Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Author: Bree Despain
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Target Audience: Teen Girls
Number of Pages: Hardcover- 372 pages
Grace Divine-daughter of the local pastor-always knew something terrible had happened the night Daniel Kalbi disapeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother. As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul. - Summary from Goodreads
I had wanted to read this book purely out of the fact that everyone was obsessing over it. I had known it was a paranormal romance novel, but any further knowledge was cut short there. I had never really bothered to read the synopsis and so for this first time, I had to dive in without any faint idea on what I'm about to get myself into. But no worries. The plot was so indefinitely obvious, that I assumed the big "mysterious" truth about Daniel from page 65, and to further clarify, reaching 65 is a matter of minutes. The font is obnoxiously bolded and therefore, each page only consists of a handful of words.
Grace Divine, narrator of the story, is flavored more on the blander side. She's just one of those typical girls abundant in those typical paranormal romance novels. I couldn't help but roll my eyes on a few occasions as I lived through her point of view and read her thoughts. As in all romance books, Grace would sigh at Daniel's sinewy bicepes or marvel at his scuplted abs. This was expected, and I am thankful that Despain didn't go overboard on the swooning like Meyer did in the Twilight novels, which every few paragraphs a sentence like "Edward smelled good" just had to snake their way in. What really got me to utter a sarcastic "wow",was the goody-two-shoes-ness of Grace. I realize that she is the pastor's daughter and therefore must be a model citizen, but her immeasurable integrity was basically a slap in the face. I honestly doubt pastor's kids in the real world are this angelic, and so, I'd say that her character was borderline unrealistic.
The overly simplistic and undescriptive writing was hard to miss, as if a blinking sign blaring the words"slightly amateur" hung over head. The voice was ordinary and unmemorable. Not once did any of her sentences strike me and make me feel envious for not being able to construct a sentence quite like that. In addition, historical facts were skewed to fit Despain's fantasy, leaving me more than unsatisfied with the explanations for Daniel's "issues". The novel is also brimming with religious, "do the right thing" types of messages, which although add an element to the book, I find unecessary. Though nothing great, her flow of words wasn't completely unbearable. The writing is never really the most important part of a novel, and even though it might not be anything congratulatory, if aided with a solid plot and wonderous characters, the reader could still carry on forth.
This book was like a narcotic; simple and addictive. Despite its flaws, I could not put it down. Why? Because of Daniel Kalbi. He is soley the reason why I'm giving this book a 3.5 instead of a 2. Daniel is like the glue that binds the whole book together. Daniel was thrust into the beginning of this novel as a "bad boy" being, but throughout story, readers grow to like him and see that he's not really a bad boy at all. He is merely a boy who was rejected too many times and is desperate to be loved and wanted. His past of being abused by his father had scarred and marred him forcing him to be closed off from the world. And ever since a fateful, tragic, night with Jude, Daniel had fled and left everything behind, including Grace. Now that he's returned, Grace often has flashbacks involving him, and it is semi-sweet to experience them. Though they are saddening, it is truly rewarding to watch Daniel grow as a man and face up to his curse. It was refreshing to read about a character like Daniel, one that is actually likeable and not so overprotective of his lover that it crosses the line and just steps into annoying. Through their past memories, it seems as if Grace and Daniel were destined to be with each other.
Overall, Despain failed with her bland, unrealistic narrator, predictable plot, and juvenille writing, but achieved greatness in her story of Daniel as a problem-proned teen. The side story of his past is intriguing, captivating, and beautiful. It's what makes the book. Personally, I think the book would have been more successful if Daniel just remained a mortal with Grace and the two fight their way through the paranormal together without all the religious aspects. I believe the story would be more unique than the other paranormal romances on the shelves these days. This novel is not for those who long to pick up a Twilight-ish book, but for those who want to read about a strong, individual character's journey through troubled times. And even though I ranted about all of its flaw's, I'm still eager to read book two, The Lost Saint.
Cover: 3.5/5 - I really like the cover. It's mysterious (a lot more mysterious than the book itself) and alluring. The colors contrast fabulously from the snowy, marble white, the dark ominous black, and the eye-catching, vibrant violet. However, the pair of legs don't really have anything to do with the book. Though they might be pretty, I don't even know why they're there. It makes sense that the sash is violet (as you will see when you read the book), but the legs don't correspond with anything in the story. Also, I'll be sure to pick up that color nail polish next time I visit the local drugstore. And as for the cover of The Lost Saint, I really wish the publishers stuck with the brilliant violet theme as opposed for the leg theme.
Source: Won from a contest on Squeaky Books. Thanks a ton!