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Review of Give the Dark My Love

Give the Dark My Love
by Beth Revis
Middle School, High School    Razorbill/Penguin    451 pp.    g
9/18    978-1-595-14717-2    $17.99

When Nedra leaves home for Yûgen Academy to study medical alchemy, she’s most focused on curing the Wasting Death, a plague that begins with blackened necrotic extremities, only sometimes responding to the amputation of the affected limb. Her teacher Master Ostrum encourages her interest, and she throws herself into work at the quarantine hospital, drawing patients’ pain into rats using her golden crucible, but she’s no closer to finding answers until Master Ostrum suggests she look into the Fourth Alchemy: necromancy. Necromancy is taboo, but when Yûgen Academy shuts down and Nedra goes home to find her family dying, the strictures against her trying the Fourth Alchemy seem suddenly irrelevant. Horror fans will appreciate the gruesome appeal of disease, amputations, and death, and when Revis (Across the Universe, rev. 3/11, and sequels) starts to crank up the pressure, Nedra’s forbidden choices become more and more resonant. The mangled revenants that Nedra ends up creating have an originality that steers the tale clear of tired tropes, but it is Nedra’s connection with her twin sister, and the frightening transformations she works on her, that will bring the true pit-of-the-stomach queasiness of the situation home to Revis’s appalled and fascinated readers.

From the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Anita L. Burkam About Anita L. Burkam

Horn Book reviewer Anita L. Burkam is former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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