I am not going to hide this review under a "contains spoilers" warning, because only a very young reader completely unaware of the current trend towards paranormal fiction or a severely mentally disabled person would not figure out the big mystery when, on page 64, Daniel "barks" at Grace when he invites her into his room and she makes the observation that, "It looked like someone had been keeping a large dog in this closet/room. Whatever animal had been kept in here had apparently gotten out." A page later, Grace remarks that Daniel looks, "like a starved dog." The Dark Divine is filled with growls, howls, yelps and even less subtle hints. Yet our protagonist, Grace Divine, doesn't figure out the mystery until she is very blatantly told on page 236. Upon discovering being told the supernatural secret of her childhood friend and long time crush Grace rushes home and.... As someone who spent my teen years rebelling as much as possible (including rebelling against my Catholic schooling by discovering atheism) I simply cannot relate the pastor's daughter and perpetual good-girl Grace Divine. Grace doesn't figure out anything for herself and frequently takes "no" for an answer when she questions Daniel, her dad and her brother as she blunders her way through this book. My final reasons for disliking The Dark Divine are incredibly petty, but worth mentioning simply so I can get them off my chest: I felt cheated by the cover.
When I first started reading, I actually thought this was going to be a fallen angel book, , mainly because the religious overtones are so heavy-handed that they left me with bruises. Grace Divine is the local pastor's daughter, in her junior year of high school, whose world is turned upside down when Daniel Kalbi steps back into her life. Her day consists of trying her very best to be perfect and the rest of the time feeling guilty for not being absolutely perfect.Her religious thought process is enough to make you want to hurl your breakfast,while she reminds us ad nauseam of what a good little Christian girl she is, and by the way, you'd better be too, or you're going to BURN IN HELL. No, I'm not making this up-- the entire book reads like a freaking fire-and-brimstone church sermon. As if this wasn't enough to make me want to slap her silly, Grace also treats her friends like minions. In fact, she spends the ENTIRE BOOK comparing her so-called best friend to various dogs. This whole dog comparison thing just made Grace look like an asshole. I'm sorry, but you are going to be hard-pressed getting me to a like a main character who has a polethis far up her rear-end. Let me give you a prime example of what a tool bag Daniel is: At one point in the story, Grace's car breaks down in a really bad section of town at night, and Pete (the required third wheel in the YA love triangle who is two steps away from being completely brain-dead), leaves her in the car because she'll be "safer" there. Now get this: Frightened half to death, Grace asks Daniel if he saw anything that could have made the noises she heard-- She's trying to figure out what's going on after being in a potentially threatening situation that has left her shaken and upset... Oh, and did I mention that any time Grace asks something from Daniel, he says "Kiss me"? basically if Grace wants anything from Daniel she is asked to essentially whore herself out to get it. And also- about half-way through the book we're given reasons that try to excuse Daniel for his awful behavior. If you want to write a book where your main characters are Christians, fine. Useless facts that have nothing to do with anything Here is a prime example of the inconsequential and totally boring pieces of info the reader has to suffer through in this book: "Got any more of that tea?" Dad asked... I'm sorry Bree, but what the flying fig newton does Grace's dad not liking chamomile have to do with, oh I don't know... Please tell me why I should care that Grace's dad doesn't like chamomile tea? yeah, Grace's dad doesn't like chamomile, Maryanne Duke makes the best rhubarb pie EVER, Carolyn Bordeaux has something to do with the angel memorial... Basically, it reads like a bunch of teenagers talking the way a 40-year old woman thinks youngins talk-- If they were in a squeaky-clean Christian production of Get Thee to the Church Unless Ye Longeth to Burn in Hell. 46 Because Grace is so OMG totally into art, obviously her frustration fires up like a pottery kiln. Treating your readers like sheltered and brain-dead idiots (WARNING: Some profanity ahead, proceed with caution...) Question: Why is it totally OK to talk about "ripping out throats" in highly graphic/violent terms in YA books but when it comes to swearing or anything sexual we need to talk in secret code? some guy just said something and made some gesture and then Daniel said something about doing something to himself-- for the love of God, JUST TELL US WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS ARE SAYING! Also, having your main character emphatically refuse to tell me the reader what was just said makes her sound like a stuck-up, self-righteous little toe-rag. Yeah, the ENTIRE story reads like Grace is Daniel's pretty piece of property to shove around however he wants. Writing lines like THIS into a book being targeted at young women: ***** "Daniel had a way about him that could shut me down in an instant." p. This is NOT an OK way for girls to think about guys who are emotionally and possibly physically abusive, and no I don't give a rat's patoot that it's only in a fictional book and it's "just a story," so don't even try that with me. Girls, if you are reading this review, PLEASE realize that guys like this, in books or real life, are NOT hot/sexy/attractive! Furthermore, it is absolutely NOT your responsibility to try and turn a "bad guy" around, which is exactly what Grace thinks she should be doing with this crazy, abusive psycho. Final Thoughts About three-quarters of the way through The Dark Divine, Grace and Daniel did start to become *marginally* more tolerable. But unfortunately, by this point the book had been completely ruined by the obnoxious and crappy behavior of the main characters, the dangerous messages about abusive relationships, and the insufferable religious overtones that came across as a blatant moral agenda.
Nielsen In lieu of a traditional review of The Dark Devine by Bree Despain, I thought wed play a little game called Paranormal Teen Romance Mad Libs. While most sensible people would think hes (Charles Manson/Ted Kaczynski/The Zodiac Killer - circle one) our narrator is completely enamored of him, though spends (pick a number more than 1) chapters stubbornly insisting that she hates his gorgeous, gorgeous guts. Now in the honeymoon phase of their new relationship, the two take to nature and (fly/run really fast/jump really high circle one) through some trees, saying things like You have no idea how amazing you are. And you shouldnt even consider thinking of her as a completely (synonym for selfish) (word that rhymes with witch), shes just in love and you would like, totally do the same thing if it were you. But of course, in all this (synonym for obsessive) time theyre spending together, our young lovers wont be consummating their towering inferno of feelings because (hell accidentally kill her in the process/this book is completely unrealistic/this book is full of sexist, puritanical overtones/parents will freak out and refuse to buy it for their teens, thus hurting sales circle two). And there is some sort of trouble involving a (pick a scary monster), which, after a lot of (synonym for hand wringing) and (consulting old books/googling pick one) will be wrapped up easily because of our guys (super human strength/ability to fly/general invincibility/insistence by the publishers that he not die in the first book because they want to milk a franchise out of this circle one).
My Grade Plot: 5 Setting: 4 Writing: 5 Originality: 5 Characters: 5 Passion: 5 Overall: 29/30 = 96% =A Cover/Title Bonus: 4 I won this ARC on Brees blog in one of her monthly pre-release celebrations for The Dark Divine. Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappearedthe night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude shell stay away. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . This book is written so well it all flows amazingly well and keeps you guessing what will happen next. Both Grace and Daniel draw/paint, him better than her, and its a very cool common bond they share. I enjoyed this entire book. I had my guesses but so did Grace but neither of us knew until it was there. Its written in Graces POV the entire time. I wished I could get into Daniels head a time or three. Originality I knew what Daniel was when I read the first chapter on Brees website. But like I explained above Bree had me second guessing myself the entire book. What Daniel is is easy to figure out but it gets explained very well. :) Shes still struggling with Daniels disappearance from a few years prior and doesnt handle his return very well. He nearly goes mad trying to help Daniel and ultimately his entire family it seems. There are major sparks flying between Daniel and Grace.
I wanted to know why Grace wasn't reading the letters I think she would have devoured. The climax was good, and I like said surprised me, but I wanted more going into it.
The Gist: Good girl Grace Divine (*cringes at name*), daughter of the local pastor, has a run-in with her childhood friend Daniel, now a mysterious bad boy, whom she hasn't seen in years since he disappeared- and left her brother in a pool of blood. Grace's brother, Jude, acts openly hostile towards Daniel and tells her his suspicions, but also starts behaving erratically. As Grace and Daniel fall in love, she discovers what he'd been trying to hide-- he comes from a line of wolf shapeshifters who are prone to temptation and corruption from their powers. (This trope AGAIN.) The "bad boy good girl" romance also, apparently, means to the author that Grace is "conflicted"-- that is, talks in that very dangerous YA doublespeak. Here are some common examples of this kind of doublespeak: "I hate you"= "I actually love you" "No, stop!!" = "Yes, please!" "Go away!"= "come hither, handsome hunk." "Don't touch me!" = "I'm playing hard-to-get." Characters... Like, I get that Grace doesn't want to swear, but her not wanting to even think about swearing by relaying it in her narration is really annoying and obstructs the story and emotions of the other characters. (Well, it's not as bad as Tiger's Curse, where the MC "angrily" calls a guy a "wily scoundrel." So there's that.) Grace is the classic hyperinsecure girl who is ACTUALLY 100% perfect, she's just too dumb to see everyone worshiping her all the time. To make things worse, the cutest, smartest, most athletic senior on campus, Pete, is madly in love with her, but as I predicted, she stomps over his niceness to run straight to emo jerk Daniel, who doesn't even treat her like a person for about half the book (until he takes a heel face turn and becomes a suddenly sweet loving model boyfriend). The way Grace compares April to a dog suggests April is dumb, blindly loyal, annoying, and clingy, and also suggests that Grace is inconsiderate and treats her so-called "best friend" like crap. Other examples of her lack of logic circuits- when her brother Jude says Daniel is dangerous, Grace instinctively responds Jude has to be wrong for the sole reason that she's in love with Daniel, THEREFORE Daniel can't be evil. Grace goes straight from gazing into Daniel's eyes to concluding Jude is wrong. "Kiss me and I'll give it back." To make things worse, Daniel does stupid and creepy crap all the time to be a "sexy sinner," ex. it's why no one can ever love me." Jude, Grace's brother, opposes Grace and Daniel's relationship, so OF COURSE he turns out to be cray-cray. (view spoiler)He acts super out of character and even tries to RAPE Grace at the end of the book, probably just to highlight how "saintly" Daniel is.
Well, the relationship in this story was very well-done and evenly paced, and the "paranormal" aspect was so incredibly original and entertaining, so it felt like I was reading something completely fresh and new. Now, I do think that sometimes the Divine family was portrayed a little on the stereotypical side: Grace and Jude are great characters, and I DO know boys like Jude, so no, I don't believe that he's "unrealistic" at all - but sometimes they acted a little too contrived (my cousins are children of a pastor, and they do NOT spend their free time at food pantries, nor do they discuss clothing drives. Maybe they *should*, but...) But that one little mention is the only thing that I can think of to say about this book: aside from the Divine family's kind-of blatant portrayal, all the characters were very real, very well-rounded, and easy to relate to. Even though this book series really doesn't have a designated villain (yet), the plot remained strong and interesting throughout, and the story was evenly paced. I'd like to say thank-you to Bree for the story she created, and the way in which she decided to tell it.
I loved Despain's talent of weaving ideas of mythology seamlessly into the everyday world. The daily struggle of Grace's life, being the person she wants to be, and being the person that everyone expects her to be as a preacher's daughter, marvelously parallels the life of the everyday teenager.... I enjoyed reading about these characters and watching the plot unfold and the mystery ultimately revealed.
The Short: Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner city teens from Philadelphia and New York.