Review: Darken the Stars by Amy A. Bartol (Kricket #3)

Note: This ARC was provided by 47North via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don't want to be a star, caged by the night. I won't be hung up in the sky for others to decide how high I can soar. No one gets to do that but me. I can't be someone's possession. I won't be owned. My heart has grown fiercer; I want wildflowers without worms. I want love, but on my own terms.

Kricket Hollowell may be Kyon Ensin's captive but she refuses to bend to his will, focusing only on her love for Trey Allairis to get her through this trying time. Her life was exchanged for that of her sister's, whose future has been planned while Kricket's remains tainted but a destiny that too many interested parties wish for her to fulfill, regardless of the consequences for her. She has agreed to be the eyes and ears of an alliance whose motives are unclear, but the more time she spends with Kyon, the more she begins to see that there could be more to him than the unfeeling and vicious killer that he is known to be.

The prophecy that has plagued Kricket since before her birth appears to be coming close to fruition and the pressure she feels is coming from all sides. The motives of those around her are coming into question and the realization that she is nothing more than a pawn in a variety of self-serving quests that seem to benefit everyone but her cuts to the very heart of her. Loyalties come into play and soon enough, one thing is as clear as crystal to Kricket: her destiny may have been originally written in the stars so long ago, but she alone has the power to change it. In the end, the one person who controls her destiny is herself.

I waited five months for this third and final novel in what has become my favorite science fiction romance series of any age group and I allowed myself to wait a little longer before reading it, wanting to keep everything fresh in my mind when I wrote my review. Author Amy A. Bartol has outdone herself with Darken the Stars, taking Kricket Hollowell's story and surpassing any and all of my expectations, and mind you, those expectations were zenithal after the amazing reading experiences I had with Under Different Stars and Sea of Stars. To say this finale did not disappoint would be a supremely gross understatement.

The events here take place right after those in the second book, which ended with a cliffhanger that had me shaking my e-reader in frustration. But that's what cliffhangers are for, right? To build suspense and anticipation for what's to come next, even if it means counting the days, weeks, and months before you get those much-craved for answers to seemingly endless questions. My opinion of Kyon Ensin was begrudgingly more positive more than five months ago and just like Kricket, what lay beneath all those harsh and cold layers was a revelation that left me feeling undeniably torn between him and Trey Allairis.

While it's far easier to wax poetic about the enduring love that Kricket and Trey fought for, one that was on its way to being legendary, there's a savage beauty to what happens between Kricket and Kyon. They're adversarial allies who are tethered together in a way that is different but no less compelling from the connection that Kricket has with Trey. There's a point in the story that's heartbreaking because what you would have expected from one was fulfilled by the other and in no uncertain terms. The thing with love is that, more often than not, one is more willing to make sacrifices, their love far stronger than the other's. 

At the end of the day, the series really is about Kricket Hollowell and the life-altering journey she goes on. She was already a survivor from the beginning of the first book, but she is also a warrior--often self-sacrificing but one that should not be underestimated when it comes time to put herself first. The ending was one that I would not have foreseen and it is an atypical one, but it leaves the reader with a sense of hope and the lesson that we are more than capable of being our own heroes and heroines in our life stories. The Kricket series has been one worthwhile literary ride and Darken the Stars gets five-plus stars. ♥♥♥

Read my reviews for the Kricket series:

Under Different Stars (book one) - five-plus stars - Review

Sea of Stars (book two) - five-plus stars - Review

Darken the Stars (book three) - five-plus stars - Review (posted above)

Release Date: 08 September 2015

Date Read: 08 September 2015

Learn more about Amy A. Bartol here.

Purchase Darken the Stars on Amazon.


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