2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 1 book toward her goal of 285 books.

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Book Review: Kill Your Darlings by L.E. Harper

About the Book

Fantasy author Kyla knows dreams don’t come true. Isolated and grappling with debilitating depression, she copes by writing about the realm of Solera. Fearless heroes, feisty shapeshifters, and mighty dragons come alive on her pages. She adores her characters, but she doesn’t believe in happy endings. And if she can’t have one, why should they?

Kyla’s on the verge of giving up on everything when she wakes one morning, magically trapped in her fictional world. Now she’s with her most cherished characters: the friends she’s always yearned for, the family she’s never known. There’s even someone who might be Prince Charming (if Kyla could get her act together and manage some honest communication). She’d surrender to the halcyon fantasy, except she knows a nightmarish ending awaits. Solera is at war, and its defenders are losing against the insidious villain spawned in the depths of Kyla’s mind. He feeds on the energy of dreams, seeks the destruction of all who oppose him-and Kyla’s become his number one target.

Kyla must trade her pen for a sword and fight to change her story’s ending, but this isn’t a fantasy anymore. No happily-ever-after is guaranteed. And mental illness has robbed her of everything she needs to succeed: love, fighting spirit, hope. If Kyla can’t overcome the darkness inside her, she’ll die with her darlings.

My Review

This one was a little out of my usual comfort zone. I was intrigued by the blurb and evocative cover, and always love a book that blurs the line between author and characters, so requested a review copy.

It turned out to be a different book than I expected, at least somewhat. I was quite moved by the overall story. Struggles with mental and emotional health are always fascinating reading for me, but I didn’t realize the vast majority of this would be written as occurring in the high fantasy world that the author within the story created. High fantasy is not normally a genre that I prefer, so I must confess that I struggled with that a bit more than I expected. Not at all because of the writing – the author has a clear crisp voice that came through very well – but simply because it’s not a genre I tend to favor or that often resonates with me as a reader.

I did really enjoy the way the book bent the walls between creator and creation. The concept of crossing the barrier between them is one that has always captivated me, both as a lover of books and words and as a former philosphy student. I also really loved the way the author handled Kyla’s realizations about what was happening, particularly as the story developed and the *end* neared. This is a heavy and disturbing look at suicide and deep depression. Harper did a really lovely job handling exceptionally difficult emotional issues with a clarity that is often lacking. The unflinching perspective made the read emotionally brutal but in a way that rang clarion-true and I commend her for that as I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to strike that chord so accurately and yet without any sense of over-sensitizing or over-simplification.

This is not an easy read, and won’t be for everyone. But it was a powerful story and one that I am glad that I read.

Thanks to the author and the Independent Book Publishers Association for my obligation-free review copy.

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