Title: A Drop of Night
Author: Stefan Bachmann
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Release Date: March 15th 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she's been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.
Or so she thought.
But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths...
I picked up this book in my attempts to lessen the unread ARCs in my bookshelf, and man, I sure wasn't prepared for this. A Drop of Night had me at "underground palace" - just how were they able to build one back in the days when technology wasn't as advanced as it is now? And for what reason?
I don't believe in the whole "people are basically good deep down" notion. I think deep down is where people are the worst.
The story starts by introducing us to Anouk, our rude and angsty main character, who seems to think her life is the worst even when she's surrounded by opportunities to do whatever she wants. I think this is the one thing I dislike about her; sure, her parents regretted adopting her the moment her baby sister was born, but to take out that frustration on basically everybody else, even those who were trying to be friendly and helpful, was immature and wasteful, especially for someone supposedly as smart as she is. But moving on.
The all-expenses-paid trip to Paris is her way out of that life. Although she has taken many such trips to different parts of the world before, she thought this one would finally allow her to leave her dysfunctional family once and for all. She is joined by four other gifted kids who have no idea just how they were chosen or what the criteria were, but soon, the trip turns into a deadly nightmare that they have to escape.
This book is told in two ways: by Anouk, and by flashbacks to medieval France when the palace was in construction. The flashbacks built up a good amount of suspense that had me pulling at my hair, thinking just what in the world these aristocrats were doing - and hiding - under there. But while the flashbacks cooked up the mystery, the story as told by Anouk in the present provided the action. I don't want to go into much detail in order to avoid spoiling this for anyone, but believe me when I tell you that this book is not what you're expecting it to be.
Overall, A Drop of Night is an action-packed book, some happening so fast I had to reread for me to understand what happened which may have actually watered down the excitement quite a bit. Still, it kept me on the edge of my seat, feeling like I was one of the kids they sent into the palace, avoiding traps and hiding in panic rooms. This is one book I would love to see on the big screen.