Review: Something More than Night by Ian Tregillis

SMtNPublished by: Tor Books
ISBN: 0765334321
ISBN 13: 9780765334329
Published: December 3rd 2013
Pages: 304
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Three out of Five

Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis is a noir detective tale with a supernatural twist. The story is set initially in Heaven itself and follows the investigation into the murder of the angel Gabriel and the multitude of complicated twists that span an ancient plot coming to fruition.

The story follows fallen angel Bayliss, who has modelled himself after a typical noir detective type for his life on Earth, and carries on in that fashion for its duration, dated slang and all, as a homage to the genre.

For this reason the writing style is oddly comedic even though it’s mostly played straight and can be difficult to get through at times, but it really does feel like the intended audience would get much more from all this than someone with little more than a passing familiarity with the genre.

There’s a good deal of what I’d call scientific info-dumps littered throughout the pages, and when I say a good deal, I do mean a lot. Too much in fact. A little science is always nice but the quantity and detail really harms your immersion in the world.

That’s not to say the writing isn’t good, because it really is. The world building is creative and unexpected and captures the imagination, particularly in the depictions of the afterlife and the beings there, but also with an Earth that isn’t quite like our own.

The characterisation is also very well done, particularly with our second point of view character Molly, who dies almost as soon as we see her, and is then followed as she ascends to Heaven and adjusts to a completely new kind of existence.

That said, I didn’t find either of them particularly likeable. There was a connection missing and I struggled to care for any of them.

So it’s not that it doesn’t have its qualities and components that shine on their own, but as a whole it failed to grip me. There was too much hard science, too much thick slang, and too many complicated twists for me to invest in the story.

I think all in all it’s definitely worth giving a go. It’s definitely very unique and I’m a fan of Tregillis overall, and continue to be very much looking forward to seeing his work in the future.
This review was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 27th January 2014.

2 thoughts on “Review: Something More than Night by Ian Tregillis

  1. I had about the same opinion; maybe a little harsher. The writing style, and gibberty goo that went with it, was unnecessary, I felt. I’m glad you liked it, though.

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