Friday, September 25, 2020

Review: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

by Allison Saft
Wednesday Books
YA Fantasy
400 pages

MARCH 2nd, 2021!!!

A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched, gothic, romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.


After reading the blurb on this one, I had to give it a go...especially with the colder, darker months approaching. And as it promised, this book did hold me in the pages pretty well.

Wren is supposed to be a princess, but after her mother's death, her aunt, and now queen, has put Wren's talents to use as one of the most amazing healers in the country. Unfortunately, Wren's empathy causes her to defy her orders, and she winds up in the worst position possible. Until an unexpected letter arrives. While she's ordered to ignore the letter, she can't, since it offers her not only the chance to redeem herself but also hope to give her country an edge in the approaching war. But when she sneaks away in hope of finding a way to save her country, she runs into the one thing she never expected—the bedside of her enemy and a prison guarded by unseen monsters.

Sounds amazing, right? And it is quite the woven tale. Wren is a girl with awesome healing powers and kind of a mess thanks to her tragic upbringing. But she does have a heart of gold, and that's what drives this tale onward and beyond. The book starts right in the middle of action and immediately draws in. It also quickly becomes clear that Wren isn't always the sharpest knife in the drawer. She makes stupid mistakes, but somehow, it fit to her personality. She has a lot to learn, and this book takes her down the hard path to do it. In some ways, it made her easy to cheer for and others, I wanted to flick her. But it worked and I still rooted for her.

This is a dark tale but not in the way I thought. There are two rivalry countries engaged in bloody skirmishes and on the brink of war. There is a nasty queen, very loyal soldiers, and a war based on magic and religious differences. While there is a mansion in the snow, which locks Wren up with strange happenings surrounding her, it wasn't what I expected. A bit of a mystery unfolds as she tries to figure out what's behind the moaning and secret East Wing. There's a blooming romance. There's uncertainty about loyalty and trust. But monsters aren't in the form I expected. Which isn't bad. This is quite the tangled story of intrigue, secrets, lies, lunatic-like desires, and all sorts of dark things. The weave (and constant growing romance tension) did keep me in the pages chapter after chapter. It could have been a masterpiece of a book. 

'Could' because there were a few, tiny stumbles. My biggest problem was simply the very, very, very obvious clues, which Wren just constantly overlooked. These should have been more carefully woven in because it was clear what was happening, and it made her look more stupid than she already did (which doesn't help her case). Then, there were a few logic holes in the plot and the supposed 'genius' ideas of the evil-doer. While everything looked great on the surface, deeper thought unravels a few things. Still, it was an enjoyable read, and I can't say I regretted diving into this one. Because I didn't. It did keep me in the pages for hours, and I did fever for Wren most of the time. Plus, there were several well laid secrets and surprises, which definitely made for several exciting chills and thrills. And by the end, I was a fan again.

Lovers of darker young adult fantasy who love enemy-to-lovers romances, evil plots, gothic gore...and are ready to forgive a few dumb moves on the main character's part, are going to love this one. 

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