Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House International for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love 1) by Beth Revis
Release Date: September 25th 2018
Tags: Fantasy / Necromancy / Medic School / Alchemy / Hospitals / Plague / Politics / Grief / Horror
Trigger Warnings: Animal Cruelty / Death
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.
Sometimes a book leaves you conflicted. Give the Dark My Love is one of those. On the one hand I enjoyed reading it, but on the other hand I have a lot of bits and pieces that didn’t work for me.
Let me start with the writing itself which was good. The prologue gave us a taste of what was to come and then it build itself up slowly, becoming an atmospheric horror book. However I did find the build-up lacking. This has to do with details. Nedra is trying to find a cure with her mentor and for a good portion of this book she works in the hospital or works in the labs with him. But there are never any specifics on what they do in the lab to find a cure. It is just kind of left up in the air. It made the leap they made towards the origin and cure of the plague somewhat unbelievable. I don’t think the explanation was on board for it either. And there are other specifics surrounding this plague that bother me. The ending with it was just convenient to me.
Another element was that this book was told in dual point of view. For the majority of the book we get Nedra’s point of view. But every now and then Grey, her love interest, pops in with a point of view. Honestly his chapters were pointless up to the end and even then something else could have been done with the information he provided. His point of view was there to offer us more insight on the politics but that unfortunately failed. There was not nearly enough on it to give us a good feel for the revolution behind the scenes. Or why Lunar Island so desperately wants to become apart from the emperor. I get it had it been the poor, but this revolution wasn’t coming from them.
Having said that I still enjoyed this book though. The prologue made me so happy I decided to give this a chance because I liked the necromancy. I liked how it took something from the necromancer. That portion was just really well done for me.
Nedra was an interesting person who fought for what she wanted. She never really gave way to all the distractions surrounding her (like the instalove) and kept her nose pointed in the direction of wanting to find a cure for the plague, about learning all she could about it. Too much even so. The decisions she made were morally gray, asking us if she wasn’t becoming a villain in herself.
Grey on the other hand was the perfect poster boy and it made him so incredibly bland. He never really managed to properly stand up for Nedra (not that she needed it) or truly support her.
I am very interested in seeing how this continues in a next installment. While there is no cliffhanger and the base of this plot has come to an end, I am very curious to see where Nedra goes next.