Updated: Sep 5, 2021
Molly E. Lee brings us the first instalment of a series following Harley, a seventeen year old girl living in Rochester, New York. Harley has been working to save enough money to purchase an apartment for herself and her sister on her eighteenth birthday to escape her abusive father. When she meets a mysterious man at a club during an early celebration of her birthday, Harleys life changes forever.
(Please note the trigger warnings listed lower in this review before reading!)
This was a very well crafted story. The characters were interesting and the plot pulled me in from the very beginning. I loved how Harleys love for her sister drove her actions in this book. She is such a strong person and she continues to grow after everything she’s faced in her life and I really love how Lee portrayed her in this story!
When it comes to the other characters I think that Draven was a really interesting. He was a fun character and though he didn’t change too much in the storyline from the perspective we are reading, I think internally he went through a lot throughout the book. It would be interesting to see more of a Draven perspective in the rest of the series but I don’t think it’s necessary to making the series good as the way Molly wrote this book was fantastic. I will also say that I hope for more of Ray in the future. I have so many questions about her and what else she has to offer the series. She was such a sweet comparison to Harley’s rougher exterior especially since she has been shielded by Harley from their dad her whole life. I really loved that she immediately connected with Draven and their interactions were really adorable.
The pacing in the book felt good to me, it wasn’t too fast but there was still a lot going on throughout it and I never felt bored with what was going on. Since its not a high fantasy book there is less world building but there was still some information that needed to be introduced with the darker side of the book that pulls it into fantasy and I think Molly did a good job of blending those parts into the writing naturally so it didn’t feel forced.
Overall I really enjoyed the book, I loved the characters, I loved the storyline. I think the ending had a lot of twists and information I wasn’t expecting and I can’t wait to get the next book so I can see what happens next. If you are looking for a good read I would highly recommend this!
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars
——————— Important note about this series before continuing ———————
This book touches on some topics that can be sensitive and should not be taken lightly. The author puts a note at the beginning of the book warning readers of this before they proceed to read so I think it’s important to address this before my review as well to ensure people are aware of this before thinking about reading this. Ember of Night covers topics relating to suicidal thoughts, emotional and physical abuse, alcoholism, violence and gore. There is also some sexual content so depending on the age this may not be appropriate for some readers. In my opinion Lee does a really good job of handling this issues as sensitively as possible within the books content but anyone that suffers or has suffered from any of these may be triggered by the content. If you are suffering from abuse, domestic violence, or contemplating suicide there are services listed in the book and I will add them below.
Canadian Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566
Abuse and Violence resources:
sheltersafe.ca - information to help connect women and their children with the nearest shelter and for safety and support.
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Hope for Wellness 24/7: 1-855-242-3310
Childhelp National Child Abuse 24/7 hotline: 1-800-422-4453
There are services available to help you and others out there that offer support and guidance if needed. You are not alone. Do not blame yourself, you have done nothing to cause this and there are place out there to help you face this.
————— Spoilers Below, if you have not read this proceed with caution —————
This was a really great read. Molly did a wonderful job of pulling in her readers and has a great start to what I imagine will be a fantastic dystopian series. I can’t wait for the rest of the books to come out! I haven‘t seen any information about the second books release date but hopefully we will hear something soon!
I loved how even though Ray wasn’t Harley’s blood related sister she doesn’t care and still believes her to be family. The two of them are so sweet together!
I totally saw the twist of Kai being the bad guy coming, though I didn’t expect him to be the second. I just thought he was working with them rather than leading things. When Ray said she saw Draven watching Marid hurt Harley I thought that it was going to be his brother that was the Second and that Kai followed under him. I was expecting Draven to have to choose choose between Harley and his brother with his brother. Which he kind of did anyways but I still thought that was going to happen and that Kai was either his brother disguised as someone else, or was the seconds right hand man. So though I guessed a little bit of it I didn’t see all of it coming.
Things I didn’t like:
Kai - even from the start I had a bad feeling about him. The moment he told her to stay away from Draven I knew something was up and he just became incredibly sketchy.
Marid and the freaky snake body thing, bleh!
The dad hurting Ray when he mistook her for Harley.
The dad hurting Harley because he was PAID! So... so angry you have no idea.
Things I loved:
Harley parenting Ray. She is so kind and truly loves that little girl.
The intensity of the attraction between Draven and Harley, I can’t wait to see where it leads.
Ray, that little girl is a treasure and I hope that we get more of her in future books! I have a feeling she has some kind of ability as well and not just getting dreams of Marid because of Harley so I feel like there is going to be a lot to get into later with her!
Kazuki - I want more of him! So much more! I get major Magnus Bane vibes from this man, if you’ve ever read Cassandra Clare's books you’ll understand. He was great!
The protection tattoo that fades to a normal tattoo. Love it.
Cassiel - I’m so intrigued by this character and I want more of him in the future!
The twist on her lineage and not being the abusive mans blood related daughter.
Ray’s drawing talent, you have to love a little protege.
Harley finally telling off her “kind of” Father
“I had a suspicion you were hot for me, Harley. - But I didn’t realize I could make you burn.”
“We can’t let fear steal your chance at living”
“Trust is both a gift and a curse. Heady in the right hands and a weapon in others.”
“Even an ember of night can be a beacon in the darkness.”
“Because "love" is a dangerous weapon in any form―familial, friendly, or romantic. It has the power to crush a soul, and mine is hanging on by a thread.”
“Hope is a dangerous thing for me, and I've had enough danger to last me a lifetime.”
“Just because something is damaged doesn't mean it isn't beautiful. All things have value. Don't let anyone tell you differently.”
“There will always be people who say you’re different, Ray. I can’t change that. - But those people who laugh? Those people who tell you your art isn’t worth it?- They’re terrified of you. They’re scared of your talent,- Of your light. They’re scared because they can’t fit you into society’s standard one-size-fits-all box.”