The Darkening Readalong: Day 1!

Gorgeous photo by @foksha_1996!

Hi Fairies!

Happy Monday and welcome to day 1 of our readalong of The Darkening by Sunya Mara. I’m so excited to be reading this one with you, I hope you all love it!

Before we start, how are you all doing? I hope you had a wonderful weekend and got some reading and relaxing done.

Since today is day 1, we’ll be reading from the beginning to the end of Chapter 7. Get comfy and let’s get started!

When you’ve finished today’s section, catch up with me in the comments down below so we can discuss the beginning of the book. Happy reading!

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for The Darkening by Sunya Mara from the beginning to Chapter 7. Please only read on if you have finished this section!


Damnnn, ok, no messing, we’re heading right into these storms. Vesper, our narrator, lives in the fifth ring, and it sounds like the fifth ring is the next to be devoured by the storms. They live in darkness, with only the first three rings getting sunlight.

Vesper lives with her Amma, Pa, and a number of stormtouched people – children mostly. The stormtouched have either touched the stormwall or were dragged into the storm by beasts. We are on page 2, PAGE 2 and Sunya Mara has already established a world that I am legit petrified of.

If any part of the Storm touches you, you end up cursed. Amma runs a home for the stormtouched where they can be safe and live comfortably. I love Amma already!

We’re in the middle of a storm right now… and Vesper is heading outside? Badddd move. She passes her father, who’s drawing an ikon (hello cool magic system!) on the youngest of the stormtouched to calm her shivering. Her Pa warns her not to go out there, but she’s doing it anyway. Can’t decide if I really respect her, or think she’s completely reckless… Both maybe?

She can see the Wardana – their protectors, guardians – outside and even they’re struggling to contain the stormbeasts. That doesn’t deter Vesper though. She finds the two people she spotted and urges them to follow her inside to safety. They’re not moving. Vesper guesses it’s prejudice, they don’t want to enter a sanctuary for the stormtouched. When she gets closer though, she sees the young girl is stormtouched. So it seems like they were more worried about the prejudice they might face from Vesper. She assures them she won’t hurt them and they finally start to follow her. Too late though, a spider-shaped stormbeast is free . Vesper tells the two people to go and she’ll distract it. Vesper, do you have a death wish?

She tries desperately to think of an ikon that can stop it, she’s been stealing ikonomancy so she should know something, but she’s drawing a blank. She realises now she made a mistake, she should’ve listened to her Pa and stayed inside.

Then her father is by her side, hurling an ikon marked knife at the beast. It works, and they’re safe. But… if Vesper’s father knows about ikonomancy, why has she had to steal it? Couldn’t he just teach her?

Vesper argues with her father that if he’d taught her ikonomancy she wouldn’t have been so vulnerable. The argument is futile though. Pa tells Vesper they need to leave and to go and pack. He tells Vesper now that they (who are they? I’m intrigued) know he’s alive, they’ll come for him, because of the ikon he used. Can they trace it? I have so many questions!

There’s a knock at the door, and Vesper can already tell it’s a bad knock. Pa slips through a trap door and Vesper covers it over with a rug and goes to the door with Amma. Not only is it the Wardana, but it’s Dalca, the Regia’s son and heir to the crown.

Vesper manages to hold herself back until a member of the Wardana, Casvian starts destroying their belongings. She shoves at him and when Casvian reacts, Dalca orders him to step down. He tries to right the mess that Casvian has made, putting the dirt back into the planter and telling Vesper “Anything can be fixed” when she tells him it’s pointless. They give Amma coin for the trouble and then Dalca addresses the room, telling everyone that they’ll give a hundred goldens to anyone who can tell them where Alcanar Vale – Pa – is. Not only that, but they’ll be relocated to the third ring, where they still see sunlight and are safe from the storms. Will they turn him in?

When they’re gone, Vesper and Pa make to leave, he shrinks down his book, where all his ikonomancy inventions live and orders Vesper to protect it in her locket, to ensure it doesn’t fall into the hands of the Wardana. Pa leaves, with Vesper to join him later. I hate goodbyes.

Amma does some convincing of her own, and reassures Vesper that she could stay with her if she really wants to. When Vesper goes to find Pa at their meeting place and tell him, she’s too late. He’s been captured by Dalca. To make things atrociously worse, when she returns to Amma’s, she finds nothing but a burnt down home. She finds Jem’s teeth, Amma’s sitar, but no living person. As she continues her futile attempt to find life, she finds Amma’s cane, and Amma herself, surrounded by the stormtouched she sheltered, trying to shelter Amma in their final moments.

Vesper wakes with neighbours around her. Neighbours who didn’t help Amma or the stormtouched when their home went up in flames. Vesper decides she won’t take this sitting down, she won’t let Dalca take Pa just like he took Amma, Jem and the others, just like the Wardana took her mother years ago. She cleans herself up, returns to the house and vows she’ll hurt Dalca, in the same way he hurt her. Yasssss, Vesper!

Vesper rn

She searches the market, asking stall owners for help and information. She has no luck until she’s eventually led somewhere else. They know her father, are they part of the revolution? They feed her and tell her Dalca began looking for Alcanar a year ago. They tell Vesper Dalca took her Pa to the third. They tell her Casvian led the Wardana to Amma’s and they used ikons to make the house burn so quickly. They’re happy to answer her questions, but they can’t play a part in rescuing her father. 

They’re implying that Vesper doesn’t know the whole story of what happened all those years ago during the revolution. Her father unintentionally killed the Regia, and her mother wanted to take on the mantle and so walked into the Storm voluntarily to obtain the last piece of the King’s soul. She never came out. 

They give Vesper an out, they can keep her safe, but she says safe isn’t enough for her anymore.

They tell Vesper where they can find a member of the Wardana who’s trying to ‘stir things up’ and might be able to help her. He ends up being one of the Wardana who came to Amma’s, it doesn’t seem to be a trap though. His name is Izamal, Iz, and he knows exactly who Vesper is. Eeeek, that can’t be good?

He’s from the fifth, and he’s part of the revolution, he’s kind of infiltrated the Wardana. I can’t decide if that’s clever or dangerous. Probably both. 

He wants Vesper’s help because he thinks she’ll be able to get Alcanar to join his revolution. They agree to help each other, even though Vesper knows her father won’t be joining another revolution. Iz’s plan is to get Vesper in as an apprentice for the ikonomancers… Vesper decides not to correct him on the fact that she can’t really do ikonomancy. Not only that, she has to play the part of a third ringer. Ohhhh, I feel like she’s in over her head and I don’t like it.

Vesper visits a face-changer, who alters her face to make her match the looks of the thirds a bit more. Vesper’s only request is that she gives her something to use, a face with a little power, I like it!
She manages to deceive Iz, so I guess that’s a good sign!

Well, to say that was an eventful first section would be an understatement!

What are your thoughts and feelings so far? Let me know and I’ll see you tomorrow for day 2!


43 thoughts on “The Darkening Readalong: Day 1!

  1. Talk about being thrown in the deep end of the action! What a fast paced, heartbreakingly soul-wrebching start to this book.
    I am intrigued by Dalca. I feel like he means well but goes about things the only way he knows how…I’m expecting some big character development to happen here.
    The only thing I have my reservations about so far is the face change! I get why it needed to be done but that doesn’t mean I agree with it.

    1. Oh also, we were discussing Jem’s super fast aging on the Discord. It would be so weird to watch Jem agwle every day. Assuming time and aging works the same as it does in our world, she’d be aging 4-5 years every hour…but then what happens when she reverts back to a baby?? Trippy

      1. I thought this was a really interesting concept/curse!

    2. I feel the same about Dalca🤔 In the chapter six they talked about how he was locked by his grandpa under the city and how he knows all the secret passageways. I’m also looking forward to know more about this character!

  2. Ahhh today’s chapters were so eventful already! Love the strong opening.

  3. What a beginning to a book! I love it when you’re thrown straight into a story. And we don’t know who to trust also 👀

  4. Ok, so I really like the setting, the world is interesting and Veaper is a great character so far.
    at first It was a bit too much information for me, but at the end of the chapters for today I’ve sorted everything out and now I can’t wait to continue!

  5. What a great start we’re off to 😍 I’m all for revenge plots and rescue missions, so I’m definitely rooting for Vesper!
    On top of that I’m really enjoying the world so far and very intrigued by the magic system.

  6. So much happened already in just a few chapters. The way you immediatley take a liking to Amma and then she’s gone is gutwrenching.

  7. I’ve just finished today’s pages and, for the moment, I really liked the story. I want to keep reading more, but I will hold myself until tomorrow 😣😫 I think the next chapters will be even more entertaining, cause she finally is gonna live by herself and take her own decisions, and more important…will she start to learn ikons? 😌🙆🏻‍♀️🤩

  8. Such a thrilling start to a book! Really intrigued by the world being built in those opening chapters and where the plot is heading. I’m getting sort of An Ember in the Ashes vibes from some of the characters and the back story about her parents too.

  9. The start of a new book can be really confusing for me, but i feel like this book drew me in fast, and I am really interested in what will happen. The curses is really interesting, and especially how Jem’s aging worked. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s chapters.

  10. I’m so excited to join in with my first readalong! I wasn’t sure whether this book would be my cup of tea but I’m really enjoying it so far. The underground market section reminds me of The City of Brass and the magic system works like Luz’s from The Owl House!

    Characters going undercover in books always makes me nervous, especially when they have no experience or research on who they’re trying to impersonate. Has Vesper ever even met anyone from the third ring?? I can also sense her apprenticing with Casvian is a BAD idea. I don’t think she’ll be able to keep her cool around him.

    I’m definitely interested in learning more about the history of Vesper’s parents, and I’m hoping we get to see things from Dalca’s side going further into the book. I’m sure he’s not the clear-cut villain Vesper thinks he is.

    This was a great start, and I’m very excited to read more tomorrow!

  11. I had no expectations for this book going in but I think the world/magic system is very interesting and cannot wait to learn more! So much has happened right from the start – I feel that this will be a very action filled book. Additionally, I did not see Izamal being an ally and am still unsure if I trust him. I do definitely think her mother is still alive and want to know more about her!

  12. Reading one of the comments about the face change, I have to agree. I know it needed to be done but I would’ve preferred it wasn’t but that’s just me being picky.
    Also, from the moment Vesper met Iz and described him, I knew my heart was his. I have a type 😂 … very strong opening, full of action and ugly crying (why Amma?) Let’s continue shall we?

  13. Wow what a start! I honestly was not expecting the beginning to be so jam packed!

    I have a feeling that Iz can be trusted and I hope that Dalca turns out to be a good guy. But I must say, my heart broke when I read about the fire!🥺

    Looking forward to day 2 of the readalong!

  14. Love how we’ve been thrown into the action with this opening of the book. Plus this magic system, I’m so intrigued by it!

  15. Super intriguing start! I love books that just throw you right into the action.

  16. Ch 4 was so brutal! But I’m really into the story. I’m glad we got to meet Iz again so quickly, I was intrigued by him as soon as he showed up. Dalca a bit too, but I hope Casvian dies a slow painful death.

  17. I think that’s the quickest I’ve been hooked into a book for a Readalong since The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea.

    I’m devastated for Vesper and I want her to unleash her full fury on the Waranda and their whole hierarchy. I want her to get revenge for those she’s lost. I’m really hoping for some intense-ness and high stakes.

  18. So far, the premise of this book is really interesting. I feel like we are getting a lot of action very quickly, but I am not sure that I am getting enough back story into the world. I feel like the politics have been talked about a decent amount, but the world itself is still fairly confusing to me. I also feel like something absolutely horrible happened in the beginning, but I did not connect with it as much as I think I was supposed to. We just didn’t get to meet the characters or interact with them hardly at all before the tragedy. I also just feel like I haven’t connected with Vesper enough yet to feel her pain. I hope this gets better with character development, but so far, I am not really “getting” Vesper yet. I’m not giving up though! I still think there is a lot of potential for growth here.

  19. I love being thrown straight into the action. The writing is absolutely beautiful. I feel like there’s more to Dalca that we have yet to see unfurl. The magic system is really amazing as well.

    The only thing I wish we had more clarity on right in the beginning is why/how the curse happens. I hope the story addresses that part more in depth.

    I really loved the scene where she met her parents’ friends. I also loved that even though they changed her appearance, Carver kept her eyes the same. I think that’s so powerful on so many levels. Our eyes are the window to our soul. When she faces the Regia, they’ll know exactly who she is and who her parents are.

    I can already tell Vesper is going to be one of my favorite characters by the time I’m through reading.

  20. I find present tense a little jarring but persevered and I’m so glad I did.

    What a start! I love where this story is leading us and can’t wait to read tomorrows instalment!

    Iz is quickly becoming my favourite character. There was something about him when he first appeared and when Vesper went to see the “Wardana” helping the fifth, I had a feeling it would be him.

    I do wonder if Cas went off and burned Amma’s down by himself – I get the feeling Dalca didn’t know about it and there was a hint of regret when he visited the ashes.

  21. i really would like more explanations about Ikons…or maybe some illustrations about them…it’s difficult to understand what kind of symbols they are drawing when using them.

    The background it’s interesting…i tought it looked like some kind of arabian setting (for the clothing, sand and architecture), just like a little of Tahir’s books, but i’m not too sure…maybe it’s a mix of more cultures?

  22. Is it just me or did a lot happen in those few pages? I’m still a bit shaken up. 😂

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I love it so far! Even though I don’t have a complete picture of the world yet, I find what we’ve already got to know insanely exciting. Especially the magic system! I’m a little nervous about what else will happen to Vesper. Especially because she hasn’t even asked what the people from the third ring are like yet. Do your research before going undercover! 🫠

    What fascinated me most in the last pages was that it is not possible to change one’s appearance just like that, but that one has to accept one’s self-image.

  23. I love the name Vesper.

    The concept of the Storm is so cool. The violent lightening and the storm creatures that can break through. It makes me think about the storm scene in James and the Giant Peach movie with the rhino. I can’t wait to learn more about it, learn how it came to be, and more about the curses it bestows on those who touch it. I mean, it’s fascinating how the curses range from wooden feet to shocking beauty to being rebirthed and aging in a day. Her mom is for sure alive out there and I can’t wait.

  24. I’ve found the first couple chapters to be really interesting so far. The action was there from the beginning which I loved but I feel like there could have been a prologue or something to help with describing the magic system. I feel like the book just starts and were supposed to know how Ikon’s work. I also didn’t expect for it to be so “graphic” in the deaths of those they burned. Either way I’m intrigued to find out what happens in the next section of chapters

  25. I am really enjoying the book and its only the beginning.

    I am super intrigued at the ikonmency such a cool magic sort of reminds me of shadow hunters and their runes.

    I like Vesper so far sure her moves are sometimes a little foolish but hopefully she will learn from her mistakes.
    I am soo sad that they took her Pa but I am down for a good revenge rescue mission hopefully it will go well and she gets her Pa back.

    I was so mad when they burned down the house and everyone in it the Werdana are so cruel don’t like them very much. I literally felt the pain of their lose and poor Vesper she is all alone now I am rutting for you girl.

    I don’t know how I feel about Dalca is he a good guy and just acts like that because it is expected or is he a villain also. I got a hint of him being good when he was praying at the house but I don’t know and I cant wait to find out

  26. Amazing opening chapter. Like many people have already mentioned, I loved that we are sucked in right away.

    The burning house scene was so sad. From the descriptions of what Vesper was seeing, to her reactions afterwards, it was so heartbreaking. Amma obviously meant a lot to Vesper, and we could tell from the interactions in the first few chapters that they had a very special relationship.

    Additionally, I just wanted to note that as a cat lover, I am cautiously optimistic about Iz. Anyone who has cats hanging around them, and even has a cat-like appearance, has to be a good person, right?

  27. The first set of chapters already destroyed me! In particular the burning of Amma and the rest—just when we grow to love them quickly, and they’re gone. Additionally, I’ve found it intriguing to learn how different the stormtouched can be. From someone to having a truly beautiful face, to Jem aging so quickly in day. I am curious what other curses we will encounter. And lastly, while Iz seems amazing right now, a part of me feels like we need to keep a closer eye on him. I have a feeling that he might be hiding something….🤔🤔🤔 looking forward to the next set of chapters!

  28. I’m a day behind because I forgot the readalong started yesterday, but this book is giving me serious Red Queen vibes. I think Sunya Mara is a better writer than Aveyard and for a book that just wasn’t on my radar, I’m enjoying it immensely.

  29. Hello, I’m excited to read The Darkening by Sunya Mara as my first Fairyloot book! I felt like this book had a slow start but then turned dark very fast. I’m still waiting for a bit more world building but the concept of ikonomancy is novel, and I’m excited to learn more about it. The book really picked up the pace in chapter 7 and I can’t wait to find out more about Dalca’s seemingly mysterious upbringing.

  30. A day late but excited to join this readalong! Wow so we definitely jump straight in! I can already imagine the gloominess of the current setting and was shocked when Amma and everyone burned. I’m looking forward to see where this goes. However, I don’t really connect with Vesper yet – she seems too reckless and oblivious, like when she’s asking for information at the market and it’s very clearly a bad idea. Hopefully that aspect improves.

  31. I’m not convinced that Dalca is a bad guy and I doubt that he burnt Amma’s house. Not sure that I trust Iz.

    I doubt that Vesper’s mother is dead.

    The storm reminds me of the Shadow fold in the Grisha books.

    How exactly do Wardana fly? Do they use an Ikon? Or is it something to do with their feathered cloaks?

  32. This opening was intense! I wish we got a second to breath before diving into the action but by the end of this section I felt like things were really getting interesting. Also finally realized the stencil design on the book is feathers like the Wardana cloaks once I got to the end of this section. Genius.

  33. That was quite an intense chapter 1 going straight to the action! I’m really liking it so far with lots of intrigue and a tense setting. I agree that Vesper going undercover sounds like a lot for her to try to pull off and I’m interested to see how that goes. It also seems there will be a lot more to prince’s story in upcoming sections.

  34. I was so shocked that Iz is a rebel working from the inside! Such a good twist! And how she decided to stay behind, it was quite obvious though that her pa wouldn’t make it. Although I thought he would die

  35. I just couldn’t with the description of Amma and the stormtouched after the Wardana burned the place down. How evil! But then the Prince coming back to visit. Hmm 🤔

    After learning about Vesper’s parents, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing her mother again some time in the future.

    Can’t wait to see how she passes off as a third ringer.

  36. What an opening! I really appreciated how this introduction to the world sucked us in but didn’t feel overwhelming. I’m really curious about the relationship between Pa and Vesper and how that will motivate her throughout the rest of the book! I’m 100% down for her infiltrating the ranks and working undercover. Big fan of that trope! Also this magic system is so cool? I can’t wait to learn more about the intricacies of it and see Vesper (hopefully?) master it!

  37. Aghhhh whatastart!!! I love being thrown right into the story, and the world just seems a bit dreadful. I can visualize the storm – mysterious, terrifying and yet…alive somehow! I can figure out a bit about ikonomancy, but I feel like it will reveal itself more as immerse ourselves into Vesper’s world…after all, in the way that Vesper seems to know little about it, I feel like we are there too, learning a bit more and more about it (and I definitely feel there will be lots of ikon things as we continue journeying into her world!).

    Oh, my heart broke and wept for Amma and her home, and even got so angry that nobody helped them or seemed to care. Or maybe that’s from Vesper’s point of view, becuase maybe everyone else already feels helpless enough in the world they are living in. I feel like Dalca isn’t as bad as she WANTS him to be. Maybe he’s royalty, and that always come with certain baggage in the stories we love (right???), but when he was at the burn site, it seemed like he was truly sorry or saddened by what happened (same as the plants that got knocked over by Casvian), but he left as soon as he heard something, as if he was caught doing something he shouldn’t have (like truly caring about this event). Casvian seems shady, or maybe he’s just a jerk. I like Izamal ,and wonder about his motives. I wonder about her Pa, who seemed obviously important in the past, and why he is protecting her so much: of course, she’s his daughter, and so that already makes it enough, but is there more? And will she ever be able to open that now-mini book in her locket if she doesn’t now ikonomancy enough? This is such a great start!!!

  38. What a strong begging!! I’m so intrigued of what will happen in the next chapters. It’s super interesting how everyone has a different curse, I think it’s something unique that I hadn’t read before. I have a feeling that Dalcan is really not that bad, we probably are going to see a big character development.

  39. This is so fast paced, so much so that I wish there was more world building.

    I also wish we’d have more time getting to know Vesper.

    Right now things are so fast that I don’t feel connected to the store. But I like Iz and I suspect Dalca is one of the good guys too.

  40. I haven’t taken part in a read along in a while. I think nows the time to start again … I’m looking forward to reading this beauty! I’ve got my snacks and drink ready… let’s go

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