Children of the Night: Not rewarding enough

Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsChildren of the Night by Mercedes Lackey

Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsChildren of the Night (1990) is the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s DIANA TREGARDE trilogy, following Burning Water. Each of the novels can stand alone, so you don’t need to read Burning Water first. In fact, it could be argued that this one is a better starting place because it’s set earlier in Diana’s life and we learn more about her in this novel. I should mention that though this series is a trilogy, there are also several short stories about Diana that can be found in magazines or collections.

Diana Tregarde reluctantly writes insipid romance novels (but not enough to make a living at it) and, since she’s a witch and a Guardian of humanity, she occasionally does some supernatural mystery- and crime-solving.

In Children of the Night, this mystery involves an ex-boyfriend named Dave who is the guitarist for a rock band. After getting some bad drugs, the band members have changed. Their music and their careers are suddenly taking off but, at the same time, they are gradually becoming self-absorbed and greedy, endangering themselves, their fans, and the entire city. Unfortunately for the band, they’ve caught the eye of Diana the Guardian. She thinks what’s happening to them involves more than just bad drugs. It probably involves vampires.

A Diana Tragarde Investigation (3 book series) Kindle EditionChildren of the Night is just as dark, but not as entertaining, as the first DIANA TREGARDE novel, Burning Water. While Burning Water had some likeable characters (such as investigator Mark Valdez), it’s a struggle to find anyone to root for in Children of the Night. Maybe we’re supposed to root for Dave, the ex-boyfriend, but it’s really hard to like him or to care what happens to him.

But we do get to learn more about Diana in this novel, which is welcome. We learn about her work (she hates writing bodice rippers but it’s what her publisher demands), where she lives (a dance studio), and we meet some of her neighbors and friends. It seemed to me that Diana’s personality was not consistent with how she was portrayed in Burning Water, but this could be due to the apparent difference in her age between the two novels.

Lackey’s writing style has the usual annoying quirks — the same ones that I’ve mentioned many times before. There’s also the usual rape scene (ugh), a scene involving a reporter that is amusing but (disappointingly) basically the same as a scene from Burning Water, and some unpleasant 70s language and expressions.

In general, then, I thought Children of the Night just wasn’t rewarding enough to justify the time I spent with it. I’d recommend it to Lackey’s most earnest fans, or to readers who enjoy all types of vampire stories. I do, however, recommend that if you’re going to read this series, you give Tantor Media’s new audio editions a try. These are nicely narrated by Traci Odom.

First edition published in 1990. Audio edition published in September 2019. Rock band Wanderlust is about to hit it big, guitarist Dave Kendall is sure of that. They’re playing better venues, in front of bigger crowds – and the people showing up at the after parties are increasingly good-looking and cool. Some even radiate power, like “Master” Jeffries, the tall, saturnine man who seems to have some sort of weird control over Dave’s fellow bandmates. But Dave’s too tired to pay much attention to Jeffries. He’s tired a lot lately, and making music isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Probably he’s just working – and partying – too hard. Luckily, Dave has a friend who takes what’s happening to him very seriously. Diana Tregarde is a practicing witch and a Guardian of the Earth. It’s her job to keep an eye on innocents like Dave and make sure they stay out of trouble and don’t become someone’s lunch. Jeffries has been on Diana’s hit list since she first spotted him pursuing a young Romany. Di wasn’t fast enough to stop him, but the Rom have their own protector – a dashing, charming, very attractive vampire named Andre Le Brel. Together, the witch and the vampire face Jeffries and his evil minions in a battle for the soul of rock ‘n’ roll.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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One comment

  1. I enjoyed these the first time I read them (mostly). They were my introduction to what’s now called urban fantasy. I remember having many of the same problem you have — especially the lack of likeable characters, except maybe Tregarde herself.

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