Member Reviews

Unique world and beasts, but that was all that was unique about it. I feel like teens who are looking for this type of book will love it, but for me, it was fine.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I forgot to leave a review for this, but I really enjoyed it! It's been out for ages, so I won't say much more than I need to for my star rating. <3

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Despite the fantastic world-building in "The Darkening" by Sunya Mara, it's unfortunate that the protagonist comes off as annoying and sulky. That being said the intricacies of the plot and the richly developed setting are solid, so if you’re more of a plot person than a character person this might work for you!

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Received an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and its publisher <3

Could not finish unfortunately. I just couldn't get in to it and continue reading so I had to quit. I think I will try again as the premise sounds so interesting to me.

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The book explored an interesting concept using a familiar theme (it reminded me a little of The Hunger Games). At times my mind did wander a bit as the main character and the POV of the story became a little preachy.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for giving me a free eARC of this book to read in exchange for my review!

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"Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen's soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman's axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen's soldiers--led by a paranoid prince--catch up to Vesper's father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate.

I ended up enjoying this book but It was at times a bit confusing. The biggest strength was the characters. I enjoyed Vesta as a protagonist, and in general, there was really interesting character development. The pacing and plot were a bit messy with a lot happening all at once. The end seemed to wrap things up nicely and I think I will read on. "

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I loved the world building in this and think it’s a great fit for any magic fantasy fans! Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced arc in exchange for an honest review!

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This book was action packed and fast paced, I almost couldn't keep up with all the excitement. The main character was a great example of a strong female lead, pushing herself physically and mentally to achieve her goal. You feel the danger, you feel the pain, it was an enthralling story with a little romance, but overall an exciting adventure.

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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for giving me access to the advanced copy of this book to read.

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This was an interesting premise that ultimately fell a little short for me. There needed to be more world building to allow for it all to make sense - especially with the Storm and the rules of ikonomancy. I loved the concept of the Storm but it was hard to figure out the world while reading. The romance between Vesper and Dalca wasn't really believable (there was no chemistry there) and I wish we had gotten more time with Cas and Izamal.

I liked this, but felt like it dragged at times and wasn't holding my interest. I think most of these issues could easily be resolved in the next book, but I'm not sure I'll jump back into this series. The cover art is stunning though!

Advanced Reader’s Copy provided by NetGalley and Clarion Books in exchange for an honest review.

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This was such a pleasant surprise! An absolute must for any fantasy lover - I loved the worldbuilding and the magic system, and it was beautifully written.

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I did lost interest halfway thru, hitting a slow spot I couldn't push past. However I did love the magic system that Sunya Mara came up with. The curses more so! The world building was really easy to read and interesting the way how it built upon it's self.

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The Darkening by Sunya Mara follows Vesper Vale, daughter of revolutionaries. Her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers and she was given the choice of execution or entering the Storm that surrounds the city and brings a curse to anyone it even touches. She chose the Storm, and she never returned. Vesper and her father are in hiding, but after twelve years of successful evasion, the prince and his soldiers track Vesper’s father down. Vesper is desperate to save her father. She takes it upon herself to learn from her father’s secret book of experimental magic—a magic her father refused to teach her. She infiltrates the inner circle of the prince and grows very close to him. When Vesper learns that there is more to her mother’s death—and the path to saving the city leads into the Storm—Vesper must decide if she can trust the prince with her father’s secrets.

This book was gripping right from the start. I adored Vesper’s devotion to her family and her drive to do what’s right, even at the cost of herself. The side characters were strong and unforgettable. I am eager for the sequel!

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The Darkening is a captivating story set in a world of revolution, magic, and secrets. The plot follows Vesper, the daughter of revolutionaries, as she attempts to save her city from a cursed storm. Vesper infiltrates the prince's elite squad of soldier-sorcerers and cheats her way into his cold heart using her father's book of dangerous magic.

Readers are drawn into l Vesper's inner monologue and descriptions of the world and characters. The concept of a constant storm with monsters lurking inside is intense and adds a layer of tension to the story.

The characters lack depth, with their personalities defined by a single trait. The romance between Vesper and Dalca is lacking, with more chemistry between Vesper and Cas and more in common with Izamal. The plot is intriguing and picks up around the 30% mark when Vesper begins her training. The pacing is excellent for the first 80% of the book, but it falters slightly in the final 20%, with too much crammed in.

The main conflict is between Vesper and the Storm, as well as Vesper and Dalca. The conflict with the storm is much more fleshed out, with great lore and personal attachment to the storm. Vesper and Dalca's conflict is devoid of chemistry. Furthermore, the details of ikonomancy are hazy, with the only explanation coming at the end of the book.

The Darkening is an enjoyable read with a captivating story and atmosphere. The characters and romance are lacking, but the story is intriguing and I look forward to the sequel to find out what happens next.

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A thrilling, dark, and delicious tale!!

Vesper is such a special, strong character and this one is an absolute must-read for thrilling fantasy lovers!

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Beautiful storytelling with an interesting plot. The world-building was a little confusing at times but overall a pretty good read.

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Sunya Mara's The Darkening kept me glued to the page from start to finish. Perfect for any fantasy fan, this book has some great worldbuilding and great characters. The fight against a caste system and the desire to be judged on one's abilities rather than the circumstances of their birth is something readers can easily understand and root for. I am very much looking forward to the sequel to this book.

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The Darkening debut started strong, but the ending was a confusing mess that made me think I missed something important somewhere along the line. We have a daughter who is determined to save her father, who is wanted for his use of ikon magic and is found out due to his daughter trying to be brave. The storm will curse you if you touch it and is home to some strange creatures. Vesper is determined to learn ikon magic even though it is forbidden for her to do so. I thought the little glimpses we got into her learning as she tried to save her father and the prince's mom. I was confused about what they were trying to accomplish within the storm and then with the mom in the later parts of the story. This author had a solid start, but I think it went off track in the novel's last few pages.

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Okay, so initially I was drawn in by the cover - but I stayed for the story. I really enjoyed this world of experimental magic, cursed storms, wonderful worldbuilding, enemies to lovers back to enemies and all the other elements that made up The Darkening. I found the pacing to be perfect, and that I truly wanted to continue to know what would happen. Also, give me more Vesper.

*4 stars*

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