Friday, September 21, 2018

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love

Title: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love)
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy 
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Source: ALA Annual
Format: ARC

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 (goodreads).

Give the Dark My Love was a story of testing the limits. 
Plot: Give the Dark My Love followed teenaged Nedra who left her small village in the north to attend Yugen Academy, a prestigious school filled with legacy kids who had the best access to education. On her scholarship, Nedra's only focus was to find a cure for a plague that haunted the poor. Give the Dark My Love was a dark story which sometimes made me uncomfortable. In a time when sickness was spreading like wildfire, Nedra was willing to do anything to find an answer, that ranged from experimenting on rodents to making sacrifices. 

While Give the Dark My Love hit all the right notes, I wasn't able to give this book more than 3.5 stars and even now, I'm not sure what didn't sit right with me. The ending had a bit of a cliffhanger and I'm curious to see how Revis tackles it. 

Characters: Nedra went under some rough character development in Give the Dark My Love. The poor girl entered the novel as a hopeful innocent who didn't care what others thought of her, but who wanted to bring joy to others. As the plague started spreading and she realized that she was truly powerless to help her loved ones, Nedra snapped and embraced the darkness she said she would never court. 

Give the Dark My Love was told from the perspectives of Nedra and Grey. Grey was a student on the same track as Nedra but with a completely different background. He came from money and influence and didn't have Nedra's drive to find a cure for the plague since it didn't affect him. I wasn't sure what the purpose was for including Grey's perspective, he didn't have enough chapters to come across as a sympathetic character nor did he feel like an important part to Nedra's story. 

Worldbuilding: I'm still a bit hazy on the empire and I'm hoping that the second book gives more history to the empire's growth. In Give the Dark My Love, we were introduced to the Emperor who was 18 and clearly unfit to rule an empire. Various influential men were grumbling and talking of revolution which I'm hoping is brought up in the second novel. One aspect I didn't quite understand was the empire's expansive growth. Nedra lived on Lunar Island which was colonized over 100 years ago. What I didn't understand was what happened to the people who lived on that land before the empire took over. There was no mention of wars nor did the citizens of Lunar Island look different from the Emperor who hailed from the mainland. 

Short N Sweet: Give the Dark My Love will undoubtedly make you feel uncomfortable, even though I expected a bit more from it. 


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