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The Dark Wood

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  62 reviews
A young woman trapped in darkness faces a choice--a chance for love or the freedom of light?

Stella lives in Noctum, land of eternal night. In Noctum, the stars shine so bright it feels like you can pluck them from the sky, festivals are held for each special moon, and the Northern Lights are worshipped every wintertide. But the darkness hides many sins. Draven, Noctum’s
Paperback, 334 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Flight + Fancy (first published September 17th 2018)
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Average rating 4.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  92 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Julie Embleton
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stella lives in a world of constant night, knowing nothing of a life balanced by day and night. When a mysterious man arrives in her home of Noctum, revealing her land lies under a curse, Stella finds herself battling a choice between love and light.

What a fantastic book! Sydney Mann’s The Dark Wood stole precious sleep from me, but it was worth every tired minute the next day. Mann has created a world of intrigue, danger and passion, the backdrop of a world under constant darkness adding tensi
Lion Key
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sydney J Mann is an outstanding writer with an obvious relationship with words. I loved the flow of the story, the characters, the world building, and the effect it had on my emotions. I was particularly fond of the character Damian. He teaches resilience and passion, something I live by in my everyday life. I did not take a liking to Stella. I thought she was very indecisive and a little selfish, particularly towards Damian. However, this should not and will not affect my rating, as I can't say ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m shook... this story is just aghhhh!! I couldn’t put the book down. 😭😂 the world, the imagery, the main character, the love interests: everything was done so right & so excellently!! I was engaged throughout the whole story & felt so immersed! The only thing I wish was also there was a map to see this beautiful world as I read along. Other than that, this is one of my new favorite stand alones (though i’m hoping for a spin off or a prequel because there are concepts & characters in this world ...more
C.L. Williams
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This wonderful book has turned out to be one of my favourite indie reads of the year. The wonderful writing makes it easy to immerse yourself in the world of Noctum. As one other reviewer has said Darkwood is an incredibly haunting and creative concept - to live your life without light. The world building is particularly well done and makes it easy to join Stella's journey to survival of the fittest. The characters are believable, the romance subtle and sophisticated and the plot fast paced. A t ...more
K.R. Hancock
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed The Dark Wood by Sydney Mann. I quickly found myself wanting to journey with Stella and cheering for her as she tried to protect herself and those she loved from the many dangers lurking in her world cloaked in darkness. Often in Fantasy novels I feel out of place in a new world but Mann does an amazing job with helping the reader to feel at home in the darkness. The story is fast paced and the writing is beautiful. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get lost in ...more
Renee Perez
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovers of the fantasy of Court of Thorn & Roses will reveal in Sydney Mann’s Darkwood. I enjoyed this read more than COTR! To be honest, I didn’t really love the COTR series. I jumped on those books only because everyone was posting about them on IG. Darkwood (and the author) caught my eye on IG as it peaked my interest as Mann does a wonderful job with teasers.

Darkwood is the story of a town cursed by darkness. Stella, our heroine has been born into this never had seen sun or light in the sky.
Julia Blake
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very impressive debut novel from an exciting new author. The Dark Wood tells the story of Stella, a young woman trapped in a world of eternal night ruled over by an immortal evil king. Life is short, brutal and ugly, as Stella is made tragically aware when her brother is killed by one of the monstrous beings that inhabit the dark wood. Yet hope is also eternal and when Stella sees a flaming shooting star fall to earth one night, she has no idea of the journey she's about the embark on.

I enjoye
Christina Marie Reads
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It kept me on the edge of my seat and burning through the pages until the early morning hours - I just NEEDED to know how this story ended - and what an ending it was!!

It's about a young woman named Stella who was born and raised in a land cursed with perpetual night. The darkness hides unspeakable creatures and crimes - life here in the Darkwood under the rule of the brutal and immortal king is viciously short. Stella has never seen the daylight, and light of any
Caroline Noe
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book by Sydney Mann and on this evidence I'd read others. The Dark Wood is set in Noctum, a cursed place of perpetual darkness where the grieving Stella has lost her entire family. Into her life drop two opposing men; Damien, the rough, dangerous guard and Luc, a mysterious traveller from a land of light. Soon all three find themselves in a fight to trust one another and break the curse that threatens everyone.
This is a well written and compelling YA fantasy that has considera
C.R. Alam
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A world of darkness, courageous people determined to survive, a delicate romance that shows love has more depth than just passion. I didn't know what to expect when I started this book, but as a fantasy lover, I got sucked into the world of Noctum almost immediately. I thoroughly enjoyed imagining the world the author created, getting to know the characters, following their daily hardship, and eventually their fight for survival. Mann's writing is beautiful. The imagery she painted perfectly com ...more
Keith Silvas
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read

I was drawn into this story and found it hard to put down. The story is filled with characters that I liked and cared about. Certain things could have been fleshed out a bit more, but it wasn’t a huge detriment to the story. Overall this was a satisfying read that I would recommend.
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie-authors
A really enjoyable read with an interesting premise.

It was a little blunt, but in a way that made it super easy to read a lot. Unwanted Protector isn't my favorite trope, but that's personal preference, and things worked out in a way that I was rooting for things by the end. Something about the Draven and Nobles Reveal caught me off-guard, but thinking about it it fits just fine. I was really happy about the Damian Reveal at the end because I was sure that I had caught similarities at the introd
M.L. Tishner
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I found this to be an amazing story that tugged at the heartstrings. I really like Sidney’s prose and the way she can gut your heart and still leave you wanting more is a gift not all writers possess. I look forward to reading more of her work.
Erin Mcfarland
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Often I have to give a book 50-100 pages before I really get into it, but his one grabbed me right away. The world and characters were so well developed and the symbolism of light and dark was really beautiful all the way to the nail-biting ending. The pacing was amazing, so much so that I could hardly put it down in wanting to know what would happen next. I'm so glad to have this story sitting on my bookshelf as a treasured favorite as I know I will pick it up again to return t ...more
Renee Dugan
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popsugar2020
Highly recommend this well-crafted novel!

Beautifully written, a love triangle that satisfied the romance reader in me, and a magical world with a fresh exploration of the dichotomies of good and evil, light and dark, The Dark Wood ticked all the boxes. The main characters are multi-dimensional with relatable strengths and flaws and each page left me wanting more. A definite five star read for me!
Brandon Epps
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Engrossing Fantasy Tale

This book is great! I thoroughly enjoyed Stellas story and her interactions with the inhabitants of Dark Wood. The world inspired in me a sense of wonder while also maintaining a constant feeling of unease and danger. I won’t spoil it with details but I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy!
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dangerously alluring, this is a story that will immerse you in its world and leave you wanting more!

Fear of the dark is innate in all of us. So, imagine what living your entire life in the dark would do to your life, the lives of the ones you love, the place you live. That is precisely the setting of The Dark Wood, in the land of Noctum, where night is endless and there are plenty of terrors in the woods to fear. Not just the woods, really, as the land’s ruler is equally frightening.

Oppressed a
Valicity Elaine
I love reviewing indie work—that’s one of the reasons I started The Rebel Christian—but as much as I enjoy supporting indie and self-published authors, I must admit that I’m very particular about reading books from that community. Unfortunately, indie and self-published authors have a very terrible reputation as far as editing and quality goes. There are so many great stories out there, but they fall flat because of poor editing or elementary writing. So, when I was approached by Mann for a revi ...more
Riella Cristobal
The Dark Wood is a fun, interesting fantasy book. From the first chapter, the story and developed world pulls you in. Even the cover is beautiful and mysterious, both drawing you in and giving an idea of the amazing story within. Stella, the main character and narrator, is sincere and compelling. Her struggle with loss and survival begin the story, allowing the reader to quickly empathize. However, the introduction of two strangers, she begins to learn secrets about her home and its eternal dark ...more
Dream Read Repeat
I loved this book. I mean, I literally read it in ONE DAY! It was so much fun and the world was so wonderfully done.

The Dark Wood is about a young girl who lives in a world where it is always night, always dark, and there is a very strict divide between those who live in the cities and those faced with braving the forest. Not only does the constant darkness provide really rich and detailed descriptions of people and things in the dark that I haven’t seen used before, it provides a really deep, o
Viola Day
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book a few nights ago, and I want to say so much about it. But I also don’t want to spoil it. This is the kind of book you read and then find yourself explaining all the characters and plot to someone.

Stella lives in Noctum, a land of night. As in, never the sun shall rise. While I had a few questions about how this might actually play out (a land of forever night), they could easily be swept under the reader rug of “it’s fantasy, go with it.” And Sydney does a gorgeous job of w
Mary Dean
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story! It was way different from anything I normally read. It had me hooked from the start. I found myself reading every chance that I got. I had no idea what was going to happen in this story. It is full of surprise after surprise. Stella is an independent woman in a world where it isn't too safe for her to be unmarried and living alone. She has friends who care for her. And now Damien, who worked with her brother, is convinced she needs him. He just wants to protect her but she do ...more
Danielle Smith
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an unputdownabe book. If you love fantasy and world building and a strong AF female lead, you will love love love this book.

Sydney Mann does an amazing job building a world where it is never light. Stella, our main character has only known darkness and danger.

The characters Mann gives us are complex and grow well. Stella is stubborn, independent and talented. Damian is mysterious and dark, yet there is something else there.

Here is what I loved:
1. Writing style was on point.
2. The charac
Shannon Condon
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first foray into the fantasy genre and Sydney Mann did not disappoint. She had me enveloped in the world of Noctum within the first few pages. I became completely invested in her main character, Stella and the reality she lived in. Noctum is always in perpetual darkness with the exception of a full moon and occasionally the Northern Lights. Not only did it's inhabitants have to find their way through the darkness but avoid predators, human and inhuman. Longevity is not something Noctu ...more
Dianna Davies
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book: I couldn't put it down! It was beautifully written and captivating from start to finish. It is a word feast, with such description, that I felt like I was there. It was my first time reading YA Fantasy and definitely not my last. In fact, I will be reading this again, just to enjoy the words. I rarely read a book more than once! The action-packed story draws you in and propels you through surprising twists and turns. I loved the themes of light and darkness, forgiveness and un ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure where to begin with this one, so I think I'll just break it down by elements.
Pacing: a little slow, but steady throughout. I didn't feel the urge to read it in one sitting, but there weren't long lulls either.
Characters: flawed, but that did make them interesting. Normally Damian would be just my type, but there were some things about him--especially his temper--that made me uneasy.
Plot: I could have used more action scenes and more of the villain, but otherwise I liked the concept
Katie Lewis
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is elegant. That's the best way I can think to describe it, and 'elegant' encompasses the prose, the storytelling, the main character, and the villain. The pacing throughout is incredibly steady. It never feels like sprinting, and it NEVER drags: it is a wonderfully paced novel that will keep you turning page after page. There is romance, (prepare to absolutely SWOON, ladies), there is danger, intrigue, and gut-wrenching drama. But perhaps best of all, readers will be treated to a full ...more
Sophie Fahy
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Dark Wood is very captivating. Sydney leaves me gripping the pages every time I turn them. I'm literally fighting for the characters. Stella, is very independent but so relatable in most ways. She's sassy, but knows when to keep quiet and she's torn between two extremely hot men. One who's looked upon as dark and mysterious, the other light, open and caring.

The Dark Wood world is amazing! The way she uses light and dark, in contrast, is very s
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