Rummanah Aasi
  I've read a whole slew of young adult paranormal romance books/series ever since Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga was released. While the genre has always been popular, it now marketed everywhere in the publishing industry. What makes a good young adult paranormal romance novel? Well for me, it simply needs: characters that I can care about and can relate to, an interesting story arc and themes, an innovative way to introduce and to create a mythology surrounding the paranormal, and of course it needs to be written well. I found these characteristics in Bree Despain's debut novel called The Dark Divine, which many of my good friends loved and recommended to me.

Description: Grace, Daniel, and Jude were three inseparable friends, however, one night Daniel disappears and Jude is left scarred. No one in the Divine family will talk about the incident. When Daniel reappears and mysterious things happen around their quiet Minnesota town, Jude warns his sister, Grace, to stay away from Daniel, but Grace is determined to find the answers. What Grace discovers will forever change their lives. What exactly happened that night?

Review: I enjoyed reading this book, though, I found the first half to start off really slow. The first half of the book establishes the Divine family and gives the reader some background information on how Daniel, Grace, and Jude interacted with one another before that fateful night. Luckly, the book's pace picks up in the second half with the unveiling of what really happened between Daniel and Jude as well as Daniel's big secret.
  In terms of the characters, I really liked Grace. I could relate to her as she struggled to fulfill her shoes of being the good daughter and friend. She equally balanced her impulsive decisions to befriend Daniel, but also uses her head when she knows that she is in danger. As for the boys, I loved both Daniel and Jude. Daniel is marketed as a bad boy, but I think that does him a disservice. I found him to be more lost, vulnerable, and a longing desire to have a place call home thanks to his dark past. Jude is your typical older brother that a little sister looks up to. He tries to uphold his responsibilities in church as well as in his family.
   As for the paranormal aspect of the book, I already knew Daniel's secret before Grace does. Mainly because there are huge clues in the first half of the book, but that didn't deter me from reading the book. I wanted to know Despain's mythology, which I found to be interesting. There are other twists and turns throughout the second half of the novel. Some of them I guessed, but I loved the ending. I don't think it could have ended better.
  Some people may be turned off by the Christian doctrine in the book, but that didn't bother me. In fact, I think Despain brings up complex questions of what it means to forgive and forget. She doesn't give any clear cut answers.  

For those of you who thought the book was left open ended will happy to know that there is a sequel to The Dark Divine called The Lost Saint that will be able on December 28th. Check out the cover here.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some sexual and drug references, but nothing that isn't alarming or mentioned on tv. There is mild scenes of violence, but nothing overtly graphic. There is also mild language. I would give this book to 7th graders and up.

If you like this book try: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

3 Responses
  1. Jenni Elyse Says:

    I completely agree with 100% of what you said. I'm very excited for The Lost Saint and I LOVE the covers.

    I've met Bree in person and she's so nice and down-to-earth. I can't wait for more of her books.

  2. Nat Says:

    Great review! I'm looking forward to this one.

  3. danya Says:

    I also guessed Daniel's secret, but like you I enjoyed learning more about the mythology behind it, and the twists and turns kept me reading! It'll be interesting to see how the storyline proceeds in The Lost Saint.

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