Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Dark Divine Review

The Dark Divine - Bree Despain
*December 22nd, 2009 EgmontUSA

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 his own 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 boy's 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.

Bree Despain's debut The Dark Divine is, simply put, quite divine. Wholesome with a fulfilling plotline, there's something very satisfying about this book. "A prodigial son. A dangerous love. A deadly secret." (Synopsis) Mystery, drama, intrigue, danger, secrets, lies - The Dark Divine has a little bit of everything for everyone.

Grace Divine, leading lady extraordinaire, is conveyed beautifully through Despain's writing style. Simultaneously simplistic and unique, there's something very raw and earnest - and real - about [Grace]'s voice, making it very distinctive. Grace's innocent naivity and kindheartedness simply makes her the likeable girl-next-door who seems very relatable (albeit with a paranormal twist). The letters from the past could have had the periodic diction and voice tuned a bit further to seem more in time, though.

The best part of The Dark Divine is definitely the way Despain made it different. The major catch of the paranormal aspect - it's amazing that it's been kept under wraps so well. Which makes the adventure readers embark on trying to discover it all that much more exciting. Despain shows intricate foresight and planning with the little clues dropped through foreshadowing and red herrings throughout the course of the novel. From those, readers may or may not be able to figure it out before the characters themselves - and the race and potential for dramatic irony simply adds to the fun.

Daniel, Jude, the Divine parents, Pete, April - again, all very interesting characters. It's great to see Despain's little twists to make them truly her own. For a novel that chronicles a struggle of sorts between good and evil, so to speak, it's wonderful to see that the lines between the two sides have become blurred, which adds to the credibility. There were moments here and there that were sort of sappy and were close to bordering on corny. However, that does seem to be part of the draw of The Dark Divine - all in all, it's a very sweet, hope-inspiring read.

The way an ages-old myth was taken and incorporated in a modern way with a unique twist that's all Despain's own is what makes this novel stand out. The contents are as achingly raw and beautiful as the cover. With captivating writing and a unique plotline, Bree Despain's The Dark Divine is a very enjoyable read.

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