Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Summary from NetGalley:
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.
Love makes monsters of us all
ARC provided by St. Martin’s press via NetGalley for an honest review.
This one sounded so good, and the cover is great, but for whatever reason this just didn’t ever click for me. I never seemed to connect to the characters or to the story. At times I would even say I was bored and totally underwhelmed by the whole thing. But, it could have been me. I have seen some glowing reviews, which makes me think that this is a it’s not you but me situation. But I have also seen some where the reviewer had many of the same issues as I did. So I am not sure what to think.
Wren is the sole narrator, and she was an ok character. She makes a lot of mistakes, and some of them are potentially deadly. But she seems to always muddle through and survive. She was a bit whiny as well, especially when it came to how her sister treated her. I could get behind her healing skills and her compassion though. She always made the right decisions in those cases, even when she whined about how she was dangerously draining her own magic.
I liked Hal a bit better, and would have loved to hear part of this story from his perspective. He was much more complicated and made better decisions than Wren, but he also went along with some of her poor decisions, which he should have known better not to. Never felt the love connection between them, although I did appreciate that it wasn’t instant love, at least on his part.
The world building I think is what bothered me the most in this story. I don’t mind when there are a lot of different genres mashed together, but the mashing needs to make sense and needs to be clear. This one was a constant muddled mess, that seemed to change from one chapter to the next. Part of that I think was the writing style, which also didn’t work for me. I did find the magical system interesting though, and would have liked a little bit more about it worked into the narrative.
The plot was also a bit of a mess, and slow and I found myself putting it down in the middle of a chapter, which I rarely do. I also didn’t like that I had the mystery figured out about 25% into the story. Lord Lowry wasn’t the evil, nasty bastard that he could have been. We just didn’t see enough of him to really get to know him and his motives. This story had some potential though and there were glimmers that had me hoping that things were going to click, but they never did. The ending was kind of a hot mess and totally improbable in my mind.
As I have said before, it is sometimes hard to review an ARC, because you know that there is the potential that it is still a work in progress. I certainly hope so in this case. I think the bare bones of this story was quite good, I can certainly see the potential here. And like I said, there are plenty of people out there who really liked this story. You might be one of them, so at least give some of those reviews a look and decided for yourself. Please don’t judge this book on this review alone.