The Darkening Readalong: Day 3!

Stunning photo by @xenatine!

Hello Fairy Family!

I hope that you’re all loving The Darkening so far! It’s now day 3 and things are really getting interesting!

But before we start reading, we have our secret giveaway! What’s that? Oh, just a chance to get your next FairyLoot for free as a reward for reading! Doesn’t really get better than that! And your chances are so good too! We don’t really announce this anywhere else as we truly want the person from the readalong to win! If you’d like to try your luck, all you need to do is follow these steps!

  1. Take a photo of our edition of The Darkening
  2. Include the hashtag #FairyLootDarkening (very important!)
  3. Do all of this by the end of September 5th
  4. Mention down below in your comment that you have entered and include your Instagram handle (also super important!)

Good luck!

Today we’ll be reading from Chapter 13 to the end of Chapter 18, let’s jump in!

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for The Darkening by Sunya Mara, from chapters 13 to 18. Please only read on if you’ve finished this section!


We join Vesper as she’s considering whether Dalca would let her father go free. I’m conflicted. Has Vale really changed? We’ve heard from Vesper herself numerous times that he’s always been quite harsh with her. Has he changed enough to be deserving of freedom? Should he be forgiven? What do you all think?

Vesper thinks she’s found the entrance to her fathers jail in the garden, she could be correct too… Before she can explore further, Dalca catches her. He’s angry at her, it seems. I think Dalca is a little bit unsure of his ability to rule, I don’t think he has faith in himself and sees it reflected in Vesper’s questioning. He says her eyes are judging… does he recognise her? Her eyes were the one thing that never changed… If he does, he doesn’t mention it now. He does kiss her though. MY ROMANCE INSTINCTS ARE RARELY WRONG!!!

Vesper doesn’t stop him, but the second they pull away from each other, she’s running. She’s ran all the way back to the fifth ring. 

Going back to the fifth when the Storm has awakened was a bad idea. A stormbeast is suddenly ahead of Vesper, and she can’t outrun it. Dalca came after her though, he tells her to run, even as a stormbeast is biting down on his shoulder. She’s done running though and together she and Dalca take the stormbeasts down. She apologises for running, and he says he meant to frighten her with the kiss, when she asks why, he says it’s because she frightens him. 

Vesper wakes after a dream/vision of her mother to find Dalca carrying her, and she doesn’t trust him. She thinks he’ll drop her, or let go. She drifts off, and the next time she wakes she seems to be in a hospital? Dalca is here too, and Vesper takes his cloak from a healer and takes it to Dalca. All she can think of is his confession that she frightens him. Before he can leave, Vesper tells him she’s found a mark that Cas is looking for and wants to know why he’s looking for it. It’s quite mean that he tells her she’s “another one” who dreams of getting close to the prince. Dalca, you kissed Vesper, remember? Vesper admits she’s not dreaming of getting close to the prince, but maybe to Dalca. 

He takes her to visit the sculptures of his ancestors and explains why he needs the ikon. He thinks when his ancestors combined two marks into one, something was missing. He thinks Vale has the missing Regia mark.

Then he flies Vesper over the Storm. There’s no world beyond it. Nowhere to go. Seeing how much Dalca cares leaves Vesper trying to remind herself he is her enemy, but she really wants to tell him her true identity. She knows the Dalca she saw at Amma’s is as much a part of this Dalca as any other (which is rich considering the part of her father who murdered Dalca’s grandfather could still be a part of him…)

As he’s flying her back, Vesper realises the garden looks like an ikon from above, an incomplete ikon. As they land, he kisses her fingertips, thinking she’s overwhelmed by what she’s seen, when she is, but not the storm, more so the fact she’s worked out how to access the hidden entrance to her father’s jail.

Iz and Vesper make a plan, tomorrow is the day when they will save Vesper’s Pa. I feel really sad for Iz, that he still believes Vale will take the lead on his revolution, help him save the people he’s not reached yet, and Vesper just lets him believe it since she knows it will help her get him back. She definitely has a case of tunnel vision! 

Even once they reach Vale, his first act is not to be glad to see his daughter, but to scold her for not listening. He tells Iz no when he mentions the revolution, he tells Vesper to leave, he calls Iz a fool. Iz punches him, honestly, he deserved it, and the rock surrounding him speeds to life and covers her father. 

As they race out, Dalca interrupts Vesper’s path. She can immediately tell that he knows. Is she finally seeing clearly? She thinks that every choice she made was the wrong one. Dalca touches her cheek, he knows her now, the grey-eyed girl from the home of the cursed. Even Dalca picks up on the fact that Vesper only ever wanted to save her father, while so many more lives are at stake than just his. He’s furious that Vesper told him he wasn’t doing enough, when everything she’s done has been for one purpose. Yet he still gives her a lifeline? He takes her to a hidden part of the palace, knowing if she stayed where she was, the Wardana would catch her. We don’t know if Iz managed to escape or not.

Cas, of all people, is the person who comes to visit Vesper. He undoes the ikonomancy previously cast on her face and takes her to Dalca. Dalca sits before the Regia, his mother. The Great King embodies her and tells Dalca his mother’s weak body cannot hold them much longer. Then it’ll be Dalca’s turn. Cas and Dalca are doing whatever they can to delay it, or stop it happening, so that Dalca won’t have to face the same fate as his mother. Dalca told Cas that he thinks Vesper can help, now it’s time to see if she actually can!

Vesper jolts awake from another dream about her mother… very strange. Any theories?

Alone in her makeshift prison, she whispers her name to herself. She thinks about her mother and how she sacrificed everything, how there is nothing worse than the Storm. That makes up her mind, she’ll give her father’s notebook to Dalca.

When Dalca returns to the room, it’s the first time he’s seen her real face since he visited Amma’s that fateful day. Dalca tells her she’s being kept here not only for her protection, but because he wants her to speak to her father, he has the key for fixing everything and Dalca wants it. The key would allow for a stronger Regia, one who is joined with the Great King rather than essentially possessed. They don’t have a lot of time, since the current Regia’s body is failing. Dalca will suffer the same fate if they don’t obtain that missing piece, and it’ll leave him too weak to fight the Storm. Something is off though, because if it were that simple… why wouldn’t Vale hand it over?

They have a little chat, Vesper apologises for deceiving him, Dalca tells her he likes this face better (cute) and he takes her to her father.

Vale tells her that there’s no mark, it was a dream, and not a good one… what? There’s something in that book of his though…

He scolds her again, which is really frustrating since she’s put so many at risk to try save him. Dalca tries to convince him he’s not like the other Illusora, though their blood may run in his veins, he’s more than that, but Vale won’t have it. Vesper hopes her father is about to tell her he loves her, instead he says “I… hope you’ve done what I asked.”

The Trial begins, and it only takes so long for Vesper to snap and ask Dalca to put a stop to it. She promises him she will give him her Pa’s work.

I have many, many thoughts, mostly I’m scared! For the Second Trial, for the outcome of Vesper giving over the notebook, and for IZ – IZ WHERE ARE YOU????



43 thoughts on “The Darkening Readalong: Day 3!

  1. I want to know what Alcanar knows, and why he thinks it’s better that he gives up instead of fighting everytime Vesper tries to help him. What is he afraid of?
    Casvian has definitely improved in standing in my opinion. His attitude is very different to the man we saw at the start of the book.
    Are we going to end up with them breaking the ikon apart again and giving two people the power? Because that’s the only way I see them freeing themselves from the Storm…

    I’m entering the giveaway – my instagram is @mirlyah

  2. Jeez that first trial was nail biting. I’m glad Vesper’s father seemed to be fighting to survive and not just allowing himself to be killed like it seemed like he would when they talked in the prison. I’m so annoyed Vesper got herself caught. She went in there like a loose cannon and didn’t do anything to cover her tracks, of course she ended up getting caught! And where’s Izamal?? We haven’t heard anything about him since he was caught.

    Also, not gonna lie, I hated that he forcibly kissed her in order to frighten her just because she frightened him. And then just because he saves her in from the storm beasts, her feelings about him grow?? That’s horrific and it’s a trope i’m really not here for.

    I wish she hadn’t given up the notebook to Dalca. I think she could have figured out how to use the information without totally going against her fathers wishes. It just seems like she doesn’t think anything out thoroughly and she just runs on emotion instead of logic.

    1. Forgot to mention I’ve entered the secret giveaway and my instagram handle is giggenbach.reads

  3. I’ve got so many questions that I need answered with this book. What does Alcanar know? Why won’t he fight? What’s in his notebook? Where is Iz? But I’m also wanting to know how the storm started, has it always been there and just got closer or is it a curse?

    That romance scene between Vesper and Dalca, I just loved it!! I’m scared though for them, what’s going to happen now that she had handed over her Pa’s notebook, the second trial!!!

    1. I’ve got so many questions that I need answered with this book. What does Alcanar know? Why won’t he fight? What’s in his notebook? Where is Iz? But I’m also wanting to know how the storm started, has it always been there and just got closer or is it a curse?

      That romance scene between Vesper and Dalca, I just loved it!! I’m scared though for them, what’s going to happen now that she had handed over her Pa’s notebook, the second trial!!!

      I’m participating in the giveaway, my Instagram is @clairelouisereads

  4. I’m really intrigued about where this book is going to end up. Anyone else worried about a cliffhanger ending?? All the characters introduced are so interesting and different but I’m here for it! Cannot wait to continue and see how everything plays out 🥰

    I’m also entering the secret giveaway!! @the_localbookworm 👀

  5. I just wanna know *SO MANT THINGS* like ??

    This book is a TEASER to me 100% it’s so difficult to not read ahead because I so badly want answers but I’m trying to stick on schedule!

    Also entering the giveaway! My handle is @yourlocalbookreader!

  6. Ok, first of all, major props to Sunya for making me absolutely hate 3 people and then have almost a complete change of heart like 150 pages later… Like, Iz quickly won me over (mostly because of cats), but at the end of day 3 I am also won over by Cas and Dalca? Also, where is Iz?! Asking because our cat friends NEED to know. I really hope he hasn’t somehow been hurt, or that he has betrayed Vesper in any way…

    Annnnnd I cannot believe that Dalca made such an outward show helping Vesper. I mean, I know it’s being played off “for entertainment,” but it’s not the *real* reason, you know?

  7. I can’t get over Alcanar. Why is he being so stubborn. He’s the type of character that I hate, just giving up despite his dauther showing more strength than him. I need to know!

    Also are Iz and Cas going to have a romantic entanglement? I could see it. I really thought there’d be a triangle with Dalca and Iz/Cas. I can see her liking them all after a time. Cas gives me Rowan vibes. I’d love to see her battling between three boys, or even just go full poly relationship, but that isn’t really done.

  8. Also I joined the readalong giveaway @landscapesofink, please see above comment

  9. I honestly don’t really care for Alcanar – I feel like so many problems could be solved if he had just talked to his daughter. It would take a lot for me to like him. I wonder what he’s hiding, though.
    I liked how Dalca and Vesper’s romance was kindling, but I think it progressed a little too fast. He also forgives her remarkably quickly for lying to him this whole time.

    I’m going to enter the giveaway – my instagram is @nookofnatalie!

  10. This just got intense!

    The flying… the kiss… the discovery!!


  11. Oooh, so much happened in this section! As soon as it was revealed there used to be two Regia serving at once, I’m calling it that Dalca and Vesper will end up serving together (or at least trying to). The reveal also makes me think that maybe the Great King and the Wrathful King were two different people, rather than two ‘faces’ of the same person. Perhaps one is weaker than the other, and both souls are needed to truly hold back the storm? Perhaps that’s what was lost when the two ikons were combined.

    Also: Cas. He’s totally growing on me even more. I think he’s probably my favourite character now. He seems to be the only one who’s truly honest – he doesn’t appear to have a secret side or be playing games with anyone.

    At this point I’m really wondering why Vesper is trying so hard to save her father at the expense of so much else. I can understand family loyalty, but I don’t think he deserves her blind devotion. And it’s annoying that she judges others so harshly for their moral failings but seems to have a blind spot for her father. I know there’s more to his history though that we’re not seeing, so I’m excited to see what that is.

    And that ending! I have a really bad feeling about Vesper handing that notebook over… I entered the Instagram giveaway! My handle is @scribbles.and.stories 🙂

  12. I don’t really like how judgemental Vesper is towards Dalca because she’s just as selfish as she thinks he is. I mean, one moment she’s complaining about the fact he’s a prince and doesn’t want the best for the fifth ringers but then next she’s going off with Iz and thinking about how she doesn’t want to save everyone, just her father… I’m like, pick one kid! But everything has just gotten so much more interesting, I can’t wait to learn more about the storm, it’s just such an intriguing mystery. Onwards we go!

  13. I am starting to get super nervous that Vesper is not going to be able to get out of this jam that she’s in. And Cas why have you not stepped in??? Dalca is going to end up being useless! He can’t save both Vesper and the city!!!

    My insta handle is @riverwinde for the giveaway.

  14. Oh. My. Goodness.

    This book is so good! I can’t wait to finish it. However, I’m very frustrated with Vespers father and his lack of any drive it seems. Like his daughter is still alive but he won’t fight for her. His wife is gone but Vesper is still there. Vesper is still fighting for him. Vesper is still fighting for this city.

    I am entering the giveaway and my Instagram is @little_red_cover 🥰

  15. Reading this portion of the book makes me wish we had some pov from Dalca! I’m glad Dalca found out who Vesper is so we can see them work together and process. I hope Iz is alright!

    1. I posted a photo! My IG is @onebooktobindthemall

  16. I was happy to see on Discord that I’m not the only one annoyed at Alcanar. Seriously dude, you’d rather let your whole world and everyone in it die than take a chance that maybe Dalca isn’t as terrible of a person as you think? What have you got to lose my dude, if the whole place is on track to be swallowed by the storm if you do nothing? Ugghhhh.

    Also kinda surprised how much of Dalca we’ve seen compared to Iz and Cas. First it seemed like Iz was going to be the one we got the most of when they became allies, then Cas when she became his apprentice, but really there’s been a lot of Dalca. I’m surprised to find that I like all three of them at this point, when our first impressions were so awful.

    I’ll be entering the giveaway, I’m @sonata_ix.

  17. Super intrigued about Alcanar and his notebook. He seems to be keeping an almost frustrating amount of secrets right now. But I’m glad that he did try to fight to survive, since he seemed to have pretty much accepted that he was going to die soon.

    Also the way the last of the chapters ended. Wondering if that pretty public support of Vesper will land Dalca in some trouble sooner rather than later.

    I’ll be entering the giveaway later today and my Instagram is @kratist0

  18. I just started this one and am excited to keep going! I love the vibe of the book and the ikons are so interesting. Can’t wait to go back through all of your posts once I progress!

    I am also entering the giveaway: @mellas.reading.habits

  19. I forgot to write here yesterday. Like many of you i wonder why Alcanar is the way he is. And why does he feel like burning the notebook is so much better than anyone else getting their hands on it. At the same time, why didn’t he just burn it himself? And it’s a bit sad how he just shuts his daughter out like it almost seems like he has most of her life.

    I also think the flying here is kind of cool.

    I’m going to enter the giveaway and my instagram handle is @Juliesboble

  20. This book is amazing so far! Alcanar is definitely getting on my nerves so far, but I want to see what he knows 👀.

    I entered the giveaway on my Instagram @thenextquest

  21. Ok, so this section was far better than the first two! Now I want to know what happens next, even if I don’t really care about Vespers father. He is just so stubborn and I don’t like him. Seems like he is a bad father too, not only a selfish person.
    The romance is still not that great and I hope that it improves in the last two sections, but I liked the story from the Regias, which Dalca told Vesper.

  22. Why do I kinda love Cas? This seems like a poor decision on my part…Things are changing so fast now, I don’t know who to like or trust!

    I’m entering the giveaway. My handle is @findmeinfiction

  23. I have posted a picture of The Darkening on Instagram! By handle is @pheereads 🙂

  24. Dalca finding out broke my heart 😭 but I can’t believe she’s giving him the notebook, I have such a bad feeling about this. I get she loves her father and will do anything to save him but like continually picking him over all else can’t be the move. I feel like everyone has been too good and someone is going to betray her.

    I entered the giveaway (@evic.lit)

  25. I’m a day behind due to suspense anxiety lol

    I have lots of thoughts. First, I’m really beginning to question whether or not Alcanar doesn’t want to save everything because it would mean sacrificing something much greater. Vesper’s mom walked into the storm, right? What if she didn’t die. What if she had an ikon that Alcanar crafted? What if she’s now a part of the storm and giving up his secrets would destroy her in the process?

    Also, I need more information on this rebellion. Because it honestly doesn’t sound like Alcanar and Vesper’s mom planned it out well. Hopefully, I’m just missing information, but they literally put all of the rings at risk of being destroyed by the storm. Isn’t that what they claim they were trying to prevent? And they betrayed so many people in the process. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Regia is just as guilty for this mess because of their unfair treatment of the lower rings.

    I think Dalca has selfish motivations, but I also think he sees the big picture and would sacrifice those for the better of everyone. It’s quite unfair for Dalca and Vesper’s parents to place this burden on their shoulders to fix. Especially Vesper’s dad. He gave her next to no information about the whole thing. Didn’t even teach her ikons to defend herself. Which really makes me question why.

    Also, I love Cas. I love how he didn’t hold anything over Vesper’s head and called it even.

    But what will happen to Dalca for stopping the trials? Where is Iz? What does Alcanar know? And where did this storm even come from??

    1. I’m loving the romance between Vesper and Dalca. And that trial was so nerve racking. Also everything would have been much easier if Alcanar was upfront about everything. I mean it’s his daughter’s life on the line now 🙄

      I’m entering the giveaway. My handle is @books_lover_9

  26. I really want to know why Iz attracts all the cats? There is even an image of a big cat next to him in the art at the back of the book. Is he a cat shapeshifter? Is his sister now a cat?

    I’m pretty sure Vesper’s mother is still alive in some form… did she become part of the storm? Is she now a storm monster? (If so are all the storm monsters former humans?).

    Are the Great King and the Wrathful King actually two aspects of the one being or are they two different entities?

    The Great King’s embodiment of the Regia sounds a lot like possession/body snatching by a demon.

    Is the Wrathful King actually the storm?

    I am about to post my book photo to my IG Jenthebookishbakernz

  27. It looks like my earlier comment didn’t post somehow :), but really enjoyed all the twists and turns and I’m entering the giveaway! My handle is @findmeinfiction

  28. Why can’t Alcanar just communicate with Vesper? His insistence on HER doing something for him WITHOUT justification is grating. It implies that he doesn’t trust her to make the right choices, which we saw from the beginning of the book when he told her not to save those stormcursed. After everything Vesper has done to save him, it just feels like a smack in the face.

    Pacing wise, I was kind of surprised that she went for a rescue so soon in the book. But now we see how the priority for her has changed from saving her dad to saving her city with Dalca’s help. I’m really interested to see them and Cas and Iz team up!

    1. I also entered the giveaway! My username is lennylovesbooks3 and I posted a photo of The Darkening along with other books, but there’s a solo photo of it in the second slide!

  29. OMG. So much happened during these chapters. I love the part of the trials. I was so sure Alcanar would perish immediately, but when he defeated the first three, I started getting really hopeful!

    I entered the giveaway. @rygurl

  30. Oooo! Giveaway! My instagram handle is @badberrygirls


    “In life we wear a hundred faces – the bawling infant, the happy child, the starry-eyed youth. Each face belongs to a different life.”

    How I love that quote at the start of this readalong! We aren’t the same person we were in the past, because we do change. Change happens, for better or worse. We’ve all made mistakes, have regrets, have had others do wrong to us, or have generosity bestwoed upon us, given hope and second chances…and those experiences, depending on how we chose to respond to them, changes us. It doesn’t erase the consequences, whether good or bad, that came from the decisions we make, but our choices have mold us to be who we are today. And our choices today will continue to shape who we will be tomorrow.

    Even though Vesper is talking about her Pa in that passage, I feel like it can be talking about other characters in the book as well. Cas? Dalca? Iz? Herself? The Regia? Her mother? It could be anyone and I feel it has to fit with so many of the characters, especially as we seem more development in many of them.

    Oh gosh, Vesper’s comment again about how easy it was for her to infiltrate the whole thing just makes me think…are the three friends (Cas/Dalca/Iz) all in it together? Did they all already know from the get-go who she is, and are playing a whole ruse to have her be part of something bigger (against the Regia? get to Pa?) in their own plan? It would explain how easy it was, how she is “led” to certain places with secret entrances, and might explain Dalca’s attitude toward her. Maybe Dalca knows and just feels complete empathy and regret about her father and Amma and the stormtouched in Amma’s home? Hmmmm. At the end of this section, it seemed like they didn’t know. So was it REALLY that easy to infiltrate? What does that mean? That Iz broke some deep trust between their trio? Did they never expect anything like this to happen?

    This stormwall makes me think of that “storm” in Fortnite, LOL! Except again, more mysterious and alive.

    When Iz and Vesper have a nice moment eating the pastry together, there’s an undertone of Iz keeping something from her. That edge of not fully reveling in their moment together seem to foreshadow that Iz maybe be using her a pawn in something larger. She may be betrayed by him. But later when he meets her father, he seems sincerely ready to be that revolutionary, to help the fifth ring. After that, Iz disappears – where did he go? What happened to Iz??? I keep waiting for him to pop up, but he hasn’t yet. Was he caught? Did he get away? Was he part of some plan???

    I’m still not really rooting for Vester and Dalca, only because it still seems too expected of a trope to happen. I don’t know why she’s REALLY falling for him, and neither do I understand why he is likewise falling for her. It just seems like they are supposed to be, as the main character and the prince…Though Dalca’s character has developed a little more, I feel like hers hasn’t grown much. She seems pretty flat.

    What is UP with Pa Vale??? His character really bothers me. It’s also flat. I’m SURE there’s an underlying reason, a deeper secret even beyond his book. There HAS to be. A secret about Vesper herself is the only reason I could think of for why he continues to act the way he does. I wish he would tell her somehow, or that he did earlier on in the story. I feel like when he knows his life is on the line that he should have imparted some background, understanding, to his only daughter. At the moment though, he just is the same, stubborn and willing to die, but without any clear motive, it feels almost pointless.

    I don’t know how I feel about Vesper giving the book to Dalca. I don’t know if Dalca will give up his mother for his people. I don’t know what other small evils he will do to reach his end goal. It sounds like the next section’s going to have some betrayal one way or another, and I’m all for it!

  31. I entered the giveaway on Instagram. My username is @mybookishbeing

    Sadly I think I’m going to be DNFing this one, the lack of world building is really getting to me and I don’t love the characters enough to want to push through till the end, super sad about that because the book is gorgeous

  32. I’ll be entering the giveaway! My IG handle is @charlottesbooktrove

    Now on to this set of chapters…

    Well this was an action packed set of chapters 😳

    Alcanar got on my nerves slightly, like I know he wants Vesper to do the right thing but to constantly want her to justify everything it’s like he is the one with trust issues (it’s supposed to be me the read with the issues 😅)

  33. really enjoyed the Trial chapter. Vesper’s dad is infuriating. I want to know why he refuses to help. What is he so bent on hiding that he’s basically dooming his daughter for.

    He spent Vesper’s life hiding and protecting her, but at the same time but not helping he’s technically putting her in danger of the storm.

    I’m looking forward to reading the rest to see what really is going on

    I’ve also entered the giveaway my handle is @finding.fiction_

  34. Really loving this book so far!

    I’m also entering the giveaway @viciouscallisto

  35. I’m not going to lie, I want to hit Alacanar. Why is it so difficult for him to communicate with Vesper? I still don’t know how to feel about Vesper giving Dalca the notebook, I feel like he’s not all that good

    I enter the giveaway, my instagram username is @_bookishlovers

  36. I’ve entered the giveaway, my IG handle is @feedmefairytales

    Must say that, so far, I’m pleasantly surprised by this book!

  37. I have entered for the giveaway! My Instagram is

  38. Entered in the giveaway! Instagram is unprofessional_bookworm (:

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