Saturday, June 19, 2010
My take On: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (ARC)
The up side: Grace was a very capable girl and I loved her interactions with Daniel and trying to figure out the mystery of their pasts (something I'm not very good at), as well as where the real danger lay. It had a lot more mystery than I usually go for, and that kept the pages a'turnin' at a fairly good clip.
I could go on about how great of a character Daniel was and how moved I was by the story of his past (actually "moved" isn't quite the word, "disturbed" is much more accurate) and how much I loved the dynamic and tension between him, Pastor Divine, and Grace's brother, Jude, but what I really want to talk about is the reference to Of Mice and Men which occurs pretty early on in the book. Grace mentioned how much Don Mooney, a parishioner who once held her father at knife point before being reformed and is always talking about how his ancestors were famous monster hunters, reminded her of the character Lennie Small. Before continuing with TDD, I read OM&M and discovered how very much they were alike. I'm glad Despain pointed out the blatant similarities between Lennie and Don, because they were many. Certain scenes even played out the same way. It was interesting to see her take traits from such a seemingly random character and put them in another story and context.
Now the down side: While I immensely enjoyed reading The Dark Divine, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d read this story before. The actual story as well as the monsterage was fairly original, especially the origin story of said beasty (and I very much liked the origin story), but… well, it was a bit like the structure of a house. Every house in my neighborhood has the same bones as the next one, and while they still look different because the rooms are arranged differently and they’re decorated to the homeowner’s taste, they’re still the same house underneath it all. And I’m beginning to feel that way about a certain branch of YA books. You know the one, a bad boy and a good girl fight monsters/become monsters/befriend monsters/etc. In this way, TDD was very similar to Hush, Hush, Shiver, etc. The build up to the ultimate conflict follows the same course at the same pace and has, more or less, the same conclusion.
But still I must give The Dark Divine...