Book Review: Darkhaven – A. F. E. Smith

Release Date: July 2nd 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 400
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.


How do you prove you’re innocent when the whole city thinks your guilty?

Ayla’s father is the ruler of Darkhaven. Her brother Myrren should be the heir to the Darkhaven throne but he has not inherited the family abilities and so Ayla must take his place. But When Ayla’s father is brutally murdered, all evidence points to her. Now she must fight to clear her name and reclaim the throne she never wanted.

There are so many things I loved about this book that I’m not sure where to start describing it. First off the cover is glorious. As soon as I saw it I was so intrigued. The premise instantly had me hooked as well. Ayla is the only other changer in the city. If she didn’t kill her father, who did? That burning question kept me going the whole way through the book. I think it can be quite hard not to give the answer away, but Smith managed to keep me guessing right up until the last second.

I also loved the characters. Ayla and Myrren are such huge disappointments to their father, but they’re both such different characters. Myrren is quite accepting of his fate, but Ayla is much more stubborn and determined. Both are very complex and intense characters, and Smith does a fantastic job of blending the action and the depth of the characters.

The world building in this story is also fantastic. Darkhaven feels very real and vibrant, with lots of different characters and customs and styles. Smith has put a great amount of detail into this and it adds another layer to the story and makes it an absolute pleasure to read. I love the idea that the Nightshade family have this creature they can turn into, an extension of their personality. It was a really interesting idea to explore and I loved the depictions of the different changers.

I also enjoyed that the book contained different point of view characters, namely Ayla and Myrren but also Serenna and Tomas Caraway. It was interesting to explore the same murder from different perspectives, and it also really made Arkannen come alive.

The story is a dark and twisted one, and there’s plenty of deception and fighting going on. As well as magic, mystery and a fight to survive. Smith perfectly merges all these elements together into a fantastic read, one that will definitely be on my top picks of 2015. If you’re looking for something magical, exciting and full of action, Darkhaven should definitely be your next read.

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