By Cynthia Bujnicki
Nedra leaves her home in hopes of becoming a medicinal alchemist, in the hopes of stopping the plague that is sweeping through the land. From the rural lands, she is looked down upon by everyone, everyone except Grey who sees something exceptional in her. As they grow closer, the plague moves further inland, attacking poor and rich indiscriminately. However, when Nedra begins to suspect Necromancy as the cause, she sets out to learn the darkest of the alchemist arts to stop the plague. However, will doing so take her down a dark path she can never escape?
What an absorbing novel. One of the key selling points of this novel is the uniqueness of the concept and the way it follows the characters. It splits between perspectives of Nedra and Grey. Nedra is a formidable character because she is personable. She has this fierce passion that stays with the reader long after they have finished the novel. Nedra is a compassionate and intelligent character from the poorer provinces, and now she is entering, on her merit, a school for the lite in the hopes of finding a cure for a disease that is ravaging the land. Nedra inspires the reader to feel her passion and to connect to her via her roots and her passions. She has a strong head on her shoulders.
Grey, while also a compassionate character, is from the more prosperous lands. He is a well-off character, expected to enter the elite school; he is expected to pass. That is not to say that he does not care about the people around him but given his standing and his upbringing, his connection to them falters, and for Nedra, this offers her a better understanding of the world outside her village.
The characters balance each other very well as they open each other’s eyes. While Nedra is the more passionate character, willing to do what is needed, this does not undermine the reader’s connection to Grey. There are two facets of the story, one from the poor perspective and the other from the rich perspective that gives the reader a well-rounded look at the world in the story.
As for the story, it has a steady pace. It is unique in the subject matter and in the way, it goes about evolving it. There are times where the reader is left unsure as to what direction the story is flowing, but there is also an unpredictability to it that allows the reader to go with the flow and appreciate the otherwise “slow” pace of the novel. The tension gradually rises as it continues to explore both the disease as well as the dynamics between the characters. So much happens in the novel, but it feels like more could happen. The realism and the way Revis connects the reader to the characters makes the story compelling. The reader is on a journey with the characters as they explore and grow; going through the motions makes the story thrilling. It just unfolds, like magic, before the reader, luring them into this world, and that is part of what makes it such a good story. Never mind the expertly written characterization, the story and the journey, they make the story even more riveting to read.
Give the Dark My Love is slow and steady, add to that the compelling characterization and one has a unique stand out novel. (★★★★☆)