Once upon a time, there was something called the sun … In a kingdom ruled by a witch, the sun is just part of a legend about Light-filled days of old. But now Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the Light—or lose everything trying.
Sixteen-year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. That’s because Queen Iyzabel shrouded the kingdom in shadow upon her ascent to the throne, with claims it would protect her subjects from the dangerous Light.
The Darkness has always left Siria uneasy, and part of her still longs for the stories of the Light-filled days she once listened to alongside her best friend Linden, told in secret by Linden’s grandfather. But Siria’s need to please her strict and demanding parents means embracing the dark and heading to the royal city—the very center of Queen Iyzabel’s power—for a chance at a coveted placement at court. And what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of Light, alongside a ragtag group of rebels who could help her restore the sun … or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.
This book grabbed my attention from the beginning and I was completely drawn into this unique fantasy world. A world where a dangerous witch, Queen Iyzabel, has cast a spell on the kingdom shrouding it in darkness. Our main protagonist, Siria Nightingale, embarks on a perilous journey to bring back the sun. We encounter lots of colourful characters along the way and it’s bursting with magical beings of every conceivable kind. Admittedly, Siria’s character did frustrate me a little at first, with her naivety and constant self-doubting, but she transforms completely in the last few chapters and it’s wonderful to see her gutsy new character emerge.
The pacing is consistent and there is enough happening in every chapter to keep me fully invested in the story. There are some great action-packed scenes as well as some more gentle and tender moments. We learn a lot about the background of the world in the conversations between Siria and Yarrow and there is some lovely attention detail. The underlying romance is kept very innocent. I do love a good romance in a storyline, but to be honest I prefer a bit more sizzling chemistry going on.
There are some beautiful descriptions of the scenery and the kingdom and I love the scene towards the end where Siria was on the cliff top, that was a magical moment.
The scudding clouds turned a vivid orange, shot through with a colour like leaping salmon, and a gold so yellow it made my eyes stream. Never had I seen colours like these: colours that breathed, danced, sang, burned”.
All in all a wonderful debut novel. The book is perfect for YA readers, maybe erring more towards younger YA readers. However, as an adult I did in fact thoroughly enjoy reading it too. There is a great cast of characters, wonderful world building and overall the perfect escapism. I have to also mention the cover looks absolutely beautiful, and I look forward to seeing it when it goes on sale.
Publication date: 18 August 2020
Rating: 4 Stars
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC copy.
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