Nafiza's Reviews > A Beautiful Dark

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
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Aug 29, 11

bookshelves: debut-authors-11, 2011
Read from July 23 to 24, 2011

Disclaimer: This review is based off the Uncorrected Proof available on Net Galley.

This is a debut novel so I will attempt to curb my ire because I know how difficult it is to compose a story, especially if it is the first time you are doing so. There will be no vitriol, no vituperation. Simply a statement of my reaction (and perhaps a mini rant when it is unavoidable).

This book is about angels. Just so you know and are prepared. But before we get to the plot, let’s talk about the writing. It is extremely raw. Ambiguous. Cluttered. Grammatically creative (heh). I may read the finished copy to see if the writing issue has been corrected because I really don’t think it’s fair to judge a book by its uncorrected proof. However, since it was available for review in that form, I am forced to say that the writing would benefit from a lot more work than it has gotten. I usually am not picky about sentence structure etc but when the writing interferes with my understanding of the story, I have to speak out. I would give examples but again, I don’t want to quote from the proof.

Before I talk about the mythology and other aspects of the novel, let me address the one issue that made me want to scream into a pillow (so I wouldn’t scare my family).

The whole love… what would it be? There were five, no six people in this love hexagon. Let me take a deep breath. Okay. Let’s go.

Ian: The requisite nice guy who loves the protagonist silently (and not so silently) but is ultimately treated like yesterday’s lunch and gets lost somewhere in the narrative. He’s palatable actually. And kinda nice. Only thing is, he doesn’t sparkle or have wings and, therefore, does not have a hope against the sparklier beings.

Devin: He’s much more appealing of the two but only till you encounter the twist and then it goes all south. Predictably, he’s beautiful and has a beautiful “fated one” with whom he is supposed to spend eternity.
Ash: Wow. I hated this guy. I hated him to the point that bile rose in my throat every time I had to read a scene with him in it. He’s basically has no qualms using other girls to amuse himself while he waits for Skye to take notice of him (become jealous). His callousness towards girls does not win him any points. Plus when he says to that Skye wearing a tank top in front of him suggests that she WANTS his attention… well, that just made me want to hurl. And you know what it brought to mind? The whole debate of how women are asking to be raped because of the clothes they wear or their lascivious actions. Yeah, no. Just. No.

Ellie: She’s a cardboard character. Nothing else.

Skye: Yeah. The main character whom I did not like at all. In fact, her waffling between all the guys made me want to smack her silly on more than one occasion. And then she says something to the effect of Ellie latching on to guys she had an interest in. As though that was such a bad thing. And it’s not exactly as if Ash was protesting overmuch, you know? The only reason Skye makes that comment is because she doesn’t want Ash (not while she’s deciding between the other members of her fast growing harem) but she doesn’t want anyone else to have him either. Because it may be true love, you know?

The book does not bring anything new and fresh to the genre. It is simply the same old story of one heroine being fought over by two different factions wrapped up in a different package. The mythology is barely explained and while in the end, the thread of the narrative gains a spark, it is too late to save the novel.

Being angelic is so much more than having powers. Why do they have powers? Why is that question not answered?

It also angered me that the book reasserts the status quo where gender politics is concerned. The “real” bad guy is the girl to whom Devin is fated to be with. It is Vicky who is the negative character while the boys retain their prettiness and become tortured by the dueling nature of their mission and the feelings they have for Skye. The novel takes the “Mean Girl” trope to a whole new level and leaves me unimpressed.

So there you have it. My review. I really don’t like writing negative reviews, especially when it’s a debut novel but I think for an artist to hone their craft, they need to work at it. And this book needs a lot more work where character development and plot are concerned. The writer also needs to become aware of the subtext and what she may be saying without explicitly saying it.
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Reading Progress

07/23/2011 page 22
7.0% "Oh dear."
07/23/2011 page 64
20.0% "Wow, I really don't like either of the love interests. Or should I say any of them?" 9 comments
07/24/2011 page 149
47.0% "So if a girl wears a tank top in front of a guy, she's putting the moves on him. Wow. Seriously?" 4 comments

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Aleeeeeza (new) - added it

Aleeeeeza okay, then, i think i shall skip the rest of this one after all.

message 2: by Aleeeeeza (new) - added it

Aleeeeeza i only read 15%, but it just came off as very unoriginal.

Wendy Darling Oh dear, another mediocre angel book...

Nafiza Way below mediocre. Dangerously in the territory of horrible. And of course, it's a trilogy. I'd say you should Aleeza. You'll be doing yourself a favour.

Rida (Raindrop Reflections) holy shiz, nice review. i'd never actually be able to list all these things without ranting the entire time.

message 6: by Aleeeeeza (new) - added it

Aleeeeeza Rida (Raindrop Reflections) wrote: "holy shiz, nice review. i'd never actually be able to list all these things without ranting the entire time."

'tis what nafiza does--write awesome reviews :P

Nafiza You guys are way too nice. :D This review got me rejected for a galley by a publisher but oh well. I say it as I find it. Haha.

Heather Nooo! I was so looking forward to reading this. I keep waiting for good paranormal books and never getting them. Also, a love hexagon? A girl can only dream!

Nafiza Try Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It's very good. Very, very good.

Heather Thanks! I'll check it out.

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