Suzanne's Reviews > Darkness Becomes Her

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
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's review
Jun 23, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: peach-consideration
Read in June, 2011

Percy Jackson meets Anne Rice. Throw in a little Twilight and Kim Harrison--that's the badass bounty-hunter aspect as well as the witches, vamps, and werewolves post-turn Hollows--and add a soupcon of True Blood southern ghoul-thic and you have some of the reconstituted world and story here. Now I myself recently defended in a good-reads review the highly derivative nature of many YA novels, particularly in the paranormal romance and dystopian genres because that aspect of a novel really doesn't seem to bother most teen readers. Either they haven't yet read so widely that they notice it or when they do, they don't care.

Par example, my 12-year-old daughter was reading some cheap Twilight knock-off on her Nook, one of those inexpensive self-published titles, and she looked up from it and said as much. I told her not to feel as if she needed to finish it, and she said, "No, I like it." So there you go. The students at my library that ask for something like Twilight or Hunger Games don't seem bothered by similarities as long as the books take them where they want to go.

But, that said, I can still distinguish among those books that do recycling well enough or differently enough that I will want to keep reading the (inevitable) series and those books that I will not pursue any further. This one didn't tempt me to continue.

The summary: Abandoned 17-year-old girl with silver-blonde, impossible to alter hair and strange green eyes survives mistreatment in foster care until she is rescued by kind-hearted bail bondsmen couple who train her to fight and let her finish high school early and then to seek the truth of her birth-mother. This is where the story opens: A doctor at the Louisiana asylum reports her mother's delusion of snakes crawling her head and eventual suicide before age 21, giving her a box of possessions, including meager clues citing a mother-daughter curse of insanity and early death (remind anyone of Impossible?) pointing her toward New 2, a privately owned remnant of New Orleans, all but destroyed in multiple devastating hurricanes 13 years prior. Before she can head off, Ari must kill a strange soldier with a odd blade and then hitches a ride with a 12-year-old who transports mail from inside New 2 over the border of the Rim to the U.S. One of the things I didn't like is the speed of her acceptance into Crank's household of misfits in a dilapidated mansion of the Garden District, including Sebastian, the love interest, born of a vampire and a warlock, a rare magical mix, who wishes to help and protect and kiss Ari almost upon sight. The rest of the novel deals with the Novum, the nine supernatural family heads who bought and run the city, seeking to subdue Ari to their power and purpose as opposed to Athena, the one who keeps sending sons of Perseus to imprison her. Her escape and freeing of fellow inmates yields her powerful friends for the boss-battle of this clearly preliminary tale, in which she gains horrifying knowledge of the source of the curse through a voodoo-fueled visit to the ancient Greek ancestor who first bore Athena's curse, the same one Ari will face IF she can survive to age 21. She learns why Athena fears her and how the Novum can help protect her if she agrees to help them as she develops her knowledge and powers more fully through their school and secret library.

It wasn't bad. It just didn't get my cylinders firing. I wasn't sorry when I finished it that I would have to wait for the sequel. I can still recommend it to lots of students, but it doesn't make my own personal cut.

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