The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of mysterious creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek finds solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová – a widow with secrets of her own.
When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp captured in a mysterious container. Now, as its bearer, Domek wields its power, but the wisp, known for leading travellers to their deaths, will not be so easily controlled.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain. (publisher)
In 19th century Prague, Domek Myska is a lamplighter, which is an organization that hunts monsters. They also light the streetlamps of Prague. He has a very black and white view of the world. Monsters = bad. There are no shades of grey for him. Then there is Ora Fischerová, a pijavice (vampire). Ora has been avoiding the company of other pijavice for decades and was married to a human but is now a widow. They’ve been flirting for a while, and Domek is none too happy when he finds out that Ora is a monster he’s supposed to hunt.
I don’t think I’ve read a book set in Prague before so that was a nice change.
For the majority of the book, Domek makes stupid choices because he thinks he’s the only one who’s right and has morals. Sees only black and white and jumps to conclusions because of that. At times, it felt like he was a bit too naïve. Ora makes him see some shades of grey too.
But despite those few gripes, this was a very enjoyable debut. For some reason, I’m having trouble finding something to say about it… But it truly was a good book.
Published: Titan Books (May 25, 2021)