Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

Tessa Bright Wildsmith

Edward Glyver is a man of many talents. He’s a book lover, scholar, investigator and, most recently, a murderer.

As “The Meaning of Night” opens Edward is following a perfect stranger preparing to kill him. This man has done no wrong to Edward, and he doesn’t even know his name. Edward explains that the man just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has decided to kill him because he needs to see if he can follow through with taking a life. It turns out he can, which pleases Edward. Being able to kill means that his life-long enemy Phoebus Daunt will finally get what he deserves.

“The Meaning of Night” is written completely as a confessional from Edward Glyver. After killing the stranger, Edward takes us back to the beginning. He tells of his childhood living by the sea, his days in school and the random betrayal that ruined his education. Step-by-step he takes us through what has led him to where he his now - a man prepared to kill in the name of vengeance.

A chance discovery about Edward’s birth right - a right that was stolen from him as an infant - sets him on a course to reclaim what is rightfully his. Edward is determined to claim the wealth, nobility and greatness that should have been his from the start. There’s only one thing standing in his way - Mr. Phoebus Daunt.

Edward is not a man of good moral character, but there are still many likable qualities about the man. In the end, I was very sympathetic to his plight, even though I can’t say he is someone I would like very much.

“The Meaning of Night” takes place in the late 1800s in England and is full of grand manors, old wealth, epic love and all-consuming vengeance. Obsession is definitely an underlying theme throughout the book and not just for Edward. Many of the characters have an obsession that has completely consumed them.

I’m not sure I loved this book. The story was great -- well laid out with twists and deception and love and anger. The characters, however, were somewhat flat, but that was not an overwhelming problem. I just haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly what left me a little underwhelmed with this book. It may have been the writing style - Victorian English narrative. Whatever it was, when I turned the last page I had a feeling of relief that it was finally over, and I could move on to something else. That’s never the way a good book should end.

I hate to give this book a bad review because I’m sure there are people who will devour it and thoroughly enjoy it. With that confession, however, I can positively say that it is an engrossing tale full of emotion, intelligently plotted with twists and turns that keep you guessing.

Have you read “The Meaning of Night?” Discuss your thoughts on the book below.

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