Nightweaver by R. M. Gray
R.M. Gray serves up a swashbuckling tale that has me thinking I have what it takes to be the next Elizabeth Swan in her debut novel, Nightweaver (Merlin’s Pen Publishing). If you are searching for something that rivals the excitement and wonder you had when watching Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time, this is the book for you. Plus, with its gothic Crimson Peak vibes, there is no better time to dive into this gripping and spooky tale.
Violet has lived her entire life on the sea. For the past six hundred years, a species called Nightweavers have claimed the land for themselves, making the water the only safe place for Violet and her family. The Oberon family is a force to be reckoned with and formidable against any foe that crosses their path. That is, until the oldest brother, Owen, is murdered by what they call an Underling — a being even the Nightweavers have reason to fear. Violet and her family are now in the clutches of the Nightweavers until Will, the son of a wealthy family, shows them mercy. The Oberons are taken to Bludgrave Manor, where they will live out their days as employees of the estate. As the rest of her family seems to be adjusting to their new life on land, Violet has taken a vow never to forget her hatred for the Nightweavers and to never give up on finding the Underling that murdered her brother. As Violet is hunting the Underling, she discovers dark secrets that threaten everything she thought she knew.
Violet’s world has been turned upside down as she tries to make the transition from a life as a pirate on the sea to a kitchen maid on land. Every time I thought she was finally finding her footing, the rug would be pulled out from under her yet again. With the constant unveiling of a new clue or more information, I found myself racing through the story, dying to figure out the mystery. One of the biggest highlights of this book for me was the Oberon family dynamic. Each member of this family wouldn’t hesitate to give their life for the other one; they will constantly spring into action when needed — ready to defend and fiercely loyal.
R.M. Gray has perfected the balance of a gripping and thrilling mystery and the slow burn, will they-won’t they romance between Violet and Will. Even though Violet has been taught to fear and hate the Nightweavers, Will is different. He has shown her family mercy; he is kind, charming, thoughtful and just might be the missing link she needs to solve the mystery of her brother’s murder. As the tension between Will and Violet builds and she learns more about Nightweavers, she begins to question everything she’s been led to believe.
While this is a YA book, it is filled with dark themes, and the plot packs a big emotional punch with high stakes. The world-building is so immersive and not at all overwhelming, and everything seems to be steeped in mystery and darkness. This is a world it’s easy to get lost in. I was absolutely burning through the last few chapters as the mystery was coming to a crescendo, leaving me breathless with an intense cliffhanger, which gave me an even more intense book hangover.
Nightweaver by R.M. Gray is a tale about many things: mystery, myth, legends, magic and beasts. But ultimately, this is a story about family and the lengths they will go to protect and even avenge each other.
Publish Date: October 16, 2023
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Author: R. M. Gray
Page Count: 482 pages
Publisher: Merlin’s Pen Publishing