King Nyx

A Novel

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Pub Date 20 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2024

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From the author of the contemporary cult classic, Lives of the Monster Dogs, comes a haunting mystery about the fate of women and girls in the orbit of self-important men.

Set in November 1918 on the opulent, castle-like island estate of an eccentric millionaire, Claude Arkel, this atmospheric, compellingly readable novel reimagines the life of Anna Filing Fort—whose husband, Charles Hoy Fort, was the most famous “anomalist” of the early twentieth century. Settling in as guests on Prosper Island, the young couple find themselves quarantined in a shabby outpost far from Mr. Arkel’s mansion—from which, they learn, three girls have gone missing. After she encounters a figure in the woods that may be the ghost of her long-lost friend Mary, Anna resolves to find out who Mr. Arkel really is, and what has become of the missing girls.

A contemporary feminist tale with the mood and mystery of a classic gothic novel, King Nyx reintroduces readers, twenty-five years after her acclaimed debut, to one of our most astonishingly imaginative storytellers.

About the Author: Kirsten Bakis teaches at the Yale Writers' Workshop. Her previous novel, Lives of the Monster Dogs, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel, and was shortlisted for the international Women's Prize for Fiction. 

From the author of the contemporary cult classic, Lives of the Monster Dogs, comes a haunting mystery about the fate of women and girls in the orbit of self-important men.

Set in November 1918 on...

A Note From the Publisher

LibraryReads votes due by 1/1/24.

LibraryReads votes due by 1/1/24.

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324093534
PRICE $28.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This is a lovely gothic mystery that gives off major Jane Eyre vibes.

Reasons to read this book:
1. The setting: This story primarily takes place in the early 1900s on the private island of a wealthy business tycoon. There's no chance of escape from this closed setting once creepy and mysterious events begin to occur.
2. The slow build-up: Most of the lower rated reviews I've read on this book cite the story as being slow, and this style of writing is not for everyone. But if you are a fan of slow-build tension, descriptive settings, and gothic classics this is for you.
3. The complexity and relatability of the female characters: Even though this took place a century ago, the subtle sexism these characters face is still very much present today. I loved the way these characters navigated through the world.

Big thank you to NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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King Nyx is a wonderfully haunting novel. You are transported to a world of truths, secrets and revelations. Anna’s memories will entrance you and haunt you. The path you are taken down will haunt you in the best possible way!

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I will not soon forget this book and you won't either when you read it. The main character, Anna, grew up in a chaotic, poverty stricken home with no structure and only a father in name only to head it. She finds salvation as she grows older as a maid in house run by a tyrant who loved nothing so much as he loved rules. Anna, after some years, has a mental breakdown after which she is taken under the wing of one of the owner's sons, Charlie. He comes to marry Anna, causing Charlie to be disinherited by his father. The two must live in poverty while Charlie works on. a book about things like dead fish which improbably fall from the sky. As much as the two must cope with living in dire circumstances financially, they must also cope with Anna being perpetually balanced on a knife's edge between sanity and insanity. Salvation arrives in the form of an invitation to a remote island located between Canada and the US on which a millionaire lives as a recluse. He has invited Charlie and Anna to come so that Charlie can at last finish his book. It is on this island that the bulk of the story takes place.

The story takes place in the early years of the twentieth century but Bakis creates an atmosphere that seems classically gothic. Even before the couple get to the island they are approached and asked to sign a petition about girls who have gone missing there. This creates a low hum of anxiety and suspense that keeps getting ratcheted up to an almost unbearable level as the story progresses. . If this had been a movie, I would have had my hands over my eyes. The ending has many twists that are surprising but fit well in the structure of the plot. I highly recommend this book.

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King Nix delved in to memory, trauma, abuse, mental illness and love in such an eclectically intriguing way that I was captivated by the story. I really went through a back and forth with the characters on how I felt about them. At times I was not really certain as to what was happening which gave a very raw immersive experience with the story. Throughout the story I really struggled with the character on Anna. I was just not really sure how I felt about her, but at her heroic moment I am not sure if I had ever been so proud of a character in my life. The character King Nix was the one that I had really gravitated to throughout the whole book and their evolution with the characters Anna and Mary was so gripping and provocative that really kept me engaged and slightly disturbed.

King Nix gave me really deep Agatha Christie vibes. I was at the edge of my seat, wracking my brain to solve the mystery and not disappointed when something didn't happen the way I had thought it was going to. Completely enthralling and wonderfully written story.

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This was such a well done historical novel, it had a great overall concept and was executed well. The characters were everything that I wanted and loved the mystery element overall. Kirsten Bakis has a fantastic writing style and I hope to read more from them.

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