REVIEW: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff! The One Where I Try to Explain the Ending. Kinda.
This eagerly awaited finale of the Nevernight Chronicles is finally here! We finished our last book with Mia on the run after just killing Julius Scavea and as a shock twist, he is still alive. Now she is on the run with her lover Ashlinn and her gang after the attempt on his life. She kidnaps her younger brother Jonnen who is also known as Lucius Scaeva. And now they are in more danger than ever.
Once it is known to that Mia, that Scaeva is still alive and well, he makes an appearance to her with an offer, to join him and be at his side and reign with him in his power but Mia refuses because it is conceited and self-centred, and very much like Scaeva. She then begins to realise, that without his intervening in her life, she could have been normal but now she is anything but and they are alike more than she wants to admit.
At first, her relationship with her brother is tenuous and is very cruel to her, as he does not remember his past life. As time goes on though, he finds comfort in Eclipse, her shadow daemon and eventually warms up to Mia through her. He eventually gains some memory of Mia singing to him when he was scared.
In addition to Jonnen, we also have somebody else we know coming back into our story. That is our dearly beloved and dead Tric who is now alive and came back through the darkness has now found that our Mia is with the one that murdered him, Ashlinn. He finds this hard to come to terms with because after all, she did end his life. So he feels like this is a betrayal. But Ash and Tric both love Mia and they know she is struggling with them arguing and snapping at each other. They know Mia loves them even though she is at war with her heart.
Mia also learns of the origins of the darkin and her destiny. Mia is told of a girl just like her. Her name was Cleo. Cleo had a sliver of the moon’s (Anais’s) soul into her heart. The Black mother, Niah, came to her after she killed her husband who was also darkin and told her that she was chosen and that she would restore the balance between night and day. The way it was meant to be. So as Niah requested, she began finding Darkin and killing them to consume their power, essence and their daemons. And because of this, she began to go mad. She was given this life and prophecy that she was chosen and that made her go even deeper within her madness. At this point in time, she was with child who was ‘drenched in murder’. She gave birth and wanted a life with her child and as such didn’t want to give her life anymore. This is when she finally learned the truth; that she had to die for the moon to live. She learned ‘the body which houses the Moon’s soul must perish in his rebirth. That whoever gives Anais life must give up their own to see it done.’ She realised, she didn’t want this because she had a son to look after now. She gave up and remained where she was and twisted into madness. This is when everybody, including Mia realises that Mia was born to die. Born to take Cleo’s place and die to become the moon. This is why the darkin exist. They are slivers of what was the moon and pieces of the moon needed to be joined back together to be whole again. This was Mia’s destiny.
Mia kills Cleo and claims her power and daemon. When this happened, her body started to merge into one; Anais.
‘The many were one, ... The many fragments of his soul. One beneath the three. One moon beneath three suns. To raise the four. The Four Daughters. Free the first. Niah, the first divinity. Blind the second and the third. Extinguish the second and third suns. And what then would remain? One sun. One moon. One night. Balance. As it was, and should, and will be.’
Mia became the moonlight. ‘A white circle was scribed at his brow, her eyes burning from within with a pale and ghostly radiance. Moonlight.’ Jay Kristoff’s writing is simply descriptive and gorgeous and as such I have included some of my favourite quotes from these moments. ‘She wore the night. Her gown was silken black. The jewels at her throat, darkling stars. Long skirts billowed out from her waist, flowed down to her bare feet, a corset of midnight cinched tight across ghost-pale skin… Like a moon not yet full. The dark was alive about her. Inside her. Pale and beautiful, she walked on. She wore the night, gentlefriends. And all the night came with her.’
It was in this moment that she became who she was meant to be. Her destiny was to be combined with the moon and become this radiant being. Like previously said, when she took this power on though, her body died. She did this for her family. So that they could have better lives. She did this for Tric and Ash, the ones who gave her life for her more than once. She fulfilled her part in this world. However, as her debt was paid, the deities allowed her to come back and spend the rest of her life with the one she loved, Ash. ‘One tithe remained. Now repaid… [Afterall] even the Moon loved our girl too much to let her die for long.’
A lot of people were a bit disheartened with this ending for Mia, but I actually think that Jay Kristoff was right about the way this happened. Mia was always a subject of circumstance. People played chess and she was just a pawn in their game so when she had a chance to have her say, instead of running away from a destiny she didn’t want, she actually stood up to it and decided that she was better than all of them combined. She did it for the greater good despite other people’s ill intentions.
One of my favourite tidbits in this bit is that Jay Kristoff put his own books into the story. So he put the nevernight chronicles into the narrative and he actually makes it crucial to the story line. Another tidbit, is that he has a shoutout to Piera Forde, a very big fan of his and also the creator of the Nevernight Mini series.
Overall, this I believe was a good ending to the series, though many will not agree with me on this point. I hope I kind of explained what really happened with Mia as I tried to find blogs explaining this myself and haven’t found that many resources.
5 out of 5 stars.