A huge thanks to Wednesday Books for giving me a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Content warnings: blood, death, murder
Title: Down Comes the Night
Author: Allison Saft
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected release date: March 2, 2021
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 400 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.”
“It does me no good to dream of what could’ve been. But to choose something, truly, for myself? To hope? That terrifies me.”
Gosh, this book has so many things I love in a story. A slow-burn romance between two sworn enemies, rich world-building, and just enough mystery to keep you guessing. I absolutely adored this book, and knew I was going to rate it highly when I was just a few chapters in. Our main character, Wren, has felt unwanted and a bit unloved her entire life. After the dismissal from the Queen’s Guard, she’s swept away to an eerie manor in the neighboring country of Cernos. There, she realized the patient she’s been asked to heal is enemy of her country. Wren wrestles with this discovery for a bit. She has a lot of internal struggle, something I really liked here, because while she wants to be herself, her brain is too filled with what other people want of her. Finally away from Una and the Queen’s Guard, she’s able to think for herself and only for herself. I definitely think this is what lends her to be so dedicated in finding what’s wrong with Hal despite knowing who he actually is.
I really enjoyed the intertwining of religion, science, medicine, and magic here as well. As soon as Wren arrives to Colwick Hall, not all is as it seems right away. I got some Jane Eyre vibes, too, and it was so atmospheric as well! All the winter vibes worked so well for me, and I guess it helped that a foot of snow dropped over the weekend and it’s been absolutely frigid since last week, lol! I enjoyed Wren as a main character, too, because she knows her stuff. She’s methodical, sometimes logical, and wants to prove herself. Some of that hard exterior she’s built crumbles the more she gets to know Hal. To be honest, I would have absolutely loved Hal’s POV. Wren humanizes him in her own way, and the two come to a general understanding that they’ve been lied to their entire life regarding each other’s country’s citizens. And considering how close the two have to be, there’s just something about the way they learn more about each other that’s so…soft. Hal is a soft boy, full of regret, and someone who wants to right the continuing wrongs meted by his country. This softness is something that takes Wren by surprise, endearing them more to each other. But Hall will protect those he cares for and we see that the closer he and Wren become.
Now I will say that this book is also a murder mystery. I won’t speak too much into this, and some of y’all might guess things way before I ever can (seriously, I should have saw it coming earlier). It was the extension of this mystery that really made me wonder how Wren and her family can be reconciled. I really hope this particular aspect isn’t a game because I do feel like the ending is a bit open and can definitely see a sequel. (Please, can I get a sequel?!)
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s about becoming who you want to be, not what anyone else expects of you, and to make yourself and your life happy because you’re in control of it.
You can pre-order this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, or BookShop. Or you can pre-order a signed copy from Kepler’s that’ll come with an exclusive print! Regardless of where you pre-order from, don’t forget to submit your pre-order receipt here.
Check out these other reviews:
- Frankie at These Vicious Delights ended up DNFing.
- Kaya at A Fictional Bookworm enjoyed the first half more than the second.
- Helena at Bubbling Up with Helena also rated this book 4 stars!
I also just wanted to plug-in this interview Allison did with TeaTimeLit!