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Down Comes the Night: A Novel de Allison…
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Down Comes the Night: A Novel (edició 2021)

de Allison Saft (Autor)

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1098201,275 (3.83)No n'hi ha cap
Membre:stacyastokes
Títol:Down Comes the Night: A Novel
Autors:Allison Saft (Autor)
Informació:Wednesday Books (2021), 400 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Informació de l'obra

Down Comes the Night de Allison Saft

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Down Comes the Night is pitched as a gothic romantic historical fantasy novel and it both fits and doesn't fit that framing. I've been trying to sift through the various subplots and characters to figure out the essence of the book and I'm not sure it quite came together in the end. A case of close-but-not-quite-there. However, I think this is a book that will work well for a lot of readers, so let's get into it.
The story opens as Wren, unrecognized niece of the Queen, is letting her empathy overrule orders once again. She heals a prisoner and he escapes. Her commanding officer Una--the woman Wren loves--is angry but defends her when they're brought before the Queen. Wren is stripped of her military assignment and given two terrible choices: have her magic surgically removed or go heal in the mines. Her desperation leads her to accept an offer that seems too good to be true and she escapes Una's escort to the mines to serve as healer to a notorious nobleman in a nearby, un-allied land.
When she arrives, she finds out that everyone in the manor is dead or mysteriously sick, including a servant who turns out to be the baddest bad guy and heir to the kingdom Wren's people have been at war with for generations. The two nations are currently at an armistice, but soldiers on the border have been disappearing on both sides and war is looming. Wren is bisexual and Una is an emotionally-constipated disaster so I'm glad they aren't end-game, but Hal wasn't as swoony as I was promised. The world seemed queernormative which is always a plus!
The blurb tells you that Wren and Hal fall in love and save the world, but it doesn't tell you how damn gross this book is. It's pretty quickly apparent that the lord of the manor is responsible for the illness and death among his staff, but it gets worse as the book proceeds. There's a lot of discussion of eyeballs and a scene with a "wet squelch" as a speculum is inserted to take out an eyeball. I could tell that the author did a lot of eyeball research because it's very descriptive. *shudder*
Okay so eyeballs and murder and lots of gore and medical ick in general. The romance is present and I think it was probably okay, but I never really bought into Wren's quick forgiveness of a mass murderer. Hal is deeply apologetic and wants to make amends, but he's still a mass murderer, you know? Your mileage may vary.
In all, there are gothic vibes here and a historical-but-not fantasy setting, but it's not a true gothic. The characters are trapped in the house by illness and a murderous nobleman, but there wasn't a building sense of dread, that creeping, growing feeling that I associate with a gothic. It's certainly dark, there's a terrible mystery and quite a bit of angst, but something was missing. ( )
  Cerestheories | Nov 8, 2021 |
This was one book that wasn’t on my tbr at all. I didn’t know it had bisexual rep which would have made me more interested and the fact that it was a gothic mystery fantasy didn’t feel like my cup of tea. But I had a prompt to read a book with the enemies to lovers trope for a readathon and this seemed like the perfect choice. And luckily it turned out to a good one.

I have no clue why but I was under the impression that it was a novella and didn’t realize until I was part way through that it was a length novel, especially when I saw that while the pacing was good, there was a lot to explore and I couldn’t expect it finish below 200 pages. Then I relaxed and enjoyed the book much better. The author builds up the mystery very slowly and uncovering the truths was quite a thrilling experience. And as I’m not used to gothic settings, I was fascinated by Colwick Hall which was creepy and scary, and I could feel the dread right alongside the characters. The magic system also seemed pretty cool but as there was only one POV, we can only get to know the main character’s powers very deeply. Also this world was an interesting combination of magic, science and technology which is always fun to explore. As the main character’s magic is healing, the author doesn’t shy away from depicting blood and gore, but it felt was quite realistic from the story perspective. And while I truly couldn’t predict how this story could have a proper happy ending in just one book, the author does a wonderful job of wrapping up the main storyline but also leaving it to our imaginations about what might happen next ... and there’s truly a lot that we can envision.

This story really does justice to the enemies to lovers trope. Wren and Hal are not only from two kingdoms which have been at war for centuries, even their roles are completely opposite - while Wren has been a combat healer, Hal was a ruthless killer. So it mustn’t have been easy for the author to convince us that these two can bridge these differences, but the way the author develops this relationship is chef’s kiss. It starts off combative, with verbal barbs and banter, but their forced proximity and having to depend on each other forces them to see each other in a different light. Wren has always been impugned for being impulsive and kind and she feels guilty about it, but Hal’s appreciation for her kindness lets her realize that she is a good person. And Hal who has been disillusioned after years of fighting and killing in a mindless war, understands through her kindness that he is still redeemable and can save his country from more unnecessary devastation. It’s truly excellent character development, with excellent chemistry between the two and I thoroughly enjoyed their dynamic.

I wouldn’t want to mention who the villain is because why spoil it, but I loved how the author made them three dimensional - someone who craves attention and wants more of it, is obsessed with magic, and wants his country to be on the top. They are a not a mindless villain and while their intentions may be patriotic, the methods are truly mad and I enjoyed the slow unraveling of his true character. Una is another side character whose deep friendship and love for Wren has a lot of significance in the story, and while I didn’t always like her mindless dedication to following orders as well as putting down Wren for being emotional and kind, I could still see how they both valued each other deeply. Isabel is obviously a very important person within the story and but I thought we didn’t really get to know her.

Overall, this was a fascinating standalone fantasy which I had a good time reading. If you love gothic settings or the enemies to lovers trope in your fantasy books, then I promise you that you’ll find this book to be just what you might love. The audiobook is also narrated quite well and I had fun switching back between the audio and ebook. I know that the story is complete, but if the author ever decides to expand this world, I would be very interested. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Down Comes the Night is Allison Saft’s debut novel. As a debut, it is a perfectly adequate story involving two war-torn countries on the brink of another disastrous war and two enemies who learn to look beyond the surface to see the truths lying underneath. As an enemies-to-lovers fantasy, there too is it acceptable. While the story fails to wow you, it does enough to entertain as it drives home its lesson that emotions are not a form of weakness.

To me, Down Comes the Night is really more of a coming-to-age story. Wren must find her path as she waffles between her love for her best friend, wanting acceptance from her aunt, and following her heart. The story is Wren’s journey as she uncovers secrets, learns some hard truths, and discovers love where least expected.

The romance within Down Comes the Night is sweet but lacks any chemistry between the two characters. Even one very intimate scene is missing the heat one expects with such tropes. While I still enjoyed the trope, I missed the butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling a steamy, chemistry-laden relationship creates.

All of this reiterates that Down Comes the Night is a decent debut novel. After all, it follows a predictable path with one or two minor surprises to jolt you out of any sense of complacency. Ms. Saft’s writing is basic and simplistic, but I do think she shows promise. With a little maturity and more experience, I believe Ms. Saft has the makings of a good writer of young adult fiction. ( )
  jmchshannon | Mar 16, 2021 |
Down Comes the Night is the debut novel from Allison Saft, and it was the perfect book for the gothic, YA fantasy, enemies-to-lovers vibe I was feeling.

The plot was interesting, overall. Even though I was able to predict the main important plot point waaaay before Wren or Hal, and as a result, the middle seemed to drag for me (though some of it is quite possibly a result of personal stress that equated into lack of focus for reading...). The one thing I didn't like, however, was that I was hoping for more of a gothic vibe -- Wren's initial time at Colwick Hall was creepy, but over time, it started to feel a little superficial.

Generally, I liked the characters. I liked Wren well enough, even if her character came off a little flat sometimes. It was also cool to have a bisexual MC as well as a lesbian side character (representation is so important). I liked Wren's friendship with Una; it was complex and raw and frought with tension (spoiler: but they were able to resolve their issues...eventually). Hal was also a complex character who I adored. He had this tough outer layer, but once Wren pulled back his thorny exterior, he ended up being sweet and kind and so much more. Queen Isabel and Lord Alistair Lowry were a little harder to swallow, but that was the point of their characters -- and they were well written as well.

I thought the author's writing style was good, if a bit flowery. There were some instances where I felt like the author either repeated herself (to point out emphasis for a particular plot point) or just described something too much.

I will say that, even though there seem to be a few things that I didn't like, there was much more that I really enjoyed in this book, and it was exactly what I needed to get me out of my slight reading slump. I will definitely be looking forward to the next books by Allison Saft!

3.5 stars, rounded up.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this eARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. ( )
  Allison_Krajewski | Mar 15, 2021 |
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

War had made orphans of them all.

Down Comes the Night is a standalone story marketed as young adult, fantasy, romance, and Gothic. I don't often venture into young adult but I was surprised when there was a sex scene in the last ten percent of the story, but maybe this isn't unheard of. The characters are around nineteen which, with the overall tone, made me think this fit more in New Adult, just less sex than I'm used to seeing in that sub-genre. With our characters having magic abilities, Wren, who is our main protagonist, can heal and Hal, the enemy-to-lover, can kill with his eyes, the fantasy element was there. The world building gives us three countries, Danu, Vesria, and Cenos, with Danu and Vesria currently in a truce after warring for centuries. This is why the military ranks are full of young adults, as there has been mass casualties on both sides. The war seems to be about religious differences and power struggle between the magic empires. Cenos has remained neutral as their citizens don't have magic abilities.

“It’s uncomfortable, yes, to be so aware of you.” Good, she wanted to say.
Suffer with me.


The story is told from Wren's point of view and she is the illegitimate daughter of the queen of Danu's sister. With her mother and father both dead, Wren is sent to a holy cloister until she is twelve years old and then sent to the military academy to train in the medical corps as her magic heals. There she meets Una, and with a little hero worship in their relationship from Wren, they become friends and eventually have one night together before Una declares it can never happen again because she is Wren's superordinate in the military. When three soldiers of Danu who were patrolling the border between Danu and Vesria go missing, one who happens to be Wren's friend, the queen sends Una and Wren to investigate. Wren's sense of mercy allows a lead to escape and she ends up getting punished by the queen and sent back to the holy cloisters, feeling let down by Una. There she receives a letter from Lord Alistair Lowry III, a noble in Cenos, asking her to come help cure a servant and use her status as an almost royal to work as a liaison between their countries as he wants Cenos to side with Danu and defeat Versia. Wren, wanting to finally prove her worth, goes against the queen and Una and leaves to help the servant.

Something was undeniably rotten in Colwick Hall.

Wren arrives in Cenos, around the twenty percent mark, is where the Gothic tone creeps in more as Lowry lives in a dark and forbidding castle that is rumored to be haunted. It started off with Gothic promise but I'm not sure it was fully sustained but if this is written for young adult minds, then the howling and mystery of the closed off East wing could hit the mark for them. When Wren goes to heal the servant, she discovers that the servant is in fact Hal Cavendish, The Reaper of Vesria, a soldier that has killed thousands of her country brethren and supposedly in line to become the ruler of Vesria. While at Colwick Hall, Wren discovers that Hal's sickness and Lowry are not all they seem and she finds herself growing to care for Hal as she battles the desire to deliver Hal to the queen and become a hero in the queen and her country's eyes.

But it would never be simple. He was Vesrian, and she was Danubian.

I thought around the fifty percent mark, when Wren finally begins to trust Hal as he says that he is also investigating disappearances but of Vesria soldiers, that the pace started to slow down. The newness of the world ebbed and I started to look for more depth behind certain elements, the queen's obsession of clocks, the queen herself, the war, Severance (taking away someone's magic), and world itself. Wren trying to figure out what exactly is going with Lowry had her going in circles for too long and then Wren and Hal running from the castle felt needless and pointless to the overall plot. At first, the story felt set in some kind of fantasy medieval time but when it moves to Cenos, it switches to Victorian, which with Cenos supposed to be more technologically advanced, I guess could make sense but really it just made the fantasy and Gothic elements not mesh right and neither ended up feeling developed fully.

I believe you, he’d said, with more trust and affection than she thought she’d ever deserve. Now she had to believe in herself.

The author's messaging was clear, endless wars cause horrible suffering, the lies from leaders at the top usually have self-serving purposes, and mercy and caring are not weaknesses. Wren and Hal getting to know one another and dispelling rumors and lies about each other, clearly built up their friendship. Their attraction had sweet moments that I thought fit into young adult but their physicality sometimes leaned into New Adult for me. The messaging was good but I thought it got lost in some slow pacing that could have been trimmed up. As fantasy novels usually come in trilogies though, Down Comes the Night does deliver a good story in a one-stop. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Mar 14, 2021 |
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