Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: A Beautiful Dark

Author: Jocelyn Davies
Series: A Beautiful Dark #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 390
Read it in: 3 days
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Summary: On the night of Skye's seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites;like fire and ice;Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye's life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can't help falling for, and Devin, who she can't stay away from, the consequences of Skye's choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

LC's Take:

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!

~Cover Talk~

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!

LC's Rating:
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I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of A Beautiful Dark. Unfortunately, where I thought this book fell a little flat was in the characters-- even though we are told repeatedly things about them, we're never shown those things in their dialogue or actions. More showing and less telling would have made this book stand out more for me! 

16 comments:

  1. It's so funny because I think other bloggers are in on this super special code where they don't discuss the finer points on the book. When I was reading it, the only thing I knew about it was that it had to do with angels. And that's just based on my own deduction. All the reviews I've read were careful not to indicate much about the plot and paranormal element.

    I agree and disagree with you on a few points, but overall this is basically how I felt about the book. Neither of the boys had me wanting to strike up with the band and start chanting TEAM ____. The love triangle just didn't work out so well for me.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

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  2. I am so guilty of picking books by their covers and I have had my eye on this one for awhile. I really want to read it, but I think I'll put this at the end of my list.

    I'm so sick of love triangles. Why can't books ever have other drama besides the triangle?

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  3. Talk about thorough reviews, Leah! just WOW :) I really love your reviews, you killed me with your cold turkey sandwich analogy :)

    I haven't read this book and, to be honest, I'm not sure if I will be picking it up anytime soon. I'm just not really into all the angel stuff. It's flat, repetitive and.. well.. just meh.

    Thanks for an honest review! Evie

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  4. After reading your review, I think this might be a book I get from the library, not buy. I agree about the fallen angel stories--love the Hush, Hush series, not to fond of the Fallen series. I feel like angels are the new vampires, and I'm getting a little tired of it.

    Still, I adore the cover of this book, and since you gave it 3 stars, I'll check it out. . . . Just not right away. Also, I loved your turkey sandwich analogy. :)

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  5. So... what you need is real turkey with not so much bread and a wee bit of mayo on one side with a generous spread of cream cheese on the other on which you add cranberry sauce, the funky jellied kind works great. You can add more cheese or mayo or pepper as you like, but the berries & cream chz seriously do something to turkey - it's never the same again. (I've heard cucumbers are amazing in the mix, too, but I didn't have any handy to try.)

    Love your review. I'll let this book wait to read others first.

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  6. Asher~ Ugh I really tried not to give TOO much away! I didn't know this was an angel book until I started reading it. Yeah, neither of the two guys really did that much for me :/

    Ashley~ I so agree with you! There HAS to be another way to bring in the drama without a love triangle, right?!

    Evie~ So glad you can appreciate my sense of humor lol :) I tend to agree with you about the whole angel genre-- it is difficult to pull off really well in my opinion!

    Kelly~ This is definitely a great book to check out from the library! I mean I would say that because I'm a librarian haha, but maybe borrow it, read it, and then decide whether it's worth buying... some people did love it!

    Burgandy ice~ Jeez, now if Skye compared to THIS turkey sandwich, she would've been fan-freaking-tastic!! Thanks for the culinary advice, that sounds yummy ;)Glad you liked the review!

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  7. Well personally I love turkey sandwich - but I load them with mayo you can barely even taste the turkey really. I've put this one way down on my TBR list though too many meh reviews.

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  8. Giselle~ I agree. Turkey sandwiches are definitely pretty darned tasty, especially with mayo-- I prefer the real stuff, like Helmann's, to Miracle Whip-- I actually hate Miracle Whip!

    I'm going to start comparing main characters in books to food items more often I think-- I like the conversation it sparks lol.

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  9. Great review! I've been so curious about this one since I first heard about it. I'm sorry it was just okay for you! It's always a bit disappointing. Especially if the characters are what's lacking; they definitely play a huge part. Otherwise I'm still just as curious though and will probably pick it up sometime in the future. Great review! :)

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  10. Rebecca~ Yes, I would still give it a shot, the story was still pretty good and the ending will leave you on the edge of your seat, just itching to get your hands on the next one in the series! And hey, maybe you won't find the characters quite as annoying/boring as I did ;)

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  11. I always enjoy reading your reviews!! I wasn't a huge fan of this either, pretty much for all the reasons you mentioned, but I think I'd give it more of a 2 than a 3 b/c the plot just didn't save it enough for me. The characters were all mega lame IMO.

    The Cait Files

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  12. You summed this book up nicely. I had a hard time finding words to fit my frustrations. I felt it was just "ok" as well. but that ending... whoa! That actually annoyed me the most because I have to wait so long to find out what happens!

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  13. I really enjoyed this one. I haven't read too many angel books, and thought this one was well done. Hopefully the next one can develop the characters a but more for you. Great review!

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  14. Great review! I have been wanting to read this book for a while and I still will at some point. I have heard so many great things about this book, it's a relief to find someone with a different point of view on the book. =)

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  15. I have heard great things about this book. I like the cover a lot! I have to check this book out sometime. Excellent review! Thank you for sharing!

    Sam

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  16. I highly recommend A Beautiful Dark as a must read. The ending will totally have you saying WOW! What just happened? I didn't see that coming at all!
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