Audiobook Review: The Darkening by Sunya Mara

Title: The Darkening
Author: Sunya Mara
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: July 5th, 2022
Publisher: Clarion Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

“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.” (Goodreads)

When I first started this, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. I’ve seen good things about it but you still never know how you will actually feel about it. I did like a lot of what I read. There are some interesting and unique aspects to this story. I think it set up for a sequel well and I am curious to read on. I do think that some aspects could have been done a bit better for my taste but it’s nothing that really makes or break the story one way.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Vesper Vale. She is the daughter of revolutionaries and her whole life has been running from the past with her father. These events lead to a very exciting beginning because the past has finally caught up.

Vesper will do anything for her family. You can tell she cares deeply for her father and would leave safety to continue to stay with him. Although this can be a weakness for her, she still remains loyal and I respect that. I can understand wanting to do anything for family. Her love for her father leads into the wolves den and we begin to really meet and get to know those who are in charge and take care of the storms.

The storms were a fun aspect. I can only think of one other book with storms and that would be Roar by Cora Carmack. Each writer uses storms in a different way so reading this one felt like a fresh take. Who knew beasts could come forth and wreak havoc?

There are other characters that play bigger roles and ones that feel smaller but do have impactful plot points. I think it was a good mix to have. I will say that for some I felt more for than others and this did effect how I felt about certain plot points, or lack of feelings. The romance was okay but I feel like it didn’t have enough time to develop for me to be rooting for them. I hope there is better development in the next book.

Another thing I wish I had more of was world-building. I feel like there was a bit but I am still confused by certain things. There may be more explained in the next book since I guess I would say it is a part of the plot but we will see.

Overall, this was interesting enough for me to want to continue. I do think that the narrator did a great job and it left me wanting to keep listening.