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that he was taken by The Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful witch who has plagued the land for decades. The witch has never bothered with boys before, but Nothing soon discovers a bevy of secrets, several of them about her prince. Nothing realizes that saving her prince will take her on a journey through spirit haunted woods, all the way to the gates of the Fifth Mountain, where the witch holds her power, and that all magic is a bargain, and to discover who she truly is may cost her heart... This book was so achingly lovely. The prose was gorgeous, and I was immediately spellbound by Nothing’s story. I couldn’t figure this book out; I only just finished it last week and honestly, I’m still stunned! I loved every beautiful, surprising moment of this novel. I loved the old-school, fairy tale feel of this book; I felt as though I was tagging along with Nothing and The Day the Sky Opened, in a bid to free the royal they both care about. I also loved the way the characters’ sexuality was different all the way across the board. The pacing of this book was breakneck, and I was soon turning pages madly, desperate to see how Nothing’s story turned out. I loved every single moment of this beautifully written, tender fairy tale; this book might be one of my very favorites of all of 2020. The bottom line: As rich and satisfying as chocolate, I loved Night Shine! One of my favorite books of the entire year! Next on deck: Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters! https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.c...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hannah (Ink & Myths)

    4.50/5.00 Night Shine is a beautifully written and imagined book, both familiar and utterly unique, and it had me so easily enchanted from the start: the Howl's Moving Castle inspired and overall Ghibli-esque world full of sorcerers and spirits, demons and witches; how the world was so incredibly vivid and atmospheric, full of gorgeous palaces and mountains as houses, rain forests and mirror lakes. Nothing, the protagonist, won my heart over easily, too. She’s stubborn and persistent, she’s kind, 4.50/5.00 Night Shine is a beautifully written and imagined book, both familiar and utterly unique, and it had me so easily enchanted from the start: the Howl's Moving Castle inspired and overall Ghibli-esque world full of sorcerers and spirits, demons and witches; how the world was so incredibly vivid and atmospheric, full of gorgeous palaces and mountains as houses, rain forests and mirror lakes. Nothing, the protagonist, won my heart over easily, too. She’s stubborn and persistent, she’s kind, she doesn’t always know herself, she’s curious and brave and loyal. The other characters, especially Sky, Kirin and the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, were also brilliantly written, all with their own hopes and fears, their selfish desires and lionhearted love. The dynamic between them made this story so special, the love Nothing, Kirin and Sky have for each other. Tessa Gratton’s beautifully lyrical prose cannot be forgotten, either: it flowed so easily, made whole worlds appear in front of my eyes, made me want to step into this story and never come back out. The names she chose for her characters alone (The Day the Sky Opened, The Sorceress Who Eats Girls, A Dance of Stars, just to name a few) made this world feel like such a beautiful, wondrous thing, and I truly think that I could read a hundred more books set in this world and never get bored of it. And, of course, the way queer characters lived and loved in this story, filling every single page; I so desperately wish that every story could be like this, could so easily make me believe that there’s nothing more normal than loving who you love, despite their gender, and that gender can (but not must) be a flowing, changing and always beautiful thing. Overall, I adored Tessa Gratton's Strange Grace, back when I read it upon its release in 2018, so I'm not surprised that her newest book, Night Shine, has become a new favourite book of mine, too. It was just so, so perfectly made for me, with the The Howl’s Moving Castle inspired world and a twist that only Tessa Gratton could manage. I was mesmerised by all of it, the lyrical prose and atmospheric writing, the world filled with wonder and magic, both beautiful and violent, the characters with their own hopes and desires; it would’ve been impossible not to love this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daisy

    Quality Rating: Three Stars Enjoyment Rating: Two Stars ◆ Thanks to the author for this eBook copy for review ◆ I loved another of Gratton's novels, The Queens of Innis Lear, when I read it a few years ago and while I can see the stylistic similarities, Night Shine was not for me in the end. I was unsure to begin with but gave it a good chance, and then another, and another; I kept pushing through to halfway, but when I got to that midway point and felt like my original concerns were still very muc Quality Rating: Three Stars Enjoyment Rating: Two Stars ◆ Thanks to the author for this eBook copy for review ◆ I loved another of Gratton's novels, The Queens of Innis Lear, when I read it a few years ago and while I can see the stylistic similarities, Night Shine was not for me in the end. I was unsure to begin with but gave it a good chance, and then another, and another; I kept pushing through to halfway, but when I got to that midway point and felt like my original concerns were still very much at the forefront of my reading experience, I decided to move on to something else. I know that my biggest problem with this book was the protagonist. 'Nothing' was just... not enough to lead it. She's flat and detached, overly theatrical at times when she's supposed to be saving the day out of nowhere, and totally inconsistent. She feels like a ten-year-old and that doesn't develop through the first 50% of the book at all, and it's honestly a uncomfortable when all the other characters feel so much more mature and have a great deal of power over her. She also doesn't seem to understand the hierarchies or magic system of her own world past 'demons exist' which makes it impossible for us to. While I do applaud the LGBT+ inclusion in Night Shine, I am left feeling conflicted about its representation. Kirin, the crown prince, gets his bodyguard to pretend he's a woman while they're away from the castle (that's not a spoiler, it's in the first chapter) - the book seems to imply that Kirin is transgender (more than somewhere else on the spectrum) but continues to refer to the character as 'he' for as much as I read. I honestly would've felt happier if Kirin was referred to as she in the prose, even if the characters had a hard time switching from the male pronouns. Furthermore, the relationships between Nothing, Kirin and Sky (the bodyguard) straight-up confused me; if it's supposed to be a love triangle, okay, or a three-way situation, fine, but I couldn't work out what the hell it was. And, again, when Nothing feels so much younger and candid than the men it's confusing and a little uncomfortable for me when she seems to be totally at the whim of these boys who feel older and more mature (it's less about her being immature, and more about the emotional power status the men have over her seemingly without her knowing). None of this is helped by the fact that from the very first page both Nothing and Sky have this absolute blind faith and idolistic love in this prince that we have never met and yet are supposed to immediately fall in love with. I've read a few other people say that they didn't understand the story, and I kind of agree. I love the quest structure and the fairytale-esque style (it's very Snow Queen, East of the Sun West of the Moon, maybe even a little Bluebeard), but the actual goal of the story is so scrambled (and the protagonist doesn't seem to have one herself but is buffeted along a tide of what other people want) that it was hard to follow the purpose of scenes and events. The writing style, I have no problem with. In fact, I really like the dreamy detached narration, I just found it hard to picture what it was narrating. The story just takes a long time to get going and then moves in stops and starts. As I said, I only got halfway through the book and, while many things had happened, it felt like next to nothing had actually progressed in the story. I don't really understand why this is being marketed as a queer Howl's Moving Castle. Because it has a witch and a curse in it? There's a lot more to Diana Wynne Jones' book than that. I also think that, while the LGBT+ representation is prevalent, it's pinned most strongly to secondary characters that feel less like they're supporting the protagonist's the story and more like they're put on display (I'm aware of the hints that Nothing herself might get a queer romance, but if there's not a strong direction for that halfway through a book where the story's already grinding, I'm not totally sure I'd enjoy it if/when it did happen).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Night Shine was an incredible read, I couldn't put the book down and finished it within 2 days. I'll be honest, what intrigued me was the premise of the enemies-to-lovers romance between the main character, Nothing, and her enemy, The Sorceress Who Eats Girls. The book starts out with her setting out with Sky, to save the prince, Kirin. I loved how queer this book was. It wasn't just the f/f romance but literally almost every single character here was queer in a way. Nothing had a few instances Night Shine was an incredible read, I couldn't put the book down and finished it within 2 days. I'll be honest, what intrigued me was the premise of the enemies-to-lovers romance between the main character, Nothing, and her enemy, The Sorceress Who Eats Girls. The book starts out with her setting out with Sky, to save the prince, Kirin. I loved how queer this book was. It wasn't just the f/f romance but literally almost every single character here was queer in a way. Nothing had a few instances where she was attracted to other female characters and Kirin + Sky was another relationship besides the main which I really enjoyed! Our voices are the most powerful tool any of us have. What is something if it does not have a name? Names play an important role in this story. It's ultimately a journey where Nothing finds her own name, and becomes Something. I really liked this whole concept with names that the author used here, it kept it really mysterious from the start of the book but it wasn't confusing or anything like that. Also, the author's writing style was definitely another reason why I enjoyed the book. The writing didn't seem too dense or complicated but it felt really atmospheric. I liked it. I like you, Nothing. I like what you are now. Okay, the romance in this book was so good. It was definitely a slow burn but it's rightfully so because it felt really rewarding when everything fell into pieces. The Sorceress interests me from the start to end and I enjoyed every scene Nothing and her had. The tension between them was great and Tessa Gratton wins the award for the best first kiss scene ever. Seriously though, it was really good! This was a well deserved 5 star read! Ah, and also if I didn't know anything about the plot and had to read it based off the cover, I probably wouldn't but don't let that happen to you!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Let me type a review for this book before I take too long, and then have absolutely no coherent thoughts left in my head. I’m going to go simple here. I really really loved this book. It was MAGICAL. I was essentially living vicariously through Nothing throughout this book. I felt everything she felt. When she was feral and happy, I felt the same. When she was angry and sad, I felt the same. Ugh. Truly, so good. All of Nothing’s relationships with other characters were soooo goooood! Her and Sky Let me type a review for this book before I take too long, and then have absolutely no coherent thoughts left in my head. I’m going to go simple here. I really really loved this book. It was MAGICAL. I was essentially living vicariously through Nothing throughout this book. I felt everything she felt. When she was feral and happy, I felt the same. When she was angry and sad, I felt the same. Ugh. Truly, so good. All of Nothing’s relationships with other characters were soooo goooood! Her and Sky? Perfection. Her and the sorceress? Perfection. Her and Kirin? Perfection. Speaking of my prince who is also a maiden. When I tell you I had to fight the urge to fight him like 5 times in this book. I loved him, but I also hated him. What a jealous and petty and arrogant thing. Good lord. Why do I love him so? I love him so much even though he tested my patience time and time again. I don’t even know what else to say about this book... I think I can confidently say this is the easiest book to read by Tessa Gratton (at least of the ones I’ve read—which have been 4 including this one). I found this book well-paced and written prettily enough to still make me swoon but leaning more towards comprehensible purple prose than incomprehensible. The characters were all sufficiently developed, and I liked the progression of the novel. I think my one complaint, and the main reason this got 4 stars instead of 5, is that the ending of this novel left a lot to be desired. I wanted more and more and more. I guess I’ve grown greedy with Tessa Gratton. I’m too used to her long books. Nevertheless, despite wanting this to be longer, I loved it so so much!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    DNF. I tried hard with this book, because it has themes that I think are so important for young people, especially right now, as folx start to more strongly consider who they are and what that means within the larger landscape. It has strong, clear messages about not jumping to conclusions about who someone else is, understanding that no one has to be just one extreme or another but can embrace multiple identities at the same time, which can in fact make people stronger in who they are, rather t DNF. I tried hard with this book, because it has themes that I think are so important for young people, especially right now, as folx start to more strongly consider who they are and what that means within the larger landscape. It has strong, clear messages about not jumping to conclusions about who someone else is, understanding that no one has to be just one extreme or another but can embrace multiple identities at the same time, which can in fact make people stronger in who they are, rather than being less. I give this book a low rating because of the extremely heavy burden of the descriptions. The first 80 pages involves a journey, but the travel experiences are less than secondary to the world-building and overly detailed descriptions of this fantasy realm, some of which never play any major part in the story itself. Later on, entire paragraphs are dedicated to descriptions of dresses (of frequently contrasting color combinations, fwiw) or multiple paragraphs describing rooms. All the description becomes overwhelming at times and detracts from the story. And since so much time was spent on the descriptions and world-building elements, the story became severely lacking and almost disjointed. I read about 3/4 of the book and I just couldn't bring myself to read to the end because I ceased to care. It makes me very sad because I think this could be such a powerful book. I hope there are future books that have a similar philosophy toward not conforming to dichotomies and inhabiting the in-between spaces.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nola

    Thank you to the author for sending me an eARC of Night Shine. Non-binary magic, pure, wild and tangible, that is what this book is. A tale of girls and demons, spirits and sprites, of truth and deception, of mountains and shadows, of princes and maidens and everything both and more and in-between. We follow Nothing, a girl who goes unseen and unnoticed by all but her dearest friend, Prince Kirin and the great demon of the palace, where they both live. But Nothing’s safe and unchanging life is Thank you to the author for sending me an eARC of Night Shine. Non-binary magic, pure, wild and tangible, that is what this book is. A tale of girls and demons, spirits and sprites, of truth and deception, of mountains and shadows, of princes and maidens and everything both and more and in-between. We follow Nothing, a girl who goes unseen and unnoticed by all but her dearest friend, Prince Kirin and the great demon of the palace, where they both live. But Nothing’s safe and unchanging life is thrown into turmoil when the prince is kidnapped by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls. And so a journey begins, one that will take Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard, Sky, from crossroad shrines to the deepest depths of the rain-forest and finally to the towering Fifth Mountain, where the sorceress resides. A journey that will change, create and reveal secrets, truths and hearts in ways Nothing, Sky nor Kirin could have ever dreamed. Our hero, Nothing is a beautifully complex girl of sixteen, a girl who is loyal to her friends and true to her heart. I adored her growth and development throughout this story so very much. Kirin is a prince and so much more too, he is beautiful and selfish and caring and proud and I loved how Gratton wove his intricate nature perfectly and smoothly with simple words and emotions that somehow gave an unending depth to his personality. Sky is strong and steadfast and easy to love. I really appreciated the growth of his friendship with Nothing and his own personal character arc throughout the story. The Sorceress herself is as seductive and beautiful as she is terrifying and awe-inspiring and she may have entirely stolen my heart as I read this book. The plots flows and twists and turns like a clever and sparkling river with many streams and waterfalls. Romantic and full of wild intensity, this is a journey of friendship, self discovery and revealed potential. Gratton’s writing is literal magic. I’ve never read another author who crafts words quite like this. The world is layered and full of colour and beauty and wilderness. My breath was stolen every time a robe or gown, embroidery or face-paint, mountain or fern was described. And yet, while each description was minimal and simple it somehow created a fully-fleshed out and realized image in the reader's mind. I love this story with all my being. It tugged at my heart-strings and toyed with my emotions and left me breathless and full of warmth. This story is also delightfully queer, with representation at every turn and more than one lgbtq+ romance that will give you all the feels. Night Shine is an exquisite saga. Dark and wondrous and thrilling. It will tingle over your skin and leave you dreaming of stars and shadows and all that’s in-between. Fans of Uprooted, The Boneless Mercies and The Song of Achilles will love Night Shine.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kylie Q. Rada

    3.5⭐s. Tessa Gratton's writing is just RIDICULOUS. I absolutely adored both of her adult novels, Lady Hotspur and The Queens of Innis Lear, so when I saw an upcoming novel from her that was pitched as a dark sapphic fairy tale I was HERE FOR IT even though it was YA. Turned out not only is it sapphic, but it also has nonbinary rep (it is not explicitly stated what the character identifies as), and gay/polyamorous characters! The vibe of this is classic Tessa Gratton, but instead of being 10/10 d 3.5⭐s. Tessa Gratton's writing is just RIDICULOUS. I absolutely adored both of her adult novels, Lady Hotspur and The Queens of Innis Lear, so when I saw an upcoming novel from her that was pitched as a dark sapphic fairy tale I was HERE FOR IT even though it was YA. Turned out not only is it sapphic, but it also has nonbinary rep (it is not explicitly stated what the character identifies as), and gay/polyamorous characters! The vibe of this is classic Tessa Gratton, but instead of being 10/10 dark and gritty like her adult stuff, she dials it back and adds a little whimsy for her YA audience, which I needed right about now. There were a few problematic elements, hence the 3.5 ⭐s. I'm not super comfy with the age gap, especially given the conclusion of this novel. Also, the author could have done a better job of clarifying her racial diversity without describing everybody as white or copper-colored. And there is a clear abuse element that wasn't resolved to my satisfaction. But overall I really enjoyed this. Definitely a "guilty" (I have no guilt) pleasure fantasy romance! Now to get started on Tessa Gratton's YA backlist!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anya

    This book did not deserve that eye-sore of a cover, let’s just get that out of the way. Jesus… The book is beautifully written, charming and whimsical. And so, so, so spectacularly queer. Straight culture? Night Shine don’t know her. Loved that about it. The book itself I liked, but did not love. Due to two things: 1) the writing was a bit too flowery and 2) the story too fairy tale-y for my personal taste. Would still recommend it, though, and strongly encourage people to look past the cover... This book did not deserve that eye-sore of a cover, let’s just get that out of the way. Jesus… The book is beautifully written, charming and whimsical. And so, so, so spectacularly queer. Straight culture? Night Shine don’t know her. Loved that about it. The book itself I liked, but did not love. Due to two things: 1) the writing was a bit too flowery and 2) the story too fairy tale-y for my personal taste. Would still recommend it, though, and strongly encourage people to look past the cover... the book is as pretty as that cover is not.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.