The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
|The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: Massively enjoyable paranormal romantic thriller with engaging characters and lots of twist and turns.
|Date: July 2010
|Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
Grace and Jude Divine have always been the poster-children for kindness and understanding. Their father is a pastor, a truly good man, and they’ve been brought up to set a good example to those around them. They seem to have everything they could want – until Daniel Kalbi returns to their lives. Three years ago, Jude’s friend Daniel left unexpectedly. Jude was found lying covered in his own blood – and no-one has ever told his younger sister Grace what happened. With the return of the boy she had a crush on for years, Grace needs to work out exactly what happened and how it’s linked to some attacks on people and animals which have just started – could this be a dangerous attraction for her?
I have to be honest, by about halfway through the book I was enjoying this one but fairly convinced I knew what was coming. Some of the twists and turns in the second half, though, really took me by surprise, and of all the supernatural type young adult books out there at the moment this is definitely one of the most exciting. It’s filled with memorable characters, especially the central couple, and the religious overtones of the book are pronounced, and interesting, without ever seeming pushed onto the reader. Most notably, there’s a discussion about the Prodigal Son which asks several questions about the nature of forgiveness and brings a new layer to the animosity Jude feels for Daniel.
The way the religion is handled is a real strong point to the novel. So often religious characters in fiction – especially young adult books – seem to be either implausibly good, and rather tiresomely pious, or else complete hypocrites. Grace and her family, though, are realistically drawn as having faith and trying to live their lives according to Christian values, but finding it extremely difficult at times. The way Despain handles the folklore relating to the supernatural element of the story – which I’ll refrain from actually stating, although it’s fairly obvious from early on in the book what it’ll be – is also intriguing, and deserves praise.
One thing that doesn’t deserve praise, however, is the font. I have no idea why anyone would publish a book entirely in bold, but I hope this is the first and last time they do so. Still, it says a lot about Despain’s writing that I managed to ignore this for the most part after initially gnashing my teeth over it.
The book also gets bonus marks for having a clear and very satisfying ending. It reads really well as a novel in its own right, although there’s at least one sequel being worked on, according to Bree Despain’s website, and I’m sure the vast majority who read this will be very keen to see more of the characters. In conclusion, huge thumbs up from me to this one – highest of recommendations.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: I recommend Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl rather a lot, but there’s a reason for that – it’s gorgeously written, beautifully plotted and has brilliant characterization, just like this book.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dark Divine by Bree Despain at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dark Divine by Bree Despain at Amazon.com.
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