Review: Kill Your Darlings by L.E. Harper

A Kindle ARC of Kill Your Darlings rests on a white marble table next to a Santa hat and a book notes notebook

Alexis: 

If you’re looking for Inkheart meets Inception, then Kill Your Darlings is for you. 

Inkheart was my absolute favorite book as I kid, so you know I had to request Kill Your Darlings on Netgalley!

The story immediately jumps into the action. Author Kyla thinks she’s dreaming at first. After all, she’s in Solera—the world she created in her fantasy series. But soon, she realizes that she’s stuck in Solera, who is in the middle of a war against the evil villian, and Kyla has to figure out how to save both herself and her favorite characters.

This book depicts the struggle of mental health, specifically with depression. It’s the main theme and the main abstract obstacle that Kyla must overcome. Kyla’s struggles, which Harper explains stem very closely from her own, give this book such a raw and emotional edge. I really felt for Kyla as she struggles with her very dark thoughts and depression in order to learn her self worth.

Harper’s wordbuilding is amazing. Solera is the perfect mix of a fantasy and sci-fi world. It has a healthy mix of dragons, magic, battles, and a slew of magical creatures. Since Kyla is the author, we also get a great insight to how the world and its dark and light magic works. 

Without giving anything way, I thought all of the parallels between Earth and Solera were done well. I like how we get asexual representation with Kyla’s character. And I love Kyla’s relationship with a dragon named Cendrion. 

I did think the romantic subplot felt a little forced, especially considering the age gap. However, I think it accomplished what Harper needed it to do for the story. Besides that, my only main critique is that I wanted even more at the end of this story. There were some open-ended questions and interactions that I itched to see while I was reading. However, I understand why Harper ended the book this way, especially considering the frame of the novel (which is within the frame of the novel about Soltera…hence the Inception aspect!). Even without a more beefy ending, this book packed a punch!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

TWs: Depictions of mental illness including depression, anxiety, suicide and suicidal ideation, and self-harm

Note: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.