He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.
Love makes monsters of us all.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 3 Stars
As you may know if you’ve read my reviews, I always like to start with the things I loved about a book. This was a really quick read for me! The writing style made it easy to devour, with a solid mix of dialogue and description. Overall, I enjoyed Wren’s narration and found her to be a relatable character. The villain, while easy to guess, was appropriately blood thirsty and intriguing.
So, there are a few things that could have completely saved this book for me. I really wish that the publisher had pushed this book in a different way. it is said to be a gothic story, but I didn’t get that impression at all while I was reading it. While the ending was a bit macabre, nothing else really was. The setting certainly wasn’t gothic, as the house was described as creepy but the tone wasn’t set that way by the writing. I just wish the book was being pitched as a fantasy murder mystery – which is a much more apt description of the plot.
I also wish that the book had either been longer, or written as part of a duology. There is so much interesting world building to explore, and I felt as though more time could’ve been spent on both the politics and magic. It sadly felt a bit watered down to me, and I just wish that these aspects had held more depth. We knew that residents of two countries had magic, but the third didn’t. There was also talk of how each country viewed magic in religious and governmental ways, but that was again glossed over when it could’ve been explored in a great way had the book been longer.
Finally, although the romance is billed as love to hate, it never really felt that way to me. The hatred was immediately one sided, and even that dissipated rather quickly. This is another issue that I think could’ve been solved by a longer book, or just a second book. Standalones are difficult to write because most readers expect full world building with fleshed out characters and a resolution that doesn’t feel rushed. I feel as though that is such a hard thing to deliver in a single 370 page book.