Title: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publication Date: 5th July 2010
Goodreads Summary: 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.
I’ve owned this book for a couple of years now but I’ve been putting off reading it because I thought it was just another one of those books. You know, the paranormal romances that fed off the popularity of the Twilight Saga. It turns out that isn’t one of those books and I really enjoyed reading this story. I flew through the entire book in just one evening as I was just so desperate to get to the bottom of all the mysteries entailed!
The Dark Divine is told from the point of view of Grace Divine, the teenage daughter of a Pastor. The book begins with the reappearance of Daniel, Grace’s brother Jude’s ex-best friend. He disappeared from the Divine family’s lives around three years ago after an incident with Jude which involved Jude coming home hurt and covered in a lot of blood. Ever since then, Daniel’s name has become a sort of taboo in the Divine family household but Grace, who always had a crush on Daniel as they were growing up, still misses him. When he arrives back in town, he’s sporting a new hair style and colour, but most of all a new attitude. Daniel smells like trouble and Jude warns Grace to stay away from him, but despite all the warnings, she’s still drawn to him. Mysterious things start happening in their town with babies going missing, pets turning up dead and bodies being found with huge gashes on them. Grace isn’t sure who she can and cannot trust, all she knows is that strange things have been happening since Daniel got back and that her attraction to him may lead her into danger.
Now you’re probably thinking that you already know this story and that you’ve read it countless times before, but trust me, you haven’t. I’m guessing that from reading the synopsis you think that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s going on but this novel is full of plot twists and continually surprised me right until the very end. The Dark Divine is not predictable in the slightest and when everything comes to light at the end of the novel you’ll kick yourself for not thinking about alternative explanations for this book’s happenings. This book could definitely be classified as a mystery as there are lots of loose ends left along the way as this story unfolds that aren’t cleared up until the very end.
My opinion of the lead characters changed dramatically over the course of The Dark Divine as different snippets of information were revealed and nothing and nobody are as they seem. One of the things that bothered me was that when paranormal aspects of the plot were revealed, characters didn’t seem all that shocked by it, particularly Grace. When Grace finds out that paranormal creatures do in fact exist, she isn’t fazed at all and life goes on as normal. The naivety of her character is extremely annoying at the beginning but she realises her mistake and she grows on you for the rest of the novel. These characters feel quite ‘real’ compared to those that I have read about in other novels. Despite the fact that Grace is the daughter of a pastor and her family are kinder and more generous than most, none of them are perfect. The characters all still experience doubt and fear, all those emotions that make you seem more human.
I’m a bit torn as to whether or not I’d call the relationship between Grace and Daniel a case of ‘instalove’. They’ve technically known each other since they were very, very young children, but they’ve never been anything but friends, and yet after Daniel’s three year absence, she’s in love with him. This is a little perplexing though not entirely unrealistic, I just wish that the author had included even more snippets from their past so that their relationship would be more believable. That said, I did really enjoy the romantic aspects of this novel and there are several quotes in which the author has captured the mind of a teenage girl so perfectly.
Something that was a bit strange about the format of The Dark Divine was that there were subheadings within each chapter telling you what time of day it was or where the action was located, but these really weren’t needed and interrupted the flow of the action. I learnt to ignore these as I read the novel because they weren’t helpful and I didn’t need them to understand what was going on and I really wish that they had just not been included.
Bree Despain has a fairly new take on paranormal romance. It’s not entirely unique; however, it was unique enough for it not to remind me of another novel and for it not to bore me so I guess it’s a success. This book could be read as either a stand-alone book or as part of series. The ending of The Dark Divine has definitely left itself open for another book, but if you’ve had enough of Daniel and Grace then it’s just as good a place to finish. This book isn’t that fast paced and a lot of the action doesn’t take place until the very end, but the story still holds your attention until this point and it’s well worth the wait. When I started reading this book I was convinced that I knew what was going on but I could’ve have been more wrong. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and it’s definitely one of the better YA paranormal romances that I’ve read.