Give the Dark My Love was a book I ended up falling head over heels in love with. Nedra is this intensely fierce character who is driven by ambition and love for her family. And she makes some mistakes along the way. But she is incredibly endearing and I love her with all my heart. And this book has alchemy, so yeah, I loved it.
When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy.
A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.
All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities.
With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.
Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure.
Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness.
CW: amputation, animal deaths
Nedra is the fiercest and I love her little angry heart. At the same time, she’s angry about the plague, about the injustice, about the fact that the students around her don’t care about the plague. The plague that’s killing the people she loves, that decimates villages, that the rich don’t seem to acknowledge. And I feel for her. Because that would make me rip roaring mad, seeing red mad, the injustice on that scale. She reminds me of if I were a teen feeling all this anger bubbling up in me. And I love her.
The world of Give the Dark My Love is immersed in politics, elitism, and injustice. It’s seething with the poor dying and the rich being willfully ignorant. I know I keep going on about the injustice, but it’s what I remember so vividly. The visceral feelings I have of anger and rage on behalf of Nedra. So well done Revis! But even more so, there are holidays, traditions, and crumbling pastries. What more would you want?
I could write an essay about how much I love Nedra. She is determined and passionate even if it has the potential to lead her astray. And as a teen, especially growing up with Twitter and what I know now, I definitely think I would be like Nedra. I don’t think I’d be as powerful, because Nedra has some serious alchemy skills, but I would be as fiercely enraged for sure. And what do you do with passion and power if the world won’t listen?
Her journey is so emotional, because Nedra is trying so hard to be more, to be better, to solve this problem. Her empathy, her love, and her determination strikes you off the page. She is so full of wanting that it twists your heart. And so we have to ask ourselves, at the end of the day, what the right decision is.
Can we make the right choices that are fueled by the wrong reasons? Or do we make the ‘wrong’ decision which is fueled by the right reasons? How much do we sacrifice to bring forth this vision?
(There’s also this fundamental aching sadness Nedra has to have more time with the people she loves, and gosh if that doesn’t get you….It’s so universal and it’s an unfairness without bounds).
I can’t even say too much about why I loved this book because it would spoil it, but please read it. If you loved books like The Bone Witch, A Thousand Lanterns, Clariel, you will love this!
What are your thoughts on anti-heroines, do you have a favorite one?
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