The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott. ★★★
When she was nine years old, Mio Yamato’s grandfather showed her an ancient katana hidden in the family attic and told her that it must remain hidden. Despite his warning, when she’s fifteen Mio decides that the sword will make the perfect accessory for a costume party. Now the reappearance of the sword has wakened a creature from Japanese legend, who’s stalking Mio through the modern day streets of London.
There wasn’t anything that was completely horrible about The Night Itself, but there wasn’t anything that went beyond mediocre either. Besides the use of Japanese mythology, the story feels essentially familiar. There’s nothing about it that feels new or interesting, not even the use of mythology which is it’s one distinguishing factor. The main character’s got a special birthright of which she’s unaware, there’s a special object she’s got to keep away from the evil villains, and there’s a hot sort of super natural guy who she falls into instalove with despite knowing him less than twenty four hours. Whatever. I’ve seen all of this before.
None of the characters felt developed. I never got much of a sense of their personalities, and now, a week later I’ve almost completely forgotten them. They all felt like generic YA stock tropes. I was interested in Jack, the lesbian best friend, initially, but my interest in her had flagged by the second half of the book. Basically the book introduced a supernatural guy with a crush on her who kisses her, and the book doesn’t discuss it. So annoying.
It’s really hard to find much to say about The Night Itself beyond “mediocre.” The writing wasn’t terrible. Even the instalove thing could have been more annoying than it turned out being. It did help me pass some hours when the wifi was out, so there’s that in it’s favor. But it’s not a book that I care about or would recommend.