DARKDAWN by Jay Kristoff – double review!

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?


Title : Darkdawn
Author : Jay Kristoff
Series : The Nevernight Chronicle (book three)
Format : eARC/audiobook
Page Count : 512/22 hours
Genre : YA fantasy/Not YA
Publisher : St Martin’s Press/Hodderscape
Release Date : September 3, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Writing a review for book three, or any concluding novel, in a series feels like an impossible task. Not quite up there with writing said concluding novel, or the ones that came before, but.. y’know. Close. Ish.

‘Byss and blood, how did you find us?
I poked my nose into the first whorehouse I saw. After that, I just followed the trail of vomit.”

I lived and breathed this series for close to three weeks or so. I was late to the game but determined to figure out what it was all about as it came to an end. What was this character, who was to murder as a maestro was to music, all about; how dark was it really; and gosh darnit, what was all the fuss about the footnotes?

Do you remember that time we were acolytes and you talked me out of doing something I desperately wanted by appealing to my sensible side?
No.”
Me neither.”

Now I know. Now I understand. Now I can’t wait for you to read this book.

How do you all know each other?
We studied together.”
O aye? Public institution, or Iron Collegium, or..”
.. it was a school for fledging assassins run by a murder cult..
Ah. Private tutors, then.

For those of you who made it as far as GODSGRAVE, and survived that ending, I think you’ll be very very happy with what Kristoff has done, and how he’s done it, in the end. The build, the evolution, the smut, the heartbreak, the hilarity, the vastness of this world.. it’s just something else. I had finished NEVERNIGHT somewhat ambivalent, a little wanting, but I haven’t wanted for much since. The following two instalments have been so much good, with much gore, and even more graceful weavings of such a complex story.

..’deserve’ has nothing to do with this life. Blessings and curses fall on the wicked and the just alike. Fair is a fairytale. Nothing’s claimed by those who don’t want it, and nothing’s kept by those who won’t fight for it. So let’s fight. Fuck the gods. Fuck it all. Let’s take the world by the throat and make it give us what we want.”

And yet I am satisfied. Maybe a little sad. Maybe a little stunned. But satisfied.

If I don’t come back.. remember me, neh? Not just the good parts. The ugly parts and the selfish parts and the real parts. Remember all of it. Remember me.

This is a series I can see myself returning to, maybe even loving enough to award full marks to if I ever do revisit, and that says a lot, I think. More than anything else I could say. Because this is hard to describe. It features young adults, but it’s an adult story. It’s sweet, but brutal. It’s devastating, but heartwarming. It’s heartbreaking, but hilarious. It’s bloody, but adorable. It’s smutty and delightful and complex and yet, ultimately, very simple. It’s also such a visual tale. The city, the mythology, the monstrosities, the sky. Kristoff’s writing is long and descriptive af but damn does it do the job.

Death is the promise we all must keep, sooner or later.

I loved this journey. And I’m excited to read on in this author’s other solo works. But more than that, I can’t wait to experience the reactions of those readers who have waited, and waited, for this ending. I hope it was worth it! Because, though I do think book two miiiight be my favourite, I definitely thought this a worthy conclusion.

Would recommend!

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 4 star review

DARKDAWN felt like a really long book, longer than the others even when I know it’s not, but I feel like so much more happened. The different phases of the story were so different and vast. There was a slightly annoying amount on time spent on the love triangle in this book and considering I’ve never liked Ashlinn, I think we can all guess who I was rooting for in this. The outcome of that was slightly dissatisfying but bearable. After all, it wasn’t the most important part of the book to me.

The dead boy has a fan in me and I thought he deserved so much better but in some ways he was a little one-dimensional in his devotion and zombie-like status. I think this was intentional in terms of who he’d become but I missed the old T. On the one hand I judge Mia for her decisions and on the the other, who am I judge?

The Scava and Jonan storylines were like candy to me, I ate those parts up and adored the journey of the relationship between Mia and Jonan. The stories of Eclipse and Mr Kindly were tough and warm, hard and endearing. Mercurio was Mercurio but with shiny bits. The ocean journeys were long, and the story that became the culmination was less my cup of tea. The final demise of Mia (we don’t have to pretend we don’t know this, it’s the first page of the first book) was a bit of an anti-climax to me. I almost tuned out a bit after this as it kept going, thus my 4 star rating despite much enjoyment earlier.

Holter Graham’s narration continued to bring this story to life in the best way and I’m so glad I took an audio route on this series. I have to disagree with Hollis on the genre, it isn’t YA fantasy in my opinion or Mr Kristoff’s I believe, grim dark fits best. I think this series overall is pretty fantastic and memorable and I’m just going to spend a bit of time getting the phrase ‘Byss and Blood’ out of my head!

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 3, 2019

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!
As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE by Evie Dunmore is a fantastic debut addition to the historical romance genre. This is the first in a series in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a powerful duke in a love story that threatens to upend the British social order. Hollis AND Micky loved this! Look for their reviews tomorrow.

THE HARP OF KINGS is the newest offering from Juliet Marillier. This new series opener features bards and warriors and even has a few throwaway references to her last series, Blackthorn and Grim — but this can totally stand on it’s own. If you love historical fiction with fantasy leanings, specifically fae, you should definitely check this out. And then go back and read all the Sevenwaters books..

DARKDAWN, the final book in the Nevernight Chronicle trilogy, by Jay Kristoff, is off to stab stab stab its way into your heart. Possibly literally. Look for Hollis’ review later today!

THE GIRL THE SEA CAME BACK by Adrienne Young is the companion to SKY IN THE DEEP. I would definitely recommend this viking YA fantasy, particularly to those who didn’t love the first book (like me), because it was everything that was good about book one but.. better and more.

THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS by Katy Rose Pool is a mashup of GRACELING and a more mature Falling Kingdoms while also being a great twisty, epic, dark fantasy. Hollis really enjoyed this and can’t wait for more.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS by Katy Rose Pool

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it?

For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes.


Title : There Will Come a Darkness
Author : Katy Rose Pool
Series : Age of Darkness (book one)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 496
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date : September 3, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I think when I requested this book, the only bit I knew about it was “the Age of Darkness approaches and five lives stand in its way”. Because when I opened this book and started reading it, I was delightfully surprised. And hooked.

He’d been on his own since he was eleven years old, and in that time he’d traded parts of himself — dignity, virtue, a clear conscience, if he’d ever had those things — to save the whole. He hadn’t balked once.

This actually feels like a more mature, and darker, version of the Falling Kingdoms series. We have multiple POVs and the main characters overlap and connect in various ways, though they aren’t coupling up the way the other series did. Or at least not yet. The over arcing plot is a Big Bad who is looking to eradicate the Graced, a percentage of the population who have powers, who can channel esha (the energy of the world), to their bidding. Some have strength, some can heal, other see the future. So it’s not quite GRACELING where everyone’s Grace is unique, but rather that some are Graced and others.. not. And that’s the big conflict. Beyond the, whole you know, Age of Darkness ending the world and all.

The Paladin were the servants of the Prophets, and they had left to protect their last secret. But what if, in leaving, they had abandoned the Prophets’ subjects at the moment they’d been most needed? Were they then to blame for how hollow the City of Faith had become?

There is a secret order of people who have guarded the last big prophecy from the world, who retreated when the last Prophets left, and this prophecy pulls on the threads of fate for our main characters. Some are harbingers, some are hope, others helpless to do anything but play their roles. It’s twisty and so so compelling. But the author, through her characters, challenges some of those fantasy tropes and sprinkles doubt into the minds of our characters. I felt that to be so great, so authentic, and far more interesting than the usual scope of fantasy archetypes we normally see.

Whether or not you agree with the Witnesses, you cannot deny that you have been held back by the rules set down by the Prophets centuries ago. That the Graced will rule, and the rest of us will merely be footnotes in their stories.”

I’m not sure I have favourites yet but more importantly there wasn’t a single POV I disliked. I loved how the plot played out, the betrayals, the reveals, the mystery that still lies heavy over everything. Again, I hate to make the comparison because plot-wise and theme-wise they aren’t the same, but this is exactly what I wanted when I picked up the Falling Kingdoms series. And it’s also diverse — there seems to be no racism or prejudice.. beyond the fact that the Witnesses and Hierophant want to eradicate the Graced. But, strangely, even his argument lends a kind of logic to it all. I won’t spoil it but.. yeah, I was just really impressed with pretty much everything in this book.

I can’t wait for more!

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

MONTHLY WRAP UP – AUGUST 2019

To close out each month, we’ll be posting a break down of everything we reviewed, beginning with the reads we loved.. and ending with the reads we didn’t. Not only does this compile all our reviews in one handy summary for you to peruse, or catch up on, it also gives us an interesting birds eye view of the month and our reads. And maybe, even, our moods.


☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

HEARTSTOPPER VOL 1&2 by Alice Oseman — see Micky’s review here
THE WALLFLOWER WAGER by Tessa Dare — see Micky’s review here
TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE by Becky Chambers — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

ALL THE BAD APPLES by Moïra Fowley-Doyle — see Hollis’ review here
HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS by Kerrigan Byrne — see Hollis’ and Micky’s review here
ASK AGAIN, YES by Mary Beth Keane — see Micky’s review here
SAPPHIRE FLAMES by Ilona Andrews — see Hollis’ review here
SEA WITCH and SEA WITCH RISING by Sarah Henning — see Micky’s reviews here
WE HUNT THE FLAME by Hafsah Faisal — see Micky’s review here
GODSGRAVE by Jay Kristoff — see Hollis’ review here
DEAD VOICES by Katherine Arden — see Hollis’ review here
GRIP by Kennedy Ryan — see Micky’s review here
BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo — see Micky’s review (with Hollis’) here
MOTI ON THE WATER by Leylah Attar — see Micky’s review here
DAISY JONES & THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid — see Hollis’ review here

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

DISCRETION by Karina Halle — see Micky’s review here
NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff — see Hollis’ review here
THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai — see Micky’s review here (!)
FIRST COMES LOVE by Emily Giffen — see Micky’s review here
TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT by Marie Brennan — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ star reads

LOVE, UNSCRIPTED by Owen Nicholls — see Micky’s review here
SARONG PARTY GIRLS by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan — see Micky’s review here
SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME by K.A. Tucker — see Hollis’ review here
GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE by Natasha Ngan — see Hollis’ review here

star reads

THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai — see Hollis’ review here (!)

unrated reads

LET’S CALL IT A DOOMSDAY by Katie Henry — see Hollis’ review here


additional reads not reviewed for blog : 8
total reads by Micky : 26!!! COUGH, COUGH
favourite read of the month : HEARTSTOPPERS 1&2
least favourite read of the month : SARONG PARTY GIRLS
most read genre : Fantasy/contemporary

total reviews by Hollis : eleven
favourite read of the month : ALL THE BAD APPLES by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
least favourite read of the month : THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai
most read genre : fantasy/contemporary split