Review: Dead of Night
I’m not quite sure where to start. My father runs this website, and this book is a little * spicy * so to speak. However, there is a reason I want to talk about this book, and why I read it in the first place. So, father, if this makes you uncomfortable, avert your eyes. (Dilemma…do I avert them!? Dave).
Like most people, during the first lockdown in March 2020 I caved and downloaded TikTok. To make a long story short, I’m now hooked. The majority of my ForYou page is of BookTok (people who talk about books on TikTok.) Every now and again I would get a video of someone recommending an Erotic Fiction book. This is not my type of genre, but I noticed that this one particular video, on the first book of a series, had lots of likes, shares and comments. I decided to do a little experimenting and to see what all the fuss was about, (also may have been swayed by the fact that this particular book was free on iBooks at the time I downloaded it.)
Goodwin is an avid writer of Erotic fiction, so I was interested to see how Dead of Night filled with witches, vampires, zombies and curses would be like. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. The book reminded me of the smutty fanfictions that 14 year-olds wrote when I was in high school (not that I read any of them…) The reasoning behind this was of the bad prose style. There were a few typos, structing/formatting not correct (though this could’ve been due to iBooks rather than Goodwin.) An example of a sentence that irked me was ‘The internet here has a really bad connection here.’ See the problem? There’s no need for the second ‘here.’ If this book had been written on a fanfic website by a teen in her room, I probably would’ve let this go. Hell, if it had been a debut self-published and edited I probably would’ve let this go. So, can you imagine my surprise when I discover that Goodwin is represented by an agency, who should’ve helped her edit this. Also, since this is not Goodwin’s first novel, I expected better.
Let’s talk about the plot itself. Yes, it is technically erotic fiction with a fantasy element to it. However, it seems like, to me, that Goodwin was trying to write this “profound” fantasy book, but it just didn’t work because the erotica controlled it. If this was just a straight up sexy-time book, that would’ve been fine! It worked for 50 Shades of Grey, however Dead of Night failed because Goodwin was trying to give it an interesting plot, but she didn’t give the plot enough room to breathe and grow. The ultimate battle at the end of the book that Goodwin builds up too is lack lustre, lasting only a few pages. (This could be due to the fact that there is currently 7 books in the ‘Thorne Hill’ series with the eighth due to release this year.) Either, Goodwin should’ve made the plot the central focus with a few sex scenes here and there, or she should’ve made the book longer overall so that the word building and plot development could be better.
Okay, I think I’ve criticised Goodwin enough, let me give her credit where credit is due. Dead of Night is an erotic book, and the erotica is the best parts of the book, (but not for the reason you’re thinking, ya nasties.) She is so descriptive and blunt with her language. Unlike E L James who couldn’t even say ‘vagina’ in the whole 50 Shades of Grey series and instead uses the phrase ‘my sex; Goodwin is the opposite, she does not shy away from using words like c*ck and p*ssy. Because of how descriptive she is during these scenes, I can understand why some people might read this series for these scenes alone.
Something else that’s positive to note, is that it’s very clear that Goodwin did a lot of research on modern witchcraft/wicca. She talks about a variety of crystals and their purposes, spells both in Latin and just simple two line spells. She talks about properties of different types of herbs and how they can be used in healing potions and balms. She explains about witch familiars, dark magic, the use of candles and protection circles. I also like that the protagonist, Cassie, used her magic for simple tasks, such as taking a cork out of a wine bottle. The extensive research played a good part in the world-building, that it’s just a shame that the plot falls through.
Finally, let’s talk about the love interest. The sexy, yet dangerous, vampire Lucas. Other than being attractive and wealthy and mysterious etc etc Lucas is actually just a decent guy. He makes his intentions clear to Cassie from the get-go but he also respects her boundaries, and it isn’t until about half way through the book that they do anything sexy together. He constantly reminds Cassie at her lowest moments her best qualities, he actually wants to hear about her day and her thoughts on the world, and like Cassie states in the book, Lucas is the only one who doesn’t make her feel ashamed about being a powerful witch, in fact, he likes her even more because of it. Whereas some readers may love Lucas due to being hot and good at sex, I like Lucas because he’s a decent human being (well, vampire, but you know what I mean.)
In conclusion, will I be reading the other books in the ‘Thorne Hill’ series? No. Should you? That depends, if you’re looking for a unique fantasy book filled with in depth witchcraft and vampire lore, this probably isn’t the book for you. Alternatively, if you’re looking a book with a little more spice, for your own pleasure or to read with your partner to spice things up, this might be the book for you. Although I didn’t personally enjoy it, I can understand and appreciate how and why people would want to read Goodwin’s Dead of Night.
Review by Megan.