I was expecting something incredibly atmospheric from Down Comes the Night. And I was 100% satisfied. Down Comes the Night is a snowy, dark, and glittering fantasy. The world building was like wading through an evening blizzard with the wind whipping you back and forth. Keep reading this book review to see what I enjoyed besides the atmosphere.
Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.
The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.
With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Down Comes the Night questions whether we can see beyond the illusions. Whether that’s our history, censored and manipulated. Or the relationships that seemingly protect us, while secretly smothering us. Or even loyalty which so quickly becomes a conflict of us versus them. Wren has always been told that her compassion is a weakness. That during war, her mercy and kindness make her unfit to rule. Determined to prove them wrong, Wren embarks on a quest that will call everything she’s known to question.
Delightfully queer, Down Comes the Night gave me “Crimson Peak” haunted house meets luscious world building vibes. (I also want to say I haven’t seen “Crimson Peak” because I’m terrified). But it’s a detailed, mysterious, frost covered world. Nothing seems to be what they say they are and we aren’t the images we appear to be. The beginning half is character driven, focusing on creating an immersive atmosphere and introducing us to both Wren and Hal. All these games hidden behind gilded rooms and sneers behind masks.
Down Comes the Night is a story about wanting to be seen for who we are, not what we can do. About addressing our desires to live free of the shadows of the past. How we are content with sacrifices that aren’t our own to serve our gains. Once the plot crescendos, Down Comes the Night is full of double crossing and betrayal. But when will this cycle of vengeance and retribution end? And where does our future lie?