Rating: ☆☆ ☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 480 pages
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.
Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.
Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.
HERE FOR THIS.
What a great start to a series. I’m glad I picked this one up, and enjoyed it as an audio version too!
I’ve heard this had some World War vibes and I can definitely see that. It was really interesting to match that up with a fantasy world (but with no magic). My only issue was that the world was a bit confusing. I had a hard time remembering which nation was which and who was mad at who. By the end that was mostly cleared up, but I’m hopeful that book two expounds further.
I also want to mention that I’ve seen some comparison to The Winner’s Curse (which is one of my favorite series FORRRREVERRRRR) and I can see some semblance. Competing nations, forbidden romance, a princess. So yes, if you enjoye that series, I’d give this one a try.
Smitten with the romance. I was worried there would be some insta-love based off of how the plot was rolling, BUT ALAS, there was not. Just some genuine attraction and burgeoning feelings. I love that Aurelia and Athan wrote letters to each other. It made the fact that they were in different locations not seem as big of an issue since I still got those connections over the letters.
I’m genuinely thrilled to see where this goes. There’s a lot here. Plenty of things to still happen. I love the action and pacing of this first book.
Overall audience notes:
- YA Fantasy romance
- Language: some
- Romance: kiss
- Violence: airplane battles (and crashes), physical altercations, gun violence
- Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, depictions of wartime