Thursday, 22 July 2010

Book Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain.

Product details:
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd.
Paperback, 384 pages.
Release date: July 5th 2010 (first published December 22nd 2009).
Ages: Young Adult.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

A Prodigal Son, A Dangerous Love, A Deadly Secret...

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. 
Synopsis from Goodreads.

I was first drawn to The Dark Divine because of it’s captivating cover art, and then having read numerous glowing reviews of the book, I just knew I had to read it. The book sounded like one I would love, but I have to say, that while The Dark Divine does have it’s good points, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe I set those expectations too high. I know this sometimes happens where I’m concerned. It’s a promising debut, but for someone who reads a lot of Young Adult paranormal romance, it didn’t offer anything new or exciting for me.

First off, the book is very character driven, which is something I’m big on, but this doesn’t work when you can’t connect with the main character, and I could not connect with Grace Divine. She’s a pastor’s daughter, and an all round good girl who never breaks the rules. I have to say that I just found Grace a little too boring for my liking. I like female protagonists who are smart and sassy. Grace was a little too na├»ve. Sometimes I just wanted to shake her and tell her to break curfew, skip doing her homework of sneak out to a party to have a good time! In keeping with Grace and her predicable nature, I also felt that the plot suffered from the same shortcomings. I felt that the story was, for the most part, predictable, and it didn’t contain many great surprises for me.

The themes of the book are steeped in religion, including the story of the prodigal son, and themes of redemption and forgiveness. When  dealing with religious themes, I tend to switch off, so this was something that really didn’t engage my interest. I felt it was all a little overdone at times, especially where Grace’s parents were concerned. Overly controlling and preachy parents are not my thing. Let’s just say that Grace’s mom is not my kind of person! That said, the fact that I got to know Grace’s mom well enough to dislike her, was a plus point in this book. All the characters are well written, and nobody fades into the background.

I also have to point out something that annoyed me about the layout of the book. Each chapter has a title, but then throughout each chapter, there are sub-headings detailing exactly what happens through the day, so you might have headings titled ‘The next day, fourth period’, ‘lunch’, ‘after lunch’, ’later that day’, ’at dinner’ and so on. This was totally unnecessary for the book. It made the writing seem a little lazy and disjointed and interrupted the flow of the story big time. I would have preferred a little descriptive writing to set the scene, rather than just another sub-heading to tell me that Grace was eating dinner, or in bed.

All that said - I have to say that I enjoyed the ending of the book, which contained more than a few enjoyable twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting. I love a good ending, and this book definitely had that! Also, while I didn’t connect with Grace, or feel that we could ever have anything much in common, I’ll admit that she is still a likeable character, although a bit bland. I cared about what happened to her, and I enjoyed her budding romance with Daniel. The book ends on quite a cliffhanger, and sets the story up nicely for book #2 in the series, The Lost Saint, coming December 2010.


  1. I need to read this also, and I am worried it might live up to my expectations either. Great review :)

  2. i still have 2 read this one. the covers are gorgeous. Great review :-D

  3. I have this book to read. I'm excited!!!

  4. I need to read this soon too! I have very high expectations as well but I'll try and go into it with an open mind :) Thanks for the different review :)

  5. "First off, the book is very character driven, which is something I’m big on, but this doesn’t work when you can’t connect with the main character, and I could not connect with Grace Divine." EXACTLY how I felt about this book. It's amazing how similarly we felt about this book! Lol. I'm interested enough to see where the story goes, but the main character never really cut it for me!

  6. Ok, I have to admit, I didnt read TDD yet, but i'm so excited for the second book, TLS. Like you said, the covers are so gorgeous!

  7. I have to admit that I'm very curious about this book. The cover certainly is beautiful and I do love a book that really focuses on character development. Great review!

  8. @Natalie - we must be the only two people who didn't fall in love with this book? I've seen so many five-starred reviews of this one. That said, I don't give a five unless I really, really LOVE a book!

    @Darlyn & bookfairy - I think the cover is doing it's job here. A lot of people seem drawn to this book because of the cover (me included!)

  9. Those sub headings do sound annoying. i hate when you're really expecting from a book and it doesn't deliver...far better when you have no expectations at all and find a gem. Fab review.

  10. I ended up liking this book, but like you I didn't love it as much as everyone else. I also really didn't like the subheadings, I thought they were lazy writing and didn't work with the format. Our librarian said maybe that would be easier for the students, but how hard is to start the next paragraph with "Later that day, blah blah."

  11. Wonderful review! :) I guess I like religion-themed books, but not if they're over-the-top or too preachy. Grace is an interesting character and...apty named. ;)


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