Monday, November 15, 2010

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

A Prodigal Son

A Dangerous Love

A Deadly Secret

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.

"The problem with promises is that once you've made one, it's bound to be broken"

I recently had the in all of yesterday, to sit down and read (more like devour) the novel The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. It was more or less by accident that I found this gem among a list on Goodreads that caught my eye-The Color Purple-though I assure you, this novel held no purple prose. Instead, it had the ability to captivate you from the very first.

Grace Divine is a junior at her local high school and if her name wasn't much off a tip off, she is the daughter of a pastor. Grace is the girl with all the answers: which includes knowing what's right and what's wrong. That is, until Daniel Kalbi comes crashing back into her life. Daniel is no longer the little kid whom Grace remembers. His light hair has long ago been dyed to black, and the mystery of his return remains as secret as the reason why he left.

As many people have pointed out in other reviews, the supernatural element in this book wasn't much of a surprise. Many more than obvious hints were given throughout the novel, but in Grace's defense, what normal person expects their boyfriend to turn furry? What was surprising, and probably what kept me ripping through the pages, was figuring out the mystery behind Jude's anger towards Daniel. As the book summary points out, there's a play off the Prodigal Son story, but I found it to be refreshing instead of repetitive.

The love story on the other hand was very nice. Unlike other Y.A. novels on the market, the author abstained from utilizing some of the more cliche story lines, and though the build up to the romance was slow, I found it very much rewarding at the end. Daniel is the typical bad boy turned reformed, but I felt the author gave the character a lot a depth as the reader learned more about Daniel's history and lineage. He was very much swoon worthy and I enjoyed every time Daniel appeared on the page. Grace, on the other hand, was a relatively strong female lead. She was very much assured of herself and her attraction towards Daniel was sweet, without bordering on obssesive. The only time Grace truly frustrated me was when, after realizing Daniel's secret, she then choose to be loyal to the promise she made her brother.

Jude played a major role in the development of Daniel and Grace's budding romance. He was Daniel's childhood best friend and appeared to be very much more "saint-like" than Grace herself. Rather than being threatened by Grace's other romantic interest (Pete Bradshaw) it was really Jude who put the budding relationship in jeopardy. Though it was sweet that Grace wanted to honor her brother's wishes and stay away from Daniel, it was honestly a moot point. The attraction between Daniel and Grace was very much strong, and Grace choosing to follow that promise only when she felt confused about Daniel's intention was immature and very unfair to Daniel. Still, it was hard not to care about Jude's character as the novel reached its end.

I'm exhilarated to have read this so close to the sequels release, The Lost Saint. I'm excited to see Daniel and Grace's relationship continued and see exactly what happened to Jude. December 28 cannot be here any sooner, but until then, I will have to contend myself with re-reading some of my favorite passages from the novel.

Consensus: The novel was sweet and addicting without being overly cliche. I recommend it to any young or older teen looking for a riveting read they can't not finish before going to sleep.

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