I LOVED THIS BOOK!
Simply put, The Dark Divine exceeded all my expectations. Paranormal, bad boy and ordinary girl - who hasn't seen that before? Well, the relationship in this story was very well-done and evenly paced, and the "paranormal" aspect was so incredibly original and entertaining, so it felt like I was reading something completely fresh and new. Bree Despain's take on werewolves - which I'm sure we're all familiar with - is so INCREDIBLY original and actually makes sense! I remember thinking, "yeah, definitely! Why not?" Bravo, Mrs. Despain!
I especially liked the inclusion of useful, responsible parent-figures. I think we can all agree that parent figures in YA are frequently absent, so it was nice to have helpful parent characters. Now, I do think that sometimes the Divine family was portrayed a little on the stereotypical side: Grace and Jude are great characters, and I DO know boys like Jude, so no, I don't believe that he's "unrealistic" at all - but sometimes they acted a little too contrived (my cousins are children of a pastor, and they do NOT spend their free time at food pantries, nor do they discuss clothing drives. Maybe they *should*, but...) But that one little mention is the only thing that I can think of to say about this book: aside from the Divine family's kind-of blatant portrayal, all the characters were very real, very well-rounded, and easy to relate to. It's always a plus to have grounded, practical characters with values and a good head on their shoulders. Now Grace isn't perfect, but she is a genuinely caring person, and that made up for any lapses in judgment throughout the story. Jude is a really interesting character, too. At the beginning, he was a little too Richie Cunningham for me, but as the Prodigal Son scenario played out, both he and Daniel became incredibly fun to explore.
Daniel and Grace's relationship was very well-done. It wasn't rushed, but it didn't beat around the bush; it wasn't abusive, it wasn't superficial, it wasn't inappropriate. Rather, I found Grace's devotion to Daniel and her (ultimate) willingness to help him very touching.
Even though this
book series really doesn't have a designated villain (yet), the plot remained strong and interesting throughout, and the story was evenly paced. The Dark Divine was a fast read, but that's mainly because I was so engrossed, I could not put it down!
I really can't praise this book enough. Yes, there are religious elements in this story, but I suppose I missed the memo that decided that was a bad thing. :P Kidding aide, I hope that doesn't dissuade anyone from picking up TDD. It is a well-written, captivating, and incredibly romantic story, and I sincerely recommend it to fantasy/YA lovers!
I'd like to say thank-you to Bree for the story she created, and the way in which she decided to tell it. I'm definitely a fan, and I eagerly look forward to her next installment =]