They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick

mostly

He locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…

Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…

Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.

Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.

Ooh, I love a fairytale. Most of my earliest memories involve them, most notably in the form of my grandmother reading them out loud to me and adjusting the endings to some of the more gruesome stories on the fly (she was a bit squeamish, my gran).

In They Mostly Come Out at Night, Patrick has taken the tried and tested Hero’s Journey format, given it a twist, and interspersed it with morality stories that fill in the world’s background and culture. This makes for very interesting reading, as we have a main narrative juxtaposed with fables, which causes the reader to pause and consider how one eventually becomes the other. I absolutely adored this element of the novel; Patrick’s folk stories really shine, and could easily sit alongside traditional proverbs and lore without feeling out of place. Each one is well thought out, fits into the world and provides commentary for the main narrative. It’s an exceptionally clever bit of storytelling, and a wonderful idea.

Our main storyline centers on Lonan, a young man who is something of an outcast within his village. He has no “knack”, a system of magic in which people develop a sort of specialist skill at a young age in order to benefit the people of the village. His father’s knack had been as a gifted Blacksmith, and Lonan had expected to follow in his footsteps. Instead Lonan finds that he has strange dreams that may lead him to a different destiny. Meanwhile, the son of the Magpie King is having his own problems living up to his father’s expectations. As the story progresses, their worlds begin to intersect and the result is a fast-paced adventure with some strong twists and colorful characters.

If you’re a fan of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the stories of Hans Christian Andersen you will find much to enjoy here, and you’ll know not to expect a typical “Happily Ever After”. However, in places the main story is somewhat rough in the execution. Some of the secondary characters are not well developed, and Lonan’s love interest in particular lacks agency and has little to do besides wait around to be rescued. The prose needs work in places and the structure is a little off here and there. However, this is a highly ambitious story told in some 200 pages (an impressive feat in itself), and having seen a glimpse of how Patrick’s writing will develop via his entry in The Art of War Anthology, I’m very interested to pick up the rest of the series. There is a huge amount of potential here and I’m excited to continue.

🌟🌟🌟 ½

Bingo Squares 2018

  • Reviewed on r/Fantasy
  • Self-Published
  • RRAWR Author
  • Fewer than 2500 GR Ratings

Cocktail

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The Pale Lady

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