For Book Review Wednesday, I’m going to do something different: I’m going to share reviews of the book I just launched yesterday (Jan 17th). I’ve gathered the reviews from various people, and they are as honest as I could ask for.

Child of the Night Guild

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

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The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

The Reviews:

It’s not for me to give out any spoilers to lessen the impact for other lucky readers, who will encounter it for the first time, but suffice it to say that it is packed with gritty, fast-moving action and you will be on the edge of your seat. Peloquin particularly excels at action sequences, and treads the fine line between tame and too graphic with as sure a foot as Ilanna on the high beam. Scenes of brutal violence get the point across without disgusting the reader, and I don’t know when I have seen this kind of thing better handled. The characters are believable and engaging, and the plot well constructed. A well-deserved five stars for an author who has given us his best work to date. — T. Ormiston-smith

This is a raw and brutal story but I loved it each step of the way. There is so much detail that goes into this world. I loved all aspects of the Guild and the different jobs they learn. It’s so easy to get drawn into the story that I had a hard time putting the book down. I just had the see what happened to Ilanna next. And the ending, not what I expected but left me eagerly waiting for book two. — JBronder Book Reviews

This read is not for the weak of heart.  I’ve got to tell you, it was time I retired for the evening and the last hour of the read is upon me. I lay in bed for one hour, trying to figure out how this story would end.  I really tried to sleep, but crawled out of bed at 12:45 a.m., wrapped myself in a blanket and finished the book!  I just had to do it.  I couldn’t sleep otherwise, and then I still had a time of it, since this book does not have a happy ever after ending—propelling me to the sequel. You are forewarned.  If you like this kind of read, then it is right up your alley. Scared shitless, I was.  The whole setting is so fantastic, the characters so mesmerizing, that is, those left living, I cannot walk away. – Eileen Dandashi

Andy Peloquin has taken fantasy to a new level. You hear the words, magnetic, non-stop and gut-clenching often, but every one of these words applies in full force to this unforgettable tale of one small girl who beat the odds, and never let anyone break her soul. CHILD OF THE NIGHT GUILD maybe Andy Peloquin’s finest work yet! It takes bold writing to bring life to a bold story of survival and this author has succeeded and then some! No matter what genre you read, this one should be on your MUST READ lists! – Tome Tender

Here’s a Taste:

We’ve been at this for hours! When will he let us rest? Mind numb from hunger and fatigue, Viola placed one weary foot in front of the other. Blood dripped from cuts in her hands, arms, and forehead.

Master Velvet refused to let up. “Your past is gone, your families forgotten. You have no names, no identities. You are nothing more than a number until it is deemed fit to give you a name.”

The children called out as one, “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Everything you are, everything you will be, you owe to the Night Guild. We are your masters, your creators, your gods.” The tirade had repeated for endless hours, but Master Velvet never seemed to have enough.

“Yes, Master Velvet!”

Master Velvet’s voice cracked like a carter’s whip. “Disobedience will be punished harshly. Obedience will be rewarded well. Learn this and you will flourish in the Night Guild.”

Viola’s legs wobbled, her shoulders ached, and her arms shook from exertion. “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Forget everything you know. Forget life outside this room. You eat, sleep, and shit at my command.”

“Yes, Master Velvet!” Viola’s voice cracked from thirst and fatigue. She wanted to lie down, to close her eyes, to sleep.

Master Velvet snarled in her ear. “You live and die at the pleasure of the Night Guild. You belong to the Guild mind, body, and soul. What are you?”

“We are tyros, Master Velvet.”

He crouched beside her. “And what are tyros?”

“Lower than dirt, Master Velvet!”

A satisfied smile spread across his face. “Empty your buckets and set them on the floor beside the barrels. Double speed, my drudges.”

Viola tried to move faster, but her feet refused. By the time she reached the barrel at the far end of the room, only one other child remained. The boy, barely taller than her, had yet to empty his bucket. He strained to lift his heavy load. His hands trembled uncontrollably—a permanent condition that made even eating and drinking difficult. Water splashed down his tunic, turning the dirt to mud.

Emptying her pail, Viola dropped to the sodden ground with a half-sob, half-groan of relief.

“Get up, tyros!” Master Velvet would not let them rest.

Tears of exhaustion and frustration streaming, she climbed to her feet. Though her back protested, she forced herself straight when Master Velvet approached.

Stand tall, no matter what. Mama’s words echoed in her thoughts. I’m trying, Mama, but I’m so tired!

“Chow time, my drudges. You’ll find that table over there loaded with delights to fill your little bellies. Eat. You have done well.”

Someone had piled the table high with fruits, sweetmeats, and treats. She’d been too exhausted to notice. The scent of fresh bread, cinnamon rolls, and pastries wafted toward her. Her stomach rumbled in anticipation.

Master Velvet placed a hand on her shoulder. “Not you, Seven. You were the first to fail, so an example must be made.”

“B-But…” Viola couldn’t put up more than a weak protest.

“Off with you, Seven. To your bunk and reflect on your weakness.” His dark eyes held no kindness. “Pray to the Watcher for strength to survive.”

“Y-Yes, Master Velvet.” She turned away to hide her tears.

“Perhaps you’ll try harder tomorrow, Seven.” He spoke without a trace of compassion or pity in his voice. “If you want to have any hope of survival here in the Night Guild, this will be the last time you fail.”

Hunger gnawed at Viola’s belly, but it could not outweigh the bone-deep weariness. She forced herself not to look at the other children, to block out the sounds of their eating. Feet leaden, she turned to the tunnel that led to their sleeping quarters.

Tears flowed in earnest once she reached the darkness of the passage. Sobs of anger, desperation, and frustration washed over her, shaking her body like a leaf in a whirlwind.

Slamming the door shut behind her, she threw herself onto her bunk and buried her head in the thin pillow. She didn’t care that her clothes were soaking wet or that she hadn’t had any water to drink for hours. She wouldn’t allow any of the others to see her cry.

Bright Lady, hear me and protect me in my hour of need. Her parched throat refused to form the words.

The prayer had comforted her in the past, but now it felt empty. The hunger, exhaustion, and thirst remained. Minutes ticked by in silence. Nothing happened.

She balled her fists and swallowed the ache in her belly. Down here, she was all alone. The Bright Lady can’t hear me.

Why would she? The goddess of healing hadn’t heard when she’d prayed for Mama and baby Rose. The gods were far away, if they cared at all. Mama was gone and Papa had left her here. In this place, she was the only one she could count on. She had to be strong, just as she had been after Mama died.

I will get through another day. Just one more.

Find it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Night-Guild-Queen-Thieves-ebook/dp/B01N1TC3VW/