Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Dark Divine

Rating: 1 out of 5 Moonstones

I finally finished one of the six books I am working through! It is a miracle. Another miracle within this miracle is that it was this book I managed to finish.

If you have not read my review of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick you will understand my qualms with young adult literature. They all follow this same formulaic pattern and fall under what I like to call the Twilight Syndrome*. I think Despain tries to bring some freshness to the werewolf myth but it just doesn't do it quite right in my opinion.

The main character's family name is Divine. Wow. Can you get more cliche? I think I wouldn't have minded it if she and Daniel, the love interest, didn't make such a big deal about it. Oh and to add to that the main character's name is Grace. Yeah. Grace Divine. Gag me.

What's with the headings? I know they were meant to give you grounding on where you are as far as time goes but I think there are better ways to do it. Honestly, a good writer does not need to make headings to catapult the story along. That may be just a personal opinion of mine. Also, it feels choppy when I'm constantly bombarded with 15 Minutes Later or Later that Evening or The Next Day.

The love between Daniel and Grace is only lukewarm and merely superficial. I really don't understand the connection. Yeah they grew up together. Yeah she had a crush on him when they were young. Yeah he's oddly gorgeous, tall, lean, and whatever. Give me a break. I'm so sick of writers writing love stories that have the characters fall in love because there needs to be a romantic element. Honestly, I would have loved this story a whole lot more if maybe Daniel never returned Grace's love for him which would make her sacrifice at the end all the more meaningful and touching.

Speaking of her sacrifice (I won't spoil it), Despain never really delves too deeply into the werewolf myth. And when Grace discovers that Daniel is a werewolf she seems to take it way too well. I don't get that. If I found out a childhood friend of mine was, in fact, a werewolf, I would freak out a little more.

There are some contradictions with Despain's myth too. The moonstones protect the werewolf and help the human side of them be stronger than the wolf side. Ok. That doesn't make sense because it's the full moon that, later in the story, causes so much havoc and makes the wolf side stronger. In my mind I would think a moonstone would make the wolf side stronger. It would be like having a full moon constantly around your neck so to speak. Call me crazy.

Despain's writing is ok. It's somewhat mundane at times. By the end I was skimming because she has a lot of added stuff that doesn't need to be there. Her dialogue is believable and her imagery is nice. Some of it just seemed too nice and subdued. I wanted there to be some more vivid imagery and detail that she just would not give.

On that note, I think Despain needed to delve more into the characters. Parts of the story and the timeline were a little confusing. She tried to explain it but the more it got explained the more confusing it was. She would go back and forth in time at random moments but I didn't feel like I learned anything more just by going back. The story felt too neatly packaged and showy as far as it just seemed to do things because that was the cool thing. Stephenie Meyer did it with vampires, why can't I do it with werewolves? Ummm...sorry but no. In other words it just felt too confined and slushy that it was hard to get really involved.

Oh AND the whole April and Jude thing. Despain spends a little bit of time explaining how April, unlike every other girl in the school, is not friends with Grace just to get to her handsome brother, Jude. Then a few pages later Jude and April are making out all the time and dating and whatever and, suddenly, Grace doesn't have her best friend around. If it were me I would be ticked and feel a little betrayed but Grace, again, just takes it in stride.

Grace. Gracie Pooh. Gracie Divine-ness. You are too weak to be a main character. Granted, she's not as bad as Bella. Not nearly as wishy-washy, but she's forgettable and doesn't really have anything to set her apart from the rest of the crowd. At least Bella had the white skin and the brown hair that turned red in sunlight. Those are memorable qualities even of a character I cannot stand in literature. We don't even get a brief description of what Grace looks like.

I must say the ending is interesting but I was done thinking "So what?" I just wasted all that time.

I was going to give this two moonstones but I think I'm dropping it to one. I am trying to think of good things to say about the book but I can't. Sorry, Ms. Despain. Better luck next time. Here is your one out of five moonstones rating.

*I'm sorry for the constant comparison to Twilight. As much as I have issues with Meyer's books, even I cannot deny that she has had a HUGE impact on young adult literature. Something I have run into with my own writing is that if you're going to write a vampire story, be prepared to be compared to Stephenie Meyer. While she may not be the best writer in the world, she has created a new breed of vampire that has altered the myth for decades to come. I am not saying the Twilight Syndrome is bad. I just think that we can stifle our creativity if we are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.


  1. I came across your blog while I was looking for reviews of this book because I was interested in learning more (have not read it yet). Frankly, I found your post quite off-putting and the more I thought about it, the more it really started to tick me off.

    I think it is actually you that are suffering from Twilight Syndrome. This "formula" you complain about is what we call Paranormal Romance. It's a genre. One that has been around for hundreds of years. If you are tired of it. . . read a different genre! Twilight just swung the genre back into the foucs of the general public.

    Seriously, I am so tired of people claiming that authors are sitting there thinking "I should just copy Meyer because she was so successful." Have you been an aspiring author for long? Because I don't think you have the first clue as to what it takes to get published. If you did, you'd realize what a load of crap that is. And to make such an assumption is extremely presumptuous and arogant. Though I'm sure your stories are completely original and devoid of any formula or cliche.

    I'm sorry for being so negative, but you really ought to think this stuff through before you go spouting off. Especially if you are trying to break into the biz yourself.

  2. Seriously "Michael," it's his personal opinion of the book. Don't get your panties all in a bind.