This book, peeps, is not awesome. This book is rawrsome. Yes, awesome with a rawr. I mean, look at this freaking cover… It’s creepy, but just like in the scary movies where they know they shouldn’t open the door and go outside and they still do, this cover makes you want to do just that. Explore further, see under the mask, ruffle those feathers and wish you had x ray vision to see underneath. No? Does the cover not make you feel so? Then let me change your mind by telling you a bit more about this brilliant piece of work.
They Mostly Come Out At Night is a Dark Fantasy novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. If you like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss then you will love this captivating, dangerous world in which ordinary people struggle to find their place in a land ruled by stories.
Let me strip away the cover and some of the mystery…
Meet Lonan. Lonan loves, always has loved, Branwen. Branwen is now wed to Jarleth and hasn’t spoken a kind word to Lonan for years. In fact, none of the villagers have. Lonan, to them, is like vermin that nobody wants around but they can’t quite get rid of him either. You see, everyone blames Lonan for the horrible night which claimed the lives of Branwen’s face and Lonan’s father. Because his own mother even refuses to speak to her son, Lonan is taken in by Mother Ogma, the village healer who also houses an older disabled man. During the day, every villager has their task- their Knack- by which they serve. Be it cooking, cleaning, smithing, fixing, etc. During every night, however, they come and every night the villagers descend to their cellars to protect themselves. They haven’t see the nightsky dotted with stars ever. Is this about to change, though? And is Lonan losing his mind or will he earn back his place amongst the villagers?
Now, this is a rather complex story… because in addition to the villagers, we have a parallel sidestory about Adahy and the Magpie King. And that’s not all- there are also the stories and legends about Artemis and the Magpie King which have been told generation to generation. Not to worry though- it all ties together quite fantastically and makes way for some proper twists and turns to the story. Of course, I haven’t given you the full picture here nor the overview of the full cast of characters- the whole novel entails so many more fabulous elements but I will leave it up to you to go and discover them. If you like dark fantasy then I doubt you will feel disappointed by it.
Overall, Benedict Patrick wrote an absolute gem of a 5 star novel mixing the fairytale, horror, legends and adventure. I was entirely satisfied with the ending, even though for me personally it was a sad one. I still feel it was the best ending this novel could have.
Because I could predict my review would not be able to live up to the rawrsomeness of this book I asked Benedict for a mini interview.
Can you tell us where the inspiration and idea come for They Mostly Come Out At Night?
Well, a few places, I guess. I’ve always been interested in traditional storytelling traditions, and a lot of that informs events in the story – in between each chapter we get to hear a short fireside tale told in the Magpie King’s forest, and I wanted to create world where I could get away with that, but also make the smaller tales important. Also – and I think this will be obvious to anyone who reads the first few pages – a big chunk of the initial set up was born from my utter disappointment with M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. I loved the promise he made with that film – a remote village sheltering from the monsters at night time – but I hated what he did with it. So I borrowed that seed, and tried to tell the story the way I had wanted it to go.
How similar, if at all, are the stories of Corvae in the book to the folklore and legends of Northern Ireland?
Not at all :p Well, not intentionally anyway. There are a clash of two real-world storytelling traditions in the book. The High Corvae – the nobles, who have been in the forest for much longer than the commoners – have roots in Native American stories. The Lower Corvae – the villagers, who have also been around for a few generations, but are relative newcomers to the forest – have tales based on more Central European, Brothers Grimm-researched stories. That’s not to say I’ll never explore folklore from Northern Ireland in the Yarnsworld setting, but it isn’t on the cards for the next few books.
Your favorite character in the book?
Ha, good question! I have a soft spot for Mother Ogma, the villager healer. She’s a rare level head, even when things start to get difficult. She’s also a genuinely nice person, which can be rare to write sometimes. For the completely opposite reasons, I also love writing anything with Artemis in it – he’s the trickster character that features in so many of the Low Corvae’s storytales.
What was the most difficult part about writing They Mostly Come Out At Night?
The ending. I think I sat on that ending for about a year, once I got close to it. The thing is, I always knew how it was going to turn out, but I guess… This is difficult without giving anything away! I guess I had hoped to find a way to give certain characters what they wanted and deserved, but ultimately the story never budged.
You are working on the next book in the series? Are we going to be reading more about the characters we got to know in They Mostly Come Out At Night or will there be a whole new story? Or, is it a secret?
I just got the next Yarnsworld book back from the editor, so more is coming! Book 2 is going to be pretty different, however. Same world, same rules, but we’re on the different side of the world, so new characters and settings. I spent a bit of time in New Zealand as a younger man, and was taken by their storytelling traditions, so this is my chance to scratch that itch. I do plan on revisiting the Magpie King’s forest – maybe next year – but I make no guarantees about who we are going to be following when that happens!
They Mostly Come Out At Night will be published on the 16th of June, but is available for pre-order now! And for peanuts! Go on, book that Kindle space for a copy and mark June 16th in your calendars.