Child of the Night Guild by Andy Peloquin is the first book in the Queen of Thieves series. Set in the same world as his The Last Bucelarii series, the story is about a girl who is sold into the Night Guild to pay a debt. This dark fantasy captivated me even though in my minds eye the girl’s maturity was beyond her age in my reality. I kept reminding myself that in her world anything could be possible including intellectual maturity beyond one’s chronological age. I was in full sympathy with the main character and all that she experienced. Many of the things she endures will be hard to read for people who have undergone any kind of abuse or trauma. The ‘training’ to deprogram the initiates into the Night Guild is torture and the methods used could be a shadow of those used to deprogram victims of human trafficking of today. The bullying and abuse are at times extreme. But humans are capable of the most heinous of acts against others and the author captures this, as well as the resiliency of the human spirit. Child of the Night Guild is not for the faint of heart.
Through sheer determination and a will to survive, Illiana moves up in House Hawk, those thieves of the guild who rule the roof tops. I like the way the author interspersed the current events taking place with her memories of events leading up to her being sold to the Night Guild. Scenes in the main plot sparked memories in the main character of her early childhood. By the time I was about two-thirds of the way into the book I had learned her back story, not too much at a time and not too little.
The plot and characters are both well developed. An enjoyable tale and one that I am sure I will enjoy the rest of the series. If you like a dark fantasy that captures the human spirit in the darkest of times, then you will enjoy this tale. I recommend for older teens and adults, the subject matter may be a little too dark for most younger teens.