Monday, July 5, 2010

The Dark Divine

Despain, Bree. The Dark Divine. New York: Egmont USA, 2010. Print. Dark Divine 1.
[Book cover credit:]

This is the epitome of the girl with a big brother experience: your best friend has a crush on your brother, you have a crush on your brother's best friend, and your brother and his bestie have no idea that you or your bestie exist. At least not in that way. Grace's situation is slightly more complicated. Her best friend, April, has a crush on her brother, Jude. Jude, not having a mean bone in his body, knows April exists and makes sure she and Grace get to hang out with him and the other seniors at least some of the time. Other than that, Grace is left completely out of the equation. Then Daniel comes back. Daniel, Jude's ex-best friend. Daniel, the guy Grace has been in love with since she was a little kid. Daniel, the only guy Jude wants no where near his little sister. The only person Jude can't forgive. The only person Jude has ever called a monster.

I was skeptical about The Dark Divine at first glance. It is a story featuring Grace Divine and her siblings Jude, Charity and James, Pastor's kids all. It seemed like a bit of overkill. And it's a paranormal romance. And when it first came out it inspired nail polish giveaways all over the blogosphere. But it's not cheesy, and it's not overkill. For a book about PKs there is surprisingly little to no religious overtone. Don't get me wrong, religion, the physical location of the church, and Christian mythology are all very important to the story. I really want to tell you why, but the best part about reading this story, for me, was not knowing anything about it, really, in advance. Just trust that Despain does not throw a ton of stuff at you without context. Everything that needs to be explained is, without an obtrusive info dump in sight.

On the surface, Grace is trying to figure out the cause of, and therefore mend, the riff between Daniel and Jude. Whatever happened between them caused Daniel to disappear for years and caused the whole Divine family to pretend he never existed. When he suddenly returns, Grace is drawn to him, and not in the magical "We have a future destiny/past connection with each other" kind of way, but in the "We grew up together and I've had a crush on your since time immemorial and now you're back and broody and angsty and muscle-y" kind of way. I love this about their relationship. The scenes that we've all come to know and love (maybe) in paranormal romances are there. Daniel and Grace have plenty of tense conversations where he tries to convince her that he is too dangerous for her, but these scenes are tempered with flashbacks to their childhood together and the kind of flirty banter girls the world over share with their brothers' friends.

But for all their normalcy, Jude cannot stand Grace around Daniel, and Grace can't resist him. She promises Jude she won't have anything to do with him, and then invites him over for Thanksgiving dinner. The worst part is that if it wouldn't make them total corndogs, Grace's best friend wouldn't be April; her best friend would be Jude. They are so close and Grace knows that she's hurting him by talking to Daniel. Forget the fact that she's falling in love with him. And she doesn't want to hurt Jude. What Grace does not know is what this hurt is really doing to Jude and, in turn, to Daniel. This is where they real story is, and this is what I've probably already hinted at too much. The outcome will not be what you expect.

Book source: Philly Free Library

ETA: The sequel, The Lost Saint, will be released in December!


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Good review - I have wondering about this book and love the cover - but hadnt seen too many reviews on it yet.

Lawral the Librarian said...

Thanks! I, too, love this cover, and it's actually possible for it to be from a real scene in the book! Shocking, I know. :)