And I'm so very happy that this book was half told from Sybella's point of view, as she was my favorite from the trilogy. And getting to read more about her made my heart the happiest. But also so very nervous, and so I spent the entire book dreading everything that could happen next, haha. It was so very exciting too though.
Courting Darkness is told from two point of views, switching back and forth between them. One is Sybella, whom was the point of view in Dark Triumph. The other was Genevieve, a character we had not yet seen. This book takes place right after the ending of Mortal Heart, only days later. There is a tiny bit about Ismae and Annith, though they are not in this one, apart from the beginning. I missed them, but loved the small peek at their lives, and hoping there will be more in book two. As this one was very much the story of Sybella and Genevieve. Both girls that I loved so much. Reading from their point of views was the very best. Sigh. I may have loved Sybella a whole lot more, because I knew her better. And her people. But I grew to care much for Genevieve too.
The story from Sybella is of her going with the duchess Anne to France, to marry her to the french king. It is not an easy journey, and a precious person die. I am a little upset about it, haha, but also okay with it, I think. But gosh. Life at the french court is not easy. Not for Sybella, and especially not for Anne, whom is only fourteen years old in this book. The king she marries is not a cruel man, but neither is he very kind or smart. I hated how he didn't seem to care for Anne at all. It ruined my heart in all the ways. It was not fair.
Especially because of the king's sister, the regent. She is in this book at all times. And she was the most horrible woman possible, I think. The ways she humiliated Anne was not okay. So hurtful and rude and it broke my heart a little. I'm so thankful that Sybella was there for her, but it did not help all that much. And this woman was not a kind one at all. And I shudder to think of what she will do next in the second book. She was interesting, though, and I would call her a villain. A well written one at that. But oh, I did hate her.
What I loved was getting to know even more about Sybella. And seeing more of her and Beast together. Sigh. I ship those two the very most. They do not get to spend much time together at all, once they arrive in France. But they are still very much in love and their small moments together made me so very happy. We learn a little more of Beast too, and book two will be a big part of that, and I am so not ready. It will be heartbreaking and rude and ahh. I'm not ready. But hopeful too. Hopeful for a happy ending for them all.
Then there was Genevieve. She too is from the St. Mortain convent. But she was sent to the french court five years ago, when she was only twelve years old. Sent to live there as a spy, awaiting instructions from the convent. Which has never come. Getting to know Genevieve was so very complicated for me. It took some time for me to care for her. She had not suffered very much in her life, like the other main girls. But I'm so very thankful for that, though that also made it easier for me to connect to all the other main girls.
But I did connect with Genevieve too, even though it was slow to happen. She was not sent alone to this foreign place, but with a friend of the same age. They were best of friends, until the other girl started to care less for her, and treated her more badly. And then she dies. Which Gen feels torn about. I have not mentioned anything about how she lives, and I'm not going to. Only that it was interesting to read about her life and how she has survived so far. She find a forgotten prisoner in this home of hers, almost dead.
She gives him food, and visits with him, though not too often. Hmph. They end up escaping together, and Genevieve have a lot of reasons for this. I may not have liked those reasons all that much. But I grew to love this girl a whole lot even so. And reading about her scenes with this prisoner was all kinds of fun. I ended up shipping them a whole lot, and I am all kinds of nervous about how that will turn out in the next book. Hmm. I do have hope. But this prisoner is all kinds of complicated too, and brings so many issues.
There is so much going on in this book. And I have not written down much of it at all. And I'm not going to either. Though I will say that I loved every moment of this book. I loved reading more about Sybella, and her role in Anne's life. I loved learning more about her sisters too. Bad things are coming for Sybella, and I am so very nervous about it. But beyond excited too. This first book was huge and glorious. Still much to come, but this book was full of everything, and I loved that. Every moment was perfection. So very happy.
I have already written so much about this book. And yet not enough at all. I feel that I could write about it for hours more. But I will not. Though I must share that you all need to read Courting Darkness. Because it was so good. The best book to come after the Grave Mercy trilogy. I do suppose you can read it without having read those first, but you should not. Read them. All of them. Courting Darkness was everything to me. Full of vengeance and death. Romance and hope. Political drama. This book had it all. I loved it so.
I must admit to being beyond worried about the second book, which will also be the last one. As there is so much that still needs to happen. And I'm unsure if everything will end happily. But gosh, how I need a happy ending for my favorites from these books. I'm not sure I could survive to have any of them die. A good thing, though, was that Courting Darkness did not have a cliffhanger ending. Some things are still left open, but the ending was good. I mean, so much still to come, but it was not bad. I'm thankful for it.
Huge thank you to HMH Teen for sending me a free ARC of this most precious book to read and review early. It means the very most to me and I will treasure this gorgeous thing always. So very happy to have gotten to read this book right now. Re-reading the trilogy first then getting to read this new book was just what I needed right now. Every one of them was stunning. Courting Darkness was everything I needed it to be. Beautiful and deadly. The most amazing girls, full of hurt and anger and hope. Worth all of the pain.