Review: Dark of the West (The Glass Alliance Series #1) by Joanna Hathaway

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway Book Cover

Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in this breathtaking tale of court intrigue, vengeance, murder, and love.

Part war drama, part romance, Dark of the West is the first novel in a stunning YA fantasy series that will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir, Marie Rutkoski, and Elizabeth Wein.

As a fighter pilot in his father’s army, Athan Dakar knows little of life beyond war. That is, until his mother is murdered, and he’s sent halfway across the world in a mission to overthrow the queen who killed her. Athan’s task is to ingratiate himself, undercover, with the royal children—and gain intel that could ruin their mother. Kind and quick-witted Princess Aurelia Isendare is not the villain he expects, however, and he soon finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction to Athan, all the while seeking to stop the war threatening to break. As diplomatic ties between their nations manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

Book Details

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
Series: Glass Alliance (#1)
Published on February 5, 2019 by Tor Teen
Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Historical Fantasy
Hardcover, 480 pages
Reading source from NetGalley & Tor Teen
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars

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Book Review

Filled with political intrigue, revenge, and a star-crossed romance, DARK OF THE WEST is the first novel in a YA historical fantasy series infused with an exciting and vivid World War II inspired setting where subterfuge, political machinations and a forbidden romance fill this debut's pages with a slow-burn read.

What helps set this YA story apart is the exciting feel to its fantasy world.

With DARK OF THE WEST, Hathaway creates a world that feels like a reflection of our own with one of the books strongest features being the World War II-esque flavor given to the story's setting, especially the details created to its military and technology.

The story brings to vivid life flight training and air-to-air combat such as dog-fighting.

I loved all the historical details incorporated, especially the fighter planes and had more than one Top Gun adrenaline filled moment during flight battle scenes! The death-defying maneuvers sequences and dangers felt real.

Joanna Hathaway's debut should also appeal to readers who enjoy a strong dose of political machinations in their novels.

One part military adventure and one part romance, it carefully balances the building tension of both across its pages. There are family dramas, crumbling empires, revolutionary uprisings, airplane dogfights, an assassination, revenge and a forbidden romance to root for.

I adored Athan’s perspective and readers a going to swoon over his love-letters.

The story is told from the dual perspectives of Athan, a fighter pilot and youngest son of General Dakar of Savient and of Princess Aurelia of Etania, whose mother stands between the general and revolution.

I loved the evolving relationship between Athan and Aurelia. I think readers are going to especially fall for Athan as his viewpoint and characterization make him such a sweetheart and you just can't help but fall for him. The ending and the love letters especially broke me.

In the End

I enjoyed so many facets of this debut series opener and look forward to reading more of Joanna Hathaway's Glass Alliance books. I will say that this was a slow-burn read for me with the first half a bit complicated with all the deceptions and betrayals while I was trying to familiarize myself with a new landscape—thankfully, the book will include a gorgeous map which will be much appreciated. The second half of the plot really gained momentum and was hard to put down. DARK OF THE WEST is definitely a compelling read whose author I'm excited to follow.