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Give the Dark My Love

Give the Dark My Love

Book - 2018
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Told in two voices, seventeen-year-old alchemy student Nedra turns to dark magic when a deadly plague sweeps through her homeland leaving her new friend, Grey, to pull her from the darkness.
Nedra Brysstain left the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy with only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. She's a scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island's wealthiest and most powerful families. Greggori "Grey" Astor is taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra. She is deeply invested in her studies because a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it's making its way toward the cities. Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague. When she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. -- adapted from jacket
Publisher: [New York] :, Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC,, 2018
ISBN: 9781595147172
1595147179
Characteristics: 351 pages ; 22 cm

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This was such a glorious, dark book, with so many elements that are exactly what I love about this kind of YA fantasy. It avoids so many cliches, excessive romance, and any of the tropes that come along with the idea of necromancy, and I loved it.

Nedra Brysstain lives on Lunar Island, a small colony separated from the mainland but ruled by the Emperor all the same. She lives in a tiny village and dreams of being a medical alchemist in order to give the people she loves the care they deserve; in a system rife with inequality and disease, she is determined to help in any way she can. She travels to Yugen Academy on a scholarship to make her dreams a reality, but when she arrives, she finds a system set on her failure - and a world set on the destruction of the people she loves most. She will have to sacrifice everything to get what she wants, but when it's her soul on the line, everything changes, and Nedra is forced to make a choice that could break her.

The darkness is what sets this book apart from others in my mind. There is no shying away from the gory details here, and readers should know that going in. There are some scenes that made me queasy, others that made me put the book down for a minute just to catch my breath. A plague that blackens limbs and kills slowly is vicious to read about, as are the amputations and the rat abuse that colour the pages of the whole novel, but overall, it just made me love it all the more.

Nedra is such a genuine character, and her descent into darkness feels so authentic. I absolutely loved how, though she falls for Grey through the first half of the book, it's not an all-consuming type of love; she maintains this sense of who she is and what she wants and it's stronger than her attraction for him. The book has chapters told through Grey's perspective as well, and I loved how those chapters showed the way he sees the world and how completely privileged he is in comparison to Nedra. I loved that contrast, and *spoilers* how she chooses the darkness over him. It gives me so much joy to see a girl reveling in the darkness instead of choosing the boy. *end spoilers*

The world is the only thing that makes me remove a star. It felt somewhat generic, like it could have come from any other YA fantasy in the game. Even the name, "Lunar Island", just feels like any other fictional world out there, and there were some descriptors Revis used that felt almost too modern for this kind of Old-England-feeling setting.

But all of that said, this book is wonderful. It's unafraid to face the darkness at its heart, and this made me absolutely revel in it. I love it when we get to see the rise of an antiheroine who chooses a path that others are too afraid to take. I can't wait to see how Nedra's story ends.

DCLteens Nov 12, 2018

A Must-Read Young Adult pick. Young alchemist Nedra turns to dark magic when a deadly plague sweeps through her homeland. Will her friend Grey be able to pull her from the darkness? The first book in a gripping fantasy duology.

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"I won’t come with you," he said, taking a step toward me. "If you do this, Nedra, if you choose necromancy...I will not follow you into that darkness."

"Oh, Grey," I said, shifting my bag on my shoulder. "What do you know of darkness?"

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