Ross Mackenzie: Evernight (Andersen Press 2020)
Ross Mackenzie is a multi-award winning author. His most famous book is The Nowhere Emporium. He currently lives near Glasgow with his wife and children, but often spends his time in other worlds. Stories have always played an important role in his life: he still vividly remembers when, in his childhood, he looked forward to the next exciting adventure in the evenings. He became a children’s book writer because he always loved great stories and hopes that one day his books will evoke similar feelings in readers. Evernight definitely has a chance for that.
Shadow Jack is an ancient djinni who hunts witches. Mrs. Hester is the king’s chief adviser and a witch herself who wants to rule the world. Larabelle Fox is a tosher who searches the city’s sewers for lost things. Joe Littlefoot is also a tosher, second best after Lara by his own admission. Double Eight is a White Witch who always wanted to be different from the others: free. Bernie and Magnus Whitecrow are witches who smuggle escaped White Witches out of town. And the Evernight is an ancient darkness that was imprisoned by the gods at the beginning of time so that it could not escape…
I really liked the world building of the story, as it presents the world in small details, from the perspective of the characters. Its most important lesson is that everyone has an important role in the development of events. Some of its elements remind me of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust: the witch who wants to be forever young, the prophecy, the storm-chasing airship, and Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart: the Shadow that swallows everything, and also contains steampunk elements. The soul also plays a very important role in the story. It was also special for me that while most stories end with the world being saved and the good guys winning, here we can also get a glimpse of what happens after that, what tasks are still waiting for the people. Otherwise, the story continues in the second volume of the duology, entitled Feast of the Evernight.