Thursday, 22 September 2011

Book Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies.


Product details:
Publisher: HarperTeen.
Ebook, 400 pages.
Release date: September 27th 2011.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Ages: 13+
Source: Netgalley

On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.


A formulaic Paranormal Romance that disappointed on all levels, A Beautiful Dark may come in a pretty package, but it’s what’s inside that counts, and what lies inside these pages is a  clich├ęd story that falls flat in terms of both plot and characters. If this story has been done once, then it has been done a thousand times.  I take no pleasure in writing negative reviews, but this book was such a disappointment that I’m struggling to find anything good to say about it. In fact I can only recommend A Beautiful Dark if you have never before read a YA Paranormal Romance. Maybe then you might find something new or original here.

A Beautiful Dark trods the well worn path of every Paranormal Romance that has gone before it. The book opens with Skye celebrating her seventeenth birthday and encountering two mysterious strangers that will change her life forever.  As is par for the course, Skye is an orphan, lives with an “aunt”, actually a friend of her mothers, who is never home, and FYI she is no ordinary girl as recently strange things have started happening whenever she around. So far, so samey? Despite this, I thought A Beautiful Dark got off to a pretty good start with an interesting premise and a beautiful snowy setting, but it soon went downhill with the introduction of the boys. I know, I’m complaining about the boys in this book. A rare occurrence!

Skye  has a  small group of friends, including a guy called Ian who is hopelessly in love with her, but she has no interest in him, instead falling head over heels for mysterious new (bad) boy Asher  who has arrived in town along with his cousin mysterious new (good) guy Devin who also has a thing for Skye. Oh, and maybe she falls for him just a little bit too.  FYI her friend Ian is  more appealing than either of these guys, even though all he ever really seems to do is make coffee for Skye while acting all hopelessly in love with her.

While the love triangle has been as done to death in YA, I am not opposed to love triangles when they are done well, but this one didn’t work as neither Asher or Devin appealed to me, and I couldn’t understand why they appealed to Skye either. Asher is presented as the bad boy of the piece, but unlike any of the great bad boys of YA fiction, he doesn’t seem to have any redeeming characteristics.  In fact, I found him to be quite nasty, and even creepy at times, which is so not hot. Devin on the other hand is downright dull. I’m not really sure what the point of Devin was other than to make it plainly obvious that the author wants her readers to root for Asher.  The character of Skye herself was difficult to connect with. She’s a very one-dimensional character and at no point did I get any real sense of her personality.  I guess she must be beautiful though, because for most of the book she has guys falling at her feet. The pace of this book is slow, as are many first in a series, but here the plot just never really takes off. Skye’s special abilities such as they are were entirely forgettable for me as was the mythology in this book which didn’t hold my interest at all.

This book was written by someone who has read a lot of YA and who knows what works. Unfortunately when you’ve read as many books of this type as I have, you want something more than what‘s already been done to death already. A Beautiful Dark follows a tried and tested YA Paranormal Romance formula and offers nothing new for avid readers of the genre. Despite the cliffhanger ending here I won’t be sticking around to find out what happens in next book. As it is, I’ve already pretty much forgotten what happened in this one.

9 comments :

  1. Thanks for the honest review, Leanna! I had this book in my hands at the bookstore this past weekend (they had it displayed early!) and I was considering buying it. I am glad I didn't b/c I am so over the cliched and formulaic paranormals!!

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  2. Hmm, I don't think I'll be reading this. It has everything I don't like in it - cliches, a bad love triangle and dull or creepy male leads. Thanks for the review, I was intrigued by this one (and the lovely cover) at first, but I don't think it's my cup of tea.

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  3. Ugh, this is the 3rd bad review today I saw of this book. Me thinks I will skip it!

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  4. As I read the summary I was thinking oh goody yet another love triangle and this one sounded a lot like another book that I read and disliked. Then I read your review and kinda chuckle because you definitely told me I was right. While the cover is lovely, I am glad I have not bother with this one.

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  5. I wasn't sure Id like this one anyway but now I think I've decided to give it a miss! I hope your next book was better!

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  6. Drats!! Za lot of the ya paranormal romance has been been wrapped in pretty covers but fall short of being unique. I think there needs to be something new and fresh coming soon to ya paranormal romance or I may have to give up on it for a while. Thanks for your honest review.

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  7. I have a major sad face right now :( But I understand...many books keep doing the same things over and over and over! Thank you for the review! I do like reading negative ones at times especially if I'm not sure on reading a book!

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  8. Oh no. I got A Beautiful Dark on my TBR list and I'm a bit troubled now. I hate cliche stories:(

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  9. I am sending you hugs for this review because you made me giggle so much. I know what you mean about the same old story, same old love triangle, same old characters. I caught a whiff of that with the blurb, but your review confirms it. I think I'll pass :)

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