Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Edition: Softcover ARC
Page Count: 375
Pub. Date: December 22, 2009
Series: Book 1
Reading Challenge: 2010 YA Challenge
My Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Amazon.com: 4.5 stars
Goodreads: 4.28 (Average)
Recommended For: Teens & Adults, YA Readers, Fans of good Paranormal-Mystery Romance novels
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.
The Dark Divine has been out for a few weeks now, and in those few weeks the buzz surrounding this novel has been incredible - It's even on its second print run (Congrats Bree!) - And I am happy to conclude that it lived up to most of the hype, in my opinion! A compelling read full of mystery and suspense that is truly like the title says: divine. Such a welcome addition to the world of paranormal books. Plus, look at that cover - so pretty and haunting, I love it.
Bree Despain takes religion and the supernatural, and fuses together a mythological story that is dark, sinister, and ultimately intriguing. And even though it feels like the storyline has been played out before, (ie: good girl falls for the bad boy - turns out to be kind of a jerk but ultimately isn't as bad as he seems, etc)...I felt that there were certain aspects that set The Dark Divine apart.
First and foremost being the secret held within. Having no idea what I was getting myself into when I first began, I was met with a most unexpected journey through a tale that was non-too-predictable. A refreshing surprise in an otherwise full and popular genre.
The characters themselves really brought the book to life. It was easy to get enveloped in their lives and hope for their well-being. Grace Divine, the book's narrator, is a strong female protagonist, yet young and vulnerable in her own right. Not one of those "Oh woe is me" type of gals. Grace's strong personality and loyalty made her a real, viable, and overall likable character.
Now Daniel was such a mystery to me, which was both endearing and frustrating at the same time. His true nature is veiled throughout most of the book, that is, until his past is revealed and we come to understand what really happened some three years ago. In the end, I thought the mystery played very well to his character and made him all the more interesting. (Of course I ended up liking him immensely, what can I say.)
As the story moves forward, we get teased with bits from the past, showing us what life was like before Daniel's mysterious disappearance and the incident that caused so much turmoil. Those brief glimpses really helped the pieces fall into place as the story progressed. They also did a nice job of formulating a better understanding of the bond between Daniel and the Divine family.
The romance isn't much more than a delicious tease, but I really enjoyed the interactions between Grace and Daniel. There were definitely sparks and I felt the connection between them almost instantly. I couldn't wait to find out what happened between them.
The first half of the book starts off at a fairly even pace, providing the reader with information about the characters and giving us an idea of who they are. I was quite taken with the Divine family and enjoyed the dynamics between them as the story took flight.
The second half of the book pretty much solidified my feelings. I just had to know what happened next! With the amount of twists and turns this book provided, it was hard to put it down. The uncertainty of what would happen next just fueled my desire to read with each turn of the page.
Overall consensus: An excellent debut from author Bree Despain! I really enjoyed the mythology she wove within her story and its characters. It didn't take very long for me to be caught in the web. Definitely a book that should be on most, if not all, YA reader's radar. Needless to say, I can't wait for the next installment!