Book Review: A Thousand Steps Into Night

Young person standing looking down. They are wearing a bold read tradtional robe. There are bird feathers in the air and a bird with large wings is sitting in the bottom left corner.Title: A Thousand Steps Into Night

Author: Traci Chee

Genres:  Fantasy

Pages: 400

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Copy: ARC from Traci. Thank You!

Availability: Available now

Summary: In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.

Review: If you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog you know that I’m a sucker for a good plot twist and let me tell you, Traci Chee crafted a powerful plot twist in this novel. I did not see it coming at all, but I loved it nonetheless. I obviously won’t spoil it for you so this review is going to be purposefully very vague. 

 The story follows Miuko after she receives a kiss from a demon and begins to transform, slowly. She embarks on a journey to try to reverse the curse, traveling throughout the country and learning more about the spirit world that she inhabits. She makes friends with a magpie spirit named Geiki, who makes for the best “sidekick” ever. Miuko was not an a “typical” girl as she was considered loud as Awara is a very misogynistic society. Girls are expected to be quiet, homemakers, and mothers. Miuko does not aspire to be any of those so she struggles to fit in. Geiki becomes her first friend and I really enjoyed how their relationship developed. Both Miuko and Geiki have to learn to depend upon each other as they travel and battle against Tujiyazai, a malevolence demon who wishes for Miuko’s transformation to complete as he wants to use her power. Through her transformation Miuko eventually begins to learn that being loud and being herself is very powerful itself. 

I will admit the story began a little slow and it took me a bit to get into it, but I kept going because I was loving the characters, even Tujiyazai who really is a villain who wishes destruction for all, and I was intrigued with the world of Awara that Chee created. Once I hit the plot twist, which is midway through the book by the way, I practically couldn’t put the book down. One thing Chee also did, which I loved was footnotes that had the pronunciation and definitions of various words throughout the novel. Most of the words were for the various spirits that inhabit the world that Chee created. I’m not a fan of footnotes in general, but the way they were written, as if an aside to a story that one tells as they sit around the fire, really added to the fairy tale style narration. This all drew me into the story and why I enjoyed the book so much.