Published by HarperCollins on March 15th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Fantasy & Magic, Horror
Hardcover provided by HarperCollins
Modern-day teenagers meet a palace of terrors locked up since the French Revolution in this surprising and haunting thriller from Stefan Bachmann, the internationally bestselling author of The Peculiar and The Whatnot. A Drop of Night will thrill fans of Neal Shusterman and Jessica Khoury.
Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been chosen to participate in an exclusive program that includes an all-expense-paid trip to France and a chance to explore the hidden underground Palais des Papillons, or Palace of Butterflies. Along with four other gifted teenagers, Anouk will be one of the first people to set foot in the palace in more than two hundred years. Bachmann’s masterful scene-building alternates between Anouk’s flight through the palace and the struggles of Aurelie, who escaped the French Revolution by fleeing into the Palais des Papillons in 1792.
A Drop of Night was an interesting and creepy read. The story is told in two different timelines. The first timeline tells the story of Aurélie who is living in the late 1780. Her father is building a palace beneath his palace and it will harbor a dangerous secret. The second timeline is the story of Anouk in present day. Anouk just found the perfect way to get away from her family. She was invited to join an elite group of students to help unearth a palace from the French Revolution, The Palace of Butterflies, just outside of Paris. Both of them are in for really big surprise when they discover what is lurking underground.
This story mostly follows Anouk as she began her adventure. She gets this letter and starts the testing to become part of this expedition. This letter basically gives her the chance of a lifetime to travel to Paris, all expenses paid. She should be excited at the opportunity. She isn’t. She is the type of girl to question everyone. Her only reason for taking the invitation to the expedition was for the chance to get away from her family. Anouk is a girl with a chip on her shoulders. It wasn’t clearly explained why, but I understood her anger. She is an angsty young adult, so she doesn’t really need a reason to be aloof and anti-social. It may be the reason she was chosen for this project. Maybe.
Once they get into the palace, nothing is what it seems. There is deception and Anouk and her fellow students are hunted. The scenes are pretty scary. I have to admit, I didn’t know who to trust. Things happen in this book that remind me of random dreamscapes so haunting they keep you from falling back asleep.
I think the historical timeline added a lot to this story. The things Aurélie went through have a direct impact on present day Anouk. I thought the flips through time were very well done. Admittedly, I didn’t understand everything that was going on with Aurélie all the time. I just got this overwhelming sense of foreboding in her parts of the story. I also understood that she was a bit helpless in her situation. Anouk is a lot like Aurélie and as the book progressed I totally understood why. Anouk starts with just the right attitude to become a leader among her peers. Anouk is the one who steps up and takes control.
At first, I didn’t understand how the two timelines connected. I was certain it was because of the place Anouk was going to be exploring. It was the same palace that Aurélie lived in. That connection would have been enough, but no. It was something much more implausible. I found that if I didn’t try to make complete sense out of things, the story flowed well. There were a lot of questions that came up in this story that just didn’t get an answer.
The problems I had with this book weren’t enough to keep me from reading it. Some of it was confusing, and I didn’t get the reasons for some events, but I kept reading. I loved the creep factor of this story. There is definitely something very paranormal and wrong in the palace underground. A Drop of Night was a creepy mystery. This story took me by surprise and is unlike most of the YA I have read.