Book: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Release date: December 22, 2009
Source: Ebook purchased for Kindle
Series: The Dark Divine #1
Summary: (from Goodreads) Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.
Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.
First impressions: I know it has nothing to do with the book, but that cover is gorgeous. I hate to admit it, but it did kind of influence how much I wanted to read this one. I mean, it is seriously beautiful.
On to the actual book. One of the first things I noted about this book is the demarkation of time. Despain uses section breaks that indicate the time of day or location of the story, which really helped orient me within the timeline and kept the momentum moving. This concept worked really well for me.
Lasting impressions: The mystery that permeated Grace and Daniel's story was sublimely realized in the final few chapters. Despain really delivered a great ending, even including a few surprises just when I thought I had it all figured out. Silly wabbit.
Conflicting impressions: Some of the plot elements had a bit too much build for my tastes. It takes a really long time to figure out the beef between Grace's brother and Daniel, for instance, even though it's constantly referenced throughout the entire book. My impatient side got a little frustrated.
Overall impressions: Grace is a pastor's daughter, an art student, and a good girl from a good family. Hanging over her is an incident with the boy next door, a close friend of the family's, who came from a broken home and moved in with them for a time. One day Daniel's mom came to collect him and they moved away, and he disappeared from their lives for years until his sudden return to town. Daniel and Grace's brother can't get along, no one in her family is interested in inviting him back into their lives, and Grace struggles with the desire to stay away from the troubled and mysterious boy despite her strong attraction to him.
Nice church-going girl falls for bad boy, conflict ensues. Simple, right? Not so in this deliciously complicated tale of love and loyalty. Daniel is struggling with more than just an abusive father, and Grace has far more at stake than just a disapproving family if she chooses to love him. For me, this was like the good girl/bad boy story on steroids.
Through the course of the story, Grace encounters increasingly disturbing events. The suspense builds nicely, with each new death or near-death forcing the reader to ask more questions about what's really going on. Is Daniel responsible for the violence spiking now that he's back in town? Is there more to pseudo-boyfriend Pete than meets the eye? Why does her brother Jude hate Daniel so much?
Although the ending is a bit predictable, given the numerous clues throughout the book, it's still satisfying in that we get answers to all of these questions, and even some we didn't know we were asking. I liked that Grace had to figure out the answers for herself, with both her dad and her brother giving her the information, but leaving her to draw her own conclusions. This helped keep Grace as a capable and intelligent main character without seeming passive or whiny. It also explains how she makes the difficult decisions she does, both selflessly and thoughtfully.
This is a fast paced tale with believable characters and just enough action to keep things exciting. I'm definitely looking forward to The Lost Saint.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Want a different perspective? Check out this review by Sonette's Bookworm Blog or another five star review by The Lovely Getaway.
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