Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1)
by Beth Revis
What is it about:
When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island's wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn't quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.
All, except for Greggori "Grey" Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that's for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it's making its way toward the cities. With her family's life--and the lives of all of Lunar Island's citizens--on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.
Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy's most dangerous corners--and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.
What did I think of it:
I will confess I thought this book would be creepier, but even though it's not I very much enjoyed it.
I liked Nedra and could understand her drive to find a cure for the plague that's taking the lives of the poor. The contrast between her and the rich students was stark and believable. I was invested in her well-being and her progress in finding the much needed cure. Grey was likeable enough, but a bit unthinking and shallow at times. The viewpoint switches between the two of them with the main focus on Nedra.
The progress of the story is slow, but not in a bad way. I liked how the pace mirrored the slow building frustration of Nedra. Only late in the book things speed up, when an important event drives the characters to act instead of trying to carefully plan their next steps.
If there was one thing that didn't work for me, it was the bond between Nedra and Grey. Grey works as a viewpoint character to show how the rich think and what is going on politically, but I couldn't really believe in the feelings he and Nedra had for each other. Mostly this is because he seemed too carefree and Nedra too focused on her work. There were not enough scenes for me to show how they fit together.
That aside I loved the story and the atmosphere. Even though it's not a creepy story, it is a dark one. The ending was very satisfying and makes this book work great as a standalone, but also leaving enough open to make you eager for more. I will certainly keep an eye out for a sequel.
Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful and dark YA Fantasy read.
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