I’ve been looking forward to The Lights of Prague since I heard about it. Historical fiction Prague meets fantasy monster hunting? As soon as Titan Books contacted me and asked if I wanted to be on the blog tour, it was an automatic yes. Keep reading this book review to find out if The Lights of Prague met my expectations.
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová– a widow with secrets of her own.
When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Lights of Prague has all the elements that makes my heart sing: queer main characters, vampires or pijavica, and historical fiction. So it’s no surprise that I had a thoroughly enjoyable time reading. In fact I finished this book a lot sooner than I thought because I was just so entranced in the action. Normally for me, the characters are the first element I am drawn to, but for The Lights of Prague it’s the story. The monster hunting vibes meets the multiple secret societies and vampire world is fascinating. I’d read more books in this world because I loved both the premise, and also potential for more.
I found that I was entranced by the action, wondering how the story would wrap up and where our heroes would find themselves. There were a few pieces of the story I wanted to know more of, but mostly because I loved some of the side characters like Kája and would just love to see more in this world. A theme I enjoyed, which Jarvis brought up, is the curse of eternity. How when Ora chooses to become a pijavica, she doesn’t quite grasp what she will lose. The curse of immortality is something I’m drawn to in culture and the media. We get so focused on what we gain, that Ora’s examinations of what she has given up is fantastic to see.
The Lights of Prague is an intriguing whirlwind of action. Once it begins, I was captivated by the bonds and alliances swirling in the story. The hatred people hide under the surface. And the monstrous sides of humanity in the shadows.