Saturday, June 19, 2010

My take On: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (ARC)

  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.

  Firstly, I'd like to thank the Kirks, of Teens Read and Write for hosting that uber spectacular contest in which I won an ARC of the aforementioned novel and a handful of their really cool, personalized bookmarks. Thanks, y'all!
  Secondly, I'd like to apologize for my absence of late and tell y'all that my posts will continue to be as sporadic as they've become due to: A) a general lack of time; B) severe laziness; C) preparing for my becoming a Catechist in the fall at my church (I'll be helping with the 9th grade Confirmation class, wish me luck! A few prayers wouldn't be ill placed either as I'm rather nervous/skeptical about what I can actually contribute to them); and D) I am writing a book! *Hurray!* It's still in the primordial ooze phase, so there's not much to talk about, but I can tell y'all how much I've completed! So far I've got the whole story line and plots worked out and I'm polishing up my main characters and working out a few more points of conflict. This isn't the first book I've attempted to write, but it will be the first one I finish! (I have a tendency to write myself into corners, but this time I'm planning the whole thing out before I even start so that won't happen again! See, I realized while rereading Harry Potter this summer [as is one of my book wormier traditions] that Rowling is a master planner, there's not a single word in that series that doesn't serve a purpose, and while my book is nothing like hers, no magic or anything like that, I decided it wouldn't hurt to take some notes from such a smartly written series. But anyhoo!)
  Why am I on here again? Oh, yeah! My review...

  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...
...Four zombies.
It was a thrilling ride, despite the predictable turns, and I am looking forward to reading the next book, even though I'm sure I've done so before.

Until next time, happy reading!

11 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

katie said...

I know what you mean about The Dark Divine being very similar to other paranormal books but I still really loved it. I can't wait to read the next book. Great review!

titania86 said...

I've been on the fence about this book because of the mixed reviews. I think I will give it a try because of your wonderfully honest review.

I find the Of Mice and Men comparisons interesting. I really liked that book in high school and it does seem like an interesting and different dimension of the book.

Vampires and Tofu said...

I think your "house" description nails it perfectly. I do sometimes feel like I'm reading the same story over and over and over. And while Dark Divine did have me guessing for awhile (which was nice,) it still needed that something extra to make it a standout...

covnitkepr1 said...

I have never thought about the statement you have in your profile. It's true...you can't unread something.
I invite you to follow my blog as I do yours.

prophecygirl said...

Great review, and I love the zombie rating! This was one of my favourite books of 2009, and I can't wait for the next one. Something about it just really appealed to me :)

pirate penguin said...

Don't hate me but I didn't read your review because I have yet to write up mine... but I did look at your rating. xD I really liked The Dark Divine (and Daniel. ;D) I'm glad to see that you did too<3

Michelle said...

I'm reading this one right now. It's very different from what I expected but I love how Bree doesn't give anything away. It's all very...mysterious.

Zombie Girrrl said...

@ Pirate Penguin: 'Course I don't hate you! I have to be careful about not letting other reviews influence mine, too (you know, when i get around to reviewin at all).

@ Michelle: Yeah, it was all so hushed up! The main reason I read this one was to find out what the big bad beasty was.

YA Vampire Books said...

This books has been on my wishlist for months! It sounds really good. Good luck with your book writing! Let us now how it goes :P

Emma Michaels said...

I saw that you are a part of the Debut Author Challenge! That is so amazing that you are supporting debut authors and I only recently found out that I am going to be one!!! I wanted to ask if you wouldn’t mind heading over to my blog and giving me your opinion. As a blogger turned author I would really appreciate it and the publisher is still giving out ARCs so you might have a chance at a free copy! Thank you and I hope you will stop by and check out The Thirteenth Chime!

Sincerely,
Emma Michaels
http://EmmaMichaels.Blogspot.com

P.S.- My release date if Friday the 13th (August this year) isn't that crazy?

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