ARC Review: The Darkening by Sunya Mara

*I was sent a copy of The Darkening in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Clarion Books and Sunya Mara*


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.

Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic.

Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers.

Even cheat her way into his cold heart.

But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm. 


I’m feeling quite disappointed that I read this book during a time when I didn’t feel like reading. Every page felt like a challenge and pushing myself to get through this was difficult. This was to no fault of the book, it was very good, I ruined the experience for myself. I put too much pressure on myself to get through The Darkening as quickly as possible as I wasn’t sent a copy until after it had been published. A ridiculous goal set by myself as there were no expectations to do so. 

I finished a huge chunk of the book just last night and when I actually sat down just to read the pages flew by. I finally felt invested in the story I really loved it. The writing was beautiful and the action scenes were intense but fun. 

So far none of the characters were that interesting to me. Other than Casvian as you do see him go through quite a development and in the end, he was probably my favourite. Vesper was at times a little too self-absorbed for my liking and the relationship between her and Dalca was difficult to follow near the end. 

Slight spoiler, but they went from enemies to lovers to mortal enemies, literally wanting to kill each other, back to lovers. I think? Honestly, the last few chapters were quite confusing so I’m not entirely sure what was going on. All I know is that the ending seemed pretty final, but I think this is going to be a series. 

The Storm was an intriguing and inventive antagonist and I liked that it was a living thing. I’d never want to meet a stormbeast in real life, but god do they sound cool. I may need to go back and read the last few chapters again as I can’t fully remember what happens with The Storm, but having it be an always lingering presence created a lot of tension and left you wondering when it would strike again. 

The Darkening has a very inventive concept and the execution of it was carried out pretty well. I will be awarding the book four stars, despite the confusion it caused me at times, as it was very well written. The descriptions and world were totally immersive and I’m excited to see if there will be a second instalment.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Darkening is available now from all major book retailers!

Check out Young Creative Press on all socials

Like this post? Why not read this one too: To Be Read: Audible Originals

One comment

Leave a Reply