Wren Sutherland is a healer— and the illegitimate niece of the Queen of Danu. As a member of the Queen’s Guard, she is assigned to the unit of her best friend (and the object of her unrequited affection), Una. When Danubian soldiers go missing, Wren and Una are tasked with finding out if Danu’s rival, Vesria, is behind the disappearances. Except, when they finally do catch a boy— believed to be a Vesrian spy— Wren heals him and he escapes. With the Queen rescinding her spot on the Guard, Wren has lost all hope of finding the missing soldiers.
But when a letter from Lord Lowry arrives asking Wren to come to his illusive estate, Colwick Hall, she jumps at the chance to return to the Queen’s good graces. In exchange for curing his servants from a mysterious disease, Lowry will make Wren the chief diplomat between Danu and his kingdom. Except the mysterious illness is not what it appears, and neither is the servant Wren is meant to be curing: he is none other than Hal Cavendish, the Reaper of Vesria and her kingdom’s sworn enemy. As she works to cure Hal, Wren learns that he is also at Colwick Hall to piece together the mystery, as his country’s soldiers have also gone missing. Together, they must solve the mystery before they fall victim to the darkness that looms at Colwick Hall.
We were drawn to this book for the unique plot. It’s a bit of romance, fantasy, and gothic mystery. Who doesn’t love a story set at a haunted house? Going in, we admittedly had high expectations.
We really enjoyed Hal Cavendish. He was by far the highlight of the book for us with his charm and character development. He was more than a killer and genuinely wanted to be redeemed for his dark past. Wren was a fine MC, but she was at times dense and let her emotions get the best of her. Their chemistry had the makings of a great enemies-to-lovers trope, but there was something missing. They had great banter but it felt a bit insta-lovey. We will say that by the end of the book their romance grew on us and we were rooting for them to succeed and be together.
The rest of the characters, including Lord Lowry and the Queen, were the worst. Like, truly horrible people. The intense medical scenes and plot line left us with queasy stomachs. Both had the makings of horrible villains (in a good way), but their endings, especially the Queen’s left us unsatisfied. There was just something lacking from their development and the Queen’s ending seemed unbelievable.
Una was also so annoying and came across as self-righteous. She treated Wren horribly but yet Wren continued to support her. She didn’t deserve Wren’s friendship.
We thought based on the plot description that Down Comes the Night would be a multi-book series, but it ended up being a standalone. The book wrapped up nicely, but we were kind of left in awe that it all came together so quickly. The ending “fight scenes” (if you can call them that) left us wanting more and were resolved too easily. But we were glad Hal and Wren got their happily ever after!
Overall, we thought this was a solid debut novel for Saft. Though there were aspects we didn’t love, we were invested in the characters and world building. Her writing was engaging and we thought her descriptions were superb. We’d read her next book!