[Book Review] Mistress of Night and Dawn

Mistress of Night and Dawn : An Eighty Days Novel / Vina Jackson (Powell's Books)

When encountering a novel that is touted as "Bared to You meets The Night Circus" I expect beautiful poetic prose, magical romance, and some raunchy smut.  Let's modernize some D. H. Lawrence and go wild.

The prose was lovely but also confusing, passages made obtuse through questionable word use (for example, "As if aspirated by their wake, Ange felt obliged to follow them").  The sex failed to leave an impression.  I know there were acts that titillated the characters and made them feel strong longing, arousal, passion, mind-shattering orgasms.  But I have to actually think to come up with scenes with explicit descriptions of the carnal acts the participants engage in.  A number of scenes left me trying to figure out the physical mechanics and unable to think of a way that people could actually accomplish the acts described without the ability to phase shift.

Mistress of Night and Dawn is a sexual fantasy, where cunt and prick are ever ready regardless of setting or ability to consent, but it never seems to decide if it really wants to dive into the fantastic and magical, or just dip its toe in the waters.  I wanted romance and got... something, I'm not sure what to call it.  Spiritual bonding through vaginamancy maybe.  There is celebration of debauchery and hedonism, but not exactly enjoyment of it, more the participants are pawns swept along in a bacchanalia whether they wish it or not.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

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