Written by Bree Despain
Published December, 2009 by Egmont
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / Shifters
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A Prodigal Son. A Dangerous Love. A Deadly Secret.
Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. Now that Daniel’s returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.
Although I enjoyed this book enough, it felt like an important element was missing. This missing element would’ve made all the difference between me liking the book enough to finish it and loving it completely. I kept waiting for something to ‘happen’ that would make up my mind once and for all, but it didn’t surface. I was left a little disappointed. Spoiler alert in the full review section!
I’ve been waiting to get around to this book for a very long time. While certain portions of the book had me intrigued enough in what was happening, a lot of it felt heavy and unnecessary. I feel that a lot of the scenes could’ve been cut out and replaced with something a little more… thrilling?
While I loved Daniel, I felt he lost his edge as the book drew nearer to the close. What made him interesting and desirable seemed to suddenly vanish… and by the end of it, I wasn’t relishing his page time as much as I had in the beginning. Although he turned out to be somewhat of a ‘monster’, we never really saw him this way and I would’ve really liked to. He is meant to be our bad-boy, so where was the bad?
As for our narrator Grace, I found it really hard to relate to her. I’m not religious in any way, but this wasn’t all I was struggling to get a grip on. For someone so determined to find out answers and be strong, she took ‘no’ too easily and let people walk away from her without explanations. If it were me, I would demand answers. Heck, they’re your family. It doesn’t matter if they never ‘talk’ about their problems. If you can’t talk to your family, who can you talk to? It’s not like they were all awful people or anything. And when the problem concerns murder, blood and kidnapping, I think it falls into the ‘TALK TO SOMEONE’ box.
As for the action scenes, or any scenes with Daniel being all super-powered, they were hard to understand. They weren’t written in a way where you could see it all playing out before you. I had to re-read some paragraphs to understand what had just happened. One minute Grace had mud all up her arms and was shimmying down a ravine with tree roots, then she was watching Daniel somersaulting and diving on rocks to catch her brother? I couldn’t see in my head what exactly Daniel was doing.
Then there were the other characters like Charity, April, Lynn, Don and a handful of others. I hardly knew anything about them. I felt like there were too many characters in this story to remember who everyone was and what each one was known for, or what each one exactly brought to the overall plot.
I didn’t like the ending. I don’t like when suddenly the guy with the special powers or curse is cured and the female love interest inherits them. This happens in Linger by Maggie Steifvater, but in that case, it all slowly built up through two books so that it seemed an acceptable twist of events. In The Dark Divine, it felt a little too convenient that the pastor’s daughter would inherit the wolf curse and use it for the good of humanity.
And like I mentioned before about Daniel, now that his ‘badness’ is gone, so is his allure. I don’t really know what he’ll become now or if I’ll find him as appealing in the second book, The Lost Saint. As for Jude, I predicted that he had been bitten when he and Daniel had their first fight. I don’t understand why Grace never asked herself this? It would’ve been one of the first things that crossed my mind upon knowing how the ‘curse’ spread.
All that taken into account, The Dark Divine has its good moments. The relationship between Daniel and Grace was believable and it had a lot of substance. Although she was infuriating at times (when she was ignoring Daniel and playing it up with her brother’s friend) the two made a good fit. I really liked the scene at the top of the tree where he held her while she drew the neighbourhood. I really wish there had been more to that scene, it was one of the stronger parts of the book for me.
You will enjoy this book. I read it all in one day, but I did take a few breaks. I’m not sure if I’ll re-read it again or even go out of my way to recommend it for people, but it does give you a great escape if that’s what you’re looking for. I’ll probably keep an eye out for The Lost Saint, though I’m probably not as excited about it as I would be if Daniel was still one of the Urbats.
Recommended to: Fans of all different werewolf-lore. There’s some interesting twists in this one.