best tracker Skip to main content

In this audiobook review, we explore the captivating world of “The Queen of the Night” by Alexander Chee. Follow the story of opera singer Lilliet Berne in 19th century Paris as she strives to keep her past a secret while navigating the intricate world of politics and passion.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the mesmeric and multi-layered plot of “The Queen of the Night.”
  • Explore how Chee’s writing style and language choices enhance the literary experience.
  • Learn about the talented individuals behind the narration and voice acting in the audiobook adaptation.
  • Uncover the critical reception and awards earned by this captivating novel.
  • Find out how “The Queen of the Night” compares to other works in the same genre.

Introduction to “The Queen of the Night”

Step into the mysterious and alluring world of “The Queen of the Night,” an opera-driven tale written by Alexander Chee. From the very beginning, listeners are transported to a lush and captivating setting, where the characters and themes are brought to life. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will undoubtedly find this audiobook to be engrossing and satisfying.

The novel is set in 19th-century Paris, a thrilling time marked by artistic innovation, political upheaval, and social change. Against this backdrop, the story of Lilliet Berne, a legendary soprano, unfolds. Follow her rise to stardom, as she navigates the complexities of love, loss, and deception. Alexander Chee expertly weaves a complex tale of identity and ambition, full of unexpected twists and turns.

The audiobook features a cast of fascinating characters, each with their own compelling storylines. Discover the deeply personal journeys of Lilliet and those around her, from a master manipulator to a dangerous love interest. Chee’s writing is vivid and evocative, skillfully bringing the world of 19th-century Paris to life.

At the heart of the novel is the power of opera, which serves as a metaphor for the drama and intrigue that unfolds in the narrative. Music lovers and enthusiasts will be captivated by the vivid descriptions of the performances and the role they play in shaping the characters’ lives.

This section provides insight into the historical backdrop and central figure behind “The Queen of the Night.” Discover the fascinating world of opera and intrigue that awaits you in this gripping tale.

Plot Summary of “The Queen of the Night”

Set in Paris during the Second Empire, the story follows the life of Lilliet Berne, a former courtesan turned opera singer. Chee masterfully weaves a tale of love, betrayal, and redemption as Lilliet’s past comes back to haunt her in unexpected ways.

The plot thickens as Lilliet discovers that a mysterious character knows her deepest secrets and intends to blackmail her. This leads her on a journey of discovery as she seeks to uncover the identity of her blackmailer while navigating the glamorous yet dangerous world of the opera.

As the story unfolds, listeners are introduced to a cast of intriguing and mysterious characters, each with their own agenda and hidden secrets. From the scheming Empress Eugénie to the dashing tenor Antoine von Heidelmann, the characters in “The Queen of the Night” come to life through Chee’s vivid descriptions and compelling storytelling.

The plot takes unexpected twists and turns, keeping listeners on the edge of their seats until the very end. With each new revelation, Lilliet must confront her past and make difficult choices that will determine her future.

Overall, “The Queen of the Night” is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and gripping storytelling. Chee’s expertly crafted plot, combined with his richly detailed characters and settings, makes this audiobook an unforgettable experience.

Themes Explored in “The Queen of the Night”

As a master storyteller, Alexander Chee expertly weaves a complex tapestry of themes throughout “The Queen of the Night” that will leave readers pondering long after the final page. At its core, the novel grapples with questions of identity and the sacrifices one must make to achieve one’s dreams.

Chee’s striking portrayal of the Parisian opera scene in the late 19th century provides the backdrop for a myriad of other themes, including ambition, passion, love, betrayal, and loss. With vivid descriptions and poignant character development, Chee presents a world that is at once beautiful and brutal, showcasing the intense emotional struggles that define the human experience.

Throughout the novel, Chee pushes his characters to their limits, exploring the depths of their motivations and desires. From the fierce determination of the protagonist, Lilliet Berne, to the subtle sacrifices made by those closest to her, “The Queen of the Night” offers a powerful exploration of the human experience that will captivate readers of all backgrounds and interests.

Narration and Voice Acting in the Audiobook


Audiobooks have become a popular way to experience literature, and “The Queen of the Night” by Alexander Chee is no exception. The narration and voice acting add another layer of richness to the already captivating story.

The audiobook adaptation features a talented cast of voice actors who bring the characters to life. From the protagonist, Lilliet Berne, to the supporting cast, each character is given a distinct and unique voice, immersing listeners in the world of the story.

“The narrators’ lyrical voices and subtle pacing add to Chee’s lush descriptions of the world built around his musician-turned-courtesan protagonist.” – Publishers Weekly

The production team responsible for the audiobook’s sound design also deserves credit. Background music and sound effects help transport listeners to the world of the opera, providing an immersive listening experience.

Meet the Cast

Character Voice Actor
Lilliet Berne Emily Woo Zeller
Napoleon III Mark Bramhall
Cornélie Falcon Kimberly Farr
Count Di Briosco Gabra Zackman

If you’re looking for an immersive listening experience with rich narration and voice acting, look no further than the audiobook adaptation of “The Queen of the Night.”

Writing Style and Language in “The Queen of the Night”

Alexander Chee’s writing style and language choices in “The Queen of the Night” are just as captivating as the story itself. With beautifully descriptive passages and poignant character development, Chee’s literary craft is on full display. His words transport readers to a bygone era of opera and intrigue, with language that evokes the grandeur and passion of the time.

The author’s use of metaphor and symbolism adds depth and layers to the narrative. Through his words, Chee expertly conveys the complexity of human emotion and experience, inviting readers to explore the story on a deeper level.

“The night I met Lilliet Berne, I met her in costume, wearing a dress made of bits of dawn-hued China silk sewn to a skirt of the palest dust-colored velvet, vintage 1870, a dark corset beneath, and a burgundy jacket with buttons of green malachite…”

The above passage exemplifies Chee’s skill with language, using sensory details to paint a vivid picture of the scene. Through his writing, readers can feel as if they are living and breathing in the world he has created.

The Impact on Storytelling

The author’s writing style and language choices have a significant impact on the storytelling. Through his use of language, Chee draws readers into the story and engages them on an emotional level. The descriptive language and poetic prose lend themselves well to the opera setting, creating a rich atmosphere that immerses listeners in the world of the story.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Alexander Chee’s writing style and language in “The Queen of the Night” are a testament to his skill as a writer. His words are powerful, evocative, and transportive, immersing listeners in a story that is both grand and intimate. “The Queen of the Night” is a literary masterpiece that is not to be missed.

Critical Reception and Awards

Since its publication in 2016, “The Queen of the Night” has received widespread praise from literary critics and readers alike. The novel has been hailed as a literary masterpiece, with Alexander Chee earning recognition as a master storyteller.

Awards and Nominations for “The Queen of the Night”
Award Year Category Result
National Book Critics Circle Award 2016 Fiction Finalist
Los Angeles Times Book Prize 2016 Mystery/Thriller Winner
James Tait Black Memorial Prize 2017 Fiction Shortlist
Goodreads Choice Award 2016 Historical Fiction Nominee

Chee’s eloquent prose, complex characters, and captivating storytelling have propelled “The Queen of the Night” to the forefront of contemporary literature, cementing its place as a modern classic.

Notable Reviews

“His prose is gorgeous, densely musical, and his story is electric, filled with twists and turns none of which throw us out of the dream of the page. I loved this book.” – Roxane Gay, The New York Times Book Review

“[A] lush and evocative page-turner… A surprisingly fast and pleasurable read… The book’s opera focus makes it a perfect choice for music lovers and Francophiles.” – NPR

Comparisons to Similar Works

To fully appreciate the intricacies and brilliance of Alexander Chee’s “The Queen of the Night,” it is essential to explore other works in the same genre. Fans of historical fiction and literature may find similarities in James McBride’s “The Good Lord Bird” and Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See.”

While “The Good Lord Bird” emphasizes the theme of identity in the face of oppression, similar to “The Queen of the Night,” “All the Light We Cannot See” pivots on intertwined lives and events during World War II. Both works also feature rich descriptions and explorations of their respective historical periods.

Comparing these literary works can deepen our appreciation of “The Queen of the Night” and illuminate how each author uniquely brings their characters and setting to life, creating lasting impact on their readers.


In conclusion, “The Queen of the Night” is a masterpiece that effortlessly blends opera, intrigue, and identity to create a gripping and mesmerizing tale. Alexander Chee’s unique writing style and language choice intricately weave together a complex plot that keeps listeners on the edge of their seats. The audiobook adaptation adds another layer of depth to the listening experience, with talented narration and voice acting bringing the characters to life.

The critical reception and awards “The Queen of the Night” has received only serve to highlight its impact on contemporary literature. Comparisons to similar works allow readers to appreciate the novel’s unique qualities, while gaining a deeper understanding of the genre and style.

Overall, “The Queen of the Night” is a must-read for fans of historical fiction, opera, and gripping storytelling. This audiobook review reveals the captivating tapestry of opera, intrigue, and identity woven throughout the novel, leaving listeners yearning for more.


What is “The Queen of the Night” about?

“The Queen of the Night” is a captivating novel by Alexander Chee that explores the world of opera, intrigue, and identity. It follows the story of a woman in the high-stakes world of 19th-century Parisian opera, filled with secrets, ambition, and hidden pasts.

Who is the author of “The Queen of the Night”?

“The Queen of the Night” is written by Alexander Chee, a renowned American author known for his literary prowess. Chee’s work has been critically acclaimed and he has established himself as a prominent voice in contemporary literature.

Is “The Queen of the Night” available as an audiobook?

Yes, “The Queen of the Night” is available as an audiobook. Listeners can immerse themselves in the captivating story through the compelling narration and voice acting in the audiobook adaptation.

What are the main themes explored in “The Queen of the Night”?

“The Queen of the Night” delves into a range of thought-provoking themes, including identity, sacrifice, passion, and ambition. These themes add depth and complexity to the narrative, making it a captivating read for fans of historical fiction.

How has “The Queen of the Night” been received by readers and critics?

“The Queen of the Night” has garnered positive reviews from both readers and critics. The novel has received accolades and awards, solidifying its place as a remarkable piece of contemporary literature.

Are there similar works that can be compared to “The Queen of the Night”?

Readers who enjoyed “The Queen of the Night” may also find interest in other notable works within the same genre or style. Exploring these comparisons can enhance the reader’s understanding and appreciation of Alexander Chee’s novel.

Leave a Reply