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The Dark Divine

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Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

372 pages, Hardcover

First published December 1, 2009

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About the author

Bree Despain

14 books2,677 followers
The Short: Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo. The Dark Divine is Bree's debut novel.

The Long: As a kid, Bree would staple folded papers to make her own "novels." As a teen, she wrote stories in notebooks while her friends waited for the next page to be finished. Her teachers told her she should be a writer. But Bree thought only special people could be writers, so as the years past, she settled into the idea of becoming a lawyer or something else just as ordinary.

Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner city teens from Philadelphia and New York. With a renewed passion for story, and the young adult audience, she returned to Brigham Young University, filled her schedule with creative writing and literature classes, and started writing stories again. But regular life kicked in, and she soon found herself married with a new baby, working full-time, and with very little writing done.

That’s when the universe threw a pick-up truck in her path. The car accident left Bree with an understanding that life was too short to not do what you absolutely love. A few days later, her husband brought home a used laptop computer, placed it by her bedside, and said, “You’d better start writing.” Her life has never been the same since.

In a moment of karmic perfection, Bree received the offer to purchase The Dark Divine on the 6th anniversary of the car accident that put her back on the path to becoming an author.

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Profile Image for Megan.
418 reviews385 followers
July 6, 2010
I am not going to hide this review under a "contains spoilers" warning, because only a very young reader completely unaware of the current trend towards paranormal fiction or a severely mentally disabled person would not figure out the big mystery when, on page 64, Daniel "barks" at Grace when he invites her into his room and she makes the observation that, "It looked like someone had been keeping a large dog in this closet/room. The door was marred by several claw-like gashes - like the way Daisy would leave scratches on my bedroom door when I left her home alone, only these scratches were much larger and deeper. Whatever animal had been kept in here had apparently gotten out." A page later, Grace remarks that Daniel looks, "like a starved dog."

The Dark Divine is filled with growls, howls, yelps ~ and even less subtle hints. Yet our protagonist, Grace Divine, doesn't figure out the mystery until she is very blatantly told on page 236. Upon discovering being told the supernatural secret of her childhood friend and long time crush Grace rushes home and.... at this point, I have to interrupt to say that I would be questioning my beliefs, the world I live in, and possibly past episodes of The X-Files and Coast to Coast AM. But Grace, upon learning that mystical beasts do exist, simply runs home and blames herself. Daniel Mr. Long Time Crush told her that his, er... condition is hereditary. Grace is a high school junior currently enrolled in a chemistry ~ she had to have taken biology to have gotten that far. So she should understand about complicated things such as genes, yes? Yet she spends the following morning crying and reflects,

...mostly I sobbed for what I now knew about myself.
I felt like such a fraud. My father told me my name meant mercy, help, and guidance. But he was wrong. All Grace Divine meant was blundering, meddling, disappointment. Everything I touched - everything I tried to help - fell apart and slipped through my fingers.
Why did I have to press the issue, refuse to stay ignorant? Why couldn't I stop myself from creating this mess?
If I had just stayed out of things, if I had just minded my own business for all these years, would everything be the way it used to? Would Daniel still be the blondhaired boy next door...

I gave up on this one a few pages after reading the above pity party. Seriously, when someone tells you they have an unwanted genetic condition, what sort of person runs home and blames herself??? Unless of course you are the parent ;) But if you're not the parent... then how fucking self-absorbed does that make you?

Granted, the majority of my reasons for disliking this book are personal ~ I am much older than the target audience and as such, the surprises aren't actually surprises and the plot is incredibly formulaic. As someone who spent my teen years rebelling as much as possible (including rebelling against my Catholic schooling by discovering atheism) I simply cannot relate the pastor's daughter and perpetual good-girl Grace Divine. Not only does she obey all of her parents rules, she doesn't even question them ~ even when her parents rules are in direct conflict with what she desires. Not that I'm endorsing all teens to pull an Eric Cartman, but I do expect some independent thought. Speaking of which, Grace is the worst excuse for a heroine since Bella Swan. Actually, I believe I hate Grace a little bit more than Bella. Grace doesn't figure out anything for herself and frequently takes "no" for an answer when she questions Daniel, her dad and her brother as she blunders her way through this book.

My final reasons for disliking The Dark Divine are incredibly petty, but worth mentioning simply so I can get them off my chest:
~I felt cheated by the cover. Yes, I know that covers are ridiculously misleading. But this one is so pretty, and a little sex-ay. Although I quit on page 263 (out of 372) I am certain that the book will not live up to the cover.
~The font appears to be bold and, as many others have pointed out, incredibly irritating to read.

Despite the above gripes, the bottom line is that her story bugged me, so I am done.
Profile Image for Bree.
Author 14 books2,677 followers
Want to read
April 16, 2009
Okay, I know it's dorky to add my own book to my to-read list, but I was giddy about it being listed on GoodReads and I couldn't resist!
Profile Image for Lea.
112 reviews501 followers
March 5, 2014

No, no, a thousand flipping times NO.

I just don't get it. Like, how do books like this even make it to publishing when they are two steps away from being misogynistic/religious propaganda at worst and brain-numbing fluff at best? And yet once again, I was totally and completely struck silly by the ZOMG GORGEOUS COVER and thought hey, with a cover like that, how could it be *that* bad?

I really need to start learning.

So, here is basically what The Dark Divine is about, since having not done too much research on it beforehand, I was sort of clueless myself. When I first started reading, I actually thought this was going to be a fallen angel book, , mainly because the religious overtones are so heavy-handed that they left me with bruises. But I digress...

Grace Divine is the local pastor's daughter, in her junior year of high school, whose world is turned upside down when Daniel Kalbi steps back into her life. Daniel is Grace's old childhood friend-- except that he mysteriously disappeared years ago after some horrible incident that happened with her older brother Jude. Now Grace's entire family basically pretends that Daniel no longer exists because of whatever terrible thing he did in the past. Obviously, our young heroine cannot stay away from this dark, brooding, and sardonic piece of man candy, and so begins our nearly 400-page whine-and-pine-fest between Grace Divine and Daniel Kalbi. The plot thickens when we later learn that Daniel is actually an Urbat, or "Dog of Death," cursed for past sins by God to be-- for lack of a better term-- a werewolf.

OK, werewolves, sweet, so this is a book about werewolves-- sounds pretty awesome! Except that it's not. Let me explain why:

Grace Divine

Grace Divine. Where do I even begin with Grace Divine...

Well, for starters, she has one of THE most stuck-up and pretentious POV's I've ever had to suffer reading through. Now you would think that-- being the pastor's daughter-- we could maybe get some really interesting, super-cool and edgy character who likes to rebel against the system. But no. True to her name, Grace is a walking, talking Bible in knee-length skirt and loafers who never bothers to even question the rules her dogmatic parents lay down. Her day consists of trying her very best to be perfect and the rest of the time feeling guilty for not being absolutely perfect. Her religious thought process is enough to make you want to hurl your breakfast, while she reminds us ad nauseam of what a good little Christian girl she is, and by the way, you'd better be too, or you're going to BURN IN HELL.

No, I'm not making this up-- the entire book reads like a freaking fire-and-brimstone church sermon.

As if this wasn't enough to make me want to slap her silly, Grace also treats her friends like minions. I mean, she compares her best friend April to a dog in the very first paragraph of the book, and then compares her to a dog again about 30 pages later. Hmm, that's not very nice, is it? In fact, she spends the ENTIRE BOOK comparing her so-called best friend to various dogs. Not only is this really weird, this is pretty freaking terrible if you ask me. And yes, thank you Bree, I understood all the dog references, but really you didn't need to shove them down our throats JUST because your book is about werewolves. This whole dog comparison thing just made Grace look like an asshole. I honestly felt so bad for April. Who cares that she's sort of ditzy and clueless? Why does that give Grace the right to sit there in total disdain, comparing her to a dog? Screw that: April rocks, Grace is a stuck-up bitch who doesn't deserve to have friends because she doesn't give a crap about anyone but herself.

Grace also likes to repeatedly tell us how "smart" she is. After all, she has a 3.8 GPA, but unfortunately this doesn't give her the brains to stay away from someone as dangerously abusive as Daniel Kalbi. Everything she thinks, does and says makes you wonder how anyone can, in fact, be that big of a dumbass. Oh, and she also thinks that people who cry are weak. Yeah. I'm sorry, but you are going to be hard-pressed getting me to a like a main character who has a pole this far up her rear-end.

Bottom line- this is not a character I want to read about. This is a character I want to punch in the face for being so unbelievably stuck-up, self-absorbed, and let's not forget: totally moronic.

Daniel Kalbi

Hey there, boys and girls, how about another abusive and controlling relationship with a domineering male lead who keeps his cowering, brow-beaten woman on a leash? Alrighty then, fantastic!

Enter: Daniel Kalbi. Prime specimen of a condescending, ass-face love interest if I ever did see one, who treats our doe-eyed virginal Grace Divine as though she were a pile of dog poo he accidentally stepped in. Oh, Daniel, how I want to kick you in the crotch. Repeatedly.

Let me give you a prime example of what a tool bag Daniel is: At one point in the story, Grace's car breaks down in a really bad section of town at night, and Pete (the required third wheel in the YA love triangle who is two steps away from being completely brain-dead), leaves her in the car because she'll be "safer" there. Alone in the car, Grace hears scratching outside- and then something starts rattling the car. Understandably scared shitless, she's relieved when she looks out the window and sees Daniel. Now get this: Frightened half to death, Grace asks Daniel if he saw anything that could have made the noises she heard-- She's trying to figure out what's going on after being in a potentially threatening situation that has left her shaken and upset... His reply? "Maybe."


Congratulations Daniel, you have officially been inaugurated into my YA Douchebag Hall of Fame.

Oh, and did I mention that any time Grace asks something from Daniel, he says "Kiss me"? Yeah, so.. basically if Grace wants anything from Daniel she is asked to essentially whore herself out to get it. Of course, Grace being Grace, she acts all disoriented and confused whenever he says this, instead of doing the logical thing and telling him to go light himself on fire and jump off a cliff.

I'm going to take a deep breath at this point, so that I don't once again hurl this book across my room, or suffer from a massive brain implosion. The level of disrespect and disgusting apathy shown by this pathetic excuse for a human being is not even worth my time. I just. I can't even. I'm done.

(OH. And also- about half-way through the book we're given reasons that try to excuse Daniel for his awful behavior. I'm sorry, but this is BS. I don't care about your troubled past, or your dumb curse, you don't treat people like this. EVER. END OF STORY.)

Blatant push of Christian agenda in a YA book

Oh sweet baby Jesus, the religious overtones in this book. If you enjoy being whacked over the head with the New Testament until you're semi-unconscious, then this is the book for you. Grace Divine's dad-- a pastor, go figure-- was one big judgmental and pretentious douchebag who everyone calls "an angel of the Lord." OK, can I just say something here? If you want to write a book where your main characters are Christians, fine. But don't make those main characters Puritanical religious-as-fudge jerk-wads in an attempt to sneak in some kind of hidden agenda and then put that ish into a YA book. Also, I know Christians. They don't effing talk like they just stepped out of 17th century Salem, alrighty? And not all of them think and act like they have heavenly beams shining out of their bums. The way Bree writes about them just perpetuates the idea that all Christians are supposed to be self-important pricks with delusions of being "holier than thou," and even more messed up, that this is actually a GOOD thing. Welp, that is absolute B.S. and I'm calling it out as being such.

Useless facts that have nothing to do with anything

Here is a prime example of the inconsequential and totally boring pieces of info the reader has to suffer through in this book:

"Got any more of that tea?" Dad asked...

"Um, yeah." I mopped up the puddle I'd spilled on the counter. "It's chamomile though."

Dad crinkled his Rodulph nose.

"I think I saw some peppermint in the cupboard. I'll get it for you."

OK, so you probably don't want to listen to me nitpick, but gosh darn it, I'm gonna nitpick. Why? Because this entire book is chock FULL of completely mindless/useless interactions like this one.

I'm sorry Bree, but what the flying fig newton does Grace's dad not liking chamomile have to do with, oh I don't know... ANYTHING?? It has nothing to do with the plot, it adds nada to any character development, and it's not even remotely interesting. Please tell me why I should care that Grace's dad doesn't like chamomile tea? No reason? OK, so what is the POINT of putting it in the book?? Answer: There IS none, it's just there as empty-- not to mention seriously boring-- filler to an already shallow story. So.... yeah, Grace's dad doesn't like chamomile, Maryanne Duke makes the best rhubarb pie EVER, Carolyn Bordeaux has something to do with the angel memorial... I have a pretty high threshold for pointless filler, but this is just getting stupid.

Can I have some cheese with that dialogue?

Speaking of things that make me want to gauge my eyes out with a rusty spoon, we also have some of the most atrocious dialogue ever. Lord have mercy, the dialogue. It was painful. Basically, it reads like a bunch of teenagers talking the way a 40-year old woman thinks youngins talk-- If they were in a squeaky-clean Christian production of Get Thee to the Church Unless Ye Longeth to Burn in Hell. I'd give examples, but at this point I'm just too over it to even bother. All I have to say for these characters and their ridiculous way of talking is:

Cringe-worthy, horrible writing. 

Want some examples?

"Dead bodies started popping up like daisies." p.37

Really, Bree. Like daisies? This is the best word you could think of to compare the appearance of corpses with?

"My frustration fired like a pottery kiln." p. 46

Because Grace is so OMG totally into art, obviously her frustration fires up like a pottery kiln. DUH.

"My head felt like I'd been standing over an open bottle of oil solvent too long." p.70

Yeah, you probably shouldn't be standing over open bottles of oil solvent. No bueno. However, this does help to explain why Grace is so brain-dead. And maybe also how this book came into being.

And let's not forget, the ending "action" scenes that were composed of 738 short, choppy sentences that were thrown together and damn-near impossible to follow, and went on for about five pages-- I skimmed through most of what was supposed to be the "climax" of the story because it was beyond boring. Total. Fail.

Treating your readers like sheltered and brain-dead idiots (WARNING: Some profanity ahead, proceed with caution...)

Question: Why is it totally OK to talk about "ripping out throats" in highly graphic/violent terms in YA books but when it comes to swearing or anything sexual we need to talk in secret code?

Because that's what this book does and it pisses me off to no end. What makes it fine and dandy to write about gory murder and mutilation, but sex and swearing are taboo? Do you really think that teens can't handle reading a few choice swear words? Do you think that mentioning sex or your main character- heaven forbid!-- having sexual thoughts is positively sinful?? THEN DON'T EVEN WRITE IT INTO YOUR BOOK.

But no- Bree takes the very creative cop-out of having her characters swear and have sexual thoughts, without ever having to actually say specifically what's going on. Because, you know, us readers might just have a brain aneurysm if perfect little Grace hears a swear. So the author chickens out with lines like this:

"The other guy said something vile that I will not repeat, and then he made an even more disgusting gesture. Daniel told him to go do something to himself and then took my arm and led me to the door." p.67

I'm sorry. What?? So... some guy just said something and made some gesture and then Daniel said something about doing something to himself-- for the love of God, JUST TELL US WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS ARE SAYING! Daniel told the other guy to go fuck himself? Is that what you're trying to say?? Then SAY IT! We aren't going to shatter into a million pieces, Bree, I promise! If you really think your readers are so immature, delicate and sheltered that they can't handle the occasional cuss-word then DON'T even bother implying that your characters swear, because skirting around every "dirty" thing that's being said not only sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it comes across as though you think your readers are total imbeciles. Also, having your main character emphatically refuse to tell me the reader what was just said makes her sound like a stuck-up, self-righteous little toe-rag. ALSO, Daniel grabbing Grace by the arm and dragging her out the door? Yeah, the ENTIRE story reads like Grace is Daniel's pretty piece of property to shove around however he wants. So seriously Ms. Despaine, congratulations on achieving that much epic fail in the span of two sentences. Well-fucking-DONE.

Abusive relationship being passed off as romantic

You really don't want to get me effing started with this.

OK, I'm getting started, since I'm already revved up from my last rant.

You want to know what's not alright with me? Writing lines like THIS into a book being targeted at young women:


"Daniel had a way about him that could shut me down in an instant." p. 41

"How did he always do that-- make me completely forget I was mad at him so easily?" p.43


Let me be very clear here: This way of thinking is dangerous shit. This is NOT an OK way for girls to think about guys who are emotionally and possibly physically abusive, and no I don't give a rat's patoot that it's only in a fictional book and it's "just a story," so don't even try that with me. This "relationship" between Grace and Daniel is beyond effed up. GOT THAT, Bree?? This is NOT. OK. Portraying women who are so desperately and pathetically controlled by men that they are totally powerless to stop their bullying, threats and domination, and just bend over and take it because they can't help it-- NO, that is effing CRAP! This main character you've created is not a heroine, she's a helpless victim-- and Daniel is not a sexy love interest, he's a disgusting representation of misogyny and violence towards women. The fact that you are passing these kinds of characters off to teen girls as being someone worth emulating or fawning over is highly, highly disturbing. Because yes-- if you look on Goodreads, you'll see young girls saying how "hot" Daniel is-- this chauvinist pig who repeatedly humiliates and chastises the female protag, who can only sit there pathetically worshiping the ground he walks on.

But it gets even better-- because after Daniel's horrible behavior towards Grace, Grace then comes up with the fantastic idea-- wait for it-- that it's her duty and responsibility to save him. Like, she is actually convicted by this belief that it's her mission to save Daniel who, up to this point, has treated her like pool scum. OMG, someone take this book away from me before I light it on fire. This is seriously some of the most messed up crap I've ever read about in a YA book. Please explain to me again why men are constantly being glorified in YA "literature" as predators and being passed off as romantic and sexy because they treat women like less than poop and could potentially kill them? And then it's up to the female to save them from being assholes? Girls, if you are reading this review, PLEASE realize that guys like this, in books or real life, are NOT hot/sexy/attractive! This is NOT how anyone should be treated! Furthermore, it is absolutely NOT your responsibility to try and turn a "bad guy" around, which is exactly what Grace thinks she should be doing with this crazy, abusive psycho.


Final Thoughts

About three-quarters of the way through The Dark Divine, Grace and Daniel did start to become *marginally* more tolerable. The story *ever-so-slightly* did become more interesting. But unfortunately, by this point the book had been completely ruined by the obnoxious and crappy behavior of the main characters, the dangerous messages about abusive relationships, and the insufferable religious overtones that came across as a blatant moral agenda. So altogether, this just wasn't for me. You might end up loving it as many other readers have, but I just can't recommend it.

Pretty much, in a nutshell, it blew.

Profile Image for The Rusty Key.
96 reviews24 followers
February 8, 2011
Reviewed by Jordan B. Nielsen

In lieu of a traditional review of The Dark Devine by Bree Despain, I thought we’d play a little game called ‘Paranormal Teen Romance Mad Libs’.

Our story features a girl named (character name, usually containing a common noun and/or adjective). She’s just your typical world weary teen, living in (misty, woodsy, dreary weather locale), an hour outside of (major metro-area) . She isn’t one of the pretty, popular girls, she’s more on the (synonym for plain) and (synonym for clumsy) side. She has a friend who is kind of a (synonym for air-head). In her free time, she really enjoys (Photography/Drawing/Painting/Reading – circle one). In spite of the fact that she’s (synonym for bland) and (synonym for self righteous) and (synonym for not very pretty) she has (pick a number more than 1) perfectly nice guys who are in love with her, all of whom she distains for no good reason, when really such a (synonym for dullard) should be thrilled that anyone can even separate her from the wallpaper.

Then one day a new guy appears. She is immediately drawn to him like a (synonym for prey) to a (synonym for predator). His name is (select a name no one has given a child in the last 200 years). Not only is he (synonym for wildly attractive) he’s also got that (synonym for dark) and (synonym for brooding) thing going on. To prove it, he drives a motorcycle. While most sensible people would think he’s (Charles Manson/Ted Kaczynski/The Zodiac Killer - circle one) our narrator is completely enamored of him, though spends (pick a number more than 1) chapters stubbornly insisting that she hates his gorgeous, gorgeous guts.

But there’s more to this (jerk/loser/misanthrope/recluse –circle two) than meets the eye: he has a secret. Through (pick a number morethan 1) chapters our girl doggedly stalks this guy she claims to loathe with her head (pick a place one might shove their head if they were quite stupid). She tediously tries to figure out what the heck is going on, while it’s plainly obvious to the reader by the abundance of (werewolf claws/vampire fangs/angel feathers/unicorn horns - circle one) that keep falling out of the dude’s coat pocket.

At the point when he, and we, can’t take her imbecility anymore, this mysterious guy breaks down and overtly explains to the girl that he is a (chose a mythological creature). Rather than question weather or not she was experiencing some sort of psychotic episode upon hearing this information, as anyone else would, she responds by (biting her lip/chewing her nails/playing with her hair – circle one) and is generally (synonym for nonplused) by this improbable revelation.

Now in the honeymoon phase of their new relationship, the two take to nature and (fly/run really fast/jump really high – circle one) through some trees, saying things like “You have no idea how amazing you are.” Neither do we. Mercifully, this gooey romp will eventually be disrupted by the symptoms of our romantic hero’s paranormal affliction, resulting in (shaking/sweating/clenching fists/clenching gorgeous square jaw/howling – pick two). So consumed is our main character by her nauseating new relationship, that she’ll accidentally blow off her (friend/family member –circle one)’s really super important (birthday/sleepover/wedding/child birth/graduation/holiday celebration/funeral/wake – circle one) which she totally promised she would go to. But it’s ok, because all side characters in this book are purely ornamental and seldom even given names. And you shouldn’t even consider thinking of her as a completely (synonym for selfish) (word that rhymes with witch), she’s just in love and you would like, totally do the same thing if it were you.

But of course, in all this (synonym for obsessive) time they’re spending together, our young lovers won’t be consummating their towering inferno of feelings because (he’ll accidentally kill her in the process/this book is completely unrealistic/this book is full of sexist, puritanical overtones/parents will freak out and refuse to buy it for their teens, thus hurting sales – circle two). But really the thought of these two getting intimate is thoroughly (synonym for icky) anyways, as they have about as much chemistry as a wet mop and a potato.

Oh yeah. And there is some sort of trouble involving a (pick a scary monster), which, after a lot of (synonym for hand wringing) and (consulting old books/googling – pick one) will be wrapped up easily because of our guy’s (super human strength/ability to fly/general invincibility/insistence by the publishers that he not die in the first book because they want to milk a franchise out of this – circle one).

Did you get it filled out? Congratulations, you are now a writer. Go get yourself an agent because you’re going to sell a LOT of books. If you’re into this sort of story, The Dark Devine will be right up your alley. If you feel you got enough of it out of the 1000+ pages of the Twilight Saga, I suggest you move along.

For more reviews from The Rusty Key, visit us at www.therustykey.com
Profile Image for Jess (The Cozy Reader) Kennedy.
284 reviews55 followers
February 5, 2010
My Grade

Plot: 5
Setting: 4
Writing: 5
Originality: 5
Characters: 5
Passion: 5
Overall: 29/30 = 96% =A
Cover/Title Bonus: 4

I won this ARC on Bree’s blog in one of her monthly pre-release celebrations for The Dark Divine. I also got a bottle of matching nail polish as seen on the cover and a pedicure kit! :)

Summary (Bree’s website)

A prodigal son
A dangerous love
A deadly secret . . .
I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

Excerpt (Bree’s Website)
The first chapter is available to read on Bree’s website. It’s very good!


The above summary does an amazing job at explaining what’s going on without saying too much. This book is written so well it all flows amazingly well and keeps you guessing what will happen next.

There’s a major artist theme going on in here too. Both Grace and Daniel draw/paint, him better than her, and it’s a very cool common bond they share.

The ending was handled wonderfully. I enjoyed this entire book.


The town is said to be near Apple Valley. A lot happens in the art class, the parish, the Divine house and backyard and downtown.

It’s a fairly common setting with nothing really standing out.

I particularly enjoyed the tree climbing and finding baby James the best. OH! And the angel memorial: awesome.

It’s present time.


Amazing. Seriously. I can’t explain how it’s written but it’s written very well. It’s not like books I’ve read recently. The tone is unique in a way that makes me second guess myself each page turn. The details that you’ll be guessing at are within reach but you don’t reach them until the exact moment that Grace does. LOVE THAT! I hate figuring it out before the main character. I had my guesses but so did Grace but neither of us knew until it was there.

It’s written in Grace’s POV the entire time. I wished I could get into Daniel’s head a time or three. He was very interesting and I wanted to know more about him.


I knew what Daniel was when I read the first chapter on Bree’s website. But like I explained above Bree had me second guessing myself the entire book. So, even though I’d figured it out already I just didn’t feel 100% confident that I really knew and that kept my interest at top notch. I honestly couldn’t put the book down! I finished it at 2:00 am!

What Daniel is is easy to figure out but it gets explained very well. I enjoyed the details and thought they were very original.


Grace is the main character. She’s the daughter of the Pastor. “Pastor D-vine.” :) She’s still struggling with Daniel’s disappearance from a few years prior and doesn’t handle his return very well. She’s clearly head over heels for him and it makes her sad, angry, and heart broken.

Jude is Grace’s older brother. He’s a sweet guy, always helping others, but he’s troubled by the attack from Daniel a few years prior. He doesn’t like or trust Daniel.

Grace’s Dad is cool. He’s all about helping others too. He nearly goes mad trying to help Daniel and ultimately his entire family it seems. I enjoyed his character a lot.

Daniel. Daniel is the black sheep of his family. They abandoned him a few years back. His mom choose his dad over him, only a young boy. He returns to his home town looking for a fresh start.


This is my favorite category but sometimes it’s the hardest to review. There are major sparks flying between Daniel and Grace. I love that it was there in the story but it wasn’t the front runner. Their relationship plays a huge role in the book yet it was handled with great care. I enjoyed their relationship immensely. Me? Beat around the bush? No…..


Amazing. Awesome. Superb. An unexpected thrill of a ride. I knew it was going to be good but it surpassed my expectations. It was written so well. Everything was covered and it ended well wrapped up.

Cover/Title Bonus

The title is awesome. The cover….it’s beautiful and catches the eye but it doesn’t represent the book very well. I’m not sure if I’m missing something or what but I’m not crazy about the cover after reading the book. It’s gorgeous but it lacks focus or direct representation of the story.
Profile Image for Annalisa.
525 reviews1,347 followers
April 14, 2010
Good girl, studious protagonist: check
Dark, mysterious boy who is really the good guy but starts off being incredibly cruel: check
Unexplained sexual tension that controls protagonist: check
Perfect guy who isn't perfect: check
Love triangle: check
Best friend who gets protagonist to do something dangerous: check
Contrived plot elements to keep the reader in suspense: check

I don't know why I keep reading these when this post-Twilight formula for fantasy romances doesn't work for me. Having said that, Despain manages to explain her fantasy elements and give good foreshadowing clues, Grace's family is actually involved in her life (although I found her pastor family a little too tainted by Mormon family), I liked Grace and Daniel some of the time (him more than her), and the end surprised me. I don't why. It was obvious, but I wasn't too invested in the story at that point to think about it (not the secret but the twist at the end).

The second half of the book kind of fell apart until the climax. I had been anxious for answers in the beginning, but then Despian stretched out Grace's indecision without fleshing out her internal struggle just so she could space out vital information and race to the climax. I wanted to know why Grace wasn't reading the letters I think she would have devoured. I wanted to know what was going on with Jude when Grace gave up seeing Daniel for him. I wanted to know more about her father's plans and beliefs. And I wanted to know more about Daniel and what it was he wanted to tell her. The climax was good, and I like said surprised me, but I wanted more going into it.

I'm not sure what to rate it. It wasn't my thing, but I can see girls who like paranormal romance really liking it and it's just as good and bad as everything else in the genre. For that, I'm rating 2.5 stars. Just not my thing.
July 29, 2016
Sorry guys for totally forgetting to review this whole list of books... I've been a bit busy with school.

The Gist: Good girl Grace Divine (*cringes at name*), daughter of the local pastor, has a run-in with her childhood friend Daniel, now a mysterious bad boy, whom she hasn't seen in years since he disappeared- and left her brother in a pool of blood. Grace's brother, Jude, acts openly hostile towards Daniel and tells her his suspicions, but also starts behaving erratically. As Grace and Daniel fall in love, she discovers what he'd been trying to hide-- he comes from a line of wolf shapeshifters who are prone to temptation and corruption from their powers. When gory murders are discovered in her town, Grace wants to suspect Daniel, but she has a feeling it's someone else, and they're after both her and Daniel.

Genre: Fantasy (paranormal, werewolves, urban fantasy)
Maturity: moderate romance, some disturbing violence, some crude language (11+)

New Review
I started worrying when my edition had a Becca Fitzpatrick endorsement on the back.

No wonder Fitzpatrick endorsed this book! About 25% in, I realized it was basically her own novel, Hush Hush, except with werewolves instead of angels. Brainless Mary Sue meets a hot jerk "bad boy" who seduces her while all the while I am throwing up red flags for potential sexual harassment and stalking behavior, all told in a boring, mind-shredding narrative with a few grating side characters like a "best friend" and a cheesy villain thrown in at the end that anyone could have seen from a mile away. (Wow that was a long sentence.)

The plot revolves around a lot of contrived mystery about weird murders and events in the town, when the author basically THROWS werewolf hints at us, mostly word choice clues that are SUPER awkward, ex. so and so "yips" or "barks." (BTW, to combat the "dog" references, I have added Grumpy Cat memes throughout.) After some religious filler from Grace's dad, a pastor, there's a lot of creepy romance, then a bunch of "action" that is basically Daniel saving Grace. Everything else is emotionless filler, making this relatively short book a chore to slog through.

The bad boy + good girl dynamic seemed totally cliche to me, and included a lot of over-the-top corny lines that I kept cringing at. Grace angsts constantly about how some family drama makes him "forbidden" to her. It's a really long, stupid story I don't really want to talk about. But of course, we all know to YA heroines, like small children, making something off-limits makes it suddenly cool. (This trope AGAIN.)

The "bad boy good girl" romance also, apparently, means to the author that Grace is "conflicted"-- that is, talks in that very dangerous YA doublespeak. "Giving into sexy temptation" for Grace means protesting weakly when all along, she wants to do it.
[Daniel] shifted forward on the seat of his bike. "You coming?"
"What? No, I can't." [...] [I] climbed onto the back of his motorcycle.
(p. 104)

This is the whole "no means yes" crap we get all the time in YA. It's annoying-- girl, make up your mind! and also dangerous, because it tells guys that even if a girl clearly says she is uncomfortable with doing something, she secretly wants to do it, and it is actually permission. It tells girls to not speak their minds. Here are some common examples of this kind of doublespeak:

"I hate you"= "I actually love you"
"No, stop!!" = "Yes, please!"
"Go away!"= "come hither, handsome hunk."
"Don't touch me!" = "I'm playing hard-to-get."


Grace's whole gig is "squeaky clean Puritan." Like, she is a legit freaking Puritan from the days of the Mayflower- ankle-length skirts, abhors swearing, even quotes the Bible in KJV with all the "thees" and "thous." She hates swearing so much even her narration is cleaned up in a really awkward way.

[Pete] called her something quite unfavorable under his breath.

Daniel told him to go do something to himself.

Like, I get that Grace doesn't want to swear, but her not wanting to even think about swearing by relaying it in her narration is really annoying and obstructs the story and emotions of the other characters. (Well, it's not as bad as Tiger's Curse, where the MC "angrily" calls a guy a "wily scoundrel." So there's that.)

Grace is the classic hyperinsecure girl who is ACTUALLY 100% perfect, she's just too dumb to see everyone worshiping her all the time. She's pretty, (supposedly) smart and good at art, etc. etc. To make things worse, the cutest, smartest, most athletic senior on campus, Pete, is madly in love with her, but as I predicted, she stomps over his niceness to run straight to emo jerk Daniel, who doesn't even treat her like a person for about half the book (until he takes a heel face turn and becomes a suddenly sweet loving model boyfriend). She's also pretty mean to her friend, April, by constantly comparing her to a dog. It's annoying because not only is she being mean, it's also part of the whole "dropping dog/werewolf hints every 5 seconds" thing that Bree Despain does.

April was
so like my old dog Daisy in that way.

April's voice had a high, doglike whine to it.

The way Grace compares April to a dog suggests April is dumb, blindly loyal, annoying, and clingy, and also suggests that Grace is inconsiderate and treats her so-called "best friend" like crap.

Despite Grace saying April's pretty dumb, she herself isn't exactly a genius herself. For example, let's see how Grace treats medieval historical documents on loan from a foreign country.

I carefully turned to the last letter I'd read. Half of it was missing- disintegrated in the hostile environment of my school bag.

These are priceless, centuries-old letters from the Crusades that her dad is borrowing from a freaking MUSEUM, yet Grace just casually tosses them into the bottom of her bag like they're old homework papers.

Other examples of her lack of logic circuits- when her brother Jude says Daniel is dangerous, Grace instinctively responds Jude has to be wrong for the sole reason that she's in love with Daniel, THEREFORE Daniel can't be evil. That's as far as her reasoning goes.
The things [Jude] said couldn't be anything but lies. How could I feel the way I did about Daniel otherwise?

I gazed into Daniel's eyes. They were deep and soft and familiar. My brother had to be lying.

Yes, you saw that logic gap. Grace goes straight from gazing into Daniel's eyes to concluding Jude is wrong. Unfortunately, dreamy eye-staring isn't exactly a polygraph, no matter what stupid YA characters think.

And as if to add insult to injury, all the while, she is spouting "strong female lines," such as when, on page 196, she says, "I'm not stupid or fragile or weak, you know."

You tell 'em, Grumpy Cat!!

Daniel isn't much better. He antagonizes Grace constantly, proving 1) he's a jerk, and 2) they're gonna fall in love.
I felt something plink against my head. "Hey, Grace," Daniel stage-whispered.

"Kiss me and I'll give it back."

To make things worse, Daniel does stupid and creepy crap all the time to be a "sexy sinner," ex. jumping over a fence to hang out with Grace in a GRAVEYARD and telling Grace she has to kiss him for him to give her stuff back (ew). (Need I say I'd rather kiss a pile of steaming werewolf crap than this guy.) OR jumping into Grace's bedroom uninvited... while she's in a bathrobe. Then, he makes a huge flip and suddenly, he's a sweet model boyfriend who is really damaged and tortured.
"What I am... it's why no one can ever love me."

Jude, Grace's brother, opposes Grace and Daniel's relationship, so OF COURSE he turns out to be cray-cray. Anyone can see that from a mile away. He starts out as a jerk, then turns into a paranoid, crazy jerk. It's plainly obvious that something's wrong with him, but no one seems to notice.

Pete is the character I really felt bad for. He starts out as a nice guy, but then, to crush all hopes of an alternate ship, the author just ALSO gives him a heel face turn and he becomes a cold unfeeling jerk and then a freaking psycho.

Conclusion: A very dull, cliche book with its share of Twilight tropes and a jerk love interest.

Profile Image for Amelia, free market Puritan.
349 reviews35 followers
March 22, 2014
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 =]
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,188 reviews2,892 followers
February 6, 2010
Three words; I. Loved. It!

The pages inside are just as full of intrigue and mystery as the beautiful cover itself!

Wow! What an awesome debut! Picked this one up, and didn't put it down until I was finished. Not only was there great charactizations, extraordinary writing and a infallible mystery, but the story itself was just spectacular!

I loved Despain's talent of weaving ideas of mythology seamlessly into the everyday world. The daily struggle of Grace's life, being the person she wants to be, and being the person that everyone expects her to be as a preacher's daughter, marvelously parallels the life of the everyday teenager.... preacher father or not.

The plot was quick and engaging and the ending is completely satisfying, while leaving the possibility for a sequel without being a cliffhanger.

This was just a fun book to read. I enjoyed reading about these characters and watching the plot unfold and the mystery ultimately revealed. Like I said before.... awesome debut!
Profile Image for Kimberly.
970 reviews3 followers
July 28, 2011
This is such a cheap rip-off of the Twilight series. I won't even begin to go into all of the similarities; it's not worth my time. Suffice it to say, I was consistently rolling my eyes throughout the entire story. The only difference between this and Twilight is that Despain adds a clear Biblical take. It's sad that that is really the only original part of the whole story. This one has officially made my "no-dice" bookshelf on GR. I am so thankful this was a library book and I didn't spend any money to read it!

UPDATE: My friend Nikki asked me about this book in a round-about-way and I think it's worth posting what I told her:

[This] is the worst YA book I've ever read! It was such a piece of uncreative trash--all Despain did was take the Twilight story and tweak it so that the 'bad boy' was a ***SPOILER ALERT***hell hound rather than a vamp. There was even a piggy-back ride scene through the woods for crying out loud! (For the record, that also happens in Twilight.) I would rather read a poorly written original story than one with pretty packaging that's a total rip-off. I'm a Christian, but I also got completely fed-up with Despain's overbearing religious slant in the novel (and I've read several Christian novels that were nothing like hers). The main girl's name is Grace Divine and her dad is a preacher and we got to hear over and over and over again about how she needs to live up to her name. Puhlease! The books just drips with it's own self importance.
Profile Image for Heather.
170 reviews5 followers
January 25, 2010
Despite a really terrible job on the part of her publisher (missing words and typos abound, parsed out in a font so large and overwhelming in its boldness that I was distracted to no end, and enclosed in a bizarre cover that looks more like an erotic novel than a YA horror/paranormal fantasy), I was really, really pleasantly surprised by this story.

Grace Divine is the daughter of a pastor in a conservative church-going community, but her straitlaced family has spent the last several years hiding and avoiding the fate of their unofficial foster son and brother Daniel, and his strange disappearance. Grace is caught in a sort of accepting malaise of this status quo until Daniel shows up at her high school. While Grace's older brother Jude demands she avoid Daniel, and her parents appear to be avoiding the entire situation, Grace falls back on her old affections for her childhood friend and determines to use her dad's pastoral "care for those in need" motto with Daniel, too. Which, of course, results in all kinds of drama, secrets, blood, death, chaos and kissing, etc.

At first glance this looked like another typical mysterious-bad-boy novel that usually makes me cringe -- why do we insist on parading these horrible jerks before young women as model friends and lovers? -- but ho'd on, all is not as it seems. Yes, Daniel has a secret that turns out to be another commonly used plot twist in fantasy these days, and yes, Grace is a little slow on the uptake (the word lycanthrope didn't tip her off). But I'm gonna be honest -- until I saw the word lycanthrope, I wasn't tipped off, either. Despain does a really decent job of holding together the suspense throughout this novel; even after the sort-of big reveal of Daniel's identity, nothing's as clean-cut as you'd expect. If Jude's fate was a little easy to predict, I'll allow it given that I didn't find it so until a good 150 pages in, and that was enough for me. And even if some of the plot, including Grace's name, reminded me of my much-loved copy of Maggie Stiefvater's novel Shiver, The Dark Divine is an entirely different mood. While Shiver moves the story through a solemn, almost hushed internalization, The Dark Divine packs in a fair amount of action and suspense. I think the comparisons I've heard to Stephanie Meyer's New Moon is a little unfair in this regard, as well; in New Moon, Bella doesn't do a whole heck of a lot. In Divine, Grace is so busy trying to do whatever she thinks is the morally right thing -- respect her parents, listen to her brother, help Daniel, put up with the local charity case -- that she's completely wrapped up in the darker deeds around her (because c'mon, no church-going gal should be THAT laid back about the kind of party she walked into at Daniel's) until her deductions hit her on the head like a proverbial ton'o'bricks.

But here are the biggest ways that The Dark Divine is unlike any of its similar sister novels -- Grace is a church kid, and darn it, she's cool with that. Some readers may be turned off by the strong and frequent references to Judeo-Christian values and kitsch (right down to printed church bulletins), and oppositely, those in the religous environmental know may find her one-dimensional harpy of a mother a little hard to stomach, but you gotta give it to Despain, she talks about Grace's Protestant bubble without batting an eye. Grace goes to Bible study; volunteers for her dad's church charities; asks Daniel not to swear in the halls of her Christian school; and ponders the real implications of the Prodigal Son. She's sheltered; she wouldn't know what Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Gaiman's Sandman would look like if they bit her, so every monstrous revelation is doubly new and shocking to her.

It may not be cool, or even likeable to some, but Grace's religious viewpoints do make her a real standout in this genre. Sometimes it's just the facts; with her Dad a pastor, it's inevitable she'll be describing a way of life (no web surfing in her room; spaghetti straps are verboten) that many cannot relate to. But she's still relatable, if for no other reason than those honest moments when she's thinking in the paradigm of her religious views, and most protagonists in YA fiction are trying to figure out some sort of paradigm, too. Grace asks herself, if Daniel's the prodigal and Jude's the "good son," then doesn't the parable infer the good son is the one in the most danger? What does "honor thy father and mother" really mean when said parents are keeping secrets that have hurt people? When another father and mother in the story subject their child to terrifying abuse and abandonment? How do children recover from that kind of abuse? And how do their comfy teenage friends figure out how to help them in a way that's truly meaningful? Just how far should grace and forgiveness go, when there's family at stake and blood on someone's hands?

And consequently, Daniel's a little raw. Despain's publishers may want to convince us he's a bad boy, but really, he's a good boy subjected to so much abuse and heartache that he's done some pretty bad stuff to try to cope. In a novel ripe with Grace's naivete, Daniel doesn't waste any words about the many hedonistic forms his self-hatred and escape have taken. He's a social misfit and a castout when Grace first sees him, and despite a clean-up in his general appearance, that never really changes. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, rejects him in the most heartbreaking ways. Heartbreaking, for me, because in the midst of a paranormal story, these accounts of rejection and neglect are palpably realistic. Somewhere along the way, Despain got a solid grasp on the pain and injustices teenagers suffer at the hands of the very family and adults who are supposed to protect them. Her insistence in defining acts of grace bump up against these gritty realities and keep the novel's voice unique, thoughtful, and relevant. Despain's telling us that you don't have to make your characters angry, bitter, cussing Goth kids to tell a story about pain, and redemption, that teenagers and adults can relate to. It's old fashioned but not cloying -- religious, yes, but not preachy, and because these elements were so surprising, I enjoyed the plot surprises, too.
Profile Image for Holli.
155 reviews
April 30, 2012
The Dark Divine is truly an amazing book! It captured my heart from page one, and took me on an amazing ride of suspense, mystery, conviction, and unconditional love.

Bree Despain took a traditional stance with werewolves, but added a twist. These are not mere shape shifters like current novels would portray, but more like the fairytale monsters we imagined them to be as children. I appreciated the amount of back history she put into their origin of the Urbat. The contrast their original nature as Heaven's Hounds, to their later downfall, Hounds of death.

The Divine family is one that I totally related with! The character's of this family were developed so well, they are believable. My heart broke for our prodigal ... Daniel, with his tragic childhood. It only made his redemptive story all the more endearing. I had a box of tissues next to my chair and used them often! :)

Honestly, I would implore you to pick up a copy of this book and read it now instead of reading this review. It is everything it promises to be and so much more.

Artistically beautiful, The Dark Divine is a story with redemptive qualities where true love conquers all!

Now it's time to go hunt for Jude in "The Lost Saint"!
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 37 books8,965 followers
September 5, 2011
I really relish the opportunity to get to know authors better through books. I love Grace the main character and I have a suspicion the apple didn't fall far from the tree. I bet there's a lot of Bree in Grace. Daniel is a wonderful hero and I appreciate the fresh take on werewolves. The characters were really easy to relate to and it had a surprise ending, my favorite kind! Headed to my bookshelf immediately after finishing to search for my copy of The Lost Saint. I feel like I just tapped into this world and its going to take me to interesting and exciting places.
Profile Image for N.
270 reviews62 followers
July 24, 2014
In a Nuthsell: You may be asking: alright, so I've got a fairly basic idea on what the book is about, but what actually happens in this book? To which I say: nothing. That's right, don't pay attention to the summary they give to this book - it's all lies! Sure they give us an actually interesting premise to go by - but they don't do anything with it until the very end of the book. I felt that Despain just left it towards the big "climatic" scenes, where we were all are meant to be like: "Oh my goodness! I am totally and absolutely awestruck by this apparent reveal which was just ignored all of this time for complete plot fodder and wankery!"

Yeah well, some of us just weren't, alright?

Now, before I continue - I just wanted to say the worst thing about this book - like many others - is that this book had potential to be great. I mean, the whole freaking premise was about Grace meeting with an old friend, whom her family (especially her bland and annoying-ass older brother Jude) banished from their lives. Grace assumes this has something to do with the night Daniel disappeared, and (an unconscious) Jude was found on their front porch covered in a pool of his own blood.

But we don't get into that. Oh no, what we get instead is a whole book about Grace reunited with a childhood friend (and crush) - and how they plumment into this instantaneous, vapid kind of romance which is masquerading as this beautiful, intense, deep and doomed 'true love'. And more tedious and boring nothingness ensures.

Some of you may complain and say that isn't good enough. I agree, but I argue that because this book is so painstakingly dull and hardly anything happens in this book - I didn't take that much away from it. Sure, it may not compel me into a violent rage the same way City of Fallen Angels might, but if I were to compare this to every other YA paranormal book I've read - yeah, it's pretty damn forgettable.

Plot or the lack of one and other Writing Stuff
While I was reading this book, the only constant thought I had was: WHY IS NOTHING HAPPENING IN THIS BOOK?

And yes, I do include the supposedly "climatic" battle near the end of the book. Climatic, my butt. It was just rushed, and very light of action. The ending was pretty unsatisfactory because it was trying to raise more questions and open more loose threads in order to have some sort of sequel bait, which I will not be lured into. Nope, I will not touch the rest of this 'series' with a ten foot pole. Unless I was trying to beat it to death.

Not only was this book ridiciulously slow-paced, but I felt like the plot was so all over the place that even the book didn't know what exactly it was about either. Was it going to be about a tragically doomed romance with werewolves thrown in there because we can? Or conflict between Grace, Jude and Daniel - who clearly has not let the past go and have a lot of issues to tackle? Was it going to be a murder mystery, and did the Markham monster really exist?

What I seem to get was a non-existent plot, and we read nothing about Grace going to and from school/home, being indescisive about hanging out with Daniel or not, her half-assed romance with him and... nothing else really. I think the only VAGUELY interesting thing was the whole agenda Jude had against him/why he hated Daniel so much.

I know this cannot be just me, but did every single scene have to come under some stupid and asinine subheading? Really, because it wasn't like you could have just TOLD US in the story that it was 'four years ago' or 'later that morning'.

Did you think that we were that dumb that we wouldn't be able to figure this out on our own, Despain? Did you?

In short, my problem with this book was that it was so BORING. I swear that you could just cut the entire first half of this book out and you would lose nothing . Now, if the book wanted to really grab my interest, I figured that the book should have started just a bit before the first murder of the victim and bring more forshadowing to the whole werewolf thing and... stuff.

Don't even get me started on the whole mythology. While it was interesting, it had a pretty heavy religious tone which seemed just awkwardly shoved in at the last minute (after Daniel explains what he is, etc) and it is so under developed, that I was pretty sure that you could cut out the paranormal aspect, and it would change nothing in this book.

Also the heavily religious and smug moral self-righteousness tone to this book was just jarring and annoying. Just saying.

Protagonist: Grace Divine
Most of the characters were just inane, boring and completely irrelevant. I mean, sure - Grace's father and Daniel (to a some extent) may are less annoying than everyone else, but in the long run, am I going to remember these stock characters in a year? Six months? Even two hours later down the track?

I think Grace is the worst case of this, because we are generally seeing this through HER eyes and HER perspective and so it is HER that we have to spend the most time with.

There really is nothing remarkable about her. She just comes off as your generic lovestruck and oh so selfless/caring heroine who cannot think for herself in these YA paranormal books. I mean I'm fine with her "good traits" but there was NOTHING else to her - she was just so bland and is like one of those characters who are just THERE for the sake of being the main (mostly male) protagonist's love interest. I mean the way she reacts to everything makes me believe the author was trying really hard to make her some overt incarnate of absolute goodness.

One other thing that really bugs me about her is the fact that she is just a blank slate. She has no personality or opinions of her own whatsoever and is just so goddamn gullible. When Daniel was yapping on to her about the whole urbat nonesense - she just believes him straightaway, no denial or rationalizing it and certainly doesn't do any research to cross reference and to see if Daniel wasn't just you know, lying off his ass or just plain crazy. Honestly, and you call yourself a nerdy grade-A student? I SCOFF AT YOU AND YOUR DELUSIONS!

Also her abundant wholesomeness and naivety either really irritates or scares the flying hell out of me. Seriously, you are a fairly educated and supposedly intelligent person - you cannot be this goddamn oblivious and stupid. It's like she attended the Clary Fray Online Course on how to be a stupid protagonist or something.

An Example of Grace's Shining Moment of either Pure Obliviousness or Just Plain Stupid

Before I knew it, I was in what I presumed was [Daniel's] bedroom.

Little tingling pricks ran up my spine.

It looked like someone had been keeping a large dog in this closet/room. The door was marred by several claw-like glashes -- like the way Daisy would leave scratches on my bedroom door when I left her home alon, only these scratches were much larger and deeper. The door frame was splintered and cracked. Whatever animal had been kept in here had apparently gotten out.
- pg. 65

My reaction: ...


You know, it took me a while to figure out - but apparently Grace has violet eyes. Really now, Despain? As far as I am concerned, the only person I allow to have such an oddity (that I can think off the top of my head) is Alanna

from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet series - because she is an actual awesomely kick-ass heroine. Grace is not. Grace is a gullible, soulless little idiot with no personality. Your argument is invalid, Despain.

Main Love Interest: Daniel
Now Daniel, I had pretty mixed feelings about. In the beginning, I was ready and willing to instantly hate this guy. He was just a conceited jerface and I sure as hell didn't buy into his or Grace being "artistic" and having a deep passion for "art". I just thought this was just the author trying to make them deep, substanial and less threatening characters (in Daniel's case) with intellectual prowress without actually, you know, showing it.

Also, a message to not only to this book, but to a good chunk of YA Paranormal books. CAN WE PLEASE STOP HAVING OUR PROTAGONIST BEING INCREDIBLY GOOD ARTISTS/READERS IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO BACK IT UP? Honestly, I don't care how much Clary/Dru/Bella/Luce/every other twit likes to "read all the great classics" or has a great knack for drawing or something equally stupid, just STOP IT IF IT CONTRIBUTES NOTHING TO CHARACTER OR PLOT.

Suddenly, Daniel pulls a fast Heel Face Turn and I don't even notice nor care - because at that point, I was just grateful for anything to happen in the 'dark and deep abyss of nothingness' that this book is drowning in.

However, when I read more about his backstory: what with the whole neglected, abusive childhood he had to endure, and seeking solace and comfort in believing he found a real family with Grace's... I found that there was potential to actually develop Daniel's character - and you start to feel a bit sympathetic towards him. Okay maybe mine was in equal mass to Avagadro's number, but still!

But then this idiot has pull the all Edward Cullens/Jace Wayland whining act and says, "oh stay away from me! I don't know if I can resist ravaging you if you keep invading my personal space and just back away - because I AM PURE EEEEEEEEEEEEEVIL!" but he goes ahead and does this:

"You drive me crazy!" Daniel shouted at my back. He paused for a moment. "I just wanted to show you," he said, his tone much softer. - pg. 107

Dude, anyone who can change their moods that fast is someone you should be very, very afraid of and actually take his word - you stay away from him and call the cops/Ghostbusters/nearest paranormal creature hunter!

Main Romance: Grace/Daniel
What can I say about this relationship? It was equally stupid and boring as the people involved in it. Like the plot, there was actual conflict and issue to help, I don't know - develop and strengthen their growing romance! Think about it: they had an actual past together, there is obvious some issue between Daniel/Jude that they need to overcome/find out and they could actually explore the "I love you but we should not be together because I am most likely to kill you" aspect of their supposedly 'tragic' romance. Yeah, believe me honey, when I say the only thing tragic about it was that it ever happened.

Also, it may be just me but I got some weird A Walk to Remember/Beauty and the Beast vibe from their romance. I think it was that undertone that Daniel can be saved/redeemed if he had a girl like Grace to fix/change him! I think it was because Despain placed such a big fat emphasis on how only Grace could save him and how pure/good/sweet/innocent/selfless/caring/insert some other nauseating fluffy adjective here she was and how wronged/tragic/angsty Daniel was, it seemed to be the only conclusion to it! Or something...

Overall, don't pick this book up. Unless you really, really mean to read it.

Recommended for: no one. Okay maybe the Twilight/A Walk to Remember crowd...
Rating: 1/5 stars
Profile Image for Amy.
150 reviews54 followers
January 1, 2010
THE DARK DIVINE was one of the best debut books I've read this year. It could probably even be the best. This one was a real page-turner.

At first glance, the story is your typical paranormal romance. But whereas many of the YA paranormal romance books out there these days fall flat on their faces when it comes to the characters and the plot, this one does not. Bree Despain really knows how to create her characters, and give them personalities that make them shine. Or well, not necessarily shine, but make them believable and enthralling to read about.

Daniel was a great character. He's more of the bad boy type than not, but because of so, he was really appealing. He's conflicted but there's a reason, and I loved the relationship between him and Grace. Their interactions were really wonderful...they were actually credible and the scenes that were meant to be romantic were beautiful. Despain tells her story in such a way that made me eager for any Grace-Daniel scenes. I loved how there were reasons for Grace and Daniel's love for each other, and how it wasn't just infatuation-at-first-sight. (Like in Fallen, Evermore, and Twilight...)

I loved how family played a big part in the story, and how there was a set of diverse characters that made the mystery in this book authentic, and kept me guessing at who the baddy was until the end!

And the plot...wow. Unlike many other paranormal romances, there was actually a plot in this story! An intriguing plot with a mystery that was slowly revealed, bit by bit and hint by hint, over the course of the story. This made the story really addicting...I couldn't stop reading! It was evidently well-researched and well-developed, making for a solid plot with heart-pounding scenes.

Despain's take on the paranormal in THE DARK DIVINE was really, really good. The paranormal being in her story is very often used, but I think Despain's version ranks among the best. It's solidly constructed and has a legitimate and interesting history behind it.

I honestly don't know how to give this book a review worthy of its content. There was so much going on, and a lot of factors contributing to the plot that made it really enticing, but I can't give them away without spoiling it, so I won't! There are little things that you read about in the beginning that come together in the end in a satisfying and sweet conclusion, but all the same, I am desperately awaiting the sequel. Overall, a beautiful book with a beautiful story!
Profile Image for Nicole Peterson.
204 reviews42 followers
February 23, 2012
Grace finds her brother bloody on their front porch one night and the next day their childhood friend Daniel, disappears. No one ever tells Grace exactly what happened that fateful night. Just that Daniels name is to never be mentioned in their house again.

Several years pass and one day when Grace walks into her Art class she discovers that Daniel has returned. And that her feelings for him never went away. Daniel has come back out of love and hope that Grace maybe the one to cure him of his "disease".

I really liked this book, and it doesn't hurt that it takes place in my home state ;) A must read, the end is eyebrow raising and will leave you wanting to snatch up The Lost Saint right after finishing it.
Profile Image for Sab H. (YA Bliss).
292 reviews100 followers
September 16, 2009
More like 3.5 stars.

I was so exited about this book! I think I was too exited. Ballads of Suburbia is a hard book to follow, I kept thinking about it long after I was supposed to be into this one. This book was not awfully trapping. Even though I really liked the romance part, I didn't feel so much the supernatural. I didn't quite feel the edge or the mystery. She waited to long to explain what was going on. The writing was awkward, some dialogs seemed to be not believable.

The plot is unsteady. I know its an 'uncorrected' ARC, but sometimes I wanted to stop reading it; and then other times, and here's the contradiction: I was trapped by the romance. She did a wonderful job making the love story yummy. What I liked the most was the ending, it will be great to see how the story goes on.

I've discovered while discussing this book, that I may have a dislike tendency for good girls as main characters. I tend to prefer bad-ass dangerous -Katniss/Katsa style- main characters. Grace is goodness personified, as the child of a pastor would be. To me, she was dull and boring (though Bella fans may find the appeal, I'm not a Bella fan myself) I did like Daniel a lot and Jude too.

I obviously have to mention the cover was absolutely beautiful and intriguing. I loved it since I first saw it. It brought my attention and curiosity to the book, that's a good thing. Then again, after reading it, I have no idea how it may have any connection to the story. None. Still, it is an interesting read for those of you who enjoy love story/supernatural. If you liked Evermore you'll enjoy this one too.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,458 reviews8,561 followers
April 12, 2010
Grace Divine is bossy, rebellious, stubborn, and yet a total good girl - after all, she is the daughter of the local pastor. Her life is filled with homey family dinners and study groups at the library, until long lost Daniel Kalbi returns. Daniel is exactly as Grace remembers him: edgy, aesthetic, and yet mysteriously attractive. As Grace gets pulled deeper and deeper into his world, she finds herself face to face with the terrifying secret he's been hiding from her all along.

There's a reason why my summary of the story is so short: to reveal absolutely anything about the plot would be a huge mistake! The best thing about The Dark Divine was the pace of the plot: it was fast but not too fast, and held my interest long enough for me to finish it in a day. Despain writes well and did a nice job with mixing the paranormal and religious aspects of the book; very smooth juxtaposition and it fit well with the characterization of Grace.

My one complaint concerns the relationship between Grace and Daniel. It just wasn't believable enough; sometimes the passion was there, like during the end of the book, but most of the time I was thinking," wait, how did you guys fall in love again?" Overall, their romance was a bit too shallow and far-fetched.

For the most part I really loved The Dark Divine. Hopefully readers will be able to see Grace and Daniel's bond strengthen and progress in the next book of the series, The Lost Saint.
Profile Image for Desperado.
67 reviews
May 6, 2010
My Thoughts:

I'm going to try my best to write this review without spoilers which is gonna be difficult given this book is mainly about Daniel's "secret".

Anyway,Grace is the daughter of a pastor & stepford wife-esque mother. She also has three siblings; a younger sister, older brother, & baby brother. When she was younger, she & her older brother were close to a neighborhood kid Daniel which ended abruptly when he disappeared the night her older brother (Jude) came home beat up to all hell. Years later Daniel reappears in their podunk town out of the blue & the mystery begins.

On to my thoughts. Throughout this novel I debated whether to give it 2 stars or 3. There were chapters where I felt 2 stars were too generous. The concept for this novel has been recycled billions of times but there were a few twists (& the author's viewpoint based on her mormon background) that saved this novel from paranormal YA mediocrity. I enjoyed the lore surrounding the mystery. I enjoyed the family & friendship dynamics. I enjoyed our teen hero Daniel. I even enjoyed the religious aspect although I felt like it was being shoved down my throat a few times. What I didn't enjoy was our heroine, Grace. She annoyed the crap out of me. Grace has this irritating need to fix people which often comes off as intrusive. What makes it more annoying is that she isn't doing it so much out of the goodness of her heart as to rationalize her own feelings. For example, she would bring food & clothes over to Daniel & tell herself it was because she was such a good christian & living up to her name. In actuality it was so she could be near him. It would be cute if she didn't come off as holier-than-thou. She also was very childish & naive for someone who is almost 17. One second she loved Daniel & thought Jude was a liar. The next she hated Daniel & couldn't believe she didn't listen to her brother. She was all over the freaking place & it stayed that way until nearly the end of the book. I tried my hardest to like her but the second I felt something more than intense dislike, she'd do something stupid that put her back on my TSTL list.

Overall, I think I would've enjoyed this novel alot more if it wasn't told exclusively from the heroine's view. It doesn't really break new ground & comes off as cliche.But I did find some parts of this novel entertaining. I might even read the next in the series (yes its a part of a series. Seems like every freaking book these days is a part of a series) in the hopes that Grace redeems herself & grows a brain/backbone.
Profile Image for Steph Su.
949 reviews452 followers
December 28, 2009
THE DARK DIVINE is an interesting but ultimately underwhelming read that will still be eagerly embraced by paranormal romance fans of Twilight, Shiver, and other similar books.

The best thing about THE DARK DIVINE was the way it rewrote the typical werewolf story and infused it with history, magic, religion, and the balance of good and evil. It gave depth to Daniel’s werewolf character. I’m not a big werewolf girl, nor am I religious, but I enjoyed the way the two unexpectedly intertwined and enhanced one another in this book.

Unfortunately, the characters were for me rather difficult to connect with, as most of them felt like types I’ve read many times before. Grace was an extremely passive protagonist who elicited little sympathy from me. The tension between Grace’s parents often felt forced and unexplained. Daniel started out as stereotypical, but as the plot finally built and his background was finally revealed, he turned into a much more believable character.

As for the romance, it felt like one that I’ve read many times before: good girls feels undeniable attraction with bad boy, who acts like a jerk initially but actually reciprocates the feelings, and True Love Ends Happily Ever After. The familiarity of the course of the romance was unimpressive and rather disappointing to me.

The plot was rather infuriatingly slow, which may put off more impatient readers, but it does eventually build into an exciting paranormal world with an action-packed, heart-stopping ending. It does take an inventive writer to pull off what Bree Despain has as the ending, and I found it believable, heart-stopping, and satisfying. Overall, THE DARK DIVINE was perhaps not the book for me, but fans of Twilight-esque true love paranormal romances will find it a great addition to the genre.
Profile Image for Joyzi.
340 reviews422 followers
August 17, 2011
UPDATE: So much for books to movies? They're going to make a movie out of this book too.


One Sunday morning, I was bored and decided to read Specials the book three of the Uglies trilogies, but I find myself suffering to read it because it's too boring and then I've decided to read this book instead since one of my group here in goodreads was reading it.

At the very first chapter I feel like this was probably a good story and idk, but with the first chapter alone I know that I'd love the book. As I go along reading it I have no idea where the story would go and at first I thought that this is a non-fantasy book, but kind of a romance YA book. But then I think in the middle of the book, strange things begin to happen and you get the feeling that this is a paranormal romance book. At first my guess it would be a vampire story or a fallen angel story and idk I become really disappointed when I've learned that it was a werewolf story.

This book is promising, but a li'l bit disappointing. I describe it as a mix of Twilight, Shiver, Vampire Academy and Hush Hush. So if you love these books you will probably like this one too.

Good thing also about this book is it's very wholesome (a li'l bit preachy), no swearing, sex scenes or any violent scenes. I just don't like that the dialogues lack humor and the climax was not strong enough, some of the twists I have predicted so it's predictable in a lot of times, some of the characters are not that interesting.

But all in all I like it and I finished it in one day and definitely better than Specials.
Profile Image for Clary Morgenstern.
54 reviews59 followers
April 9, 2015
Die Five Books Challenge ist hiermit beendet! Darf also ab jetzt wieder Bücher kaufen :D
Fand das Buch sehr gut muss ich sagen, werde die Reihe auf jedenfall weiter verfolgen.
Profile Image for Holly’s Mom.
271 reviews245 followers
December 21, 2009
I was really looking forward to this book, and although it did not disappoint me, it also wasn't quite what I'd expected. I knew what it was that Daniel had done from the very first time I read the inside flap of the book. I thought perhaps my assumption was wrong, because it felt too obvious, but nope...it's really obvious what happened between Daniel and Jude.
The twist wasn't surprising either. I guessed it about halfway through, though it wasn't near as obvious as the "mysterious" event that made Daniel disappear.

The characters were...well, lets just say some were well done and others were not. The role Grace's parents played was pretty solid, and I could definitely see them as real people. As for her "friend" April...What was up with that girl? She was SUCH a flimsy character, hardly a friend at all. Why is it that Grace is so supposedly popular and has had quite a few boyfriends, yet she has only one friend who really isn't her friend at all.

Also, the teeny tiny minor characters, like the "mean girls" seemed totally pointless to me with their one-liners.
Then there was Jude. I don't know why so many people like him. I just found him extremely irritating. He was supposedly this "great guy," yet not once in the entire book does he act the part.
I know he supposedly has a "reason," but said reason should not have affected his personality so much. I mean, he was an annoying jerk. ANd whiny. What 17-year-old is so freakin' whiny? He was more of a baby than baby James!
It was all "Oh, boo hoo hoo! The evil Daniel came back and he betrayed me so I'm going to make everyone around me miserable and act like a total brat! Boo Hoo Hoo!!!!!" Ugh, I was seriously tempted to dive through the book and slap that guy across the face. YES, he had reason to be angry at Daniel, but so what? I mean, it was supposed to be Daniel who was the major "bad guy" in Jude's mind...but what did he think he was acting like? A nice, forgiving guy? No! He scared Grace more than Daniel did!

Now, for the reason I won't say, Jude has an excuse for acting out of character, but EVEN considering said reason, he still acted like a jerk. Not once in the book did he do anything remotely redeeming. Maybe in the memories of when they were younger Jude was more likable, but I just wish I could have seen more of that in the current time.
Grace herself...at times I liked her...others I didn't. She really wasn't THAT strong. She let everyone else make her decisions for her.
The second she found out what Daniel had done, she turned her back on him and told him to leave for good--not because she wanted to, but because she felt like she HAD to, because she owed it to the stupid, annoying Jude, her beloved 17 going on 7-year-old BIG brother!!!
Maybe it's just me, because I don't have any siblings so I don't know what it's like, but I don't see how Jude's anger and despair is justified.
Yes, his friend "betrayed" him, but why should Daniel's return give Jude the right to act like the king of the world and suddenly start telling everyone what to do and to feel sorry for him etc... And all of a sudden he starts dating April, who he'd barely spoken to before? Gee, I wonder if he did that to get sympathy and have someone to bad-mouth Daniel to??? I can't guess.
And then how he acts at the end? All sulky and sullen and "Oh my life's over and no one else could possibly understand and blah blah blah!"
Okay, so I'll stop picking on Jude now. I think it's pretty clear how I feel about him.

About Daniel...well, I think it should be obvious by now how totally awesome I think he is!
For him, my sympathy ran deep. Every time I learned about what had happened to him or how he felt I just wanted to cry (usually did). He felt real to me. What was so great about him was that he was far from perfect. I despise "perfect" characters that don't have flaws and never make mistakes and just seem too good to be true. Daniel felt real, while still managing to stay completely likable. I love the way he talked about art. It made ME want to draw and paint and that's something I NEVER do!

I loved the way he was with Grace. Some people may call it corny, but I thought it was just brilliant. I love how he was introduced by taking her art supplies then asking for a kiss for their return and then in the memory he did pretty much the same thing, So cute!
His love for Grace and her love for Daniel felt real, believable. I like the change of having him be both new and old. She'd known him almost forever, but then he disappeared--and now he's back. The whole "new guy/girl" routine is wearing thin, and this book managed to avoid that cliche.

As for the story itself? It felt rushed. The supernatural aspect was explained well, but felt a bit scattered, disconnected. It didn't feel all that real or "plausible" to me.
As for what Grace had to do to "save" Daniel...I liked that idea alot. It was very unique.

The ending was a little hectic and kind of annoying. What happened to Grace...well, it could go either way. Despain could make something good out of it, but as for Jude and what he did? I hope she's planning on bringing him back and having his character grow.

I also felt bad for Don Mooney. Won't say why, but his ending was sad, though he did manage to prove himself.

One thing I wondered about was how much Grace's mother knew about Daniel. That was unclear to me. Did she know his secret? I suppose she must have, though she didn't act as if she did.

But the final scene was uplifting and made me both smile and cry, so that was well done.

One question, though. If April saw everything that happened at the end, she now knows Daniel's secret, but this is not addressed for some reason. Is April really trustworthy enough to keep such a big secret? How will she react?
I want more, but I'm also a bit nervous. This book has its creepy points, and I don't know how much further it will go with that.
Profile Image for Kater Cheek.
Author 32 books260 followers
December 10, 2009
Got this as an advance review copy when I was in Philadelphia last month. I'm usually a sucker for YA novels--in my opinion, the standards for YA are much higher than for adult, so you're more likely to get a readable story. (Also, it has the most gorgeous cover I've seen in years.)

The novel started out so strongly that I thought it was going to be a must-read for everyone (I don't know when the release date is). We have a kind of unusual triangle between a sister, Grace, who loves her brother Jude and wants to be loyal to him, but is also captivated by Daniel, who used to be their neighbor and friend until Grace's family adopted him. Something happened years ago, something bad, and since then, no one mentions Daniel's name. Daniel is quite dark and Byronic, mysterious and a little dangerous. He hangs out with bad people, gets into passionate rages, and pisses off her parents when Grace mentions his name. In short, she is the guy every teenage girl secretly dreams of. Except that Grace is a good, obedient, and honest girl, so she tries to manipulate her family into accepting Daniel into their lives again.

At first I found it refreshing that Grace was such a good kid. Obedient to parents, dutiful with house work, attentive to her studies, etc. I also quietly applauded how well the author managed tension. Despain managed to withhold just enough information from Grace (and us) to make us desperate to find out more. After all, some very important information had been withheld from Grace, namely, what did Daniel do to make him persona non grata in her family? We already know that Grace's father forgave Don, a guy who threatened to kill him, so what could Daniel have done that was that much worse?

What started out as very promising got sluggish in the middle, as Grace's introspection wore me down. I wanted her to shut up with her inner turmoil and just get on with it. Eventually, it picked up again, and rather briskly rolled towards the ending. I thought the description of how Don played into the family dynamics was a little rushed, and at some point she comes across a series of letters that were meant to illuminate the entire mythology, but ended up kind of boring and confusing me with uninteresting characters I cared nothing for, and I lost whatever explaination they were meant to provide.

I liked the ending, and found it satisfying. A few things bothered me, but they might not bother everyone. One, homeopathy as werewolf cure? It's just as implausible in the mythical world as it is in ours. Two, usually if you stab someone with a knife, they're dead but the characters don't believe that. And three (this is the big one for me) I really didn't like the Christian aspect of it. On one hand, it's fine if Grace is a goody-goody. On the other hand, the morals became more and more distinctly Christian as the book went along; they became less "do the right thing" and more "do what the bible tells you" which aren't the same.

Church-going parents who want to hand their Twilight-loving daughters something they approve of should reach for this book. YA fans who are squicked out by religion should be forewarned.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
October 3, 2010
I received the ARC for The Dark Divine this week when our box of goodies came from Bree for being on her street team. I have to say, that I read the book in a day and I couldn't put it down. I was hooked when I read the first 17 pages here http://www.breedespain.com/TDDsneakpe....

**This is SPOILER FREE**
Grace Divine is part of a tight knit family, who help everyone they can, are do gooders in their community and hold no secrets, or so Grace thought. When a child hood friend, and someone who was once consider part of the family returns nothing will be the same.

When Daniel returns, things start getting weird around Grace's town, and a dark Divine secret won't be kept secret for long. Grace and her close brother Jude's relationship becomes strained, her parents are hiding something from her and citizens in her town turn up dead. What evil is really lurking in her town? All things point to Daniel. Grace can't fight the pull and attraction she's always had for Daniel and since he's returned it's that much more intense. Even worse, her family has forbidden her to ever see him again after he left a couples years ago. There's something about him that Grace can't fight.

Daniel is one tense character that you'll be so drawn to, you can't help but sucked into this story, as you want to know more about him and what he's hiding. Buckle up and enjoy the ride Bree takes you on as Grace is on a mission to make things right with her family, her town and with Daniel, but everything comes at a cost. Who's life will Grace's mission be to save? Not everyone is who you except them to be.

This book is full of twists and turns and kept me glued to the book until I put it down. Nothing is what you except and the end will leave you wanting more. This hasn't been released yet and I'm already dying for the sequel.
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews568 followers
July 19, 2010
I felt that this was a book that did not need to be a paranormal romance. I thought the main topics of interest in the story came from the religious aspect and the idea of dark secrets in a family who are looked upon as truly divine. The love subplot and werewolf bits felt forced compared to the rest of the story, which wasn't brilliantly written, but certainly kept my interest for longer. The love plot was samey and nothing I've not read before in much better, more original books.

I was disappointed that the book's heroine fell into so many of the pothols associated with paranormal YA heroines - she had a lot of interesting traits, certainly more than many other heroines, but they all seemed to be shoved aside the moment the love story came into it. She was also prone to making daft decisions and jumping to stupid conclusions. Daniel was okay but as I said earlier, I was just much more interested in other characters, especially Jude. Take away the paranormal element and write the story as a struggle to be righteous when you're anything but and I think that story would be much more interesting.
Profile Image for Bluestem.
48 reviews1 follower
January 3, 2010
Far too message-laden (with Biblical teachings) and also tries too hard to escape from the very anger it seems to rail against; forgetting the ability to use "grace" in the face of intolerable betrayal. Main female character was so clueless and spineless, I was surprised she survived til the end of the story. For example; she was smart enough to pick out some sharply worded phrases by some of the other characters who'd sought to insult her family, yet she had no idea (nor care for) of the lies that were being perpetrated about her around school. Author does not seem to have an appreciation - except to take swipes at - Catholicism and borrowed Hebrew teachings. Grace, Ms. Despain? The points you bring up along the way in this story barely contribute to its progression. Was it necessary to share your own vinegar about this through Grace Divine and her family?
I enjoyed the attempt at cultivating a myth and supporting archival texts. Also thought how it wasn't all tied up in a neat bundle worked to the advantage of the story's credibility. The characters were well-constructed.
Profile Image for CeCe.
3,393 reviews109 followers
February 25, 2016
It was not a bad read. Likable characters. I liked the suspense. The heroine did not hide her feelings for the hero, but it never made her appear desperate or weak. She was honest and I just found it refreshing. She did not play games.

The heroine is daughter of a pastor. I was worried that her father was going to be a jerk, but he was not. In this book, he practiced what he preached. The mother was the irritating one.

Daniel comes back after three years of being gone. The last time Daniel was seen was when Grace's brother, Jude, came home covered in his own blood. Grace has always loved Daniel, but Jude keeps telling her to stay away from him - that he is dangerous. There are a few surprises/twists. Most annoying character had to be Grace's BFF, April. I am not sure what her angle is yet. April is dating Jude, but I think she is only friends with Grace to get to her brother. April was odd.

I have the second book, but I am not sure if I will read it. I will probably start it and see how it goes.
Profile Image for Kaitlyn.
128 reviews15 followers
February 21, 2010
I seriously love this book so much. All of the characters are amazing, the writing is excellent, and the plot is fantastic! I definitely recommend this book to anyone. You will LOVE it!!!
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