The Night Crossing by Robert Masello

This is a difficult book to rate for me because I experienced so many different feelings towards the book while reading it. I was sucked in straight away with Mina’s adventure in the Carpathian mountains, but as the plot progressed I become less and less engaged with it and the characters.

About the Book

Publisher: 47North  |  Release Date: September 18, 2018  |  Pages: 442
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Mystery  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Bram Stoker kept secret a tale even more terrifying than Dracula.

It begins among the Carpathian peaks, when an intrepid explorer discovers a mysterious golden box. She brings it back with her to the foggy streets of Victorian London, unaware of its dangerous power…or that an evil beyond imagining has already taken root in the city.

Stoker, a successful theater manager but frustrated writer, is drawn into a deadly web spun by the wealthy founders of a mission house for the poor. Far from a safe haven, the mission harbors a dark and terrifying secret.

To save the souls of thousands, Stoker—aided by the explorer and a match girl grieving the loss of her child—must pursue an enemy as ancient as the Saharan sands where it originated. Their journey will take them through the city’s overgrown graveyards and rat-infested tunnels and even onto the maiden voyage of the world’s first “unsinkable” ship…

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My Review

Friends, I was so excited to receive an advanced copy of The Night Crossing for review as I love spooky stories and historical fiction. A mysterious golden box, London in the late nineteenth century, and an evil that must be overcome are all ingredients that I love and I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met: I found the writing a to be a bit lackluster and I struggled to connect with the characters. While I found the overall plot to be interesting, I struggled to find the desire to read… and the last 25% of the book infuriated me to no end.

“At night, the shadows run free.”

This is a difficult book to rate for me because I experienced so many different feelings towards the book while reading it. I was sucked in straight away with Mina’s adventure in the Carpathian mountains, but as the plot progressed I become less and less engaged with it and the characters. It was at about 75% when my attitude shifted from apathy to anger and is a feeling that very much has stuck with me 2 days after finishing the book. I didn’t like the shift in focus to Stoker being inspired to write Dracula and I found the nineteen-year jump to 1912 to completely pull me out of any engagement that I had. I was no longer invested in the story since so much time had passed, and the whole Titanic thing just irked me for some unknown reason.

I think I struggled most with dual/multiple perspectives. I was most interested in the archaeological mystery and thus was more drawn to Mina’s POV. We all know that I appreciate strong female characters, and Mina is that in spades as well as smart and compassionate. Stoker’s narrative felt the most disjointed for me – as the plot progresses, his POV becomes more and more obsessed with immortality and writing something that will achieve that (which I suppose is an interesting mirror for the antagonist’s obsession with immortality). The Night’s Crossing starts with Mina and Stoker perspectives, but more are added in as the story progresses – some are one-offs and others stick around – which contributed to my struggles connecting with the characters and plot. I found it a little frustrating to have side characters introduced with a couple of chapters in their perspective only to disappear, never to be mentioned again.

My review is definitely in the minority here, and this book is not without its strengths. I appreciated the balance of the social injustices of the period with the main characters’ response to them, especially as it relates to racism. Often times in historical fiction, authors choose to depict harmful taboos, words, and characteristics that would not be appropriate in fiction today and hide behind the historical accuracy without ever challenging those beliefs. I was very happy to see that wasn’t the case here.

Overall I found The Night Crossing to be a very interesting story that was a little bogged down by a lot of ideas. I was disappointed that the purpose of the book seemed to shift from the actual story to Stoker’s desire for immortality and his inspiration for and writing of Dracula; it felt abrupt to me and detracted from the “main storyline” for me. While this book ultimately wasn’t for me, I think people with an interest in history, the lengths that people will go to achieve immortality, archaeological mysteries and curses, and strong female characters will enjoy this book.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me an electronic advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

18 Comments

  1. Alex

    September 10, 2018 at 6:24 AM

    This sounds like a version of THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova. Which I found to be an utterly boring novel with dull, plodding prose. It just went on, and on, and on … and then I gave up. This one sounds just as dull.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 10, 2018 at 1:39 PM

      Well I won’t be picking that one up, yikes! This book had SUCH a strong start for me, but the further into it that I got the more muddled it seemed to get. I am literally one of two negative reviews on Goodreads so far though, so my experience won’t be representative of everyone else’s. Thanks for commenting!

      1. Alex

        September 10, 2018 at 2:09 PM

        We can’t all love the same books, and giving an honest review is all we want so we can make our own minds up. It’s difficult, as no one wants to say, I disliked this for such and such a reason, but it is helpful.

  2. Megan

    September 10, 2018 at 1:15 PM

    Great review. From the sounds of it, I’m not sure if I would enjoy this book. I typically don’t enjoy books with multiple perspectives, and I tend to only be interested in one character’s side of the story. Mina, just based on Dracula alone, would definitely be the more interesting character. Not sure if I care to read about Stoker’s perspective, especially because it sounds too obvious in attempting to push the theme of obsession and immortality.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 10, 2018 at 1:41 PM

      Thanks for commenting, and I definitely would have enjoyed this book more hard it been entirely/mostly from Mina’s POV. Not removing Stoker and the other characters, but I would have been more more immersed in the story overall and – from my perspective – it would have tightened up the plot a bit.

  3. Siobhan @ Novelties

    September 10, 2018 at 3:55 PM

    It’s something I’d like to read, but your review has convinced me otherwise. I don’t know why the author would include the Titanic. It’s odd.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 11, 2018 at 7:22 AM

      To be fair, he DID justify the Titanic thing in the author’s notes (Bram Stoker died in April 1912 in England, and thought the timing was interesting to explore). I just didn’t think it helped the overall plot at all and it kind of dragged it on needlessly. I am all for having fun in historical fiction but it has to make sense, and here it did the whole story a disservice in my opinion. Thanks for reading!

      1. Siobhan @ Novelties

        September 11, 2018 at 9:46 AM

        You’re completely right about that. It sounds like an intriguing book, but that kind of arc throws off readers.

  4. Tessa

    September 11, 2018 at 12:31 PM

    Multiple perspectives are really tricky. When they go right, then they are awesome. But on the flip side of the coin, if they are bad they can ruin a whole book. Most of the time, I like my books to be kept to two to three POVs (with a few exceptions), so I am not sure if I am on broad with POVs that you only read from once and then move on.

    It kind of seems like this one is all over the place and I don’t think I am going to read it. Regardless, your review was very helpful and probably saved me the hours it would have taken to read this one!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 12, 2018 at 8:17 AM

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and I totally agree with multiple POVs! I love them when they are done right, and in my opinion that’s when they stick to 2-3 dedicated perspectives.

  5. Phantom Paper

    September 12, 2018 at 8:12 AM

    I came passed this book after checking it out. Detracting from the main plot puts me off, so it looks like I made the right choice!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 12, 2018 at 8:20 AM

      It was so promising and parts of it were great, but man. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope your next read is a good one!

      1. Phantom Paper

        September 13, 2018 at 7:18 AM

        ‘I came passed this book’ 😂 I meant ‘I passed this book’. Typos, gah.

        Thanks!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          September 13, 2018 at 7:37 AM

          Haha, I got it no worries!!!

  6. Valerie

    September 12, 2018 at 6:49 PM

    I loved this book! I’m sad that you didn’t! It’s great that we all like different things though. I’ve been the unpopular opinion on finding quite a few books mediocre that others have raved about the year.
    Read my review here

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 13, 2018 at 7:33 AM

      I AM SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT! I literally was one of two negative reviews on Goodreads, so I know that my experience isn’t going to be the same for everyone! I will check out your review and thanks for checking out mine!

  7. September in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    September 30, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    […] * The Night Crossing by Robert Masello: just wasn’t the book for me. I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met: I found the writing a to be a bit lackluster and I struggled to connect with the characters. While I found the overall plot to be interesting, I struggled to find the desire to read  [Full ARC Review] […]

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    November 23, 2018 at 1:13 PM

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