Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Review: The Queen of the Night
The Queen of the Night promised to check off many of my literary loves. A book about music and the opera? Check. Historical fiction? Check. Secrets and a carefully crafted persona? Check. Phantom of the Opera vibes? Check.
Alexander Chee appears to have great fun tossing readers down one rabbit hole after another. Because Lilliet is thinking backwards, she starts to explain one thing but then detours to explain something else first. The stories themselves are so interesting that the reader doesn't even mind taking so many stops on the trip. Mr. Chee has done an immense amount of research and each place he takes us is meticulously and wonderfully crafted.
Lilliet is constantly discovering the power of having a voice and the power of silence, As a Falcon soprano, her voice is one that can sing a greater range than most singers but it also means that her voice is more prone to injury and a short career. As her singing brings her acclaim, she also finds that people in power want to use her voice and her influence for their own ends.
The Queen of the Night feels like an opera. There is passionate love and great tragedy, bold characters, twists and turns, and beautiful moments worthy of an aria. It is sprawling and ambitious and delicious. This is the kind of book that you will be happy to get lost inside.
The Queen of the Night
By Alexander Chee
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt February 2016
Read via Netgalley