I read the fist five chapters of this on EpicReads and was super interested. The cover looks amazing, the first couple of chapters are dark and mysterious, and I was interested in the main character’s backstory. Sadly, the book did get pretty slow and predictable the more I read, but it was still pretty good.
Ivy Bloodgood’s mother is dead, and she should probably be sad about it. But she isn’t. Myra Bloodgood was confusing mix of protective and abusive, a manipulative personality who never told the truth—about where she came from, who Ivy’s father was, or why they were living their lives on the run.
Now that Ivy has been sent to Darkhaven, an island off the New England coast, to live with a rich uncle she didn’t know existed, she is forced to reckon with her mother’s past. Ivy can tell right away there are long-held family secrets buried within these walls, but when she wakes up from one of her nightmares covered in someone else’s blood, Ivy fears that whatever demons her mother battled while she was alive have come to roost in her own mind. Scared that she can no longer trust what she sees, Ivy seeks the help of a boy who thinks her episodes are connected to the sordid history of Darkhaven—but what they don’t know might kill them both.
A moody and twisty gothic mystery with an impossible romance, Dreaming Darkly is an atmospheric, fast-paced page-turner written by comics veteran Caitlin Kittredge.
As I mentioned earlier, the beginning of this book was so promising. A dark and creepy island, feuding families, a curse/history of mental illness, and an overall mysterious and spooky vibe? It was really working out well in the beginning. As I kept reading, the mystery started to die down and the boredom started to kick in. There’s only so much repetition of the mystery I can take until I get bored not learning anything new.
The beginning of the book is about Ivy being sent to Darkhaven, meeting her uncle, and learning about her family history and the history between her family and the neighboring family. All this, along with her family curse/craziness, was integrated so well and set up a mysterious and spooky atmosphere that really drew me in. I know I would have loved this book if this atmosphere has escalated, but instead it just stayed stagnant until the every end. Don’t get me wrong, we do learn more about Ivy’s family and the secrets surrounding it, but nothing else happens! Nothing gets my blood pumping, nothing really develops with the plot or characters, and all the juicy parts are saved until the last few chapters.
Lackluster plot aside, the characters were OK. Ivy at times seemed too “I’m not the type of girl who…” and that got really annoying. She was either “badass” (i.e. emotionless and rude) or very emotional and the opposite of how she was initially written. Her characterization other than this is fine, but she was just an average character. The romantic interest was primarily a trope of the broody bad boy. There didn’t seem to be any depth to him.
Some of the writing seemed to jump around, but the storyline itself was an interesting concept. I watch a lot of crime TV an dread a lot of mysteries so I found some of it predictable, but I did like the concept. The execution was lacking, but it has a good idea. I think I might still keep my eye out for future books by Kittredge to see if her writing improves. I’d recommend this for people looking to get into mystery and those who like hints of supernatural events but don’t love horror.