M’s drunk review of Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
What I drank prior: A lot of sour beers from a local brewery.
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.
My Summary: In girl boss land, Wren Southerland, a dedicated army woman and magic healer, has fucked up real bad. To regain her place as royal healer next to the woman she loves, she takes on a dangerous and ill-conceived mission to heal the servant of a neighboring celebrity who can help her Queen win an ages-long rivalry with boy land. But at what cost? As Wren discovers who she must heal and the secrets of the estate, she begins to question everything she’s known.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: Really, really liked this one. Certainly would not call it the most in-depth book and the gothic tone could have run deeper, it was most enjoyable. Loved the enemies-to-lovers romance (if not a bit heavy handed) and thought the world has a lot of potential. I do wish it leaned into the gothic theme a little more. One major themes included empathy as an overall positive and hearing both sides of a story.
Characters: As I introed, our POV is Wren, the empathetic to a fault healer who feels the need to prove herself. I wouldn’t say I totally related to Wren, but I most certainly got her motives and why she is who she is. Next up is Una, her long-time love interest and BFF. She is Wren’s motivation, but I feel like we didn’t get to know her too much. The deadly Hal Cavendish (I giggled every time I read his last name) is girl land’s sworn enemy. I liked him the most. Nuanced characters are always the best. Lord Lowry was a bit of a let down—could have been more fleshed out with a fuller backstory, but I digress. Also of note is Hannah, the feisty main servant of Lord Lowry’s household who deserves better.
Plot: The beginning of the book moved kind of slow with setting up the world, Wren’s motivations, and eventually why she heads to the neighboring estate. After it briefly turns to a gothic horror film—don’t go in there! Don’t sign that contract! Haven’t you seen this film before!? Then we have the healing magic and meeting of the enemy, which really takes off from there. Once we’re introduced to Cavendish and some of the secrets of the estate, things really take off from there. One of my favorite plot points though comes from all the medical/medicinal stuff. Could be all fake, but I found it all very interesting!
World Building: As mentioned, there is so much potential here. Like, I feel like I should know more about the kingdoms than just boy land and girl boss land, but it was pretty easy to simplify as such. And like seriously what is the magic system? How is the Queen still in power? What is the religious structure? More questions than answers. I do like that it’s not all about the magic though—other kingdoms have tech/electricity at least and Wren is a seemingly legit doctor, albeit assisted by magic.
Writing Style: If I’m remembering correctly, first-person POV from Wren the whole time. Could have been cool to have others.
Drink Pairing: Dark and stormy speaks to me on this one with approachable gothic tones.
Rating: 4/5 shots