ARC Review – Night by Alexandria Warwick

After months in captivity, Apaay managed to escape Yuki’s labyrinth with her life. But her freedom did not come without a steep cost. When the Face Stealer, the North’s most notorious demon, calls in her blood oath, Apaay must heed his demand. Debts, after all, must be repaid.

As Apaay attempts to navigate her uprooted life, something dark slithers among the snow-dusted conifers of the North. A long-dead war is unfinished, and there are those who would see it revived. In a place where misplaced loyalty could mean her death, Apaay must look inward to repair her broken soul—for if she cannot place trust in those around her, she might find enemies are closer than they appear.

Review!

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review! Beware this review will contain spoilers for book one.

Night picks up straight after the events of Below. Apaay is free from the labyrinth and has been found on deaths door by an Analak villager, but they don’t trust Apaay. There are rumours going round of a young girl destroying Analak villages and they are unwilling to believe that Apaay, a girl they do not know, has nothing to do with it. But Apaay knows the truth after seeing the destruction Yuki left in her village, and she knows there is no hiding from it. So when the Face Stealer comes to call in his Blood Debt Apaay is unwilling to go, she wants to stay as far away from him and memories of her time in the Labyrinth, but he forces her using his magic. They travel to the Forest, a place he has created where all who seek refuge from Yuki are welcome. There he tells Apaay what he needs of her, Yuki stole something from him, and he cannot mention the item or where it is but needs Apaay to find it for him. A virtually impossible task, one that Apaay does not welcome, especially when it brings her closer to her family, the sister whose face she has restored and Ila, the girl she saved from the Labyrinth who doesn’t understand Apaay’s sudden aloofness. Misplaced loyalty, unlikely friendships and hidden enemies are all brought to light when an ancient war is re-ignited and Apaay will have to overcome her inner battles if she is going to fight her way out of this one.

Honestly, this book blew me away! It goes so much deeper than Below, both in the mythological sense and into the characters. We see Apaay struggling to deal with her time in the Labyrinth. She feels that the price she had to pay to survive was too high, killing the Polar Bear Unua and her beloved dog Nakaluq. She constantly feels as though she has blood on her hands, and cannot find it within her to trust or work with Numaik, even after he saves her family from certain death. She feels alone, not believing that anyone can truly understand what she went through and had to do, not without judging her. She trusts one person, one person who she feels understands her… Muzak the prisoner she helped escape from the Labyrinth. But Apaay may be putting her faith in the wrong person.

One new things we get in Night are chapters from Ila’s POV. I loved her character ARC in Below and she grows SO MUCH in Night. She never see’s her deafness as a weakness, and though she may start off a little meek she soon finds her place in the Forest. Finds people who believe in her, people who will train her and most importantly, people with knowledge of her past and where she comes from. Apaay and Ila both have their own journey’s and plots in Night but we only truly understand the importance of Ila’s chapters towards the end of the book.

As well as these two kick ass female leads we get introduced to a whole host of new characters as we as reintroduced to some of my faves from book one… Numiak really grew on me in Night. I don’t want to say too much without giving away spoilers, but you learn why he acts like he does, why he likes to keep Apaay at a distance and most importantly why he served Yuki in the labyrinth. And I will definitely admit to being a little in love with him by the end of the book.

Like I said we get a much deeper insight into our three main characters in Night, but as well as that the author gives us a rich and in depth understanding of Inuit culture. We learn all about the different Unua nations: Wolf, Polar Bear, Owl, Caribou and Seal. Warwick not only gives us the history of the different nations but a look into how they came to be. You know me and any kind of folklore/mythology so it wont be a surprise when I say I devoured those parts of the book. But it doesn’t just end there, with world building that actually takes you to some of the Unua’s homelands as well as to other Analak villages Warwick manages to bring a near hospitable world to life. Her descriptive writing drags you into the pages and places you right at the heart of the story, along Apaay and Ila and Numiak.

If you’re looking for disability rep then this is definitely the book for you. We have Ila who is deaf and Ro ( a new character) who is wheelchair bound, neither are treated any differently for their disabilities, nor looked at as weak, in face Ro is next in line to be the leader of his Unua nation. As well as this we have Apaay who is clearly struggling with some kind of PTSD after her time in the Labyrinth. I really felt the author dealt with this well, there were a few times when I got a little frustrated at her decision making, but when you think of what she suffered through at the hands of Yuki and Numiak you can understand her lack of trust.

The ending of this book had me screaming at my kindle! I thought Below was bad, but with Night Warwick has found a whole new way to torture her readers. With plot twits thrown in throughout we have no idea who is trustworthy, and it’s only when we get to the final chapter that we realised there was a bigger deception in play than we could have imagined. I wont lie, I’ve already put my request in for an ARC of book 3 and it cannot come soon enough. I cannot stress enough how good this series is and it’s such a hidden gem! If you love mythology/folklore, flawed characters, no heavy romance and brilliant descriptive writing then PLEASE give this a try… I can guarantee you wont be disappointed.

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