Author: Allison Saft

BOOK REVIEW: Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

BOOK REVIEW: Down Comes the Night by Allison SaftDown Comes the Night by Allison Saft
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched, gothic, romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.



Hal had let her believe, for the first time in her life, that it was alright to feel passionately, fiercely. And oh, she did. She did. If any feeling would kill her, it was this one. She was in love with Hal Cavendish, and he would never know it.



Allison Saft is a new to me author who came seemingly out of nowhere and stole my heart right out of my chest. And here we see such beautiful, vivid imagery, just like her sophomore novel-A Far Wilder Magic. I’ll admit that, while this novel was epic in a way I did not expect, it didn’t quite beat A Far Wilder Magic. I think there’s almost always something to be said about a first novel you read by a certain author-it sets the pace. It enraptures you with said author’s writing style, prose, and depth of those first characters. It’s always wonderful to pick up another novel by your favorite authors, but there is still always something sweeter about meeting a new author and what they bring to the table-but this was so very good as well.

The only natural light filtered in through a round window at the end of the corridor that watched her like a half-shut eye. The snow accumulating on the windowsill would soon consume her view entirely. Wren wondered if this was how it felt to be buried alive, watching as the darkness swallowed a single point of light.



I can see where this was a ‘first book’, the author finding her feet and learning what works for her and what doesn’t. And where A Far Wilder Magic had-in my humble opinion-flawless writing that you immediately became immersed in,

No one moved. No one breathed. Piecing her own experience into anything coherent was like reassembling a broken mirror, every shard a fragmented sensation, an eternity condensed into a moment.



I will say that as this story progressed, I did see where there was some writing that wasn’t as smooth and languid as her sophomore novel was.

Maybe the only difference between a monster and a hero was the color of a soldier’s uniform.



That isn’t to say I wasn’t OBSESSED with every detail-every description-every character (well, Wren and Hal)-every moment…because I was. I was so deeply enthralled with this really sad start of enemies to lovers (okay but I’m weak-bad past actions cannot deter me from falling for the vulnerable new Hal who knows he can’t trust anyone but decides to trust Wren anyway, OKAY) who have to try and trust one another to stop a darker evil from ruining the world as they know it. The chaos about to descend upon them from one small mistake was enough to give me heart palpitations all while gobbling up the epic betrayals and hurt and heartache that comes with working with your most dangerous enemy.

She’d always known what they had couldn’t last. She’d tried to protect herself from the pain of losing him, of wanting him when duty would inevitably call him away from her. Time and time again, she’d measured out the distance between them. And just as many times, she’d run headlong toward him.
Her stupid, reckless heart.



This book was a bit, dare I say, macabre…but this is what made it all the more tantalizing, in my opinion. At one point, I felt a grief so strong, I just didn’t want to believe what I was reading. And, on top of that, every dang moment in that house was enough to give me chills and had me sinking lower into my couch to avoid making eye contact with the bugs [fingers] tapping on my blindness windows. I was shook.

She wasn’t weak for feeling, either. Hardened hearts were breakable. But hers had endured again and again. As much as it terrified her, Wren wanted more than anything to believe herself. But right now, she only needed to convince Hal.



But, alas, I am a wuss and I got through it just fine when they began to see that they needed to work TOGETHER if they wished to defeat their new common enemy and I didn’t have to endure near as many ‘sneaking into forbidden rooms with shadows lining the walls all by my lonesome’ nonsense. I’m sorry, this sends my pulse into a panic and I can’t help but notice my blood pressure goes through the roof. I do NOT like sneaky uppies (I’ve been reading about Seth Cappella way too long, lord help me).

“You understand you’ve made a serious commitment, yes?” She wound her arms around his neck. “I might not let you go.”
“A terrible fate, indeed, to be your prisoner.”



I already spoke of really my only complaint (just lack of perhaps dimension and expansion on certain parts), which leads me to how wonderfully my FAVORITE part was done: Hal and Wren. I’ll admit Wren was a bit hard for my taste, even though its far and away totally jUsTiFiEd, because who wouldn’t be cautious of their mortal enemy. But-seriously-hogwash, because the girl KNEW she wasn’t making the right decisions and she KNEW she felt crappy about it so…I stand to be a little sour towards her because, I’m sorry, in certain moments she did NOT deserve my Hal (again, I realize she is 1) looking out for herself 2) he’s a mortal enemy 3) it’s all she knows. I KNOOOOOWWW, but this is FICTION and I will POUT and stomp all I want).

Her whole life, she’d been accused of feeling too much.
Now she felt nothing at all.



I would be remiss, though, to not mention how wonderfully this romance, the tension, the arc of their untrusting relationship built into something just so….sweet and pure.

His eyes met hers, deep as a moonless night. Confusing warmth blossomed within her chest, unfurling into her fingertips. No one had ever looked at her like this—like she might be dangerous. She liked it. Especially coming from someone like him.



And, near the end, with all that unsavory business….I can’t help but clap because WOWowowowwowowow that. Was. INTENSE. And, during all the intense: heartfelt. Kind. Just…so vulnerable and honestly beautiful. Then, of course, my favorite-a side of absolute deranged peril that was completely and utterly unhinged and YES I wanted to personally claw my eyes out *smiles serenely because I loves it and I devours it *.

She liked the way he listened and the way he looked at her, like she was the first breach of sunlight on the horizon. He made her feel important. Like she mattered. Like she wasn’t entirely broken.



And, also, this book was home to one of my favorite *~bEtRaYaL~* scenes and it lives rent free in my head blink by blink, moment by moment. It plays out so beautifully, with such an-UGH-amazing AMAZING show of character depth and inner heart and I just…UGH. I AM TRASH FOR IT.

She’d known it for a while now. Hal Cavendish, who held her against him like he’d die if she slipped away, was no monster. She wanted to cling to this version of him—hers—and never let him go.



So..I don’t know. I guess that’s it? A whole lot of crazy and not much sense to be had, but I’d be upset with myself if I didn’t act true to myself and, if I’m being honest, one of the things I love most about this author is her ability to create tense situations for our characters that are falling in love (even though they never want to), and not pulling any punches about bad things occurring. I really do feel this isn’t done enough-or well enough-in books and I will always stand behind and book push a story that isn’t afraid to *go there* and make you wonder if our two lovebirds will truly have to deal with something unsavory. The savagery fills my cup, really, and I will lap it up greedily every time it presents itself to me. So. There you go. Take my neurotic self as you will, and I hope at least one thing piqued your interest. If this book simply isn’t for you, try her other story- A Far Wilder Magic. And if THAT isn’t your cuppa tea either, well… I don’t know. I can’t help you. Because I love her and I will ALWAYS love these two books with my whole heart. Also, how dare you.

“Maybe I’m wrong,” he said pensively. “I still have things I would kill for. But perhaps the most important things—what truly drives us—are the things we would die for.”




*~FRAN SCALE~*
Jen-Ahhh I really think you might like this!! But I adore Allison Saft shamelessly.
Cassie- Probably! I don’t predict all time favorite but I have high hopes all my friends would enjoy it! 🙂
Arielle- Hmm. I pretty much text you all the plots and quotes etc so I probably ruined it for you lol. BUT YES. I’d have said you’d enjoy it if not really like it.
Anna- *smirks in ‘you told me so’*




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A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison SaftA Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.

Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist--yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he's landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.

Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it's like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt - if they survive that long.

In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.


*ARC PROVIDED BY PUBLISHER IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*

The more dangerous the monster, the more glorious the hero who slays it.

Where do I even begin this review? I literally, from the moment I started, fell in love. There are just some books, ya know, that feel right when you start them, like they were made for you at this exact moment in your lifethis is one of them. And from that final page, all I’ve thought about-day and night-is getting to this review. So many thoughts. So many emotions. So much gratitude. I request arcs, sure, but when I sent out my request with this one, my heart went with it.

“Besides, dreams don’t always have to be practical. That’s why they’re dreams. And now ours live and die together.”
“Together.” It’s such a foreign concept.
He grins at her. “It’s you and me against the world, Margaret.”

It began with the cover-that beautiful, unique cover-I saw it and just had to know more. Upon further inspection, I just knew it was a book I was going to devour, to love, to cherish-it did not, at any juncture, disappoint. My heart leapt into my throat the minute I saw it in my inbox and I plotted for days to make time for it. I’m a simple girl-give me a steady, slow-build fantasy with a slow-burn romance…I’m sold.

She pauses, drawing in a shaky breath when her throat begins to burn. She will not cry—not in front of him. “I’m asking you again, Mr. Winters. I won’t ask again after this. Please stay. There’s no one else I can ask.”
“God,” he says softly. “Please don’t look at me like that.”

I don’t ask for much, so when a book delivers just that-my simple tastes-it better be well-written and deliver in spades. Don’t worry, it did its job splendidly. And here I am, days after finishing and DYING to write this review, and I am, of course, sick [again] and not saying things how I had planned on saying them due to my foggy mind-I apologize to this beautiful, amazing, mesmerizing book, because it deserves so much better, but I also cannot wait another moment to spill my fresh thoughts onto the page, so bear with me.

The day he met her, streaked in dirt and despising him, he never imagined she could do this to him. How could Margaret ever think he’d lose himself to alchemy when he has already hopelessly lost himself to her?

Maggie and Wes were two characters that made my heart soar simply because they were written into existence. The flip and play on grumpy/sunshine (can I call Wes sunshine? I don’t know. And can I call Maggie Grumpy? No…she’s just steadfast, serious, and unsure, but…) where the female wasn’t bubbles and sunshine was refreshing.

Girls like her don’t get to dream. Girls like her get to survive. Most days, that’s enough. Today, she doesn’t think it is.

And I really enjoyed Wes being the goofy, playing-at-being-light-hearted while undoubtedly tortured underneath hero.

Misfortune has hardened them both. It’s roughened her, but it’s polished him to a sheen. If he lets the world believe he is all surface, then there is nothing to expose. Beneath her implacable stare, however, he is utterly naked.

It was nice to see that, while he put up a good front, he had inner demons, too. Wes felt he couldn’t show them, so it made his character far more complex than what the heroine could see.

He’s survived this long by letting everyone believe he’s selfish and shallow. It’s better that way. No one knows how to hurt you if you always play the fool. No one can truly be disappointed in you if they don’t expect any better.

The depth of these two characters pulled at my heartstrings so brutally, sneaking slowly into my bloodstream and pumping into my heart resolutely and without invitation. They were embedded in my DNA far before I even realized it, and that is truly the sum of my favorite kinds of stories. The stories where nothing big is happening at all, just small moments building up into a storm of wants, needs, and desires, of heart and soul being woven into every page, fracturing your heart in tiny fissures until you are a part of the book as much as it is a part of you. You live and die as these characters breathe and fight and mourn for one another-you are them and they are you, and there is nothing you can do about it but hope it doesn’t end in heartbreak. Dramatic, yes, but no less true.

Love is not the sharp-edged thing she’s always believed it to be. It’s not like the sea, liable to slip through her fingers if she holds on too tight. It’s not a currency, something to be earned or denied or bartered for. Love can be steadfast. It can be certain and safe, or as wild as an open flame. It’s a slice of buttered bread at a dinner table. It’s a grudge born of worry. It’s broken skin pulled over swelling knuckles.
It’s not enough anymore to do this for Evelyn. Maybe it’s for Wes, too.

I can’t even begin to explain how hard it is for me to connect to a book-truly connect-to the point of not caring what happens so much as the ride is worth the while. Does that make sense? Maybe not every moment plays out as you’d hope (though, I could argue that almost everything I could possibly wish for comes to fruition), but every moment stays with you, builds up to something, makes you feel. At a certain point I realized I didn’t even know what the hunt was, just that I was ecstatic it was there and we were living in it.

As she watches him walk away, the answering squeeze of her heart is as distressing as it is painfully familiar. How many times will she watch someone leave this place and never look back, while she is left here like a ghost to haunt it?

I think that is partially what scares me about my precious book-that maybe others, like me, won’t understand that this isn’t a days long hunt (where did I even get this from? I was straight up imagining a Hunger Games situation??) even though, honestly, I should have known better. Most of this book is literally a crescendo of happenings leading up to the hunt-the hunt does not last long, and I only say this in forewarning for those who might not know and might expect more. If you want MORE hunt, LESS build-up/preparing/small town hatred and bias, this simply is not for you. Me? I’d say my rating is fairly on the nose, but my heart is not so obvious.

If she must be seen tonight, she will be incandescent.

I like both scenarios, if it’s not clear in literally every other fantasy review known to man I’ve written or in the earlier part of this review-I both LOVE books where we have more buildup, characterization, less action based but a wonderful payoff of heart and depth in the end, and books that are more about getting deeper into the grit of the moment that the book was aptly named for. I like both. But there is, now that I am a more seasoned reader and more self aware as to what works for me, a common key that makes or breaks a story for me: character depth and character interactions.

As hours became days became weeks, she realized that if her mind could protect her from remembering Evelyn’s failed experiment, it could protect her from this pain, too. She could learn how to make the sting of abandonment fade into numbness. She could learn to detach until it felt like she wasn’t real at all.

That’s right-you can have the most romantic and perilous beast of a book but it doesn’t mean squat to me if you haven’t built up a relationship between our main characters or fleshed out their thoughts, desires, and inner selves thus making them into actual relatable people. I may be picky…but I think anyone who doesn’t value character development can’t possibly have lasting love for a book or series. If your love for the main characters fizzles out, what do you even remember about said book or series? How can any tension or high action moments make your heart palpitate to the point you can’t breathe if characters’ actions and justifications weren’t built on what all you knew the characters struggled through and grew from to get to that point? Just my opinion, though. There is no lack for character love here, at least on my part.

Today, one of them could die. There’s nothing for them to tell each other that they don’t already know. He sees it in her eyes. He’s tasted it on her lips. She writes it on his skin every time she touches him. But in all his mother’s legends, there is binding power in words, and Wes doesn’t want to die without his soul entwined with hers.

And, to really-truly-end it with a final thought, this novel also heavily touches base on religion as a means for being outcasts of society. While I may not have wholly grasped every concept, I loved the way the author made me connect to the characters because they were outsiders. That may be the loosest way we were meant to connect, but I fell hard for our two outcasts, their struggles, the way they felt a kinship to one another and never judged the other for who they were or where they came from. Cast aside and bullied, this made for some very amazing scenes that became favorite moments.

This is nothing more than they’ve already exchanged. A sacrifice for a sacrifice, a dream for a dream. Their bargain is its own kind of alchemy.

I still feel so honored to have received this novel early from the publisher and count my blessings that one of my most anticipated releases became a quick instant favorite. I don’t know that this will be for everyone, my closest friends included, but it was for me, and that’s really all that matters. The depth, the pusle-pounding, the slow-burn of so many things (romance notwithstanding), and the creepy vibes the hala emitted…I’d say this book ticked all my favorite boxes. I hope that so many more people agree with me, because I can’t wait to gush about it over and over as people around me discover this wonderful gift of a book.

I’ve recently decided to start a friend scale for my closest friends (WHOSE READING PREFERENCES I KNOW INSIDE AND OUT) on if they’d enjoy it since they almost always ask if I think they’d like a book. It’s really just for fun because, honestly, I hook them with sending quotes and fangirling with my favorite passages and that’s generally how they decide, but either way, here it is.

FRIEND SCALE:


Arielle- You might find a lot of enjoyment, but I didn’t envision you reading it at any point
Jen- No
Cassie- Not likely
Anna- Yes! I really do think you will enjoy it! You’ll have your qualms, but, well. Oh well.

****

Slow-burning, torturous, intoxicating-I am irrevocably in love with this book.

I couldn’t be more obsessed if I tried. Any book that I read through a migraine (from literally beginning to end) and have to read late at night with my eyes barely open and I STILL love and cherish it-there’s something to be said about that. I don’t think it’ll be for everyone, but it was perfect for me. I am so grateful to the publisher for this arc and I cannot wait to read it again.

RTC SOON

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