Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Title: The Dark Divine

Author: Bree Despain

Pages: 384

Received from: 1 Arc Tours


A prodigal son

A dangerous love

A deadly secret . . .

I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”

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 blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel'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.

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but theres been a lot of "pretty faces" in YA as of late, with novels having these beautiful-beyond-compare covers but sort of falling short when it comes to content. Not that the Dark Divine was bad, but I just feel like I've read it before.

Grace Divine is the local pastor's daughter, in a family still recovering from the night their adoptive son Daniel disapeared and bio-son Jude came home dripping with his own blood. Their only solace is that Daniel, presumably responsible for Jude's condition, is gone for good. But when Grace happens upon a now dark-haired Daniel in her AP art class, everything she knew about her brother is turned on its head and shes forced to confront old demons that have haunted the Divines since that night years ago.

I'm going to give ya'all a spoiler, because I really don't think its much of a surprise for anybody; Daniel is a werewolf. Like, woah. How crazay is that? But no joke, I saw it coming from a mile away. The go-to beings for teen lit these days are vampires, werewolves, faeries and the occasional fallen angel. There were no fangs, so vamps are out (unless your Stephenie Meyer), the "divine" part seemed a bit too earthly for a fallen angel, and god know this thing would've been published if Big Bad Boy was flitting around with wings and pixie dust, so we're left with werewolf. And a werewolf Danny-boy is, though the entire thing is, albeit, much more gracefully done then the other forays into the meta-genre these last three years. In fact, I found the entire lore to be rather unique. To have werewolves stem from God--honest-to-yeah God--was kind of head-spinning. Though I can definetly see it itching people the wrong way--the thing leaves no room for the possibility that God doesn't exist--it is very well done.

The plot does sometimes rely too heavily on scripture for its themes, even if the werewovlves do descend from heaven or whatever. I personally was not raised religious, and know exactly nothing about the bible, so if theres anyone to ask about whether a book as too much religion, it would be me. And, again, for this blogger, it seemed as though everyone involved was being swallowed by biblical quotes.

Grace as a character was very on the fence for me--on one hand, I really despise self-righteous religious people, especially of the sheltered-daddys-girl variety. But Grace surprisingly gripped my attention despite the heavy-handed faith. In fact, I'd hold Grace and her family as the good part of religion--you know, the people who actually hold by the "love one, love all" concept instead of using the bible as an excuse to hate whoever.

Daniel was uhmazing. He was tortured and abused and broody without being a bitch and I was just smitten. I thought it was so great and so cute how much he wanted to protect Grace but he didn't at the same time cuz that would mean being away from her and oh god why aren't there teenage girls swooning over this guy. This is what angsty supernatural creatures should be, damn it!

However, despite how fleshed out and likeable the two main characters were, everyone else was just irritating. Jude (though I suppose he has his reasons) was grinding on my last nerve ending with his self-righteous, controlling ways and holy crap what is wrong with the Best Friends in teen lit these days? Jessica from Twilight, Vee from Hush, Hush and now...April from The Dark Divine. She was, single-handedly, the most self-absorbed, mindless, useless little drone I've ever read about. I mean, all she did was swoon, you guys! Not only swoon, but swoon to her crushes sister! She's in lurve with Jude, and all she does is talk about how hot he is with Grace, like she gives a rats ass! And she guilts Grace into literally putting her life at risk so she can go on a date with Jude. I am fuming. If I never have to hear from this bitch ever again, it will be too soon.

The prose itself started out pretty slow, but stick around and things get awfully absorbing. While I wouldn't call it groundbreaking, or even water-rippling, it is nice escapism (if you like that sort of thing).

Rating: 6-7 out of 10

Also: for more werewolf-y goodness, check out Never Cry Werewolf or the upcoming Claire de Lune.


LiLu said...

I was going to say, that cover is GORGEOUS... wonder if they're trying to make up for anything? ;-)

Heather McDougle said...

I came over from Book Blogs! I am now following you.

Emma said...

Great honest review! Sounds sort of like Shiver.

GreenFairyLV said...

I've been kind of wanting to read this. The cover got my attention. Great review. I won't be expecting it to be wonderful, so I might like it. I'll probably give it a try.

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