These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden (2021)
Fiction | Dystopia | Paranormal Fantasy
Once upon a time, inhabitants of another world tore a hole through the universe and came to Earth. They called themselves Suriias, and rivalled humans in knowledge and skill with one great exception: they had magic.
War followed. Humanity lost. And three hundred years later, humans are on the brink of extinction.
Orphans Thorn and Thistle live in hiding. They are the last of their families, the last of their friends. They scrape by, stealing to survive and living on the streets or hiding in sheds. But even under the brutal regime of the Suriias, there are places where humans can mingle in secret with magical sympathisers, and one night Thistle gets an unexpected offer of marriage from a Suriia with high standing and friends in all the right places. For Thistle, it’s a chance at safety and comfort; for Thorn, it’s a chance to find the ones who killed her parents.
And so the pair move into the capital city of Courtenz. An urban monstrosity of magic and might, false friends and flying cars, drones and death tolls, the new city promises a fresh start – and new love – for both.
But if there’s one thing Thorn knows for certain, it’s that dreams can swiftly turn into nightmares.
Expected Publication Date: March 31, 2021
pooled ink Review:
Thank you to the author for submitting this book for review!
Dear Rebecca Crunden,
What did you just do to me??
It has been a while since I binged a book but that’s exactly what happened and this book isn’t short (over 600 pages long). I felt so many freaking emotions, the plot twisted and writhed, I felt excited and anguished and breathless and hopeful and resigned and THAT ENDING. Am I crying because it’s basically a happy ending even if it wasn’t 100% what I’d hoped for? So does that mean I’m crying tears of upset or tears of happiness? I DON’T KNOW BUT I AM CERTAINLY FEELING STUPID EMOTIONS. Wow, just wow. This freaking book.
Okay let me try and gather myself…
I really can’t discuss too much without risk of spoiling some great plot reveals, but in essence, this story follows two best friends who begin the book hunted, alone, terrified, and decide one night to take a chance on trust, on love, and from there their paths take them places they never thought they’d go. We mostly follow the POV of Thorn, the more reluctant of the pair, and witness the horrors of the world ruled by magical beings that they were born into. Her internal and external struggle with the Suriias isn’t trite or simple and it grows in complexity with each chapter. The story eventually diverges into alternating POVs, but it’s fascinating and blows open the scope of the story. There were times when I wanted to bash Thorn’s head in with a shovel or shake her until she gave in, but overall I really liked her and even when she was frustrating it felt believable.
What I’d initially thought would be a familiar, generally straight-forward plot, and something I was relatively sure I’d enjoy ended up being a complex creation that continuously evolved before finally finding a resting place to choose as its end and left me reeling.
The world-building was wild and I devoured it page after page eager for more. This version of earth, transformed as it was through the unexpected arrival of the Suriias, the subsequent war, and the hybrid society that grew from it, had me absolutely intrigued. There is so much packed into this book there could probably be entire tomes written for each character’s POV and this ambitious undertaking also led to some elements that felt a bit rushed at times, but as it stands I really enjoyed it. I mean, there were parts I hated because you’re supposed to, and parts that frustrated me along with the other characters, and the ending was 90% happy and what I wanted (I have some truly conflicted feelings about that last little 10% lol though I admit it does make the most sense considering the characters), but overall I feel like my head is spinning. This is one of those wild adventures that I got sucked into and binged and am now left reeling trying to process it all and will probably read it all over again and discover bits and pieces I missed the first time through.
These Violent Nights is a lengthy standalone that traverses worlds and hearts and will grip you by the throat in fear, hope, horror, and love. The plot is packed, multi-tiered, and fast-paced as it twists, fractures, weaves, and dares. Characters of all kinds walk the story and they’re each clear enough to rise from the page. I need time to process this book and I will undoubtedly read it again. Parallel worlds, magic, and characters that will seize your heart, you simply cannot pass up reading this book because you’ll likely regret it if you do.
P.S. I am in love with Kol ♥
Meet Rebecca Crunden!
Rebecca Crunden has written several novels, short stories, reviews, and more. You can find out more about her works by visiting her website.