A review by Nalini Haynes
The Lights of Prague is a historical fantasy novel. Set in gaslight era Prague where monsters roam freely, with a team of gaslighters (literally, they light the streets’ gas lights) fighting the monsters. Domek Myska is a monster hunter who, after vanquishing a vampire, finds a wisp trapped in a jar. This is also his first encounter with the White Lady, a screaming ghost who starts stalking him.
Domek’s solace, the highlight of his life, is time spent with Lady Ora Fischerová. Ora is a wealthy widow enjoying a flirtation. However, she has secrets of her own.
The Lights of Prague‘s plot aspires to Machiavellian intensity, with factions, fealty and betrayal at every turn. No character is entirely black or white, good or evil. Some are doing the best they can while others are doing their worst. Those who grapple with the truth learn and grow as characters.
The Lights of Prague needs to be a TV series so we can have all the costume porn. While the poors don’t have much in the way of clothes, the wealthy display their affluence in their appearance. Lady Ora has many costume changes. Some will enjoy the destruction of her wardrobe while others will mourn but then rejoice in enforced changes.
The Lights of Prague is part Buffy/Angel, part Underworld, and part Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I highly recommend this novel to fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone as well although this isn’t, strictly speaking, YA because the characters are not young adults. Historical manners, resplendent costumes, romance, monsters and Machiavellian politics make a delightful blend. I hope for more in this series and I truly hope it comes to the screen.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Titan Books (Penguin Random House, distributed in Australia by New South Books)
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Category: Historical fiction, historical fantasy, fantasy, horror