4 stars – love and the grief that comes with it, political intrigue, and a darkness I’m not sure I’ve read the likes of ever before, Beth Revis’ Give the Dark My Love will shock and horrify you at every turn and is not a book for the faint of heart.
Title: Give the Dark my Love
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopisis:“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.”
“A good book will give you answers to questions you didn’t know you had.
A great book will give you questions to answers you thought you knew.”Give the Dark my Love, Beth Revis
I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I’ll admit, I bought it because the cover and the title intrigued me and it was a bit of an impulse buy, but I do not regret it one bit.
It starts with Nedra leaving her little village and family to study at a prestigious school in the city. The introduction to this fictional world, its politics and religion/beliefs was fantastic. There was no dumping of information (praise the heavens!). It felt so natural to learn about this world that I felt like I could already understand the way these people lived.
There was a section of the book that I struggled with, where for about a third of the story, while Nedra’s studying and volunteering at the hospital, the same thing just kind of kept happening day after day. I feel like this part could have been done better so as to create more interest and build a better connection with the novel and the characters, but if you push through, trust me, the last third of the book is so worth it!
At first I didn’t gel with the first person telling of this novel and the switching perspectives between the two main characters Nedra and Grey. But it ended up working so well that I wish there’d been a few more Grey chapters so that we could’ve gotten to know his character a little better and see more of a development of him through the book.
So let’s talk about the characters. Nedra, our protagonist – she’s a twin, from a poor family in the north. She leaves them to follow her dreams to become a medicinal alchemist. At the school, she sticks out like a sore thumb but I love that she didn’t try to fit in. She accepted that she didn’t, and she focused on her own goals. Her development through the book is fantastic. She is almost a completely different person by the end (sort of), but her journey is so incredibly raw and believable that you don’t actually realise how much she goes through until you finish the book and look back on everything that happened!
Grey, as I said, I would have loved to get to know more. We get to see a little bit of where he’s come from (his family and friends and the rather privileged life he’s had), but there wasn’t all that much to him. He was more there to give another angle on Nedra’s character’s development and of course as a love interest.
I wasn’t too invested in their romance. It was sweet and well done, but I didn’t feel any chemistry between them. It felt more like the romance was thrown in as an afterthought. I didn’t like or dislike it and by the end it didn’t really bother me.
“I saw death itself.
It was a feral thing, made of smoke and shadow. It was hollow and empty.
And hungry.”Give the Dark my Love, Beth Revis
Be warned: some gruesome, hard to stomach stuff happens. There are details. Details of the sick, the plague, the hospital, torturing rats (yes I actually found that part quite hard to stomach!!), amputating and dead bodies. I think I could’ve finished this book in two sittings, except that I mentally needed a break from this stuff towards the end.
One thing that I really loved about this book was that I had no idea what was going to happen. I love a good plot twist (or five if your Beth Revis apparently), and the reveals at the end left me shook (THIS IS A RARITY – I’ve spoiled many a fantastic book for myself by guessing the plot twist/reveals, it’s a problem and I’m working through it okay!!!).
If you don’t handle sickness/death, gruesomeness and somewhat gory details, maybe think twice before reading this. But if you have the stomach for it I would definitely recommend this book! It was such a refreshing read, it was complex, the world building was fantastic, the characters were believable and SO MUCH happens. It’s an intense read, but definitely worth it!
If you have read it, what did you think of it?
Links for the book and author:
Beth Revis’ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4018722.Beth_Revis
Give the Dark my Love on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37789836-give-the-dark-my-love?ac=1&from_search=true