Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thank you, Penguin Random House, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this what necromancy was? Raising the bodies but losing the souls? What point was there in that?
Beth Revis is one of the authors who made me appreciate science fiction. I really enjoyed reading the Across the Universe trilogy when I was in college, and I was excited to read more of her work. She published a contemporary novel a year or so ago, but my waning interest in the genre failed to persuade me to pick it up. So when I learned that she was delving into fantasy, my favorite genre of all time, I was thrilled.
Although Give the Dark My Love had a predominantly fantastical story, it reminded me of Train to Busan, a popular Korean horror movie. (Just recalling all those zombies still makes me want to cover my neck.) Nedra, the female protagonist, was an alchemist who practiced necromancy. After being bombarded with tragedies, she gained the ability to “resurrect” and control the dead. Nedra was a benevolent character at the beginning, but in the end, she was more like an anti-hero. Basically, this book perfectly illustrated how good girls could go bad.
Nedra’s academic life was fascinating for me. I loved how she trumped the boys in Yugen Academy with her intelligence, proving that her scholarship didn’t mean that she was a mere charity case. In a way, Nedra was similar to Hermione Granger, bookish and always willing to share her knowledge with others. With that in mind, you shouldn’t be surprised that I liked her a lot; I will always have a soft spot for my fellow nerds. However, my feelings changed a bit as she gradually succumbed to the dark side. I didn’t dislike her, exactly, but I was perturbed by her regression (as intentional as it was).
As for Grey, the love interest, he was pretty unremarkable. He showed signs of infatuation early on just because he thought that Nedra was “different.” So cliche, right? I bet he would fall in love with anyone who wasn’t typical. Also, I felt jaded about how he didn’t want to be anything like his controlling father (another surprise there). Looking on the bright side, I liked how he became Nedra’s moral compass. Because of him, I have hope for her redemption.
The climax was the best part of the novel. I had no idea who was the real culprit behind the plague/curse killing off the lower class. It came to the point that I suspected Grey himself. Hahaha. Silly me. I shouldn’t have expected the worse of him. When the big reveal happened, I was stupefied. In fact, I had to reread it because I couldn’t process the revelation immediately. Kudos to the author’s excellent plotting!
All in all, Give the Dark My Love was equally saddening and entertaining. The unique magic system and political intrigue counterbalanced all the grief and bloodshed. I highly recommend it to readers searching for an insightful anti-hero story.