“And I tell you, death will come for you three times. Once in your past and twice more in your future.”
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Ivy Bloodgood’s mother is dead, and she should probably be sad about it. But she isn’t. Myra Bloodgood was confusing mix of protective and abusive, a manipulative personality who never told the truth—about where she came from, who Ivy’s father was, or why they were living their lives on the run.
Now that Ivy has been sent to Darkhaven, an island off the New England coast, to live with a rich uncle she didn’t know existed, she is forced to reckon with her mother’s past. Ivy can tell right away there are long-held family secrets buried within these walls, but when she wakes up from one of her nightmares covered in someone else’s blood, Ivy fears that whatever demons her mother battled while she was alive have come to roost in her own mind. Scared that she can no longer trust what she sees, Ivy seeks the help of a boy who thinks her episodes are connected to the sordid history of Darkhaven—but what they don’t know might kill them both.
tw: mention of suicide, abuse, attempted murder (by drowning), murder
Looking for an underrated creepy read to add to your ever growing TBR this month? Well, here’s one for you. Dreaming Darkly is a mysterious, dark, gothic read, about a young girl piecing together her past and the dangerous secrets her family carries when she gets shipped back to an island her family grew up on called Darkhaven. After the death of her mother, Ivy, is forced to go back to the island her mother fled before losing her mind. As Ivy starts to meet people on the island and in the teeny tiny town she has to attend school in, she beings to unravel the secrets of her family and the island all the while fearing that she might be following in her mother’s footsteps and losing her mind as well. Believe me when I tell you Darkhaven will give you all the creepy vibes this October.
“It was clear to me there was something dark about my family’s island, something that gathered tragedy to it like a magnet.”
I really enjoyed all the characters in this one, good and bad, but what really stood out for me was the world building. It was incredible. As soon as Ivy got to Darkhaven I knew I was in for a creepy, good time. Darkhaven is equal parts haunting and dare I say cozy? I mean, imagine living in a mansion on an island tucked away in a quaint little town. Yes, please. There are some parts that are just downright creepy and it worked even more with the atmosphere of the island. It takes a lot for a me to get creeped out while reading a book, but this one did the job. My favorite part of all was once Ivy got to the island and started having nightmares. The story really takes off when she begins to question what’s real and what isn’t and sets out to figure out the curse that plagues her family, the blood feud between their neighbors, and is trying not get murdered all at the same time. We love an unreliable narrator over here.
“Everyone pretty much goes through life assuming they’re fine, until they’re not.”
As for why I had to knock a few stars off…I did find the ending to be pretty predictable, but I usually always do when it comes to mysteries. It was still a somewhat enjoyable ending that tied up all the loose ends nicely. My biggest issue with this one was the pacing. I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book but the ending felt super rushed. The plot twists of the ending were pretty good but I was definitely bummed that the big end scene was over so quickly. All in all, if you are looking for that perfectly creepy, atmospheric read for this month Dreaming Darkly is definitely a strong contender. You’ll be able to fly though this one in no time!