I picked up an ARC of Give the Dark my Love by Beth Revis at San Diego Comic-con, and it honestly may be the best thing I got this year. I didn’t even know about this book until Penguin Teen released their ARC giveaway list, and if you haven’t heard of it yet please read on to learn why you should add it to your TBR right away! Five Stars.
Click here to read the synopsis!
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.
The first thing I want to say is that this is not a romance, but it is very VERY dark. There is a romantic subplot but it is not the primary focus of the story. The book deals with death, grieving, violence against humans & laboratory animals, and medical trauma. I felt that all of these elements were approached in a respectful manner and I absolutely loved the book overall.
“It is no easy thing to lead a city faced with an enemy that cannot be fought, but I will fight with you all.”
I did not read the full synopsis myself. As soon as I got to the words “…a deadly plague” I was sold. Plague stories are some of my favorites, and this one ranks up there with Rosemarked by Livia Blackbourne for my favorite examples of this story archetype. As in Rosemarked, Give the Dark my Love focuses on a woman, Nedra, who wants to help plague victims in any way she can. She makes huge sacrifices to her own personal safety, sanity, and education in order to fully devote herself to this cause. She is intelligent and brave in the face of other students who look down on her because of where she was born. Nedra is somewhat socially awkward as well, which I found made her incredibly relatable. In short, she is my latest girl crush and I love her.
“My papa says 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.”
The second POV character is named Greggori, or Grey. His role is definitely secondary to Nedra, though he demonstrates some of the central themes in the book spectacularly. Grey is a highly privileged individual, and Give the Dark my Love emphasizes the role of the privileged for better or worse. Grey himself is oftentimes not willing to use his voice to its full extent which leads to some conflict throughout the story. He is also unwilling to question some alchemical practices because he has been taught to fear them by his betters. This takes him down a road he never imagined and one could have prepared for. In addition, Grey provides a point of comfort for Nedra amidst the darkness. He serves as an advocate for self-care, even when the world is crumbling.
The darkness of this book cannot be overstated. There is one particular section that I felt coming and honestly didn’t think I could handle. If you enjoy darkness in the form of death, grief, and necromancy then I highly recommend you add this book to your reading list. It is scheduled for release on September 25th, 2018, and I can’t wait to talk to more people about it.
Quotes are from the ARC and are subject to change.