One Dark Window – Spoiler Free Review

Happy Thursday book friends! I am excited because tonight I am going out for dinner (and I don’t have to pay!), and this weekend I have a gala!! Lots of exciting things are happening. But first, I have a review for you.

I requested One Dark Window on NetGalley because it sounded super interesting, and I tend to enjoy anything that is published by Orbit. Thankfully, my Orbit enjoyment can continue as usual, as I loved this book! Check out the content warnings below, and let’s get started.

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One Dark Window Book Cover

One Dark Window

By Rachel Gillig

My Rating: ★★★★.5
Published 27 September 2022 by Orbit
Fantasy | Dark | Magic
Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.

But nothing comes for free, especially magic.

When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.

Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.

My Thoughts

What I liked a lot about this book is that within the first few chapters I immediately had questions. There was a certain air of mystery, and I wanted to keep reading until I had all the answers. Unfortunately for my heart, this was also a book where you can tell absolutely everything is going to go wrong. So when I finished it within 48 hours I was quite sad…

The world isn’t particularly big. The kingdom of Blunder is locked in perpetual mist, and the only people we see on page are its noble families. The magic, however, I thought was well fleshed out. I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to magic systems, but I had never read about one that’s based on cards. The mist combined with the magic makes for an incredibly moody read. It’s honestly perfect for Fall.

I greatly enjoyed Elspeth’s character. Reading about her relationship with the Nightmare was especially interesting. The infection that granted her her magic made her wary and isolated, as possessing unsanctioned magic is often punishable by death. Enter Ravyn: who is captain of the Destries; the unit of men and women tasked with hunting down infected magic users. However, he is also guilty of the aforementioned treason, and can definitely use someone like Elspeth. I loved reading about their relationship as well: how it went from zero trust, to gradually more.

The high prince Hauth is an asshole. Like a legit, hairs-stand-up-in-your-neck asshole. I’m not yet quite sure what his game is, besides being the villain, but I’m sure I’ll find out in the next book. I did wish we got to see more of the king. Right now I know there’s a king, and that he and Hauth are probably very similar, but he didn’t show up quite a lot. It made me forget sometimes that Hauth is not the highest authority. There were so many more characters that have a stake in what happens to the Providence Cards, and I cannot wait to find out more about their motivations.


And that’s it for my review of One Dark Window! It was a perfectly moody, gothic, dark fairy tale of a book. If you like all three of those descriptions, I seriously recommend picking this one up. It’s out now, but trust me when I say you’ll want the second book immediately.

Find more reviews in my archive!

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