The Stathos Sisters are a force to be reckoned with!
The Darkness Within Us Book Cover The Darkness Within Us
Tricia Levenseller
Feiwel & Friends
July 9, 2024
Ebook, Hardback, Audiobook

Chrysantha Stathos has won. By hiding her intelligence and ambition behind the mask of a beautiful air-headed girl, she has gathered important secrets, earned her father’s constant care, and become a wealthy duchess—all by age nineteen. Now, she is only one elderly, dying duke away from having all the freedom, money, and safety she’s ever wanted. Or so she thought. Turns out her little sister somehow snatched the true victory away from her: Alessandra is wedding the Shadow King, the most powerful man in the world. Meanwhile, after the death of Chrysantha’s no-good, lecherous husband, a man claiming to be the duke’s estranged grandson turns up to inherit everything that should be hers. Chrysantha is enraged. There is no way that she’s going to let some man take everything from her. Never mind that he’s extremely handsome and secretive and alluring with mysterious powers… No, Chrysantha wants Eryx Demos dead, and in the end, a Stathos girl always gets what she wants.

The Darkness Within Us by Tricia Levenseller is the new spin-off of her 2020 hit, The Shadows Between Us. That being said, I can attest that you can start with this one and still fully understand and enjoy it. Though it would spoil the first book for you. 

“My husband is taking too long to die.”

Chrysantha Stathos has hustled and schemed her whole life to achieve freedom in a world dominated by men. Now, married to a dying duke, it’s all finally within reach. That is until Eryx Demos turns up claiming to be her husband’s grandson and heir to her dukedom. His mysterious charm won’t sway her when it comes to prying his claws out of what’s hers, even when she starts to suspect he might have literal claws.

This book is perfect for your laziest reading days. There isn’t much exposition, but the world-building isn’t complex enough for it to be confusing. The magic system in particular isn’t really explained. I can’t speak to what was established in the first book, but having gone into this one blind I initially thought this was a fantasy in the sense of vibes and then was pleasantly surprised by the magical twist. While I believe it’s marketed as YA, this story does contain some more mature themes as far as sexual autonomy. That being said, none of it is explicit on the page and any spiciness is ‘closed door.’ 

We’re thrown straight into who Chrysantha is and what her stakes are. The story is entirely in her POV, which is a soft, warm center wrapped in a snarky romp of a candy coating. I believe it to be a challenge to write a character who readers will find endearing and root for when she’s actively planning murders for the majority of the book, and I rooted for Chrysantha and every ounce of savageness found in her internal monologue. I also really enjoyed seeing her growing relationship with her sister, Alessandra the FMC from The Shadows Between Us. It was a lovely acknowledgment of how we can coexist in hardship and yet be totally unaware of the allies we have. They’re allowed to see that though they survived their father’s house in different ways, it doesn’t need to come between them.

“Before, I wasn’t a violent person. Before, I’d been patience personified. Now, I’m free. Now, I can be whatever I want.”

This book is the lightest kind of palette cleanser, providing something fun and easy to absolutely inhale. I don’t want to say it’s kind of cozy given the amount of murder plots, but… I wouldn’t not say that. You’re given thoughtful, unique characters who have enough stakes to keep things moving without ever getting particularly suspenseful and just enough romance to make it truly interesting. I’d recommend The Darkness Within Us to anyone looking for something quietly delightful to read in the sunshine. Especially to those who enjoyed The Shadows Between Us, because we love a cameo.

This book was provided in exchance for an honest review graphic