THE WHISPERING DARK by KELLY ANDREW
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew has been on my radar for a long time now, mostly because I’m acquainted with the author herself! When I saw that Kelly had a book coming how, I knew I had to read it. This Gothic dark academia tale follows Deaf college student, Delaney Meyers-Petrov as she joins a mysterious college program for students with…less than natural abilities. Delaney can “hear” shadows talking to her while Colton Price, her TA and academic rival, seems to be something else entirely. Something other than a college senior. What follows is a wholly engrossing tale of love, darkness, and parallel worlds, and spoiler alert: I really enjoyed it.
First of all, I’d like to touch on the disability representation in this book. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Deaf main character in a YA fantasy novel before, and it was so refreshing to read. Furthermore, Andrew herself is Deaf so Delaney’s experiences come from the author’s own. Ano
ther huge plus is the writing. Andrew’s prose is lush and sensuous, the descriptions making the reader feel as though they’ve stepped into a macabre fairy tale world. I loved the college setting–college students are young adults too!–and the whole idea that there’s an academic institution devoted to traversing parallel worlds.
However, I will say I took issue with some of the plot inconsistencies and worldbuilding–or lack thereof. Is this program known to the public? Is it a secret? We have no idea. There are some scenes in the book that I felt were cut in editing to make more room for the romance. For example, there’s references to the Priory–a secret organization on campus dedicated to the supernatural goings-on within the plot. However, we get no backstory about the Priory at all, and we’re never shown what exactly it is. Delaney’s roommates also suffer from this lack of showing, because they just…appear on the page one day and reappear whenever Delaney needs guidance/to talk about her relationship with Colton. It was a little jarring, to be honest, and there are multiple instances where I thought this happened. There’s a lot of buildup to some great mystery, but it fizzles out towards the end to ensure the readers know that Delaney and Colton are a couple.
This isn’t to say Delaney and Colton make a bad match. I especially loved their dynamic in the last 100 or so pages of the book. There’s a lot of angst and drama to be found between them and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed what worldbuilding elements we were given, though I wish there was a lot more of it. I wanted to know how and why these parallel worlds existed. The Whispering Dark is, at its core, a romance, however, so I understand from a narrative point of view why these things weren’t included.
Overall, The Whispering Dark is the perfect read for a cold, rainy night. With its gorgeous prose and wonderful representation, it’s definitely worth a try. Especially if you’re looking for a good YA romance.