Olivia's Reviews > Courting Darkness

Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
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it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favorites, arc, favorites, reread, audiobooks, disneyathon, owns-my-heart, scribd
Read 3 times. Last read August 4, 2020 to August 5, 2020.

[third read, August 2020]

I marathoned this book in preparation for Igniting Darkness, which as of yesterday is finally out in the world. I love these characters so much!!!! I could write more, but the portions of my review from my previous two times reading about sum up my feelings. I also really, really want to read the next book, so that’s what I’m going to do now. So help me, I don’t think I’m ready.

[second read, January 2019]

I’m a mess of emotions. I love this book with all of my heart and it comes out NEXT MONTH. I’M SO EXCITED FOR IT TO BE OUT IN THE WORLD. Next time I read it, I’ll be reading the finished copy. Wow.

That aside, I haven’t got anything new to say. I absolutely adore Sybella and Beast, and Genevieve is a really interesting, layered new character. The plot was slower but thick with intrigue and drama and romance, so of course I loved it.

ALSO I can finally say that the sequel comes out NEXT YEAR and I’m both excited and sad. What am I going to shriek about when this is said and done???

(For coherency, read my original review.)

[first read, August 2018]

CW: slut-shaming [challenged], body shaming/humiliation, violence, death, sex, mention of sexual assault and rape, death in childbirth

[E-arc provided by Netgalley. This doesn’t affect my opinion or the content of my review.]

I present to you, my favorite book of 2018. I know it’s only August, but I highly, highly doubt I’ll read a better book in the coming months. In addition to being the next installment in my absolute favorite series and world of all time, it’s also a genuinely fantastic novel.

In the HFA trilogy, I grew extremely attached to all three protagonists and their love interests. A story focused on Sybella and Beast wasn’t what I had in mind, but I was thrilled nonetheless. In truth, I loved seeing all of my favorites once more; Ismae and Duval were only present in the first third while Annith and Balthazaar were only in correspondence, but they still made me oh so happy. I’m still waiting for Ismae and Duval to get married, just saying.

512 pages isn’t a large book, in my opinion, but it was still more than enough to explore the darker, deeper parts of Sybella, Beast, and their relationship. They’ve completely stolen my heart now, and they should also get married. Nearly half of my Kindle highlights were quotes and scenes involving the two of them.

The other half was mostly Genevieve’s wit and/or banter, with a few exceptions for predictions and other (mostly pointless) thoughts. I was excited to meet her and she didn’t disappoint. She was ruthless but not heartless, and a really interesting character.

Anne is such an underrated character and I love her. She’s only fourteen, but she’s powerful, wise, cunning when need be, and still a fun, sweet girl.

Many relationships are emphasized throughout the story, in various ways: Sybella and her younger sisters, Anne and her older brother, Sybella and Beast. I loved them all for different reasons. Each one motivated respective characters without overpowering anyone or anything else.

The pacing isn’t incredibly fast, but the story more than makes up for it. I guessed a few things and was shocked by others. Each of the 95 chapters introduced a new element or increased the stakes or brought on more questions. It never felt too long or too drawn out. Sybella and Genevieve both have important missions, personal goals, and the stakes are almost constantly high. The end wasn’t necessarily a cliffhanger, but it made me eager for the next one regardless. I was hooked from beginning to end.

One thing I think this book did really well, as the previous trilogy did, was manage to blend history and fantasy. The story takes place in medieval France and follows real royalty and real conflict, but with fictional and modified characters, a compressed timeline, and other fantasy elements; there’s even a religious system that’s being replaced by Christianity, and that aspect is present but not overpowering. It’s all fascinating.

I don’t know how well this review actually explained my thoughts, but know that I absolutely ADORED this novel from start to finish. HFA is my favorite series of all time (pretend to be surprised) and this was a brilliant, thrilling next chapter. It was well worth the wait, and I think it’ll appeal to returning HFA fans and newcomers alike when it comes out on February 5.

Now to wait until 2020 for the next book in the duology. (Please let me get an arc, please give me information, please, I need DETAILS.)

(I’m proud of how coherent this review is, to be honest. To end, obligatory screaming: READ THIS BOOK PLEASE. OH MY HEART. JOIN ME IN MY EMOTIONS.)

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Reading Progress

October 1, 2017 – Shelved
October 1, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
August 6, 2018 – Started Reading
August 6, 2018 –
August 7, 2018 –
25.0% "I’m feeling all the things"
August 7, 2018 –
36.0% "I don’t want to think about how bad this is inevitably going to get ahhh"
August 7, 2018 –
August 8, 2018 – Shelved as: all-time-favorites
August 8, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites
August 8, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
August 8, 2018 – Finished Reading
January 4, 2019 – Started Reading
January 4, 2019 –
page 1
0.2% "I’m so excited to read from a physical copy!!!!"
January 4, 2019 –
page 104
January 6, 2019 –
page 228
January 7, 2019 – Shelved as: reread
January 7, 2019 – Finished Reading
August 3, 2020 –
page 22
4.42% "Celebrating Igniting Darkness’ release the right way ;)) I love these characters!!!!"
August 4, 2020 – Started Reading
August 4, 2020 –
page 74
August 4, 2020 –
page 129
25.9% "I can’t handle how cute they are!!!!!"
August 4, 2020 –
page 234
46.99% "I really hate the regent."
August 4, 2020 –
page 264
August 4, 2020 –
page 303
60.84% "It’s so funny to me when a character tries to convince themself they aren’t in love with another character, even though it’s obvious they are."
August 5, 2020 –
page 433
86.95% " ”’We are perfectly made for each other, you and I.’
‘We are that, my fair assassin.’”

August 5, 2020 – Shelved as: scribd
August 5, 2020 – Shelved as: audiobooks
August 5, 2020 – Shelved as: disneyathon
August 5, 2020 – Shelved as: owns-my-heart
August 5, 2020 – Finished Reading

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