Creepy Mansions and Magic: My Down Comes the Night Review

 I've been waiting with bated breath for Allison Saft's Down Comes the Night ever since I first saw it announced. I mean, enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance with gothic vibes??? YES PLEASE! So when I was lucky enough to win a bound manuscript of it in a Twitter giveaway, I was on cloud nine.

Did it live up to my expectations? Read on to find out!

Book Title: Down Comes the Night
Author: Allison Saft
Publisher/Year: Wednesday Books, 2021
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages (According to Goodreads): 400
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):

He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the magic in his darkness.

Wren Southerland’s reckless use of magic has cost her everything: she’s been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard and separated from her best friend—the girl she loves. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate, Colwick Hall, to cure his servant from a mysterious illness, she seizes her chance to redeem herself.

The mansion is crumbling, icy winds haunt the caved-in halls, and her eccentric host forbids her from leaving her room after dark. Worse, Wren’s patient isn’t a servant at all but Hal Cavendish, the infamous Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. Hal also came to Colwick Hall for redemption, but the secrets in the estate may lead to both of their deaths.

With sinister forces at work, Wren and Hal realize they’ll have to join together if they have any hope of saving their kingdoms. But as Wren circles closer to the nefarious truth behind Hal’s illness, they realize they have no escape from the monsters within the mansion. All they have is each other, and a startling desire that could be their downfall.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

Love makes monsters of us all.

Long story short, this book was every bit as awesome as I hoped it would be! From the gorgeous writing to the swoony romance, Down Comes the Night hit every beat and left me a puddled mess of feels *sobs but in a good way*

Let's get into why ...

Move over, Darklina -- there's a superior hero/villain ship in town!

Okay, this isn't *totally* accurate, since Hal isn't really a villain anymore. But STILL! Hal and Wren's romance was SUPER cute, especially since I'm a SUCKER for the hurt/comfort trope. And need I mention that there's a "there's only one bed" scene?

It helped that I loved both characters in their own right to begin with. Wren learns over the course of the story that her compassion is not a weakness, but a strength, and I was cheering her every step of the way! It was so great to see Wren navigate her relationship with her aunt Queen Isabel and her friend-slash-sorta-ex-lover, Una, and fight back against their perception of her as a bleeding-heart liability. Partially thanks to Hal, she realizes that she is lovable because of her compassion and empathy, not in spite of it.

And Hal himself is everything a supposedly-villain love interest should be -- learned his lesson, willing to do better, and secretly a huge cinnamon roll who's head-over-heels for Wren. Unlike a certain YA villain whose name rhymes with the Carkling and is way too toxic for an endgame relationship. I said what I said 😤

The Magical Mystery (Tour)

The magic system in this book is one of the best I've seen in a YA fantasy. I loved the biological aspects of Wren's magic and the descriptions of how her healing powers work. It came across as very well thought-out and well researched, and really helped draw me further into the world!

I'm also a sucker for a good mystery, and this book reminded me a lot of the historical mysteries I used to DEVOUR as a kid. Nothing like a creepy old mansion full of secrets to suck you into a story! All the twists kept me sprinting through the pages to find out what happened next. I especially loved how well the mystery, fantasy, and romance elements balanced and played off each other, rather than any one element seeming underdeveloped. BRAVO!

Trigger Warnings for Down Comes the Night

The author's website lists the following content warnings: "graphic depictions of surgical procedures; gore, including descriptions of wounds, blood, and corpses; implied torture (not shown on page)."

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, this story balances fantasy, mystery, and romance to create a truly stunning reading experience! Anyone looking for a great standalone romantic fantasy with a dash of fanfic tropes should definitely check this one out :D

Down Comes the Night is available everywhere, so check out the links below if you want to snag your own copy:

Barnes and Noble | | Amazon | Goodreads

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