Friday, September 2, 2011

Book Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

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.

A Beautiful Dark is the first book in a captivating trilogy by debut author Jocelyn Davies.


The Short Version:
Fantastic in concept, though slow in execution, A Beautiful Dark pitches a very interesting twist on angels. With an intelligent protagonist, and a mystery element at least to the first part of the book, the reader will be lured in despite the book's faults. Great writing and witty banter round this one out to be engaging and endearing.

The Extended Version:
Skye was the most compelling of the book, perceptive and intelligent. Despite suddenly finding herself the attention of both Asher and Devin's affections, she didn't just jump right into liking either one, at least at first. Her view of them, and being unsure exactly what to do, came through strongly and went far to develop her character. Despite the unusual things happening around her, and the very plausible explanations she came up with that were far from lame or convenient to ignore an obvious truth, Skye is the kind of girl who wants to not only figure things out on her own, but handle it as well. This didn't mean she was closed off, however, and her interactions with her friends and Aunt made her very realistic.

Asher and Devin come into Skye's life out of nowhere, suddenly seeming to be everywhere. Definitely giving a stalker vibe, they are an early turn off to readers, and though it does take awhile for either one to be particularly compelling, their purpose and what they bring in are one of the best elements of the book. A twisted version of good and bad, and a very teenage note wrapped into them, the deeper implications with each guy adds something that is harder to put into words.

The rest of the cast is relatively small, centering mostly around Skye's group of close friends, including the guy who is hopelessly in love with her. Though there were hints of something between Ian and Skye, her feelings about him were clear even before Asher and Devin came into the picture, giving a nice unrequited love element while not completely ignoring a perfectly viable love interest. Skye's best friend is vivid and memorable, and the connection between the two went far to round out their characters.

The pacing of this one was, overall, slow, though still enjoyable. It was, however, almost discombobulating the way the ending happened, a sudden rush after seemingly no build up towards it. A little too much of the book was a back and forth in Skye's attention towards Devin and Asher, and though there most definitely was clear and deeper meaning in what her choice one way or the other would mean, it still seemed to drag too long. The book does, however, hold a very contemporary element, and much of it is character rather than world driven, forging a great bond between the reader and Skye and making them care about her. Despite this, the pacing is much akin to the lazy river at a water park, lulling yet not boring, but then having an unexpected set of water rapids thrown at the end of said river, and not necessarily in a good way. This one admittedly felt like the ending was thrown in to force a cliff hanger ending, rather than doing something more natural.

Though there are some pacing faults, the concept of this is fantastic and brilliant. The twist on angels is well built, though not in the book as much as this reader would have liked. Though the ending seemed rushed, things are now set up for a fantastic second installment, with the set up out of the way and the explanations started. With just enough of the overall picture hinted at, there is huge intrigue for what is to come and enough interest already built even without the ending to keep readers wanting more.

The writing is well done, giving a strong voice to Skye while also building not only the setting but the mysterious air. With some great and vivid descriptions, and an alluring flow, Davies most definitely showcases her abilities in a way that can only get stronger in all the best ways. Descritive without being overdone, the writing is definitely a noteable element of this book.

Great in premise and concept, though admittedly weak in a few areas of execution, A Beautiful Dark is an intriguing and alluring book. With a great protagonist, an overall well rounded cast of characters, and plenty of wit and humor throughout, this one pitches a nice twist on angels and holds more great qualities than faults.

Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 400 pages 
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Publication Date: September 27, 2011

1 comment:

  1. Really bugs me when that happens. Great concept but an only so-so execution :/
    Thanks for the review!
    _yay_ @