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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of King Nyx by Kirsten Bakis

The gothic story King Nyx offers haunting imagery, sinister mysteries, unreliable memories, resurfacing past trauma, missing persons, unexplained deaths, and a children's fairy tale gone awry.


Anna Fort has many reservations about her husband's outlandish theories, but she dutifully assists him with his research into unexplained meteorological phenomena in the hopes that his in-progress book will eventually be publishable--and will allow them to drag themselves out of poverty. Once Charles's family's house maid, Anna knows she is the reason he gave up his inheritance and any relationship with his cruel father.

So when a reclusive, wealthy man invites Charles to spend the winter of 1918 on his remote, cold, private island writing his book, Anna is supportive and accompanies him.

But a strange feeling pervades everything on the island. Their host is absent, and while they understand being required to isolate and quarantine to prevent the spread of the deadly flu, many odd occurrences and sinister-feeling goings-on are making Anna wonder if they should ever have come--and if it's even possible to escape.

Meanwhile, flashes of her past seem to be resurfacing on this strange island, the other couple staying nearby seem to have dark secrets, the rumors they had heard on the mainland of missing young girls seem to possibly be true, someone has turned up dead--and they still haven't even seen their host.

The imagery of King Nyx is striking, with (oddly specific and elaborate) automatons, gas masks, looming, mysterious buildings, and more. The tie-in to King Nyx for Anna seems beyond possibility, and the other links to her past seem far-fetched, until she realizes that all of the events on the island seem to be the mastermind of an unhinged puppet master.

Meanwhile mysteries from Anna's experiences in the Fort household seem held together by crucial gaps in memory, and the framework is beginning to fall apart.

I found myself wishing the various aspects of the story had held together a little more cohesively, but I enjoyed the dark, gothic tale of King Nyx and each of its elements, including the caged-bird metaphors, as well as the denouement.

I listened to King Nyx as an audiobook.

I received an audiobook version of King Nyx courtesy of NetGalley and RB Media, Recorded Books.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Kirsten Bakis is also the author of Lives of the Monster Dogs, a book I'd like to read.

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