In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a 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 find 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, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.
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.
This book was so up my alley! You’ve got 1800s Prague, a city that has an air of mystery even in the 21st century, a secret society of demon hunters who light the night (literally), and a vampiric whodunit.
Initially, I couldn’t figure out if I loved Ora, our centuries old pijavica who’s half in love with humanity. She’s sweet, but still very out of touch with humanity and the class system. And Domek, our noble lamplighter who has sworn to slay all the demons he can in Prague. Yes, the gender swapped Buffy and Angel vibes were real! But overall, I think the character who stole the show was Kàja, the wisp Domek accidentally saved.
The story was a little slow to start, but once the pace picked up, it picked up QUICK! I loved how the queer characters were just considered a part of the story, not treated differently based on the time period.
Overall, this story was so fun, and it read like a film novelization in the very best way! I give The Lights of Prague 4 out of 5 hawthorn stakes. Thank you to Titan Books and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for review!