Escaped the Night is poignant, engaging and relatable; Jennifer Blyth offers a charming take on the world of monsters, magic, and more.
Blythe’s quirky young adult fantasy adventure is centered around Shanntal, an ordinary teenager who’s been experiencing some not-so-normal dreams. Shanntal’s world is turned upside down when she and her friend accidentally summon a vampire during a seance. When Shanntal returns home the next day to discover that her entire family has been killed, she’s forced to move in with her aunt and uncle. So begins Shanntal’s foray into a magical world of supernatural creatures — a world that she may be more connected to than she realizes. Along her journey, she makes all sorts of friends and enemies, falls in love, seeks refuge from a mysterious evil being, and discovers her true destiny to maintain balance between the world of the living and a world filled with vampires, fairies, and more. At the same time, Shanntal must reckon with what it means to grow up as a teenager, let alone a teenager with a magical past and a grave responsibility.

Despite the sheer volume of fantasy literature out there, it can be hard to come across stories that move with the times and feel truly contemporary; “Escaped the Night” sets itself apart from other books in its genre in this way and many others. While Blyth’s supernatural adventure bears several qualities that feel fresh, original and modern, it is the book’s use of voice and tone that does the heavy lifting. Told in the first-person, “Escaped the Night” offers readers a direct look into Shanntal’s thoughts and feelings, which, coupled with thoughtfully executed dialogue, reads as uniquely Gen Z. This hypermodern quality is one that you rarely recognize is missing from a narrative but certainly recognize when you see it. But, for readers who do not come from this generation, the book still manages to offer a familiar aesthetic reminiscent of the great young adult fantasies of eras past.

The depth and relatability of Blyth’s characters extend far beyond their realistic, contemporary dialogue, too. There isn’t a single major character in the book who isn’t nuanced in some capacity, and this makes for a thoughtful read. The most dangerous characters in the book are still intriguing and even likable; the most heroic characters are still flawed. This quality alone is enough to make any story more engaging but its merit is amplified in “Escaped the Night”, the central theme of which is the power of love. Though this theme is not an especially unique one, Blyth approaches it with a subtle complexity that all fits quite nicely within the voice of the story and brings the characters to life in relation to her message. Love is complicated; but it’s the only way forward.

Grounded in this sentiment, Shanntal’s coming of age arc is compelling, meaningful and full of texture.
Jennifer Blyth tells an exciting and moving story for the modern reader; “Escaped the Night” will stay with you for days — maybe more!