Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden, who kindly sent me a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Before I get into the review, I would like to thank her for this opportunity. I was also lucky enough to interview her, and you can view that here.
These Violent Nights is an action packed fantasy set in a universe where there are three different planets, which are all very different from each other. The story begins in the protagonist, Thorn’s, Earth, where humans are hunted by the magical Surrias, and the first part follows her and her best friend (Thistle) as they navigate this life and move in with two Surrias (Kol and Nithin) – after Thistle’s engagement. Eventually we come to see all three different planets and are introduced to a great cast of characters!
These Violent Nights was definitely one of my favourite fantasy reads of the year so far. I haven’t actually had much luck in fantasy recently, and had only enjoyed one prior to this book, and I’d been avoiding my TBR for this genre for that reason. However, I think it’s safe to say that These Violent Nights has now turned my mindset around, and I can’t wait to get back to this genre again!
I think one of my favourite things about the book was definitely the world building. In some fantasties information tends to be chucked at the reader in massive chunks but this was far from the case here. Crunden created a really good sense of the planets without overwhelming the reader, and I really admired the way she slipped crucial details into conversations and interactions between the characters, which definitely made it a lot easier to digest. She also successfully slipped in other information, for instance the fact that humans were not allowed to listen to music, which really added an extra something.
I also really liked Thorn and Thistle’s relationship – to begin with, that is. I really admired the way Thorn looked out for Thistle, particularly concerning her engagement to Nithin. What I wasn’t a fan of, however, was how mean and spiteful they could be to each other at points, although it was nice to see them make up and put everything behind them in the second half.
This definitely made for some great character development, particularly on Thorn’s part. At the beginning I kind of hated her character and how pessimistic and close minded she was, but by the end she had come on leaps and bounds and I liked her a lot more. I really enjoyed watching her progress and become more selfless and open to changing her attitude towards the Surrias, and coming to terms with the idea of not all of them being evil.
Of course, Kol helped her a lot with that. Kol was definitely one of my favourite characters in the whole book and I loved reading about the way he constantly took care of Thorn and saw to her needs. He was definitely one of the kindest characters in the book, and I also really enjoyed reading about his species, the Frai (a type of Surria). Kol definitely stood out from the other characters and he was genuinely a really likeable character!
Lucien was another character which I really liked. I really loved how loyal and forgiving he was and he generally came across a really nice person and father figure to Ginny. Lucien was another of my favourite characters and I preferred his character a lot more than Thorn’s, with the two of them being the main protagonists through which the story was told.
I also loved the overall strong sense of friendship throughout. I loved reading about Thorn’s interactions with the other humans, as well as Nithin and Kol, and there were definitely some really lovely ones in there. I particularly enjoyed the bond between Thorn and Nithin at the end, which was made all the more lovelier by the fact that it had taken so long for them to get to that point.
Of course, friendship wasn’t the only strong relationship explored in the book – there was also romance. I really enjoyed both Thorn and Kol and Lucien and Nik’s relationship, which were both fraught with obstacles to overcome. Both of these relationships featured a human and a Surria, and watching their different struggles regarding this was really interesting to read. Both of these relationships also made up a good chunk of the book, so it definitely has its fair share of romance!
The book was also split up into four different parts, with a different focus in each one. The first and biggest part explored Thorn’s time at Nithin’s house, with the second introducing a new character (Lucien) as a protagonist as well as another planet where humans ruled over Surrias. I found it so interesting and intriguing to read about how different the two Earths were and it really helped with not seeing all of the Surrias in a negative light. I don’t want to give too much away about the other two parts but they were definitely just as interesting as the first two!
I also really enjoyed Crunden’s style of writing. She managed to strike just the right balance between being too descriptive and not being descriptive enough, which really added to the ease of readability. Once I got into it I whizzed through it and read the majority of it in a couple of days! I think this would also be a great book to dip in and out of, too, as that’s what I started off by doing, until it completely hooked me in!
The twists were also amazing. I definitely didn’t see the big twist coming, and it’s safe to say that it left me really surprised. It was definitely really clever of Crunden and the last two parts were full of surprises that left me reeling!
However, that’s not to say that I enjoyed everything about this book. I definitely liked the first part a lot less than the other three, which was partly due to how annoying Thorn’s character was and also how slow moving it was to begin with. That being said, I wouldn’t let that put you off as the other three parts really make up for it and are generally a lot faster paced, as well as having lots of chapters exploring Lucien, who I really liked.
I also felt like there were too many characters, although that could just be me. There was, admittedly, a really great range of characters in this book but I definitely think some of them could’ve been removed and it wouldn’t have made any real difference to the plot and the overall outcome.
Overall, I would recommend These Violent Nights for anyone searching for a deeply engaging fantasy with lots of strong friendships and characters. I would also recommend it to any fan of romance, as there are two main couples in the story which are well developed, with their relationships being fully delved into.
I hope you enjoyed this review, and thanks again to Rebecca for the copy!