Member Reviews

The Kiss of the Nighingale was a solid debut by Adi Denner. The story takes place in an alternative Paris, Lutèce, that I longed Denner to share more of as a fan of visiting the real version of a city with equal parts morbid grit and glamour.

The main character, Cleodora, finds herself in a seemingly impossible situation of struggling to care for her ill sister without a stable income. This is not due to her actual capabilities, but to the biases and perceptions held by the society of Lutèce who consider people without a "talent" less capable at their trade. The "talents," are a unique magic system (although the backstory of how they city finds itself in a position of new magic holders gaining their abilities only due to "heritage" was lacking). Cleodora was in line to inherit a tailoring talent from her father, but, due to tragedy, did not. However, she "stumbles" into a situation in which she makes a deal with an enticing woman to receive a "talent" of her own, a singing talent, so long as she works to steal talents from others in the city. Her target is a man she finds entrancing but entitled and infuriating. So, of course, she accepts. What follows is a saga in which Cleodora struggles with her new identity, the lies she weaves to protect herself and her sister, and the tension between herself and both the dangerous woman she must steal for and the surprising and attractive man she must steal a "talent" from. It is not her fate alone on the line -- every choice matters.

The parts of the book where changes would elevate the story are some of the character development and pacing.

I did not fully connect with the FMC, but I could picture her beautifully through Denner's prose. This lack of connection, for me, is a result of being tossed into the story without enough time to buy-in to the dire situation Cleodora finds herself in at the start of the book and without needed backstory about the magic system of "talents" and how alternative 18th-century Paris the story takes place in did or did not change during her and her family's lives. That said, I understood her actions for most of the book. Some of the characterizations/actions of secondary characters also caused me to pause and be ripped from the world Denner created in order to rationalize their actions. For example, a main secondary character described as a "child" behaves far too adult like for me to believe the accomplishments, strength, and rather eloquent language ascribed to them. It was jarring to read these actions and struggle to rationalize how/why this character was a -child-.

Pacing, For the most part, I was able to stay engaged with the story (the above character-related aspects non-withstanding). However, the world building setting the foundation for the plot felt somewhat underdeveloped and I started to struggle with what felt like a drawn out plot climax at ~68%.

All said, I did enjoy this book and would recommend to fans of lush and sometimes lustful YA romatancies with the right amount of "spice."

3.75 rounded up :)

P.S. I hope that someone else figured out what really happened with her dad and the alcohol in his system. I think it was a both are true situation but it was fuzzy for me and I focused more on this part of the book than the actual ending (which I enjoyed, but would have loved to have been drawn out a bit more/any major ramifications for changes in the city discussed ... besides the new tailor).

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!

Unfortunately this was a big nope for me. The premise was super cool specifically the unique magic system but even that wasn’t really developed as well as it could have been. And the rest of the book was just a miss. The heroine spends most of the book being an idiot, and the plot has so many holes it may as well be Swiss cheese. Cool Parisian vibes I guess but not enough here at all to keep me engaged.

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Thank you netgalley for the arc!
I enjoyed this book but it did fall a bit flat for me in some areas. The magic system felt unique and original, and I appreciated the emotions and decisions that the main character has to deal with.
I'm very curious to see what the general public response will be to this book! I will recommend to people I think would enjoy it.

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This is the perfect young adult sci-fi fantasy book! It had everything you expected and everything you could have never guessed! It was hard for me to put this book down because I just didn’t want it to end. I read this book in one sitting because I was so wrapped up in the story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great adventure with a ton of tension!

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thanks to NetGalley for the eARC

⭐️=2.5 | 😘=3 | 🤬=2 | ⚔️=4 | 14/15+

summary: so this girl and her sister are flopping trying to keep their dead dad’s tailor shop open and the older sister gets like magic singing powers from this toxic lesbian lady who wants her to steal other rich people’s magic powers so the girl is sent to steal the magic powers of this rich hot viscount and it ends up being a sort of love triangle w an obviously not-healthy sapphic couple and a boring straight couple. bisexuals, man.

thoughts: this protagonist is pretty stupid!! I’m not going to victim blame her for getting drawn into a toxic relationship, but I CAN blame her for being an idiot!! it’s one of those classic Devil Wears Prada/Mean Girls plots where the heroine gets progressively drawn into a higher-class situation and then has to realize all the mistakes she’s made by the end and come back down to earth. but like… this MC was just extra dumb about it all and putting the physical safety of other people in jeopardy?? and also there’s no reason for the straight boy to like her????? girl!

also there’s some plot issues imo!! how was she ever expected to steal something sans how-to-be-a-thief training montage? the most fun part of fantasy books with thieves (The Thief, Six of Crows, Little Thieves) is seeing how they pull it off and what tricks are up their sleeves, but this heroine is so incompetent that she ends up not even stealing anything at all technically!! and that’s so boring and lame!!!!!! the only thing remotely resembling a training montage is where the heroine learns to read music, but she sucks at it so that’s not fun either because she isn’t making any progress bc her magic gem does literally all the work for her!! also there’s some twists at the end that were dumb and I saw coming and also some anachronistic vocabulary that made me giggle (derogatory); like I get that it’s a YA fantasy book, but I don’t think ppl were saying “sketchy” in 1880s aristocratic France. basically I didn’t like most of this. so.

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I didn’t really enjoy this story. The world building is just lacking so much that it killed the story for me. Overall this book was very poorly developed and lack luster. I was pretty bored with it and not impressed.

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This is a YA fantasy romance standalone. The story takes place in the town of Lutèce, which could be called the 19th century version of Paris. The way this book is written, makes it feel so grand and luxurious. The masquerade balls, opera shows and big estates. Everything is explained with vivid detailed descriptions. The book is pretty fast paced and plot twists are engaging making this a good entertaining read.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC!

When I first read the premise, I was very excited, it sounded like the type of book I would enjoy but unfortunately it just didn't hit the mark for me.
I will say this book has a very interesting and unique magic system which I enjoyed reading about, it was a really cool concept!
The pacing at times felt a little off for me at times and made it seem like there was a bit of a disconnect between chapters, almost as if I was missing something.
Unfortunately, my one of biggest issue was the characters' relationships. I didn't feel like there was a real connection between them (with both the male and female love interests); Cleo didn't have any chemistry with either of them, in my opinion. Also, I'm not a fan of love triangles, it's very hard for me to enjoy them - that's a personal preference/issue though.
I know there will be a lot of people who'll enjoy the book, it just wasn't for me.

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A sexy book packed with romance, opera drama, organized crime, and an interesting (albeit only somewhat fleshed out) magic system.

This is a very seductive book. Sexy, even? There's a lot going on in here, but the passages most tenderly and delicately written are dedicated to two very attractive humans and Cleo's feelings about them. The narrative is extremely clear about the differences between physical attraction and romantic attraction. Dahlia is alluring and seductive. She's fire and ice, power and danger, all wrapped in shadows. Cleo's yearning for her is instantaneous, a pulsing in her very body. Nuriel in contrast is withdrawn, standoffish, and it takes a lot longer for the two of them to warm up to each other as they crack through each other's outer defenses. Outside of that, we have a story that takes place largely in an opera house. It's an interesting gamble since the author clearly cares a lot about the opera, but the MC truly does not. This is baked into the plot and the character, not an oversight, and it pays off, but there are definitely spaces where I found myself wondering why I should care if Cleo didn't. The world building is done in broad strokes, with just enough detail to explain the magic system, but very little history beyond that. It was enough for me, but I could see lore lovers wanting some extra detail. This book is also a standalone, with a crack in the door juuuuust in case, but as a whole it wraps up everything very well.

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I like to read fantasy books where the writer gives you a backstory of the characters throughout the book, it gives me an idea of how they got to where they are since the beginning. I really loved that it was set in modern times, and the fact that it was a complete story about romance, betrayal and magic made it even better ! I couldn’t ask for more in one book!

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I was extremely interested in this book, and the synopsis drew me in. I love a modern 1800s setting and a unique magic system.

In this tale, the magic system is set within jewels - Talents of a variety of kinds are passed down, inherited, or stolen. The main character did not receive a Talent of her own; and early into the book was given one.

Here's where the book started to lose me. The chapter transitions - we can end a chapter mid-fight, mid-plot point, mid-story, and the start of the next chapter is a time JUMP. It pulled me out of the book because I thought I was MISSING pages.

The main character has massive character development issues beyond the obvious red flags. She's whiny and selfish and her dialogue doesn't affect me like a main character should. She's unable to from a full decision and throws fits when things don't go her way. The other characters are just as bland with bland dialogue and banter; the only thing they have going for them is their shiny jewelry.

I pushed through to 68% of the book before I DNFed. I definitely have been put into a slump with this one.

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This book was an amazing read, that took you places you didn't know you were going to go. I was fully absorbed in this book right off the bat and flew through it in one day. The author did an amazing job with the plot and making the characters unique but relatable. I will be recommending this book to all of my patrons, family, and friends. Great read!

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An immersive and entertaining read, Nightingale follows a young heroine coerced to join an organized crime ring in order to provide care for her ailing sister. Her charge: to steal a magical Talent from a handsome nobleman. Her reward: her sister returned to health and a Talent of her own, the voice of an opera star. The story draws inspiration from Phantom of the Opera, and the setting from late 19th century Paris, with its carriages, cobblestones, and of course, ball gowns, which are center stage here as the heroine’s late father was a gifted dressmaker and designer, and the story touches on the legacy of artistic passion he leaves to his daughters. Ambitions run high, which means jealousies do, too, with Talents in short supply and the Talent-less consigned to poverty and obscurity. Meanwhile, Denner has provided her heroine with two sexy love interests, the flirtatious nobleman she’s meant to steal from and the seductive villainess who lures her into a life of crime. And there’s plenty of intrigue afoot with spies around every corner and more than one kind of masquerade unfolding. Action-packed, with a determined but conflicted heroine at its center, and a sparkling world that’ll take readers away to the opera houses and couturiers of their dreams.

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The Kiss of the Nightingale by @adi_denner

This beautiful aria proved that the price of talent isn’t always worth the cost.

💎 Unique Magic System
💎 Solid character building and development
💎 José is a precious cinnamon roll
💎 Nuriel is the perfect grumpy leading man
💎 Scratching that theatre nerd itch
💎 Talent doesn’t mean you have a natural skill
💎 The stage director is me. I am he.
💎 The range of the talents
💎 What happens when new talents can no longer be created?

💍 While I love the Magic system, it did feel that we jumped head first into the story without enough explanation of how talents really work. The information does come, but I couldn’t sink into the story until that was answered.
💍 The fact I didn’t hate any of the villains. Not a single one.
💍 How/Why new talents can no longer be created is never explained.

🪡🪡🪡🪡.5 out of five poorly constructed dresses by someone with plenty of talent and no skill

#bookstagram #books #book #booklover #booknerd #bookaddict #readinglist #readinggoals #readingchallenge #hungryminds #thekissofthenightingale #adidenner #adidennerbooks #adidennerauthor #debut #debutauthor #2024debut #romantasy #youngadultfantasy #youngadultliterature #ya #youngadult

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I really enjoyed this story! It was a great escape from the real world and I found myself easily lost in the world Denner created. This was worth the read!

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Thank you to NetGalley for giving this ARC, and this doesn't influence my review. The plot drew me in, and the book did have potential, but it did not deliver (solely due to the romance/chemistry). I feel like the love triangle with Lady Dahlia was unnecessary and confusing, and the FMC did not really have chemistry with Nuriel either. The worldbuilding was great though.

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2.5 ⭐️s rounded up to 3

Thank you so much to NetGalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for review!

wlw = woman-loving-woman
wlm = woman-loving-man

First let me commend the concept. The Kiss of the Nightingale follows nineteen-year-old Cleo as she is given a magical singing Talent by the queen of the city’s underworld in exchange for helping her steal other Talents from unsuspecting elites. I absolutely loved this invention of a magic system: Talents (any ability humans might naturally have) are cultivated over a lifetime and stored in a jewel so that they can be passed down through generations. I’ve never read anything quite like it. The world itself was also both dark and luxurious; it felt loosely based on 19th-century France, and was populated with lush operas, balls, and societal intrigue.

As well, I enjoyed the themes the author wove throughout the story. Without giving spoilers, I liked what it had to say about human skill and passion, and how those interplay with class and identity.

Unfortunately, there were a few things that prevented me from giving this book five stars. Firstly, I felt like the main character lacked agency for about sixty percent of the novel. This made it hard for me to connect with her or to really root for her, since she felt static while things happened to and around her. However, this changed around the 65% mark, and I did find myself getting swept up in the story from that point on.

Secondly, I did not resonate with the romance. This book features a love triangle, which I don’t mind, but both ends of it felt forced and instantaneous, which resulted in a lack of chemistry for me. As well, the way queerness was presented made me somewhat uncomfortable. (I will say, to the author’s credit, queer people are present and visible throughout the novel’s society, which I enjoyed.) The main character is unlabeled, but likely bi or pan. She has both a female love interest and a male love interest. I felt as though the wlw side of the love triangle was eroticized and treated as something dark and scandalous, whereas the emotional weight was giving to the wlm side of the triangle, the male love interest presented pure and good-hearted despite his grumpy demeanour. I don’t necessarily think queer people always need to make good choices or have healthy relationships on the page, but the female love interest was quite the stereotype of the lesbian seductress, and there was so much emphasis on her body that as a wlw myself, I was uncomfortable—particularly when this is contrasted to the attention and depth the author gave to the wlm side of the triangle.

Overall, I think the book presented something fresh and exciting for the Young Adult fantasy genre, but I’m not sure this story was for me.

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Wow. This book was like nothing I have read. It kept me on my toes, and gasping for air in certain parts. I find it hard sometimes to find a book that I can not guess a lot of what is going to happen because I read so much, however this book did that. I was left shocked so many times during the story. I believe that all of the characters had such beautiful back stories and development throughout the book. While the world was simple, the descriptions made it truly beautiful and exciting. This is surely going to become a favorite of many people with the lies, deception, scheming, courting, and double agent story. Adi Denner knows how to tell a story and I am so excited to see what the next book brings.

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This book was recommended to me by a friend and was marketed to be in the romance/fantasy genre, which I generally enjoy.
Initially, I was put off by the captor/captive romance, but as I kept reading, I discovered what the book really was about & became very invested.
The imagery was incredibly lush & the magic was different than any other I'd read. I especially appreciated the very different environment in terms of the setting & cast of this story.
My only complaint is that I wish there had been more time spent on the romance as it was very sweet.

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The world building, the characters, the magic system - every part of it made me fall more in love. Even minor characters, such as Hugo, were so easy to envision based on the writing alone.
Each moment that I thought I could see ahead as to what would happen next, I was proven wrong and left surprised and speechless in the best way.
Adi Denner has a talent that anyone would wear proudly! I cannot wait to read more from them.

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