Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway


“War is no good for the young, or for love.”
War is no good for anyone, yet peculiarly many love stories begin within that scenario – puts the entire concept of love into perspective, doesn’t it? How it’s not all about love at first sight and happy endings. Dark of the West is effective at voicing just that in a subtly chaotic manner.
Set in a world, currently, in the midst of a not-so-secret war between Monarchy and Dictatorship, a princess and a lieutenant dare to fall in love…
Arelia Isendare a.k.a Ali is a princess of a small kingdom in the North. With her elder brother Reni in line for the throne, Ali has always been shielded from the knowledge of politics and danger that lies beyond the walls of her castle, wanting nothing more than passing her exams and joining the University. But when people from other parts of the world start infiltrating the palace – lies fill the halls, secrets are whispered around every corner, and everything she has ever known about her own family might all be a bluff – Ali learns that textbooks don’t reveal everything. Determined to know the truth, Ali is willing to do anything, even if it means going against those she loves.
Athan Dakar, is the youngest son of a ruthless general. Born and brought up on the battlefield, Athan – a fighter pilot himself – has never lived a life of peace. Always under the shadow of his obedient, highly respected brothers, he’s constantly scrutinized by his father, who sees him as a person of very little value. To prove his worth, and protect the people he loves, Athan learns that he needs to conceal his disapproval of war (the only thing that matters to his family), and show loyalty to everything he’s grown to hate, even it means siding with the ideologies he despises.
When Athan’s mother (the only person to ever understand him) is assassinated, his father – believing it to be none other than Queen of Etania, Sinora Lehzar, Ali’s mother, behind it – sends Athan undercover into Etania’s court to spy upon the royal family. Would have been easy if he didn’t end up falling for the girl he’s been tasked to spy on. And Ali, who detests the Safire and their oh-so-noble doctrine, finds a friend (and maybe something more) in a certain lieutenant of the same. Despite the mutual attraction, both Athan and Ali are up for more than they bargained for, especially when caught in a tangle of lies, politics, guns, revenge and chaos.
Inspired by a World war II-era Europe, Hathway does a tremendously great job at hooking the reader from the prologue itself (tip: go back to the prologue once you finish). Her writing is fast-paced and easily understandable, with only a slight confusion regarding the geography of the world. This is a definite add-on to lovers of all genre and will become a favorite fairly quickly.

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About Sarah Ansari

A hardcore bibliophile with an old soul. Usually anti-social, unless you're up to talking about books, what's the latest fashion trend, or have a deep and thoughtful conversation (hates small talks). An enthusiastic traveler and foodie - especially if it's anything sweet - with a love for mysteries and everything fantasy — which is why 99% of the time, you will usually find her lost in her own world. Sarah has high-standard goals for her future and is in the process of achieving them.