Series: Give the Dark My Love #1
Written by: Beth Revis
Published: September 25, 2018 by Razorbill (Penguin Group)
Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island's wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn't quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.
All, except for Greggori "Grey" Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that's for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it's making its way toward the cities. With her family's life--and the lives of all of Lunar Island's citizens--on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.
Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy's most dangerous corners--and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.
*** I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review at ALA. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
I really enjoyed this book. I had picked a copy up at ALA and when I saw some really good reviews, I decided to give it a try. I read the first chapter as I was trying to decide what to read next and it immediately hooked me and I wanted to find out what happened next.
I think what interested me most about this book was the world building. First we have a book about necromancy. I have read a few books which dealt with thew subject and this was one of my favorites. I think the author did a great job of creating the magical system. I prefer my magic to have clear rules and that was the case with this book. There were specific things you needed in order to preform necromancy and you needed to do certain things t make it happen. Plus I really like that it was rooted in alchemy. As a magical system that in and of itself was interesting and engaging so adding a darker more sinister level to it had me totally fascinated.
The other thing I liked about this book was the political aspect. One of the things that I love about fantasy is that it often addresses the idea of power and control. Give the Dark My Love had that fantastic undercurrent. Some of my favorite quotes in this book were with the characters discussing oppression and the realities of what that means for both those in power and those they are controlling. There were some interesting aspects of Grey's storyline that also addressed the idea of political intrigue but I don't think they really delved deep enough into this aspect. I know this is only the first book in a series so maybe the next book will explore this more. I think it has a lot of promise in the politics front.
The other aspect of the story I think has a lot of promise is the character development. Arguably the main character here is Nedra and she is definitely the most fully-formed. I really loved Nedra's growth throughout the story. She starts as almost this naive idealist and by the end of the book she is essentially this powerful dark witch. In that respect this book is kind of a villain origin story. I am all for villain origin stories especially if they are with characters who you see fall down the path after some devastating experiences. For me I think Nedra was definitely justified in her action so far but in the next book I think she is going to be even darker and I am here for it.
However, the character who I think could have used more though is Grey. I think Grey just wasn't as fleshed-out for me. He was interesting enough and I liked the direction his story took but it never really seemed like he engaged with anything. He was just around as a vessel for the story, not the actual story itself. In the future books if he has more of an active role I think he will definitely be a better and more complex character.
But maybe my feelings for Grey were clouded by my feelings about the romance. Surprise, surprise, I didn't like the romance in a book. To me the romance felt like it just happened so suddenly. The went from being classmates who barely knew each other to in a relationship. It's not that it felt forced, it just sort of felt unnecessary. But I think all romance is unnecessary. I don't think the narrative and the characters connection was that much more improved by them being romantically involved instead of them just being friends. But that's what I feel about every book so I'm not the best judge for this aspect f the story.
I did however really love the plot development of this book. This sis the kind of book that is full of action, mystery, and very high stakes. I thought the plague narrative was really engaging. It made for a story that had huge consequences not only for the characters but the world that they inhabited. I was very interested in finding out what was the cause of the disease and seeing the characters figure out how to stop it. I also think Revis did a great job with who the ultimate antagonist was. I thought I had it figured out after ignoring the red herrings and in the end she proved me wrong. And I was so mad that I didn't figure it out because the clues were there the whole time.
All in all, I think Give the Dark My Love was a fantastic dark YA fantasy. The world was engaging and the magical system was fascinating, the characters had good development and the plot had me guessing until the very end. I really enjoyed it and I am excited to see where the story goes.
I give Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis 9 out of 10 stars
Have you read Give the Dark My Love? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!