The Darkening

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 5 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 6 Jul 2022

Talking about this book? Use #TheDarkening #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


'Wild and thrilling' Adalyn Grace

A fierce revolutionary. A desperate prince. Together they will face the Storm, or be swept away . . .

Prince Dalca was born for one purpose: to protect his home from the Storm, a deadly force that surrounds his city and curses everyone it touches. Vesper Vale is the daughter of failed revolutionaries. Since the Queen sentenced her mother to death by the Storm, she and her father have been on the run.

So when the queen's soldiers - led by Prince Dalca - catch up to Vesper's father, she will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing her mother's cruel 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, and that her home is in dire peril, she has little choice: trust the devious prince with her family's secrets, or follow her mother's footsteps into the Storm . . .

'Enchanting and wildly clever' Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Beasts of Prey

'Wild and thrilling' Adalyn Grace

A fierce revolutionary. A desperate prince. Together they will face the Storm, or be swept away . . .

Prince Dalca was born for one purpose: to protect his home from...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781529354867
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 57 members

Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed this book, it was completely captivating and I couldn't put it down. It was well written with a really enaging and immersive storyline and well developed characters that were in a world that was so vividly built I felt like I was there. I really look forward to reading more by this author.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks, Netgalley and Publisher for the opportunity to read and review!
I read this one in one breath and the ending just took my breath away. You don't have the typical happily ever after for the protags. Without giving spoilers I'll just say I didn't expect it and even though it broke my heart, I totally loved the approach. Engaging and captivating story and characters from beginning to end. I'm not a fan of first-person narrative, but here I totally didn't notice it. Everything else that the story offered just blew my mind away - really beautiful and well developed characters, intriguing story and setting, interesting and unique magic system, engaging plot and........unexpected ending! Totally recommend the novel!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC! Vesper is such a realistic and likable protagonist. I enjoyed this book with the artful world-building with strong themes of family, survival and strength. In THE DARKENING, the ongoing theme of survival is imminent with a threat of the 'Storm' which is an ancient power that seeks to obliterate and change people in the form of physical 'imperfections'. The 'ikons' similar to drawings or spells featured in this book was a nice touch to the magical system.

The majority of the book focuses on Vesper's journey to save her father from death. The subplots and subtle romance in this novel was nicely blended with the constant threats and character development that Vesper goes through.

As Vesper learns more about the Storm and how the city was divided into different areas or circles which is similar to the hierarchal system, I enjoyed the challenges and differences between each circle, and the love that Vesper feels for her home.

Overall, THE DARKENING is a strong debut with strong world-building, plot and an ending which makes me crave for Book 2!

Was this review helpful?

<i>I received this ARC thanks to the Publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.</i>

<b>"Maybe I am selfish -- too in love with the idea that I can do something, be someone."</b>
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much of this book, the description sounds quite weird and a bit mess, but wait for it. I've genuinely LOVED IT! Definitely one of my top reads this year (praying to all FL deities to have it as July pick, pretty please!), and here's why~ (Book is written in first person POV, present tense)
<img src="" width="300" height="auto" alt="description"/>
<b>"You only want to save your <i>pa</i> ." He makes the word sound childish."I don't have that luxury. I have to save us all."</b>
In a city divided into 7 rings, acting as the last keep against the darkness, a girl called Vesper lives with her father in a sanctuary for people touched by the storm. What makes her special, is that both her <i>Pa</i> and late <i>Ma</i> lead a rebellion against previous Regia, ruler of the city, and well, killed them. Mother paid the price by going into the cursed storm of darkness, father on the other hand made it by being on the run for twelve years. Sadly nothing lasts forever, and he's discovered. Vesper is left with her <i>Ma's</i> locket and <i>Pa's</i> journal of <i>ikon's</i>, which are magical runes to work with magic. Protected from the very beginning, her identity was kept a secret. She could begin a new life as someone else. But she choose, to save the last member of her family from the current Regia. And apparently, her handsome son (seriously, the amount of times Ves simps over his eyes is uncountable, but still cute!).
<img src="" width="300" height="auto" alt="description"/>
<b>"I--I'm sorry. For giving you this world. For bringing you into this mess. I never wanted that for you. I wanted you to be free."
"I'm part of this world, Pa. You can't change that now.</b>
As Vesper already met the prince Dalca once, when he came to her doorstep to investigate her father's whereabouts, she felt confident to find a way to higher ring (as she was living in fifth one, currently the lowest one still standing not covered in darkness) to infiltrate royal guard of flying fighters, as she believed her father had to be kept there somewhere. She finds few colleagues along the way, and surprisingly, Dalca is one of them. Working as apprentice with current what I'd call high mage of the group, she spends more and more time with the prince, and well, they fall for each other, Thou it ain't all sweet and careless.
<img src="" width="300" height="auto" alt="description"/>
<b>"Do your thing," he whispers.
"My thing?"
"Comfort him."</b>
I do remember there was a mention of upcoming romance in the synopsis, but oh boi I totally forgot... Which, during chapter 13, made me reconsider all my life choices, just to get into that rollercoaster of emotions and never leave. Don't worry, there's no heavy scenes, it was a perfect YA kind of relationship! I've mentioned a journal before, right? So it covers all of her fathers secrets, that he and her mom sacrificed everything to keep from royal family, but as the storm grows stronger, father's trial coming closer, Ves has to make a choice. If she'd rather save the city, or her father.

Reading The Darkening made me feel nostalgic, as my first association with the city divided into rings concept was The Jewel by Amy Ewing, and after that I could notice a lot of things that reminded me good old dystopian YA times. Which I've really enjoyed! It's hard for me to believe this is a debut, especially with given ending -- I couldn't stop my tears from taking over and believe me, I'm not that easy to break. I don't want to spoil too much from the actual plot, so you could get all these feelings on your own. All I can say, please don't be fooled by the synopsis, and simply let The Darkening's fog swallow you in! Solid 5 stars, and it goes to my favourite reads of this year right away~~~

PS. Author page states it's a duology, and I really hope that's what we'll actually get ^^.

Was this review helpful?

A big thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with this eArc!

AMAZING!! I can’t even express how much I loved this

Was this review helpful?

This book is absolutely BRILLIANT. It’s gripping from start to finish with it’s beautifully captivating plot and even more wonderful characters (looking at you Vesper and Dalca). This book filled a hole in my heart that I didn’t even know I had… the writing is amazing, the pacing was PERFECT. Solid 5 star read with plenty of twists to keep you guessing what was going to happen. I can’t wait for book 2 (and any other books from this author).

Magic? Plentiful and different.
Romance? Cute YA levels.
Plot? Loved it.
Character development? There in abundance.
Stunning eyed male? Here for it.
Action packed? You betcha!

Thank you so much to Kate at Hodder for sending me a proof in exchange for my review. Can I re-read this already?

Was this review helpful?

Excellent engaging read, I could not put it down! Thank you so much for letting me read this, I am so happy to have found this book. Highly recommend to everyone, give it a go and I promise you won’t regret it.

Was this review helpful?

This book had me at cursed storm. If you like a good high stakes Fantasy YA with experimental magic, morally grey characters, and enemies to lovers then this is the book for you. It really gave me Les Miserables / Shadow and Bone vibes with revolutionaries and a cursed storm.

The magic system and world building was just perfect, it gets more and more complex as the story unfolds and I can't wait to see where it takes us in the next book.

Vesper lives in a sanctuary for people cursed by the storm with her father. After she risks her life to save a stranger from an attack by a storm monster, and needing saving herself, her father is forced to use an ikon, a magical rune, he created save her revealing himself as the leader of the failed rebellion. When the Warderna take and imprison him Vesper goes on a quest to find him posing as an apprentice she must get close to Prince Dalca, son of the Regia (ruler of the city) to find and rescue her father.

4.5 stars - thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for review

Was this review helpful?

Firstly I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC 😍😍

I am officially OBSESSED with The Darkening!! ❤️❤️ This book is amazing. It ticks off so many things I love about a book - morally grey characters, curses, all the magic and of course, my biggest favourite, enemies to lovers!! 😍😍

The Darkening is the story of Vesper Vale, a girl from The Fifth Ring, the HUGE storm that plagues & is destroying her kingdom, her not so innocent parents and what they did when she was younger. It’s also the story of Valca, a stunning but confusing prince, who is looking for Vespers father and his Ikons (they’re basically really cool runes). When Valca gets what he wants and takes Vespers father prisoner, she goes undercover to get back what is hers and, of course, they ‘take’ to each other (oh how I love enemies to lovers 😍😍). To save her pa and Valca, Vesper agrees to share his ikons and go into the storm and well…you’ll have to read it to find out what happens!! 😍❤️

I love Vesper and Valca so much!! They both have that I love you but loathe you thing which makes them perfect 😂😍 I’m also kinda obsessed with Cas who’s a Wardana with Valca (they’re like soldiers but super high up ones 😂😏). He’s super rude, cold and standoffish. Basically, I’m in love with him ❤️❤️

This book is fantastic, like I can’t even begin to explain how much I enjoyed it!! ❤️❤️ Sunya Mara, you’re a genius and please can I have number 2 right now?! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for sure!!

Was this review helpful?

Loved it! Sunya Mara is one author to keep an eye on!! This is a brilliant story! Ember in the ashes meets the Rithmatist!

I can't wait for the sequel!!!

I'd like to thank the publisher Hodder & Stoughton and netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The epic and gripping start of a new YA fantasy series. It's a book that will be loved by people of all ages, well plotted and compelling.
Great world building, well developed characters, and very good storytelling.
Can't wait to read the next one.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Was this review helpful?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 /4.5 stars
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

The Darkening is a story about Vesper, whose parents were failed revolutionaries. Hiding with her father in the fifth ring, he gets caught when he saves her from the Stormbound. Vesper, believing it was her fault, tries to find a way to free him.

“If nightmares had music, they’d sound like the Storm.”

I was super intrigued with the synopsis of this story and the way this book opens really grabbed my attention! The first thing I really noticed was the writing, which was lovely done. I loved the lyrical way this book was written. Very lush and full of clear descriptions. It made it really easy to follow along with the events that happened. The world-building was done really well. I loved the concept of ikons and Ikonomancy, which is the magic system. It was very unique and intriguing. I did have a hard time picturing the ikons, I would’ve liked some sort of drawing maybe to help visualise them better.

The plot was also really interesting, albeit a bit predictable. Even though it was a bit predictable in which direction the story would go, I still had a lot of fun reading it! Fighting against two foes, who are very different, made it really interesting. I also really liked the concept of the Storm and it eating away at the city.

The characters were amazing. From the get go they were very well developed and rich, which I really liked. They also grew as the story went along and I loved the hidden layers they had. I also liked how the characters were morally grey (at least in my eyes haha). It also really showed in their thoughts; “To do the one good thing that I must do, I find myself caught in a thousand small evils.” I really liked this line. It also showed a lot of the characters determination, to keep on fighting for what they believe and not stop until they’ve succeeded. I also liked how the characters were very similar, albeit the different circumstances. Vesper and Dalca, both having fears and wanting the same thing. It was interesting to see that.

The dynamics and romance in this book were written really well. I loved the dynamics between Iz and Cas, the dynamics between Vesper and Iz and I really liked the romance that bloomed. It wasn’t a lot, so I kinda hope for more of that in the sequel.

The pacing seemed a bit off at times, but especially towards the end. The actions of some of the characters also seemed a bit off, out-of-character almost. A sudden 180 switch in what they think. It was a bit confusing and weird that they suddenly changed like that.

Overall, it was an amazing debut book with a wonderfully created world and a group of determined characters who’ll fight for what they believe in.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars
The Darkening is a deliciously gripping, dark YA fantasy I couldn’t get enough of!
It’s an action packed feast for the senses with a richly woven world full of magic curses ,political intrigue and morally grey characters which I found rather endearing.

It’s set in a sweepingly atmospheric world where a cursed, storm wracked city’s only hope lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a Prince who fears the very throne he’ll inherit.

Prince Dalca was born for one Purpose: to protect his home from the deadly storm that surrounds his city and curses everyone it touches. Vesper Vale is the daughter of failed revolutionaries. Since the Queen sentenced her mother to death by the storm, she and her father have been on the run.

So when the queen’s soldiers—led by Prince Dalca—catch up to them, Vesper will do whatever it takes to protect her father from sharing her mother’s fate. Even if it means arming herself with her father’s book of experimental magic, infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers or cheat her way into his cold heart.

But Vesper’s learnt there’s more to her mother’s death than she’s realises. With her home and all she love in peril she only has two choices: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the storm…

I really enjoyed this and found myself completely immersed in Sunya Mara’s lush prose and atmospheric story telling.

I absolutely loved our fearless and persistent protagonist Vesper and her being the daughter of two failed revolutionaries, on the run was such an intriguing premise that we don’t encounter often and I really enjoyed exploring the aftermath and consequences of their failed plot. Vesper’s entire life is shaped by her parents actions and it’s interesting to see just how much life on the run/ being the daughter of a wanted man has affected her.

Her attempts—to save her father and the city do kwepnbackfiring on her, but I found her determination and resiliency in those instances super relatable. Trust me, Vesper’s a very easy character to root for.

I loved the supporting cast as well, especially Iz who definitely has a rogueish charm. surprisingly I also really liked Casvian to I initially disliked but he grew on me in the second half of the book. I did also like Prince Dalca and the slow burn, enemies to lovers romance that blossoms between him and Vesper was really well done. Though, I have to admit, I was sorta rooting for Vesper and Iz.

The ending was unbelievably action packed, I’m talking plans out of the window/ everything goes wrong and I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of it!

The fact that this is a debut is amazing given how well each plot and subplot is seamlessly woven together—I cannot wait to see where Mara takes us with the sequel because that (cliffhanger) ending was soo good!

Also, thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for the e-arc.

Was this review helpful?

𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞: The Darkening
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫: Sunya Mara
𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Fantasy Young Adult
𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Darkening is a turbulent read that has completely blown me away. The ending? I need answers.

• An action-packed read. The premise hooked me and sounded so promising!!
• The writing is engaging and flowed well. One could easily devour this book in one sitting (one being me haha).
• I liked Vesper as a character. She's determined, stubborn, and flawed. But it makes her so real, so palpable. She's desperate to save those who she loves and is relentless in her pursuits. Whilst she makes some of the most terrible and questionable decisions at times, you can't help but root for her.

• I can't wait for the next instalment?? The ending? I need more!
• The tonal shift towards the middle-ending may be divisive for some readers (especially towards the ending), however, I found it reflective of Vesper and her character. Plus, I found it was gripping.

𝐈𝐧 𝐚 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞:
✔ Enemies to lovers
✔ Court intrigue and revolutionaries
✔ Experimental magic

𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫: fans of YA fantasy, reminiscent of Shadow and Bone (dangerous Storm)

𝐂𝐖: death of a loved one

Thank you to @NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 𝐌𝐲 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐠: 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐣𝐨𝐲.𝐜𝐨𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐠 𝐮𝐩𝐨𝐧 𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞

Was this review helpful?

𝘈 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘳𝘺. 𝘈 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦. 𝘛𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘮, 𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘱𝘵 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺…

This book you guys! With such an interesting and thrilling story carried out in a brilliant way it was pretty much impossible not to be completely captivated. There’s so much going on yet with several subplots, morally grey characters and secret agendas. The entire world that Sunya Mara has created is so interesting and imaginative. I love to discover new magical systems, how they interacts and/or changes the laws of nature.

The concept of Ikonomancy is unlike most of the magical systems I’ve come across. The idea of how one with the right knowledge of how to combine certain ikons can access power which makes the impossible possible. We are already familiar that words and symbols can carry immense powers. But Ikonomancy takes the power of words into a completely new level.

Then there’s The Storm, which is just as interesting as Ikonomancy, if not even more so. The Storm a dark phenomenon with creatures straight out of nightmares. The way it’s described makes it seem like The Storm is more than just a bit of bad weather hiding beasts. The Storm itself almost appear sentient, like it’s observing the city it surrounds, waiting for something… or someone.

The Darkening isn’t your usual ya fantasy feel-good novel with a perfectly happy ending. It’s an adventure of epic proportions where the characters are pushed to their very limits, hopefully figuring out how much they are willing to sacrifice before it’s too late… Sunya Mara sure knows how to keep the readier on their toes until the very last page.

I cannot express how much I’m looking forward to see this incredible book out in the real world. I’m definitely looking forward to all the discussions and everyones thoughts. And finally getting to nerd out about it with fellow booknerds <3

𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘏𝘰𝘥𝘥𝘦𝘳 & 𝘚𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘈𝘳𝘤 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘕𝘦𝘵𝘎𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸!

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: