One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig

One Dark Window book cover

What It’s About:

Elspeth needs a monster. The monster might be her.

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.


Choosing this book

I went into One Dark Window without knowing much about it. I came across it on an Instagram book club and it happened to come up on sale at the same time the group was reading it. So…I figured I would give it a shot. I usually am super picky about the books that I read.

The Review

Sadly, there were many things that I didn’t like about the book. First, there was alot of repetition all over the place. The Nightmare speaks in lengthy riddles, the characters constantly repeat sayings from their folklore, and I wanted to pull my hair out anytime a character’s lips curled or tugged into a smile. I ended up skimming alot of the repetitive sections of the book.

It was a struggle to feel any attachment to Elspeth as a main character. She felt very flat and her thoughts and actions often frustrated me. When obvious pieces of the puzzle would come up in the story, it would take forever for her to put the pieces together. She seemed lost most of the time. The enemies to lovers and insta-love romance between Elspeth and Ravyn was too melodramatic for me. I was disappointed on how much time was focused on their romance instead of the search for the Provenance cards.


There were two things that I did enjoy while reading One Dark Window. The familial banter between the highwayman crew was fun and I really enjoyed the scenes that contained them. My favorite scenes were when they were all working together to try and get the cards or to get out of danger. I would have loved for there to be more adventure and heist type scenes. There was one card heist scene that was full of action and adrenaline. It was AMAZING. Give me more of that!! Maybe the second book will have more action.

If you enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s book Heartless, you might enjoy this book. One Dark Window reminded me alot of that book. I’m just not the right audience for this one, which is why I decided not to include a star rating.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.

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