Thursday, November 17, 2011

"The Dark Divine" by Bree Despain

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 held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry, glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boys' 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.

 Romance, Religion, Redemption....and Werewolves

 *I wrote this review months ago on Amazon. I like the book more now that I've read the sequel, The Lost Saint, and I'd really love to get an ARC of The Savage Grace. Unfortunately, I sit at the uncool kids table of the YA blog world and no one offers me free books and what-have-you. :)*
My Review:
I liked this book, but I'm not in love with it. Mainly I found myself interested in things that weren't delved into as much as I would've liked. The story is told from the POV of Grace Divine, teenage pastor's daughter and all-around Good Girl.
The Divine family deals with problems by not talking about them. Pastor Divine, his high strung wife, and their kids have never discussed what happened the night their foster son, Daniel, left...or what he did to their oldest son Jude that left him battered and bloody.
I thought the lack of talking about things that were hard was a believable trait in the family, because I know lots of people like that. Also, the Divines fishbowl world where they try to be good people and good Christians and are always under scrutiny was realistic. (You have to be in a pastor's family to really get that, I think. :)
I'm not overly invested in the character of Grace, but I found the character of Jude to be interesting because he has this simmering anger under his perfect son personae that was kind of fascinating. He's the good son from the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15), and I always found him to be intriguing.
And I really liked Daniel. He was a bad boy with an actual reason to be troubled besides a bunch of teenage emo angsty nonsense. He came from a supremely troubled and abusive background, and I agree with another reviewer that reading this story from his POV would've been more interesting. His quest for love, redemption, and control of his own demons was something I wanted to hear about from the inside.
Sometimes, I found the dialogue distractingly unrealistic. The overuse of "so" (as in, "I am so going to be late for Art class") was particularly noticeable. And there wasn't enough description, or the descriptions were sometimes just odd. (Grace keeps comparing her best friend to a puppy over and over again, and she often refers to Daniel's eyes as "mud-pie eyes." I know it's meant to evoke a deep, rich brown color but it was just weird to me. Eyes and mud shouldn't go together!)
I did enjoy the origin story for the Urbat, and maybe I'm dense but I didn't see the ending coming that others have said was obvious. I'm reading the sequel right now.

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