Cover Image: The Darkening

The Darkening

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Member Reviews

There are some books that you wish you could read it for the first time, it is one of those for me. Because wow, I felt myself immersed in this plot and amazed by the astounding characters and word building. I can’t enough for it to be out. And to know what happens next in the upcoming instalment!!
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I am a bit torn by this book. I really enjoyed it at times but didn't at others and I can't really pinpoint the reason. 
The imagery and world building were good throughout and I liked most of the characters as well as the relationships between them.
I will definitely be reading the sequel and I do think the ending was set up well to leave you wanting to know what happens next.
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A YA debut for this author and a great book to kick it off with, the magical systems in this book are complex to say the least and its not like the usual point and say a word magic system its more drawing in the air kind of system. The world building is effortless in this book and i mean that in a good way as it help build the storyline of the book instead of been an information dump like some book can be. 
the characters are very much out for themselves but with how the story line goes they grow in a natural way and so they draw you in and the ending leaves you wanting so much more of this series.
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I enjoyed this book but didn't find it particularly unique. The story was interested and I loved the imagery of this world in which symbols are power. That being said, the storyline was somewhat predictable and the romance was  confusing (I couldn't figure out why the main character would have this love interest). Fun read nonetheless. I would have heartily devoured it as a teen.
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Really struggled getting into this one. Not sure if it was the actual story or the characters but this one did not capture my interest. Main protagonist is the daughter of two failed revolutionaries and lives a life in hiding. A raging magical storm surrounds her city but may be the key to her survival. Felt a bit like Shadow & Bone at times, which is a series I really loved. Hoping the next book picks up a little more.
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I loved the twisty darkness of this book, and the way that things always unfolded a little bit different than I expected. This applied equally to the character development, as each layer was peeled back to show something slightly different underneath. The magical system is unique, even as the dystopian nature of the novel may feel familiar. I am excited to see how each of the characters continues to grow in the second book, as they face what lies ahead.
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Vesper Vale is the daughter of two revolutionaries that failed. She lives within a city that is surrounded by a storm that get ever closer to taking the whole city. I loved the unique story, magic system, and mythology. I need the next book.
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The storm is darkness and it’s swallowing up everything it touches. Only the Wardana can keep it back by using ikonomancy to fight it. 

Vesper Vale is the 17 year old daughter of revolutionaries. Her father, Alcanar was one of the best Wardanas until he and her mother tried to overthrow the Regia. Her mother was sent into the storm but Vesper and her father escaped. They have been living with Amma, who runs a home for the cursed (the storm touched.). 

When her father is captured, Vesper wants to free him. She soon works to befriend Dalca, the son of the Regia, Casvian and Izamal - a storm touched Wardana who is trying to help the people in the fifth. Will Vesper be able to save her father? Can she stop the storm?

This is my first book by this author. It was good and the author set the scene for a sequel. I look forward to reading it. 

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I struggled with The Darkening. I can see a very particular, detail oriented person being into this novel; I am not that type of person. I feel like the premise has great promise and there are some really fascinating passages of imagery, but the exposition weighed down the beginning.
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Easily the best book I've read on NetGalley in 2021 - loved the characters, the world-building, the presence that this craftily constructed world claims. 

This is one of those books I want to buy in paperback after reading it digitally, just to have and love.
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I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

I love a good magical world and this one has fascinating premises. It did get a little confusing/not as thought at closer to the end of the book. Vesper is an interesting protagonist and the world building has subtle South Asian nods. A good read overall!
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This was an enticing debut from Sunya Mara! I enjoyed this high-stakes fantasy mixed with political intrigue, alluring magic, and romance. The South Asian influences, although not as prominent as other South Asian fantasies, were also super cool to follow along with. I liked following Vesper on her mission to rescue her father from the clutches of the Wardana by posing as a third-year apprentice. This trope of the MC sneaking into the castle undercover to learn of the courts' secrets is not new in YA Fantasy, but it was still interesting to read about. I also really liked each of Vesper's dynamics with Dalca, Iz, and Cas and how some bonds grew (while others didn't) as the story progressed. The action sequences were also written in a very visceral manner and I found myself holding my breath any time Vesper or her father were in danger.

I think where the story fell short for me is that the lore and magic system in the novel got really convoluted towards the middle to end of the novel. I had a hard time following along with the secrets that were being revealed about the origin of the Wardana and Vesper's mother's relation to it all. The last third of the novel felt really muddled to me and also much more fast paced compared to the first two-thirds of the novel. There were a lot of character choices that surprised me/felt slightly OOC for a character considering how they were acting in the first half of the novel, so I was unsure about that as well.

Overall, if you're looking for a fantasy thriller with a few South Asian influences, I suggest picking up The Darkening! I'd give this 3.75 stars total.
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I can’t believe that I have to wait till the next year to read the second book. ‘Cause not to be dramatic but after that ending I’m devastated and torn into pieces. It’s been so long since I have been this invested in the characters and story. I really loved and enjoyed this book. The plot was so intricately written and is extra intriguingly engaging. I can’t wait enough to get my hands on the book two already!! In my humble and honest opinion, this book deserves all the stars and more!!
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~ I received an ARC copy of The Darkening from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review ~ 

I finished the first book and I need the second one in my hands right now. The Darkening sucked me into the Storm (quite literally). I was intrigued by Ms. Mara’s world building and the lore of the Regia, ikonomancers, and the Wardana.  Vesper, Dalca, Izamal, and Caspian are all flawed characters which makes their development more nuanced than a traditional characters - and I was invested in the progress of each of their stories and their growth. No one is exempt from the bad choices they make and each has valid and different fears that they must fear in order to grow. 

I’m excited to see what Ms. Mara’s next book has to offer, and this is a hell of a start.
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Thankyou NetGalley and Clarion Books for an e-ARC of this book in return for my honest review.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4

"If nightmares had music, they'd sound like the Storm."

Vesper Vale has grown up in hiding with her father, in the shadow of an endless and inescapable storm that holds her seven-ringed city hostage. Every year it gains more ground and the city shrinks some more.

This book is rich and detailed, spinning a fantasy world of epic proportions, from a magical system based on ikons - symbols of great power - to a crumbling dynasty of Regias, vessels inhabited by the spirit of a terrifying god. The Storm and the beasts within it have swallowed up two of the city's lower rings already, and we meet Vesper at a time of great worry and turmoil as the Storm edges ever closer to the fifth ring.

Told from Vesper's POV, we're privy to all her thoughts and feelings, we experience the story through her eyes as it unravels before us. Supported by a cast of characters each with distinct and interesting personalities, The Darkening takes us hurtling down forgotten tunnels into a dead city, holds our hand as we climb the highest tower of a glittering palace, and keeps us company as we face the Storm.

There is a romantic sub-plot of sorts with the enigmatic Prince Dalca, which I'd say follows the enemies-to-lovers trope but manages to not dominate the whole story. Even more compelling, I found, were Vesper's relationships with two other characters - Cas and Iz.

"To do the one good thing that I must do, I find myself caught in a thousand small evils."

Good and evil blend into shades of grey as the story progresses and although the fast pacing is at times so frantic that I found myself confused (hence the loss of half a star on what would otherwise been a solid 4 star read), I really couldn't put it down. I desperately wanted to know what conclusion this journey would reach and how any of these hopeless problems might be solved.

That being said, I can't wait to read the sequel to find out what the fates have in store for all the characters.
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It’s rare to find a book your instantly hooked on from the first few pages but this is one rare example. I absolutely adored this book & wished I had more time to binge it because I found it difficult to put down. 
The concept of the city encircled by darkness was so thrilling to me and the constant threat of its presence along with the mystery of its origins and the creatures that swelled within kept me turning the pages. I found vesper to be an entertaining and relatable heroine, particularly with her desire to please her father whilst also desperately wanting to know all his secrets. The introduction of the three main Wardanas really elevated the story and I loved each of them in their own ways. I especially enjoyed the  redemption arc of Casvian & the sad fate of Izamal because I found these two characters to be amongst the strongest written. I emphasised with each of their struggles and would happily read more about them individually. Out of the three our main live interest Dalca appeared the weakest and his reasonings towards the end of the story flipped around too much for my liking and felt poorly thought out. The mythology surrounding the gods, the storm & the Regia was fascinated but at times I felt it was abit rushed. Especially surrounding the “Queen” and the ending revelations. This book could of benefited with a few more chapters to help space it out and explain itself more but I’m hoping this may be a precursor for a trilogy as I did love what the author created and would eagerly devour more!.
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as in a bit of a reading slump (and playing way too much Animal Crossing) when I started this book.  I want say it yanked me out of my slump bc I ready it 3x slower than I normally do. However, it definitely helped me climb my way out of the slump I was in. 

Vesper lives in a city plagued by a terrible storm with even worse monsters. After almost getting killed by said monster, her father who has been hiding for most of her life is captured. And of course Vesper has to save him. 

Along this journey of I’ll fated rescue, Vesper becomes an unwilling apprentice of a group of Wardana. They set out to safe the world. Well...their city. Which is their world. 

Overall, this was a good story. The world building was good. The magic system was easy to understand. The characters were like able. I’m interested to see the relationships between the characters continue to develop.   I did really feel the chemistry between Vesper and the love interest.
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I put this book off for quite a while as the cover just wasn’t encouraging me to read it. Once I did get into it though, it’s good! The book takes place over the span of a couple of weeks, with characters learning and growing as people but also having flaws that are believable and it’s okay that they’re like that. 

I felt like there were a few instances where there were some time skips that were unaccounted for, suddenly turning up in a location with no prior suggestion of it happening, or coded texts undefined in the editing stages so it seems like the character just continues speaking instead of them reading something.

Its a book with promise, but needs a little more editing, at least for the ebook version.
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A beautifully written book. Really enjoyed reading this. Thanks to publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read
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"A  lifetime is made up of dozens of lives, tied together only by shared memory."

When Vesper Vales Father is arrested for creating new magic symbols, Vesper must do do all she can to rescue her only family. Which includes infiltrating an establishment that would rather she didn't exist.

I absolutely devoured this novel, I read it in a day, couldn't put it down! 

Fast paced and very easy to read, the magic system was very easy to learn (which is a huge selling point!). Brilliant plot, if I had access to the next book I'd be reading it already, can't wait for the follow up!

The characters felt like real people, with rational priorities and real reactions to every emergency. They also showed a lot of emotional depth, especially for a YA novel which I appreciate a lot.

Loved it!
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