Series: A Beautiful Dark #1
Release date: September 27, 2011
Read it in: 3 days
To be perfectly honest, this book was just OK for me; I just really wasn't a huge fan. I'm not sure if it's the genre, but sometimes I feel like if you've read one fallen angel book you've pretty much read them all. Now yes, there are some that are better than others, for example I loved Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick but then I wanted to hurl Fallen by Lauren Kate against a wall. A Beautiful Dark falls somewhere in between those two extremes for me.
The biggest let-down in this book for me was the characters. The plot was good, the pacing worked well, the suspense built up, and some of the writing was really good. But unfortunately, I thought that the character development was extremely lacking.
So, let's talk about the characters first since this is where I had the biggest issue. The main character is Skye Parker, who just turned seventeen. Skye's favorite food to get in the school cafeteria is a turkey sandwich and an apple. Why do I mention this, you ask? Well, because I think it sums her up in a nutshell-- she's sort of unremarkable and bland-- nice and appealing, but not terribly awesome or interesting. Like a turkey sandwich.
I know, I'm a freaking genius with the analogies.
So anyways, Skye is also good at skiing, she wants to go to Columbia or some Ivy League school, and she predictably becomes obsessed with the two new boys that move to her Colorado town, Asher and Devin. The one trait that I was not a fan of with Skye was that she was also extremely self-centered to the point of me wanting someone in the story to give her a nice swift kick in the pants.
(Oh yes, and sometimes her eyes turn into molten silver-- now that part? Not gonna lie, that was pretty freaking sweet.)
Then we have the two hunky boy interests, Asher and Devin, who are both very mysterious and apparently yum-a-licious. Asher is supposed to be the dark, brooding bad boy and Devin is the quiet, nice one. Once again, it's not that I didn't like these two characters but they just weren't very memorable. And what's more, even though we are told over and over again how completely different the two of them are, how they are polar opposites, there really wasn't anything that distinguished the one from the other in my opinion. Physically they looked different, but they were pretty much the same otherwise. Asher was more of a jerk I guess, but that's about it. And really, I wasn't buying Skye's relationship with either of them.
Cassie is Skye's best friend and holy crap, was she annoying. OK so this is the part where I take a moment to rant about an irritating YA cliche known as "The Annoying Best Friend/Sidekick." I really get tired of air-headed BFFs in YA books who get all their wisdom from Cosmo and can't walk 5 five steps without drooling over some guy. And Cassie was no exception-- she was incredibly ditzy, boy-crazy and did I mention annoying? It's almost as though we're supposed to compare the main character to this chick and think, "Wow! Skye is like so much smarter! Skye wants to go to an Ivy League school and Cassie is a brain-dead idiot!" Yep, not buying it. Skye wasn't much of a smartypants either, so unfortunately, making the main character's best friend dumb as dirt really doesn't make the main character look like an Einstein in comparison.
Finally, Dan and Ian were sort of just thrown into the mix as Skye and Cassie's guy friends to bring in some more romance and drama.They were more of a side-note than anything else it seemed.
So onto the wonderful Love Quadrangle-- oh yes, you heard me right! There is not ONE, not TWO, but THREE guys all hopelessly vying for the lovely Skye's attention in this novel. We've got Asher and Devin, two otherworldly celestial beings, and then there was poor Ian who pretty much doesn't stand a chance with Skye because-- well, because he's ordinary. And honestly, this kind of bugged me. (Oh crap here comes another rant, watch out.) Skye was completely obsessed with both Asher and Devin, going back and forth ad nauseum about who she liked more, even though she just met them and knows almost nothing about either of them. And then with Ian-- who by the way has been her best friend since forever and really cares about her-- she completely ignores him and is just like, "Oh good for him for finally finding a nice girl who actually gives him the time of day!" Aaaand... that's the last we hear about him. I really felt bad for Ian.
Fortunately, the plot and the ending are what made this book work for me. Joceleyn Davies is one serious story-teller, that is for darned sure! I don't want to give anything away, but I really did love the overall story about who Skye really is and what her powers are, and who is good and bad-- I could have done without all the high school drama, but honestly, the last 4-5 chapters totally had me on the edge of my seat, and the ending was a major cliff hanger that just had me dying to get my hands on the sequel!
The book did a fabulous job of building up the mystery and suspense to the plot-- pretty much nothing major is revealed about who Asher and Devin are until around page 175, and since I had not read any reviews about this book before picking it up, I had no clue what was going to happen. I won't give too much away here, but I personally liked the slower build up before revealing the main plot twist. While some aspects of this book were a bit predictable, I really enjoyed not knowing right away what was going to happen.
In the end-- even though the characters really did nothing for me and I thought that some parts were slightly cliche-- I did enjoy reading A Beautiful Dark. If there had been some greater character development, I would say that this was actually a really good book. Unfortunately, some things did fall flat. I would recommend this one to any angel book lovers out there, and to anyone who loves those tricky love triangles, because this one has tons!
This cover is absolutely stunning, I am just in love with it! The model's pose is very graceful and I love how the white of the dress stands out against the dark, stormy sky behind her. This scene is actually depicted in the book too, which I thought was pretty cool. I also love the title font-- the hardcover edition is in a beautiful, raised print that is silvery iridescent-- another major part that comes into play in the book! Finally, I really liked the chapter numbers, which laid one font on top of another and had angel wings on either side. This was a beautiful and interesting detail that just adds to the overall gorgeous design of the book!