Minda’s drunk review of Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
**We received an early copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Allison and Wednesday Books for the opportunity. This book came out on Mar 2nd and you can get it here or at your local independent bookstore**
What I drank prior: I had an absolutely delicious bottle of Syrah on book club night
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: The novel starts out with our heroine alongside her best friend and lover trying to discover the mystery of her missing friend. Unfortunately, her empathy leads to an enemy’s escape (does anyone else always say that word in Dory’s voice always?) and her decommission as a prized position in the army. In her desperation, Wren takes on an offer from a neighboring kingdom’s infamous personality to save his staff from a mysterious illness and reinstate herself as a top ranking official in the Danu army. Soon she learns her patient is in fact the top weapon in the longtime enemy of her kingdom and finds there are more secrets than she bargained for in and out of the kingdom.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: This was a good read with a lot of potential. Gothic horror-adjacent, but I wish it went a little further. I loved the interesting take on the enemies-to-lovers story and thought the world had merit, if a little underdeveloped. What I thought was especially interesting was the exploration of the trauma of living in a place always engaged in war and the characters’ realization that propaganda may not always the accurate portrayal. The parts where she was talking in a medical/methodical way were my fave though.
Characters: Wren was, more or less, your typical YA heroine. I liked her strength and empathy, but there’s a lot of self-doubt there. I adored Hal, but he’s easier to adore when you don’t actually see his backstory. Lord Lowry was perfectly (I mean perfectly) cast. So many gothic vibes. BFF (whose name I don’t remember right now) was a bit 2D in my opinion and so was Queen Isabel. I think more can be done with the latter two.
Plot: The pacing of the plot is one of the major positives about the book. At no point did I feel like the story was dragging. Each plot point led to another equally important plot point—either to the reader or to the main character—and that deserves mentions.
World Building: I know I say this all the time, but so much potential! That said, I feel like there was a bit missing. The plant, medical, religious, warfare, tech, monarchy, class, magic, etc bits were all fascinating, but it could have used a little bit more direction.
Drink Pairing: Dark and stormy speaks to me for this review.
Rating: 4/5 shots.