Friday, September 30, 2022

Review: THE WHISPERING DARK by Kelly Andrew


Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Whispering Dark is a debut standalone dark academia YA fantasy about a deaf college girl and the mysterious boy she’s inexplicably connected to. 

I really enjoyed this book. Delaney is a delightful protagonist, and Colton is a dark and brooding good guy. I’m happy the love interest is actually a good person and not some manipulative jerk, which I feel we see far too often in YA books. 

I also love that Delaney is deaf and has to navigate the difficulties of college with a disability. It was so refreshing to see this honest portrayal, and the author is also deaf so the representation is authentic. There is also an authentically and positively portrayed Muslim side character. 

The characters are adults—Delaney is eighteen and a freshman in college, and Colton is a college senior—but this book is marketed as young adult. For the record, I think this book is being correctly marketed as it is written more like a young adult novel than an adult novel. I’m always wary when young adult novels have adult characters, but the story here is about Delaney coming to terms with how her disability impacts her life and the main focus is on uncovering the mystery of why some students have gone missing. It has a writing style aimed more at a younger audience, so I think the young adult market will enjoy this book, but I am an adult reader who also enjoyed it. 

There is some romance in the story, and even though Delaney and Colton spend most of the book together and you know they long to be with each other, the focus here is not on their romance, it’s on the mystery. I got so involved in trying to piece together the clues of the mystery that I had a hard time putting the book down. 

There were lots of mysterious components that kept me drawn in and guessing: a wall of names of the dead that seems to predict the future, a quiet boy who Lane is told to stay away from, a mysterious boy who’s told to stay away from Lane, those who were once dead and now aren’t, a boy who shows up in Adya’s peripheral vision who may or may not be dead, visions of the afterlife that may or may not be accurate, a secret and dark history of the school Lane’s attending, a mysterious man known only as the Apostle, and the curious ability to walk through the sky like a doorway. 

There are a lot of different elements to this story, and overall I did really enjoy it. The last fifty pages or so kind of lost me as I felt like the story got a little confusing and I didn’t completely love the ending, but I still liked the book as a whole and would recommend it. I’m looking forward to seeing what the author will write next. 

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