Book Review: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

About the Book:

Title: Down Comes the Night

Author: Allison Saft

Page Length: 400

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Synopsis: He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.

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.

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

Love makes monsters of us all.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon    |     Book Depository

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links.


My Review:

Wren, a healer and the unwanted niece of the Queen, wants nothing more than to be accepted by her aunt. However, her impulsivity and sensitivity prove detrimental to gaining her aunt’s favor. When a letter from a mysterious noble from another kingdom implores Wren to help heal a wounded servant, Wren agrees in the hopes of brokering peace between the two kingdoms. This, she knows, will earn the Queen’s respect. However, things aren’t what they seem at Lord Lowry’s mansion, and Wren finds herself entrenched in solving a murderous mystery alongside an enemy she loathes. Can Wren figure out Lowry’s secrets before she loses her heart and everything else she holds dear? Will Wren help create peace between countries that have been at odds for decades?

This is an atmospheric and immersive standalone fantasy with a suspenseful mystery and a wonderful enemies-to-lovers romance. The setting, the weather, the desolate mansion are dark, desolate, and eerie, and evoke a dark and ominous mood. The gothic elements create a mysterious and creepy vibe throughout the story and set the tone right from the beginning. I love a story with vivid imagery, and this novel does not disappoint!

They passed through a holloway, where skeletal trees bent over the road, their branches clasped like gnarled fingers and their knotholes watching her like crusted eyes.

Wren is a fabulous protagonist, and I loved her story! She is passionate, emotional, and empathetic, and she shows strength and resilience throughout the novel. Wren is also a crier, which I totally relate to. She cries when she is happy and sad and angry. She wears her emotions, which most people, even Wren, see as a weakness. She is considered less than, broken, foolhardy, and reckless. I like how Wren becomes more self-aware and more accepting of her emotions. As she begins to see what a strength it is to have such emotional depth, she becomes more confident and more true to herself. There are great messages here about judging others and not being ashamed to express one’s feelings.

Saft dedicated the book to, “All the girls who feel too much,” and, as a person who is judged and teased for having strong emotions, feeling deeply, and crying often, I felt like she was speaking directly to me. The characters who don’t express how they feel (Yes, I’m talking about you, Ula!) have much to learn from people like Wren, who is more authentic, sincere, and able to relate to others.

We all were raised to be cruel. It takes incredible strength to be kind in this world. To endure suffering instead of further it.

Hal is a fascinating character as well. He has done many things in the past that he is ashamed of, but he knows that regret does not make up for his actions. Hal often feels undeserving, especially when it comes to Wren’s affections, and his insecurities contrast with the killer soldier he’s known to be. Hal’s transformation from a ruthless killer to a peace-making leader is intriguing and complicated, and I like how the author shows Hal growing and changing throughout the story.

Ula, Wren’s best friend and former lover also goes through a crisis of conscience similar to Hal’s, which I found interesting. Saft offers some thought-provoking messages about loyalty, trust, and putting politics before people. As much as Ula cares about Wren, she always puts her duty ahead of her feelings for Wren. However, as the story progresses, Ula comes to realize that her unwavering loyalty to her Queen and country is misguided and built on mistruths. I think it took Ula losing almost everything to see what was true and important.

Maybe the only difference between a monster and a hero was the color of a soldier’s uniform.

The magic system is also really intriguing, and I love how the author integrates magic with science. Wren, for example, has the power to heal, and she uses science and medical practices to enhance her healing power. This is a unique and interesting take on magic, and I love how science and magic intertwine.

The romance between Wren and Hal contrasts Wren’s previous relationship, which seemed very one-sided. Theirs is a slow-building, enemies-to-lovers romance that defies all odds. Hal is a notorious soldier and killer of Wren’s people, and when tasked with healing him, Wren learns much more about the man who has haunted her ever since she witnessed his raw and murderous power. I like that this couple sees past the lies, the politics, and the war. Hal’s deep and profound regret, as well as his determination to invoke change, appeals to Wren’s moral goodness. And their chemistry is fantastic! I love that Wren found someone who encourages and accepts her completely, and I love that Wren sees Hal for who he really is.

She liked the way he listened and the way he looked at her, like she was the first breach of sunlight on the horizon. He made her feel important. Like she mattered. Like she wasn’t entirely broken.

The mystery behind the missing soldiers, as well as the mystery of Lord Lowry and his enigmatic home, are also intriguing. This is a story where danger lurks around every corner, and there are many twists and turns that surprised me. Wren and Hal work together to figure out how the missing soldiers, the long-standing wars, and Lord Lowry tie together, and it is never clear who they can trust.

An atmospheric, suspenseful, and romantic read, Down Comes the Night is a great story for readers who like young adult fantasy with Gothic elements, great characters, a creepy mystery, and a wonderful enemies-to-lovers romance. Thanks so much to NetGalley, the author, and Wednesday Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • The romance! Wren and Hal have a great enemies-to-lovers romance.
  • The Gothic elements. It is so dark and atmospheric.

Favorite Lines:

His trust was a delicate thing, like a rabbit’s spine. It would be easily broken if squeezed.

Once a monster, always a monster.

I still have things I would kill for. But perhaps the most important things-what truly drives us-are the things we would die for.

Recommendations:

This is a great story for readers who enjoy ya fantasy with Gothic elements, strong messages, and a fantastic romance.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

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