Review of ‘The Darkening’

The Darkening offers readers a non-traditional enemies-to-lovers story about one girl eager to save her father and unlock the mystery of the storm.


The Darkening
Sunya Mara
Clarion Books

The Darkening follows Vesper Vale as she navigates the mysteries of the storm and the magic that made father famous and hunted. A failed revolutionary, his magic left a catastrophic mark on the kingdom.

The story is a slow build, guiding the reader into the complex and captivating intricacies of the storm and its history.

Mara does a fantastic job building up the world here. There is a God who takes the body of the king or queen on the throne. His job is to guard the people against the storm, to find a way to protect it. Or so that seems. There is a lot of mystery in the novel; mysteries about the gods, the origin of the storm, and the curses it carries.

There is also the magic in the world. The form of alchemy the characters use is so unique. They use intricate symbols they can lay on top of one another to create something new. The structure of it is so impressive. It is powerful to see them using their hieroglyphics – icons here – to create a new language. Seeing it develop is fantastic.

And the way Maya just describes the power of words and symbols and how changing them can create something new is simply excellent.


Vesper goes through an incredible journey as well. But she’s not the only one. We’re following an astonishing cast of characters growing and evolving throughout the story.

Vesper goes from not believing herself, evolving from a shy girl who thought herself useless to a formidable young woman capable of saving a kingdom. We see her wit and her cleverness in the story. We know what she is capable of, the strength of her character, and to see her face the storm and the wrath of a god, it is incredible to see her move past her fears and become the hero.

Dalca, Iz, and Cas grow through such fantastic character arcs. Going into the storm, they face the darkness within them. They face the fears they hold deep within them. But together, they pull through, and the bonds that form and break between them impact the reader.

I went from hating a character to loving him in a matter of moments. We get to see the characters’ depth, allowing readers to relate to them.

Final Thoughts

The Darkening is a slow-build novel, but the build is there. The mystery, the magic, the character dynamics, and the development are so strong that they will captivate the readers. Looking forward to the sequel.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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