Review: The Darkening (The Darkening #1)

Title: The Darkening (The Darkening #1)
Author: Sunya Mara
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Gold Leaf Book Box
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

In this thrilling and epic YA fantasy debut the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne.

Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that 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, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm.


Vesper Vale lives in a city that is trapped by a dangerous storm. Everyone who touches the Storm is cursed, and anyone who enters the Storm doesn’t return. Vesper’s mother went into the storm after killing the king, and Vesper now lives in hiding with her father. When Vesper accidentally exposes her father’s skill with the magic of ikonomancy, the Queen’s soldiers find them and capture her father. Vesper sneaks into the palace, and she must get close to the prince in order to find her father and save everyone from the approaching Storm. 

I was hooked right away in this story. There was lots of tension and danger when Vesper’s dad was discovered. The stakes were high since everyone in Vesper’s life was gone. She also didn’t have anything left to lose, so she took a lot of risks. This made for an exciting story. 

This story is set in a creepy fantasy world. There is a storm surrounding the city, which is divided into rings. The royals and the most elite residents live in the center, with poorer people in each ring further out towards the Storm. The storm has actually absorbed some rings completely so there are less than there once were. This reminded me of the extreme weather we have all over the world. Between wildfires and flooding storms, there is so much unpredictable weather, just like this dangerous Storm that curses anyone who touches it. 

The Darkening is a thrilling start to a fantasy series!

What to read next:

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Have you read The Darkening? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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