The Raven Boys meets Ninth House in the most exciting debut of 2022 — a dark, atmospheric fantasy about a Deaf college student with a peculiar connection to the afterlife.
Delaney Meyers-Petrov is tired of being seen as fragile just because she’s Deaf. So when she’s accepted into a prestigious program at Godbole University that tramatesns students to slip between parallel worlds, she’s excited for the chance to prove herself. But her semester gets off to a rocky start as she faces professors who won’t accommodate her disability, and a pretentious upperclassman fascinated by Delaney’s unusual talents.
Colton Price died when he was nine years old. Quite impossibly, he woke several weeks later at the feet of a green-eyed little girl. Now, twelve years later, Delaney Meyers-Petrov has stumbled back into his orbit, but Colton’s been ordered to keep far away from the new girl… and the voices she hears calling to her from the shadows.
Delaney wants to keep her distance from Colton — she seems to be the only person on campus who finds him more arrogant than charming — yet after a Godbole student turns up dead, she and Colton are forced to form a tenuous alliance, plummeting down a rabbit-hole of deeply buried university secrets. But Delaney and Colton discover the cost of opening the doors between worlds when they find themselves up against something old and nameless, an enemy they need to destroy before it tears them — and their forbidden partnership — apart.
I didn’t read the synopsis and when I wanted to write my review, I thought about Ninth House, The Atlas Six, Babel… So I guess the synopsis is not lying at all when it says “The Raven Boys meets Ninth House”!
The Whispering Dark was oddly compelling and also very puzzling for a very long time.
We don’t precisely know what Colton does, what his “mates” do either, who is the Apostle… we only know that they are dying or …nearly! This gives us a very cryptic atmosphere, filled with shadows, doors that you open in the sky and a girl, Delaney, that Colton can’t get close to as he has been expressly forbidden to and yet…
Usually that would frustrate me a lot, not understanding what was happening but I didn’t mind it in the least! Don’t ask me why though 😉
But what is The Whispering dark about?
The Whispering Dark is told from a dual point of view: Delaney and Colton’s.
Early on we learn that Delaney died for some minutes when she was a kid and that she came back from death deaf and with a fright of shadows.
We also know that Colton died for days when he was nine years old and he came back to life just to see Delaney as a little girl, telling him that the water was too cold to swim in it.
Now many years later, Delaney who has been homeschooled all her life has decided to go to college and has been accepted to Goldbole college, quite a mystical place. She wants to push her boundaries.
“She wanted to be defined. Not by the silence between her ears or her fear of the dark, but by the sum of her achievements. Not by what she couldn’t do, but by what she could.”
Delaney is… fumbling. It’s not easy for her to understand in big classes with noise and chatter. Her notes are full of holes and butterflies.
Goldbole is the house of students with odd talents: going outside of your body or seeing the future among others. So Delaney feels very common and out of place. But of course she has a special talent. She is just not fully aware of it.
Colton Price is a teacher assistant at Goldbole and has been told to keep his distance from Delaney. But the fascination is too strong. Seeming always distant, like a faerie prince or a fallen angel, switching between inviting Delaney to help her and then ignoring her completely the moment after, Delaney had quite the whiplash with Colton!
Lucky for us, as we are in his head, we know that there is that fascination otherwise I think I’d loved to smack some sense in him!
“He couldn’t help it. He went where she led, like a paper kite on a string. He was hopelessly caught, twisted in her branches. His line tangled. His spine splintered. His sail all in tatters. There was no clean way to work himself free.”
The whole book focuses around these two, their mysterious link that will be unraveled on a shocking finale with students death as background.
Their connection , the power Delaney has on Colton will grow slowly at first but going crescendo to reach a paroxysm by the end of the book and the shocking finale!
“Come here,” she said. An order, soft. He would have crawled across the floor to her, if she’d commanded it. He would have dragged himself, the way he’d torn through fire and through ice. The way he’d thrown himself at her feet, halfway dead and ice thawing in his lungs. He surrendered a step into the room. In spite of her initial boldness, she drew back from his approach. Something primitive shot through him at the sight of her retreat.”
In this Colton made me think of Adam and Gansey from the Raven Boys all rolled into one.
It was eerie, spooky, mysterious, even gore at times but also fascinating, brilliant and very compulsive to read!
Thanks for reading!