Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 202
intriguing YA fantasy with a sweeping romance
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
EMBER OF NIGHT is an intense and steamy YA fantasy read. The book follows Harley, an almost 18-year-old who has spent her life trying to survive her abusive and alcoholic father. She dreams of the day that she turns 18, and she can get out of his house - but only if she can take her 8-year-old sister, Ray, with her. Ray is a talented artist and hangs out at the place where Harley works when not at school to avoid their father. Harley has really taken on a parental role throughout Ray's life.

One night at a concert, Harley meets a mysterious boy who fascinates her. After they dance, she expects never to see him again- until he shows up as the new hire at her work. Harley finds herself pulled toward Draven, seeing much of herself in him. As they circle each other, greater forces at work, leaving Harley trying to figure out who she is and what her role will be when it all falls apart.

What I loved: The romance here was fantastic - all the swoon and steam, and I completely loved the couple, the way they came together, and every scene they shared. The first person perspective of Harley really pulls the reader into the story and keeps it moving quickly. We learn things as she does, and there is a lot to figure out in this fast-paced story. The mystery and thriller elements propel the plot forward quickly, and it is ultimately a highly readable book that is easy to lose yourself in.

The book tackles some really heavy themes around abuse and self-worth. While some of these were hard to read, the tenacity and hope that Harley carries make her story one that will resonate with readers. I appreciated the way that resources are given prior to reading and later presented in the story as she begins to be more honest with herself and those around her.

What left me wanting more: The only thing I would want more of is more of this fascinating story. The world-building gives us enough to understand the basics, and the reader learns alongside Harley about the forces at work and the ways that she may impact them. I did still want to know more about this world, the structure, and major players. Although major plotlines were wrapped up here, it does seem like there might be a next book with the way it ended, and that may provide more world-building as Harley herself learns still more. As a smaller point, there was a character (Anka) that I found particularly intriguing that suddenly disappears, and I would have loved to see how she plays into it all.

Final verdict: With sweeping romance, a fast pace, and heavy themes, EMBER OF NIGHT is an unputdownable, raw, and powerful YA fantasy. Highly recommend for fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout, Sarah J. Maas, and Victoria Aveyard.
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