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The Darkening By Sunya Mara Is Our Latest YA Fantasy Obsession!

The Darkening By Sunya Mara Is Our Latest YA Fantasy Obsession!

What are you willing to sacrifice for the people you love? And would you risk your life to save your city? Well, these are the million-dollar questions we at THP had to ask ourselves while reading Sunya Mara’s YA fantasy debut The Darkening.

This book transports us to a city cursed by an increasingly hostile storm. A place where magic (or ikonomancy) is a language, a weapon, and a commodity. We’ve been looking forward to this July book release. So, let’s jump into three things we love about The Darkening by Sunya Mara!

The Darkening by Sunya Mara book cover
Image Source: Goodreads

Content Warnings: violence, arson, death of family members, suicide, murder

Summary: In this thrilling and epic YA fantasy debut, the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne.

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.

Visual Imagery

One thing we love about The Darkening is how vividly the author describes her settings. Whether it’s a Storm surge or a fight sequence, we feel like we’re a part of the novel too. And some of our favorite descriptions are in the visual contrast between the different rings of the city. It may be easy to zoom past the details. But we think it’s definitely worth slowing down and savoring the mood and depictions of storms, curses, beasts, and love.

The Darkening by Sunya Mara storm
Image Source: GIPHY

Morally Gray Characters

Part of the thrill of reading Sunya Mara’s The Darkening comes from the well-written, morally gray characters. Our protagonist Vesper is dead set on rescuing her father from being executed: a decision that requires her to deceive others with half-truths and disguised motives. Similarly, her love interest Dalca and his two closest friends, Izamal and Casvian, have reasons for their secrets and actions. And this keeps the plot interesting because readers don’t know whose side they want to be on.

See Also

All The Twists And Action

As we’ve said, it’s hard to side with just one character throughout the novel. We want Vesper to save her father from death in the trials. And we want to sympathize with Dalca for the burden he bears for the throne. But we also want Izamal to accomplish his goal of protecting those in the outermost ring and avenging his sister. The conclusion had us on the edge of our seats, and we caught ourselves screaming, “NO!!!” into our book several times. You’ll know what we mean.

The Darkening by Sunya Mara reactions
Image Source: GIPHY

The Darkening by Sunya Mara is out now and is available for purchase here!

Does The Darkening sound like your type of book? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @TheHoneyPop or on Facebook and Instagram!

Want to check out our other book reviews? Say no more!


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