Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (3/5 stars)

I was leery about reading this book.  Was it going to be yet another Twilight knock-off?  Still the synopsis intrigued me and the cover was beautiful, even better the reviews were saying it was really good.  So was it?  I have mixed feelings about it.  I listened to this on audio book and the audio book was very well done.

Grace Divine (yes she is a preacher's daughter) is the perfect girl with the perfect brother and a wonderful family.  The only event that scars there their family is something that happened one night three years ago.  This event left her brother with physical scars and drove her best friend Daniel one will tell her what happened.  Three years later Daniel shows up in her art class.  Her brother makes her promise not to associate with Daniel, but Grace can't help it she is drawn to him.  As people start turning up dead and small animals are found mauled in the streets, people have started whispering about a monster that lurks in the streets.  The question is what does this all have to do with Daniel's re-appearance if anything?  What does it have to do with that fateful night three years ago?

I actually liked this book in the beginning.  The setting is, of course, high school and Grace is a good girl who tries to do what's right.  She has a sharp sense of humor at times, but it is inconsistent throughout the book.  Daniel, of course, is the dark and dangerous type.   I also liked how Despain dealt with the pressures of being the preacher's daughter and how trying to set an example for the whole community was a strain on the family.  I liked that Grace's whole family is involved in the story and that Despain didn't try to separate Grace out somewhere (like boarding school, which is what a lot of these types of books do).  It was great that Daniel and Grace actually have a past and reason to love each other, the whole love at first sight thing kind of drives me crazy.  The ending was very good, it resolved most of the main threads neatly but wasn't completely fairy tale happy.  Despain's writing style is very dreamy and mysterious, people who are set on good crisp action scenes should stay away.

Overall this story is very much another girl and boy love each other, boy says girl can't love him because he's dangerous, but girl will find a way to fix all his problems no matter the cost to herself or her family.  Once we got into this mode the eye-rolling began.  Where the plot was initially mysterious and gripping, half-way through the book it became very predictable.  Despain tried to mislead you with foreshadowing, but even that wasn't very misleading.  About one third of the way through the book I could have predicted almost everything that happened in the end; I thought the deal (I won't say what) with Grace's brother was extremely transparent.  Also half way through the book Daniel feels a need to get all emo and walk around spouting his contradictions of emotions at Grace; I am glad Daniel likes to share his feelings but it was overdone.

Then there was Grace's wishy-washiness.  First she hates Daniel and tells him to leave, then she loves him and begs him to stay...then she is all like "I hate you Daniel, get out of my life" then a couple chapters later she is all like "I love you Daniel, please don't leave."  Personally if I was Daniel I would have left because Grace was one confused girl.  Having a change of heart once or twice is understandable, but I kid you not this sequence of events occurred at least three (if not more) times throughout the story.

As I mentioned above I did like the ending.  There was one thing that happened that I didn't predict ahead of time and it was a pleasant surprise.  It does look like this book will be left open for a sequel, because a couple things were unresolved.  Overall I thought this was just another mediocre entry into the young adult paranormal romance category.  If you like the House of Night series or the Evernight series, you might like this book.  I personally think both of those series are mediocre for both writing quality and story, but this book is similar.  To be honest I am a bit disappointed that there aren't more exceptional books in this area.  Try out Holly Black's Modern Fairy Tale series if you want a great series with some heart, some humor, some action, and a great plot.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
The Dark Divine 

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