Heather's Reviews > The Dark Divine

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
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May 06, 10

bookshelves: 2010, ya
Recommended for: Lovers of tormented heroes
Read on May 04, 2010

I am such a sucker. This book is heinously written. I was sorely tempted to scrape it two pages in. The font is bolded, huge and all together overwhelming, making it hard to focus on any given page for too long. The writing is overly simplistic, terse, naïve and more than a bit juvenile. The writing style screams 6th grade writing assignment; yet, I kept reading because Becca Fitzpatrick’s blurb included one word sure to garner my attention, make that a two-word hyphenate, bad-boy. So I stuck it out, and as much as it shames me to admit it, I kinda liked it.

Three years ago, Grace’s childhood love, Daniel disappeared for reasons unknown to Grace. She suspects that Daniel’s disappearance is somehow linked to the night her brother, and Daniel’s best friend, Jude came home covered in blood. No one in Grace’s family has spoken of that night or Daniel since. But now Daniel is back and Grace wants answers. Torn between a promise to her brother to avoid Daniel, and longing to protect the boy she has loved all her life, Grace must choose between doing what was promised and doing what is right.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, the lore in this book is ludicrous and nearly beats you over the head with its religious self righteousness. The author is in desperate need of an ancient history lesson as her facts are skewed to fit her world view. The plot is so glaringly obvious that I guessed the “mysterious” events of that fateful night right off. The mystery is as vague as a slap in the face with a two by four. To further detriment, Grace is a walking, talking religious cliché in her own right, though I can somewhat excuse it away as she is a protestant pastor’s daughter. Nevertheless, I’m a bit hesitant to believe that even pastor’s children are this “divine”. Grace is such a goodie two shoes that I found myself recoiling from her train of thought. Her only flaw is that she is so filled with good intentions that they cloud her judgment, can we say Mary Sue? However, in spite of all its failings, I couldn’t cast this book aside. It haunted my sleep once I finally vowed to get some shut eye. Why? Because of the “bad-boy”, who isn’t really bad at all.

Daniel tugged on my heart strings. As children, Daniel, Jude and Grace would spend hours together each day, playing, creating, and forming an un-breakable bond. To the outside world, Daniel is a beautiful and talented young boy. But all is not well with Daniel. His father is abusive and as a result, Daniel is plagued with fears, anger, self doubt, and an intense desperation to be loved and wanted. Of course, when we first meet Daniel, all we see is an apparently confident, abrasive, and rather intriguing guy in a “I’m bad but oh so troubled and sexy” sort of way. However, as the story progresses, readers are allowed more and more insight to Daniel’s past, and discover the depths of his and Grace’s love and devotion to one another. It’s beautiful and wretched to experience their memories. Their past is hardly perfect. Filled with friendship, laughter, childhood adventures and future dreams, it seems as though these two were meant to love one another.

To state things plainly, the writing style is lacking, the narrator is un-relatablly childish and the plot lacks any sort of suspense. Nonetheless, this story possesses a subplot that is intriguing, and worthy of praise. Daniel’s story of rejection, abuse and neglect are palpable. Despain failed on many fronts, but she soared in the tellings of a troubled teen in search of love and redemption with a grittiness and honesty that was surprising to find under so much religious wholesomeness. I rather wish she hadn't bogged her story down with faux religious supernatural lore. She has a beautiful story in Daniel. Therefore, I shall recommend this book to anyone who wants to sink their teeth into a lone, winning character, but discourage those are seeking a "Twilight-esque" romance.
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Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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message 1: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny Don't do it. Doooon't! Okay, read this book if you must, but I feel I should warn you I've heard some pretty heinous things about it. Though, if you like it, I'll reconsider reading this book. Maybe.


Heather I've already read it and writing a review :) And I'll let you decide if you should read it after you have read the review.


message 3: by Tatiana (last edited May 05, 2010 11:10AM) (new)

Tatiana 4 stars. I iz speechless...


Heather I think you will like Daniel. He isn't a bad boy at all. He is/was a normal boy who faced horrific circumstances and made poor choices in order to cope with those circumstances. It's impossible not to be endeared to him. He sort of reminded me of Cable from the Wake Trilogy.


message 5: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Thank you, but I think I'll pass. Just a good bad boy will not attract me to a book, which you describe in these words the writing style is lacking, the narrator is un-relatably childish and the plot lacks any sort of suspense:)


message 6: by Heather (last edited May 05, 2010 11:26AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Heather I think that would be best. I rated it highly because the story of these two characters blew me away inspite of the flaws.


message 7: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Did you know there is a sequel? The Lost Saint


Heather I didn't know that. Not sure that I would read the sequel. The ending was kinda funny, as in sort of stupid, and it felt final.


Heather I know Despain didn't. This book's ending was final and complete. And I'm right there with you on the annoyance factor of stand alone's being turned into series for profit, not content that warrants an additional installment.


message 10: by Tatiana (last edited May 05, 2010 12:44PM) (new)

Tatiana This serialization has to stop. Don't you think, because of this serializing we eventually end up disappointed in the books that we originally liked? I have tons of the examples when poor sequels totally ruined original books for me. The best books I've read are stand-alones, because no follow-ups tainted them.


Heather Amen :)


message 12: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I think writers should only do series if they have them outlined from the get-go, otherwise - come up with a new idea and move on.


Heather Or if they have an ARC already in mind. Melissa Marr wrote Wicked Lovely as a stand alone, but said she wouldn't have agreed to write any additional installments if she hadn't known where the story could go. So before she wrote IE, she had Darkest Mercy's ending squared away.


message 14: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I guess, some authors will agree to anything, as long as they are given publishing contract. Lisa McMann is a perfect example IMO.


Heather I was just thinking of her when I thought of epic fails for beloved series. I still can't believe how hard Gone sucked.


message 16: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I know! She simply had no interest left in her for that 3rd book. Aren't authors embarrassed when they produce such cr@p? because I can't believe she herself thought this book was good.


Heather I would rather keep my credibility as an author. You can always right another book when you have a story to tell. That is so much better for your career than to produce slop for the sake of a quick payday. Had she of waited, the book probably would have been good, and I would continue to read it. As it stands now, I have no respect for her and will not be reading any more of her books.


message 18: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana It is very disheartening to learn that some authors out there turn in books just to satisfy their contract obligations or to get paid, without putting their best effort forward.


Heather I know. But such is the way of the world I guess.


message 20: by Annalisa (last edited May 05, 2010 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Heather,
I was most disappointed with the section from Thanksgiving to the dance where Despian skimmed over what could have been great character development for Daniel, and even Grace. I liked him too. I wanted more from him, especially once Grace was in the know about him and there could have been some serious internal debate about being loyal to him or her brother. The letters bogged down the story. It needed some interactions with Daniel and run-ins with Jude.

Tatiana,
Oh the series death! I hate it. I've quit reading series past the first book unless I hear otherwise. If I don't need to know that badly, I don't bother with it.


message 21: by Heather (last edited May 05, 2010 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Heather Annalisa wrote: "Heather,
I was most disappointed with the section from Thanksgiving to the dance where Despian skimmed over what could have been great character development for Daniel, and even Grace. I liked him ..."


I think The Dark Divine would have been a better book if she had left out the supernatural element and simply gave Daniel and Jude a real world altercation. The biggest weakness of the book was the shoddy lore, well and the writing style. But Daniel's character content, as well as his relationship with Grace was very well, and authentically done, imo.


Annalisa I don't think anyone publishes books anymore without a supernatural element :).


Heather Fair point well made.


Luisa Heather wrote: "I think The Dark Divine would have been a better book if she had left out the supernatural element and simply gave Daniel and Jude a real world altercation. The biggest weakness of the book was the shoddy lore, well and the writing style. But Daniel's character content, as well as his relationship with Grace was very well, and authentically done, imo. ."

I totally agree that the supernatural aspect was superfluous and this book would probably be better without it.

Grace was a "Goody Two-Shoes Pastor's Daugher" stereotype, but I didn't mind that much. But I hated how this book was formatted. Why couldn't Despain have used paragraph brakes and explain the setting in the narrative rather than "12:00, Sunday, Church."


message 25: by Crystal (new) - added it

Crystal Wow I am shocked as well! Hmmm I might have to move this one up =)


message 26: by Jake (new) - rated it 1 star

Jake I thought this book was terrible. Daniel is probably the most sympathetic character but he lacks the depth necessary for a reader to really get involved. I agree that the supernatural element seemed to be just thrown in there to catch a broader audience. It really did not fit with all the religious elements going on in the story. It would have been okay without the werewolf crap. Thanks for your honest review and I like that you used the word "heinous" to describe the writing. That is so very true.


message 27: by Lilac Moon (new)

Lilac Moon Don't have to worry, I don't read authors that show a 5th grade educational vocabulary structure. Including that can't write 1 single sentence that seems logical to the overall book plot. Dear god/paragraph; the author needs severe help..


message 28: by Gemini (new)

Gemini Thank you someone finally talked about how well it was written. I know what its about, but if the writing is bad then I can't read. Thanks again for talking about it. :)


message 29: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn We have to remember it is a work of fiction...I think it is creative although somewhat predictable...


Shelley Heather wrote: "I know Despain didn't. This book's ending was final and complete. And I'm right there with you on the annoyance factor of stand alone's being turned into series for profit, not content that warrant..."

I agree, to me the ending in this book felt final to me and I felt there was no need for further books. I also agree with Tatiana that way too many books are being turned into serializations when one book would have been good enough. Have to beat on the cash cow I guess.


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