Welcome to my stop on the FFBC blog tour for Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway! I am so excited to share my thoughts on this lovely book with you, and give you a chance to win a copy, too! ?
Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
Series: Glass Alliance #1
Published by Tor Teen on February 5, 2019
Pages: 480
Format:ARC, eARC
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley, Won

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner's Curse in Joanna Hathaway's Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties 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.

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Dark of the West started with a bang, and kept me engaged throughout. No seriously, we’ll talk about the beginning, promise! But wow, it hooked me from literally page one, so that has to tell you something, right? Right. Anyway, as I like to do, I am going to tell you about the stuff I liked, the stuff I didn’t, and the stuff I still am on the fence about!

The Stuff I Liked:

  • There is not any such magical sorcery or what have you. This may not necessarily be a pro for everyone, but what a huge win it was for me.  Idk where this was happening, but the feel was awesome. So it wasn’t our world, but it also wasn’t unlike our world. 
  • Speaking of the world, I found the world-building very interesting! It’s almost like a mash-up of every single war the US fought in? At least, that is the vibe I felt. Which is quite fabulous. It has the royalty of the colonial era, the weaponry and tech of the World Wars, and a desperate feel à la the Civil War.
  • adored the characters! Both main characters have a place in my heart for sure. They’re so relatable, you can genuinely see where each of them is coming from. The romance is fabulous, the side characters are fabulous, and the friendships are epic. And there are absolutely characters you’ll love to hate, too!
  • The story itself is incredibly high stakes. You can tell that this world is on the verge of total freaking anarchy, and everyone has a different plan for how to fix things (and in some cases, how to finagle them to their own advantage). And since I cared about the characters so much, I was quite invested in the outcome.

The Stuff I Have Mixed Feelings About:

  • The prologue. Okay so I told you how incredible the start was, and it really was! The writing is phenomenal and the author introduces the high stakes from the start. But… maybe then I knew too much during the book? And that was kind of a bummer? But honestly the prologue was done so well that I don’t know if I can be mad at it? See, all the mixed feelings! Read it and decide for yourself and let me know!

The Stuff I Didn’t Like:

  • I would have liked more background on the world. Like, why is everyone fighting, anyway? What/where/when are we? But perhaps we’ll get more of that in subsequent books?
  • It did feel a little long at times. Now, this isn’t a deal-breaker, I promise, it’s just that compared to the start, certain parts felt a bit slower in comparison.

Bottom Line: This book will throw you headfirst into a world filled with war, love, and loss. Characters face grave consequences for every decision, making the stakes so, so high. Can’t wait for book 2!

About Joanna Hathaway

Joanna was born in Montréal and is an avid storyteller who was inspired to write after reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs of the First World War. A lifelong history buff, she now has shelves filled with biographies and historical accounts, and perhaps one too many books about pilots. She can often be found reading, traveling, or riding horses. 


Her debut novel, DARK OF THE WEST (Tor Teen, February 5th, 2019), is the first in a WWII-infused fantasy series of forbidden love and deadly revenge.

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Posted February 10, 2019 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review / 14 Comments

14 responses to “Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway: Review & Giveaway

  1. Debra Branigan

    This sounds like a fantastic read. I am very excited about it and will be adding to my TBR since it happens to be my favorite genre in YA books. Thanks for the review.

  2. I sometimes struggle with books that are in a similar world to ours but don’t really go into too much detail as to where or what it is? But this one sounds good despite that! The combination of fantasy but no magic- but it does have fighter pilots?- is certainly intriguing. The nice thing is it doesn’t really sound like anything else out there? Unique is good. 🙂

  3. I hadn’t heard of this book until a week ago, and now I’m seeing it everywhere! Other bloggers and reviews have also mentioned the prologue being a bit of an issue. However, the high stakes and not much magical sorcery are big pros for me. I’m not too sure when I’m going to be reading this, but it’s definitely on my to-read list!

  4. omg I am thoroughly convinced!! I have this on my TBR but also I was a bit meh-not-sure because I hadn’t seen anyone actually reading it. So consider me sold haha. ?It sounds amazing and epic.

  5. This book sounds SO GOOD! I have a copy that I really need to read, especially after this review. I am definitely in the market for fantasy without the “magic is bad” trope. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is such an interesting book. I always here for books about royalty. I am surprised that there isn’t really magic here because that seems to always be the case and it’s nice to have that refreshing kind of story. The world really intrigues me from your review and description of it. And as someone who loves me some good world building I know I will probably be checking this one out soon. And how cool is it that the author’s last name is Hathaway 😀

  7. The more (mixed things) I hear about this one, the more curious I am to pick it up. The last book I read with a lot of conflict was Muse of Nightmares which was so intense I kept having to put it down to take a breather!

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