The Darkening Readalong: Day 5!

Stunning photo by @betterwithabookinmyhand!

Hey fairies!

It’s the fifth and final day of our readalong of The Darkening by Sunya Mara. 

Today we’re reading from Chapter 25 to the end of the book.

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for The Darkening by Sunya Mara, from chapter 25 to the end of the book. Please only read on if you’ve finished The Darkening!


Vesper is home, but the Queen’s curse courses through her, she sees things inside Cas and Dalca that she never saw before. The fifth ringers are shocked to see Vesper and the prince, and they give them sundust, which apparently wards off the Storm’s curses. Dalca is happy, thinking he’s saved everyone, but I’m not sure…

When they return to Dalca’s mother, she says she’s merely his mother now. She says The Great King is gone and Vesper realises The Great Queen tricked them. She said she would free his mother, not the Regia. They haven’t really achieved what they set out to do… Where’s The Great King now though?

Dalca’s mother can feel The Great King inside her, he’s restrained but he’s breaking free. Dalca’s mother lets herself fall off the palanquin, thanking Dalca for giving her a chance to die as herself. Oh no… She tries to take him with her, but Vesper grabs tight and manages to save him. The Storm rages now, with no Regia to hold it back. What have they done?

Dalca seems to turn on Vesper in his grief, assuming this was what Vesper wanted. He accuses her of making his mother fall, and he’s angry she stopped him despite her reminding him that he wasn’t wearing his feather cloak and would have just fallen with her. Vesper ends up imprisoned, right beside her Pa. The only positive thing is that her Pa opens up, he tells him he loves her, that he’s proud of her, and vows to teach her ikonomancy FINALLY!

Cas comes to retrieve Vesper, she’s to face her own version of The Trials now and he can’t save her. He slips her two small sticks and tells her he can get through this. Ok, I’m converted. I’m a fan now. 

Alcanar and Vesper Vale stand Trial together. Maybe they can get through it together… especially since the sticks Cas gave Vesper are Mancer’s charcoal. Together, Vesper and her Pa fight the Stormbeast, as Dalca watches, cool and collected. They free the Stormbeast, but her Pa is too injured, and she loses him.

She’s overcome the second Trial, but now she must face the third, alone. The Third Trial is that she must battle Dalca. The Great Queen’s curse comes alive under her skin, she gave Vesper her mark, the Queen is begging Vesper to let her in and become her vessel. She’s lost everything and she thinks without the Great Queen to fuel the Storm, it will end, so she accepts it. It’s too much for her to bear though, she eventually starts to break and Dalca catches her, he shows her that the Storm is gone, she broke the Queen’s curse and in doing so freed Dalca. 

Vesper is caught between the living and the dead. Dalca promises her that everyone will know her name and what she did for them, he promises he will find a way to wake her, he begs her to come back to him.

What a dramatic way to end a dramatic story! What did you think, fairies? Let me know all your thoughts, feelings and theories!

I hope you loved The Darkening and enjoyed the readalong, as always thank you for joining us!

See you very soon for our next readalong!



16 thoughts on “The Darkening Readalong: Day 5!

  1. Oh my gosh. That is NOT the ending I was expecting nor hoping for.
    I gotta admit Dalca’s 180 degree turns regarding Vesper is still giving me whiplash. I was expecting that Vesper would have to become the vessel for the Great Queen but I wasn’t expecting it to basically ruin her ?
    But wow, what a fast paced book, so glad you chose this one because I wouldn’t have read it otherwise, and I’m very glad I did!

  2. This was an enjoyable read, but I did feel like sometimes it was a little bit too much telling and thoughts, and less doing, or interactions, which made it a little hard to focus sometimes.

    I really enjoyed this readalong and think it’s a really great way to read a book. I love getting other people’s opinions and help if something is unclear.

  3. After yesterday’s section i was so excited to keep reading and at first I was enjoying it, but after Vesper’s Pa died everything kinda went off the rails for me. I guess it didn’t really make sense to me and I’m a bit dissatisfied with the ending. I gotta say, finding out how Dalca brings Vesper back is not enough motivation for me to read subsequent books.

  4. That is not the ending that I thought this book would have! But I enjoyed it. But how quickly Dalca changed his mind on how he feels about Vesper was beginning to annoy me but I love how he is going to make sure everyone knows the part that she played in how this book ended. Thank you for choosing it, otherwise I wouldn’t of read it. 🙂

  5. Dalca, you lost me ? I was ROOTING FOR YOU TOO!

    But seriously, people who take their self-projected anger out on their partners give me a big ick. I don’t know if there’s any coming back for him, even if he tried to save Vesper toward the end. Their relationship is too convoluted now with his grandpa and mom and her mom and dad all contributing to each other’s deaths.

    But wow! What a fast paced ending. Really curious how The Great Queen and King will affect the city moving forward and if the storm really is gone for good! Here’s hoping…

  6. Aaa what an ending! Definitely not what I was expecting, especially in terms of Dalca’s attitude switching up again. I was actually expecting for the sequel to have some enemies to lovers with how their relationship was progressing.

    But I’m definitely not disappointed and I can’t wait for the sequel to be released to see how the story further progresses, especially after the storm is gone and what that may bring.

    Super glad this is the book you guys chose, else it would probably have been a while before I picked it up

  7. I didn’t like the romance between Vesper and Dalca the whole way through, I always felt something was off with it. But, uh, I wasn’t expecting that! Honestly though I think it would be great if more literary couples broke up then immediately had a fight to the death – what a way to end things! ?

    Casvian supremacy confirmed!!! I like him better than all the other characters, even Vesper. Dalca on the other hand, absolutely sucks. I’m so annoyed at him at the ending. “Come back to me”?? He was literally battering her with a sword a few pages ago!!! Legitimately trying to kill her!! He doesn’t get to act sorry after she did what he couldn’t and saved the city.

    I don’t know what will happen with Dalca in the sequel, but I don’t think anything can redeem him now. And I don’t know what the future holds for Vesper, but I hope when she comes back that she has nothing to do with him ever again.

    I had so much fun with this readalong! Can’t wait to do it again next month 😀

    (P.S. Can we talk about how one of the last things Vesper’s Pa said to her was judging her taste in men? ?)

  8. I think it was brilliant. The ending and the shift in Dalca is demonstrating a broader issue.

    When we don’t face our trauma, we often project it on the people we love. I think the relationship with Dalca was genuine, but losing his mom pushed him to a point where he was on a path to lose who he is inside. Dalca almost became a villain in this narrative, but he managed to cling to who he was at the very end.

    I really loved this book. I tend to latch onto themes that many might overlook, but the narrative about overcoming generational trauma was super impactful. I got emotional on many occasions because Sunya Mara put feelings I’ve had into tangible words. Plus the magic system is brilliant.

    Also, the comeback Cas had was *chefs kiss.* That’s the character development I love.

    I can’t wait for the next one!

  9. I still really want to know why cats were so attracted to Iz and why he took on a big cat form in the storm and then as a storm beast? I’m not even sure if he survived the end of the book?

  10. I had soo high hopes and loved the set up of this book. That end sadly ruined it for me. Like it was so rushed and there were in my opinion details missing. Like how did vesper defeat the queen? How/why did the king get freed?
    Also dalcan choose to fight her and now we are supposed to forgive him accept that he loves her? Like he will bring her back? Yes the king was within him but it was his choices that lead him there. He doesn’t deserve redemption(he was weak from the start which showed in the storm).
    Also they fall in love after meeting a couple of times only because she doesn’t oogle after him? Sorry but no.
    I loved the different approach to magic but there was lack in worldbuilding/ explanations and sadly the end could have been more detailed. The whole king/queen thing lost me in the last 50 pages. Like where did they go? Will they find new vessels? Can’t they just be free floating about? If the storm is gone how much land is there now? Other cities or continents??? I am not 100% sure if I read part 2. If I do then it’s for cas (the cheek) and iz(why do cats love him so much?) And the hope for an explanation….

  11. Again, Vesper’s emotions and personality just doesn’t grow on me – when Dalca imprisons her, and the funeral is happening, she is conflicted with feelings (which would make sense), and then deciedes/insists strongly that she hates him, that she’s angry with him. (feelings of which, I personally feel, sort of came out of nowhere and that I never liked between the two of them in the first place. I love a good relationship development, but theirs never really felt to grow like that…it always felt forced/expected/thrust together because of their roles in the story).

    Okay, to be honest, if I was Dalca and I knew she did something to me that I didn’t understand and all of a sudden, fear and everything rushed back into my heart? I would probably have locked her up too, if not more. Vesper seems to have no empathy in understanding why he would imprison her, and instead gets angry? Instead of realizing this may be some side effect of the Forgotten Queen’s shady curse-y plans? So Vesper still doesn’t grow as a character and we’re nearing the end of this book, and this bothers me. She’s still some somewhat angsty teenager that’s only thinking of herself still.

    Sorry, Vesper is just not my favorite in this book. I want to like her more, as she’s the voice of the story, but she seems to really only think of herself. She’s not really a hero, and maybe that’s part of the intention of the story – that she’s just a character in this crazy ringed world that’s slowly being ravaged by the storm. However, since she’s the voice, I’d love to see her develop, even more so than the others in the story (that I dearly love! Cas! Iz! Even though Dalca is somewhat one dimensional, I feel his character has more growth than her.)

    Their romance seems forced – Vesper, embodying the Forgotten Queen somehow, I’m sure, is destined for Dalca, who is to be the next Regia, the King. And what Pa has said about balance, I’m sure, is part of this forced fate.

    Wait. HOW is it that I thought Vesper and Pa were imprisoned in some rock underground in the Forgotten City (page 346), yet she awakens in a cot next to her dad in an actual jail cell type place (page 355)??? Did I miss something while she was having plot revealing visions of the past? And if it’s an actual jail cell, why would anyone, ANYONE smart enough, put them together in the same place? This little plot line confuses me. IF SOMEONE CAN EXPLAIN THIS TO ME THEN THANK YOU. ^_^

    And Pa finally talks honestly with her now? I appreciate it, but seriously, why so late? LOL. I suppose he has to own demons to battle. I just wished he said he loves her earlier, like when he thought he would be taken by the Wardana at the the start of the book and needed to run for their lives. Or when she saw him imprisoned in the stone and he knew he was going to the trials. You know, anytime he thought he would die and never see her again. Well, either way, I’m glad he’s finally teaching her ikonomancy and being her father since they have two obviously highly dangerous “enemies of the state” together in one jail cell.

    Oh, Pa’s death was heartbreaking! I didn’t expect the glass to keep spreading. That’s a powerful ikon, yet it ended up killing him.

    Dalca himself is now an enemy, and his words spit venom and spite to Vesper. It’s like his personality went 180 ever since Vesper unlocked his curse. But it doesn’t match who he was pre-curse, so it’s kind of crazy to see this total change. Unlocking the curse must have amplified or done something else to him?

    Anyway, now Vesper and Dalca are full on enemies in the third trial. Again, I never got their relationship in the first place – it went from suddenly “I like you” to now “I hate you and you caused all my pain”. Like a messy lover’s quarrel where nobody takes any ownership/responsbility for anything they may have done to contribute to the mess that’s before them. And also like an expected “thing” where they were forced to be together, and now forced to be enemies.

    AND THEN SUDDENLY DALCA TRIES TO SAVE HER? What the heck. I’m so confused about their relationship, lol.

    But the ending was totally not what I expected! But it’s so fitting! And it fits the name of this tale as well, “The Darkening”. How perfect!

    But I have questions too! I heard there will be a second book. OMG SO MANY QUESTIONS. Like, Vesper can’t actually DIE-die right? If she did ,wouldn’t the Queen be released back and there will be a storm again? And Cas, who is so awesome, I want more of him. And Iz? WHAT ABOUT IZ? Is he lost forever in the storm? But there is no storm, so…? And I still don’t like Dalca and Vesper’s relationship – I appreciate his words to her in the epilogue but at the same time, I really don’t want to see more of their relationship. But I feel the second book may have that because the Queen and King are to be balanced somehow. Hmm.

    All in all though, what a world to read about! Thank you Fairy Loot!!

  12. Wow, this was NOT the ending I imagined. I didn’t expect Dalca to become “despicable” and for Vesper to even have such strong feelings for him in the first place. I’m conflicted on how their relationship can get remedied or even will be in a future book. Also what happened to Iz?!

  13. I did not expect this ending, in spite of everything it was a good twist although I feel that it lacked some details. I was surprised by Dalca’s change, I feel that it was very transtic and I even thought that he could have let Vesper explain herself. The book left me wanting to know more about The Queen and The Great King.

    1. drastic***

      not transtic. ?

  14. I forgot this wasn’t a standalone so I was a little surprised by the ending! I liked the beginning and most of the end of the story, but it lost some momentum for me in the middle.

  15. Ughhhh

    I’m here with disappointment. I really had high hopes for this because it had all the pieces of the puzzle to make it a great read, but the puzzle was from Dollar Tree and it just doesn’t always fit right.

    I wanted more world building, more exploration of the Ikons. More of an elitist school of magic. I didn’t understand it very well and it seemed insignificant.

    I wanted more banter, more of a push and pull instead of the 180 whiplash.

    There was such a strong foundation for a found family but instead Iz was left for the trenches and I’m mad for him. Y’all really did my man dirty and brushed off his “loss”.

    I swear if Vesper forgives Dalca for his cowardice I’m done. It just felt so incomplete.

    I see many people have enjoyed this book, but alas it was not for me.

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