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Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine (Book 1)
Author: Bree Despain (BlogTwitter)
Release Date: 12/22/09 (Hardcover)
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Source: Public Library (Local)
Overall Feelings: Impressive, wondrous!

(Summary) I've got nothin' but pure love for The Dark Divine. TDD wastes no time at all. The first few pages sucked me right in, and after that, the hours all just seemed to blur together, until before I knew it, I was finished and sated.

As far as beginnings go, Despain nailed it right it on the head. Right off, you're taken to see Grace's (the heroine's) first encounter with bad boy and runaway, Daniel Kalib, after x amount of years:

"'Stop it,' I said. 'That's mine. Give it back." I grabbed at the paper but he pulled it away. 'Hand it over!'
    'Kiss me,' he said.
    I heard April yelp.
    'What?' I asked. 
    He leaned over the drawing. His face was still obscured by his shaggy hair, but a black stone pendant slipped out of his shirt, 'Kiss me, and I'll give it back.'
    I grabbed his hand that held the charcoal. 'Who the hell do you think you are?'
    'So you don't recognize me?' He looked up and pushed his hair out of his face. His cheeks were pale and hollow, but it was his eyes that made me gasp. The same dark eyes I used to call 'mud pies.'
    'Daniel?' I let go of his hand. The charcoal pencil plinked onto the table. A million questions slammed against one another in my brain..." (6).

So, I was left wondering what the heck happened between these two that Grace is so shocked in seeing him again. And you see, that's the thing. The Dark Divine entangles sad histories and secrets; a dark, deeply thrilling mystery; curious murders and brutal, cutting mutilations; profound, vulnerable, relatable characters; and fascinating mythology quite neatly incorporated into the everyday. What more could you want?

There's so many aspects of this book to love: the angst, the suspicion, the supernatural, the characters...Oh, the characters! What beautifully written characters there are! Grace's day-to-day struggle to live up to everyone's expectations, everyone's preconceived ideas, being the town pastor's daughter and having a name like Grace Divine. Jude, Grace's brother, the epitome of outer perfection, the town's angel-boy so to speak, with a tiny, concealed rotten core of anger, jealousy, and hate. Daniel facing his inner demons, his brutal past, and a frightening, supernatural truth; a dark boy who has never known love, at least not until the Divine family. And Pastor Divine, or Grace's beloved father, being constantly looked to to perform miracles, the nearly impossible, as if he were the Good Lord himself, expected to save everyone. And if you can't relate to any of the characters, you can surely sympathize with many of them.

The plot didn't fail, quickly, incessantly moving toward the point, the core of the story, while still managing to be intriguing and engaging. The intensity of it all didn't die. And when the big mystery is unveiled, there's still so much more up 'til the end.

And that ending! Wonderful, simply wonderful...and satisfying. While the novel did end in a way that implies that there will be a sequel (which there will be), thankfully, The Dark Divine did not close on a cliffhanger. Instead, the ending left me gratified and pleased, while having me anxious to get to the next one, The Lost Saint. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on the The Dark Divine. It's just too good.

Thanks for reading!

Check out The Lost Saint: Coming 12/28/10