Review: A Darkness at the Door

One of my last posts I wrote last spring was the cover reveal for A Darkness at the Door, and I am happy to present to you now the final product, in living color. Here’s the special Kickstarter edition that I just received in the mail!

Gilt foil! Blue pages!

A Darkness at the Door is the much-anticipated sequel and conclusion to 2021’s The Theft of Sunlight, both part of the Dauntless Path series by Intisar Khanani. It’s a YA fantasy series (with a touch of fairy tales) featuring the author’s signature “mighty girls and diverse worlds,” and it quickly made its way onto my bookshelf alongside my favorite YA fantasy books of all time.

Theft saw our main character Rae working with everyone from princess to street thief with the goal of uncovering a ring of slavers that had snatched a young friend. And now FINALLY its terrrrrrrible cliffhanger has been resolved in Darkness, which sees Rae traveling even further afield and becoming more bound up in the magical struggle going on among the leaders of Menaiya and the Fae.

In short, this book was sooooo satisfying. Rae is such a fantastic character, and the story has so many wonderful elements, including disability rep, slow burn romance, justice, magic, and thief lords on rooftops. I was so pleased with the clever way Rae was able to decisively take down the powerful group behind the slavers while staying true to her own ideals. And I really liked the way the ending alluded to the Pied Piper of Hamelin, echoing Thorn and its retelling of “The Goose Girl.”

Also, do yourself a favor and go watch the delightful Ms. Marvel on Disney+ so you can see Bren in real life:

Red Dagger from Ms. Marvel… AKA Bren in my headcanon

So, in short, I really cannot say enough good things about this book, and the Dauntless Path series in general. Khanani is definitely one of my auto-buy authors. I also recommend her Sunbolt series, and she has just been published in an anthology of grief-centered SFF called The Alchemy of Sorrow.

If you would like to learn a little more about the author and her writing, here is a charmingly rambling interview including such things as:

  • A story about rescuing a baby crow
  • Her career trajectory from indie author to a 2-book deal with HarperTeen
  • Working with sensitivity readers to write a disabled MC
  • Her difficulties in writing Darkness, including struggling with writing the romance sub-plot, writing during the pandemic, and getting stressed-induced shingles
  • Magical vasectomies
  • Dramatic ukelele strumming!

Some future works that we can look forward to from her include more Sunbolt installments (YAY), a story for Rae’s sister Niya to possibly wrap up the Fae Lady’s arc, maybe a Kirrana story, and a genderswapped post-apocalyptic Sleeping Beauty story.

Also check out her panel below discussing my favorite topic: writing fairy tale retellings! As well as a fun Instagram chat with fellow author Stephanie Burgis.

https://events.hubilo.com/booktalkevent/session/154781

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