Author: Joanna Hathaway
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner's Curse in Joanna Hathaway's Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.
Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.
Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway is unlike any fantasy I’ve read before. The book features espionage, forbidden romance, and aviation, which is such any amazing combination. I enjoyed both of the main characters, and the writing is impressive. I would definitely recommend this one as it is an original high fantasy.
This book tells the story of a pilot and a princess torn apart by politics. Athan is the son of a powerful general, and Aurelia is the daughter of the enemy. The two fall in love despite being on the verge of war. I loved how high-stakes the story is and how it combines espionage, betrayal, and forbidden romance. The aviation aspects are also unique, and I enjoyed reading the action-packed dogfight scenes. I was very impressed by the originality of this one, and I would say it is the perfect read for fantasy fans.
Both Aurelia and Athan are interesting characters, and both their narrations provide extra insight. Aurelia lives a life of privilege, however it becomes clear to the reader that she is more than just her title. Athan is essentially her opposite, and he grew up surrounded by war. He is pressured to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a fighter pilot. Although I enjoyed them both, I have to say Than intrigued me more. He seemed a little more original to me, and I felt like there was more action in his narrations.
One of the best parts of the book is the writing. The book is able to pull off that classic historical-fantasy-sounding tone with a more modern twist. Although it has some seemingly World War 2 inspired aspects (and actual love letters), some bits are more contemporary, and there were scenes that made me laugh which is not typical in fantasy novels. The world building is also complex, and the politics and alliances are developed.
Dark of the West is a unique political fantasy with interesting aspects such as espionage. The main characters are both likeable and the writing is vivid. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next!