An experimental and emotional tale that hits the mark
The Night Library of Sternendach
by Jessica Levai
“In starry Sternendach, as long as
The vampire Graf has ruled this land
The Heller clan, with weapons strong as
Their wills, have killed his kindred and
Been killed in turn. The two sides nearly
Destroyed themselves. The Graf saw clearly
The need to make the killing cease,
And forced a pact to keep the peace.
The youngest of the Heller faction
Is Kunigunde. Trained to fight
It never suited her aright.
She can’t deny her soul’s attraction
For books and poetry, and for
The Graf, who gave her these and more.”―
Jessica Lévai, The Night Library of Sternendach: A Vampire Opera in Verse
Kunigunde is destined to become the next in a long line of Heller clan vampire hunters—but her soul is drawn to books, poetry, and the vampire Graf. Set in 1960s Europe, The Night Library of Sternendach is an unabashedly melodramatic opera-in-sonnets that weaves a sweeping, suspenseful tale readers won’t be able to put down.
The Night Library of Sternendach by Jessica Lévai is a lyrically beautiful book that tells a cohesive story in long verse. That is quite a feat in itself. But what is magnificent about The Night Library is that it is so engaging.
The vampire/paranormal genre is saturated with stories. It takes on the same ideas, mostly taking the classic vampire-type story’s mythos and putting a contemporary twist on it. There is a whole lot of that in the urban fantasy genre. But, I got to say I have never read a vampire story in verse. I loved the innovative nature of it.
The Night Library of Sternendach is an emotionally grand tale. It is epic in its telling in the form of a romanticist lens. There is minimal backstory and worldbuilding, and it isn’t necessary. I got enough backstory from the first twenty pages to get a solid foundation for the tale. From there, it was a swirl of lyrical descriptions and dialog. I laughed; it was heartfelt and quite beautiful.
I don’t think this type of story will appeal to everyone. Reading a long-form story in verse takes some getting used to, and I found it much better to take sips of the tale than gulping it all down in a single sitting. But, if you are looking for something a bit experimental, give this story a try.
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Elizabeth Tabler runs Beforewegoblog and is constantly immersed in fantasy stories. She was at one time an architect but divides her time now between her family in Portland, Oregon, and as many book worlds as she can get her hands on. She is also a huge fan of Self Published fantasy and is on Team Qwillery as a judge for SPFBO5. You will find her with a coffee in one hand and her iPad in the other. Find her on: Goodreads / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter