The Night Sender
by Christina Tsirkas
As debut novels go The Night Sender, by Christina Tsirkas, is a good offering. It has some well developed, strong and complex characters that quickly draw you into the story, whilst the fast paced, twisty and engaging plot holds you there. The prose flows well with the author including period words that reinforce a Georgian era feel to the setting. Descriptions were detailed, but not overly so, allowing a good mental image to be formed without detracting from the story.
The premise of this book was quite intriguing, the erotic elements adding an unexpected, and very sultry, edge to it. This is a multi-layered story, unfolding to reveal a new piece of information or another puzzle to add to the pile. The author did this in a way that allowed me to assimilate new information and start trying to fit the pieces together, without overwhelming me. There was some great foreshadowing and hints, some of which only became apparent later in the plot.
I do think the world building needs strengthening. Situations very close to the main characters were well structured – the role of the Night Sender, the strictures of the “court” but from where do Rose and her mother get their money? Is there a king who rules their city? Are they near the coast? Are they an independent state or part of a large country? What was the weather like? It wasn’t until well past the half-way mark that we discover Rose’s father died when she was four, though how/why I don’t think was mentioned. However this didn’t spoil my enjoyment of what is a very good start to this story.
This also felt very much like instalove, particularly since Roosha had barely spoken more than a few words to Rose at that point. In fact, given the very erotic nature of their initial relationship, it felt more like lust. However, whilst I didn’t quite buy into Roosha and Rose falling in love, I did soon find myself believing in the strength of their feelings for one another. Overall the emotions in the book were portrayed well.
The seemed to be quite a few different themes running throughout the book. Other than the conventional fantasy theme of the underdog good guys v the powerful bad guys, there was also the story of a young woman’s erotic awakening and acceptance of her sexual nature plus a commentary on fitting societal expectations/strictures (or not in Rose’s case). The book ends on a soft cliff-hanger, I will definitely be continuing with the story when the next book releases.