Book: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Series or Stand-Alone: Series, Book #1Pages: 372
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal RomancePurchase A Copy: AmazonDescription (From Goodreads): A Prodigal Son. A Dangerous Love. A Deadly Secret
Publication Date: December 22nd, 2009
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.
I was not really sure what to expect when I began The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. I developed a few reservations when I discovered that religion played such a prominent role for the family – but honestly, it was done beautifully. For some reason whenever I read books dealing with religion, they always come off as preachy and self righteous to me. This was not the case with this book, yes there is a lot of religious talk, but it’s never really directed at the reader. It simply is there to help understand the characters, mainly Grace Divine, the pastor’s daughter.
Grace is a wonderful character who does a great deal of growing up throughout the book. Her world is turned upside down by the arrival of her childhood friend and crush, Daniel. He disappeared from her life after he had a huge falling out with her older brother, Jude. Now that he is back, Grace is having a very difficult time piecing together her feelings and deciding what the right thing to do is. She feels a magnetic pull towards Daniel, but her brother (whom she adores) adamantly declares that he wants her to stay away from Daniel. Grace is torn about whether or not to let Daniel back into her life – she was brought up to forgive, but at what cost to her family?
I have to say, I was very impressed with this book. It takes hold of the classic good girl + bad boy pairing and shakes it up a bit. Daniel isn’t merely a bad boy, he is a dangerous boy. Grace isn’t simply a good girl, she is the pastor’s daughter for goodness sakes. There connection is smoking and I wanted nothing more than for Grace to take hold of Daniel and never let him go. She gets it in her mind that she can help him turn his life around, but along the way she gets plenty of surprises thrown her way. I loved watching Grace deal with all of the challenges she faces, you really see a great deal of character development throughout the book. She starts out extremely naive and as the book progresses she really steps into her own.
I also adored the character of Daniel. As you may know, I sort of have a thing for bad boys. But what is great about Daniel is that he doesn’t want to be a bad guy – all he wants, all he’s ever wanted is to be good. He tries to better himself, which is a nice change. He doesn’t have the snarly attitude or the standoffish qualities that we are used to seeing with the role.
Another thing that was different from a lot of young adult books was that there were actual parents to be found. Parents who cared about what their children were doing and whom they were doing it with. While the Divine adults certainly were not perfect, they actually acted like parents. The father was actually involved in the plot line – I know, what a novel idea.
The only real issue I had was with the plot line. It felt a little uneven or me - at times I couldn't put the book down and then sometimes I had no problem walking away from it. What really kept me hooked in was the Grace/Daniel dynamic. Honestly, their relationship is laid out wonderfully and it picked up the slack the rest of the book sometimes left.
All in all I wholeheartedly enjoyed The Dark Divine. It was an exciting, suspenseful read with a fair amount of romance and adventure thrown in. I am looking forward to diving into the sequel, because the ending of this one made me want more. I would not really call it a cliffhanger, but it certainly leaves you guessing about the future.
"Cold air clawed at my face, ripping tears from my eyes. I buried my face deep into Daniel's back and breathed in a mixture of familiar scents - almonds, oil paint, earth, and a hint of varnish. I didn't even question why I was on that bike. I just knew I was suppose to be." (pg. 104)