Friday, February 4, 2011

The Dark Divine

by Bree Despain

Dedication: "For Brick, Because you brought home that laptop all those years ago and said, 'You'd better start writing.' I.L.Y.R.U.T.T.M.A.B.A. Always, Bree"

First paragraph (aka Prologue): "Blood fills my mouth. Fire sears my veins. I choke back a howl. The silver knife slips--the choice is mine. I am death or life. I am salvation or destruction. Angel or Demon. I am grace. I plunge the knife. This is my sacrifice--- I am the monster."

Review: Grace, daughter of a pastor, has a great life. Her family looks perfect to the outside viewer. Unfortunately, things aren't always as they seem.

Ever since that night three years ago, the last night Daniel was seen, when her brother, Jude, came home covered in his own blood, things have been strained. Her family refuses to talk about that night and Grace has tried to forget Daniel. Forget the lifelong friendship she'd had with the boy next door. Then, suddenly he's back and he's giving her the answers her family withheld. But his answers are making her choose between her feelings for him and her own brother.

I'm just going to come out and say what I'm thinking, this is a ripoff of twilight. It's perfect for the "Jacob fans". When you look at this cover what do you think of? Think pale, white skin with red object. The only difference is that instead of a red/black/white color scheme it's Purple/Black/White.

Don't mistake my intent with that last paragraph, I was very entertained. I know how easy it is to have an idea someone else created and then to create your very own character and world based off of that already established idea. Unfortunately, if the character is too closely tied to the original idea you can't sell it as your own, regardless of how much effort you put into creating a completely separate story. That's where Despain managed to succeed. She was inspired. She used the inspiration to create an idea. And she separated the idea just enough to make it her own from start to finish. Also, I'm admitting I could be completely wrong and this is just my own hypothesis, derived way too late at night, or rather way too early in the morning, depending on how you look at it.

I did find the 'irony' of the story to be a bit much. I mean, her name is Grace Divine. Her dad's a pastor. The book is all about having Grace and being Divine. I just felt like she could have had a less "Divine" last name. heh. Anyway, every time her last name was mentioned, which was quite frequently, I cringed a little and felt like it was forced ... a lot.

As for the romance, the relationship between Daniel and Grace feels like it's lacking something. The reader doesn't get enough of a chance to feel what Grace feels towards him. She spent almost her entire life growing up with him living next door but the story starts in the present. So it's hard to understand exactly how she feels since the development of the relationship happened when we weren't watching (or reading). I don't think this is a fatal flaw, I just think it makes it harder to connect with Daniel and Grace.

The more I type the more it sounds like I didn't like the book but it was very enjoyable. I just think that books I like more, I tend to pay more attention to and it's easier to write/talk about things you dislike rather than things you do like.

So, don't let the negatives fool you. Grace was a fun character and the story kept me up late 3 nights in a row reading - each night a little bit later. So my suggestion is, don't start reading this book just before bed, you won't be able to put it down, especially once you make it past the half way mark.

My second suggestion, go grab a copy from the library. If you liked Twilight, you'd definitely like this book. If you like fantasy books about demons, vampires, werewolves, etc. You'd probably enjoy it as well. It's no Mortal Instruments but it's still a fun, easy, entertaining read.

Click here for Bree Despain's website for The Dark Divine.

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