Book Review: DARKDAWN by Jay Kristoff

A illustrated cat with a snake and a ship (etc) in its body.

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 2.5 stars
Series: yes - last book of trilogy



Book cover for DARKDAWN: pencil drawn cat with a skull, a snake and other objects inside its outlineThe greatest games in Godsgrave’’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.

But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.

Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


*There are some contextual spoilers. I have tried to keep them to a minimum, but I wanted to discuss a second half plot point*

I am in two minds about this book.

On the one hand, I borrowed this from my friend and read it cover to cover in just over twenty-four hours. As ever, Jay Kristoff’s writing is so addictive, with such a funny, sarcastic tone – which really makes sense once the narrator is revealed. I wanted to know what would happen next.

The pacing was insane. It’s half of what made the book so addictive. Every page, something happened, pushing them through the world (as expansive and intricate as ever. There are some lovely descriptive turns of phrase in this book). I felt like if I put the book down, I’d miss what would happen next.

If it wasn’t action, it was Mia and Jonenn’s relationship developing. The barbs and hurt and love there was so good. The best bit for sure.

On the other hand, I had all the same problems – the excessive violence, the constant swearing and the sex (though this at least was toned down). And yes, I know it’s the style of the book, so why do I still read them? Yeah, I’m wondering that too.

However, this time that was not my main issue – instead that was the second half. I want to be as non-spoilery as possible, so apologies if this is vague. This is also where the contextual spoilers come in.

The thing that has been driving the plot of the previous two books is Mia’s drive for revenge, and then a big plot point comes up about the darkin. And the direction of the books shifts little by little and then BAM! it’s grab a support as it pivots completely from revenge.

I have said previously that I’m not a big fan of revenge stories, but this series was built around her desire for revenge. The reversal felt like a cheat at best. At worst, like Kristoff didn’t trust his audience to stay with Mia if she was only perusing revenge rather than something more altruistic.

The secondary problem this rapid reversal created was the knock on effects to Mia’s character. On reflection, Kristoff was clearly writing towards it all book, setting up that she’d make this choice, but it meant Mia was acting out of character. She didn’t feel like the stabby murder queen driven by loss and anger that I was used to. Justine at I Should Read That manages to explain that better than I am in her spoiler free review.

Read my reviews of other books by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (this series):

With Amie Kaufman:

The Illuminae Files:

The Aurora Cycle:

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