Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reviewing *The Dark Divine* by Bree Despain

I am going to have a hard time reviewing this book because I absolutely don't want to give out any spoilers. Here, briefly, is how I started reading The Dark Divine:

"ohmigod, look at her toenail polish! I LOVE this cover!"

Obviously I was interested in the content as well. The back cover only gives out a bit of what you're cracking open. Grace Divine, daughter of a Pastor, has strange memories of three years ago when her brother Jude was attacked and their best friend Danile disappeared. When Daniel suddenly shows up in her Art class one day, looking completely changed, she begins to seek out answers. There is also a schism between Daniel and her brother, Jude. So Grace finds herself trapped between the two while trying to find out the truth.

The premise was mysterious enough for me. I was very eager to find out what this was all about. And I had two certain ideas in my mind as I was reading, which both, in their own way, turned out to be the case. I really liked where the story went. Again, sorry to be vague but most of my excitement while I was reading was really not knowing what I would find.

The chapters are broken up with scene changes. So wherever the action is now taking place has a heading; "After Lunch", "Dinner", "Memories", even "A Few Minutes Later". This really worked for me. It gave the action immediacy, an instant context. The author sometimes plays around with this structure and makes it funny. Another funny instance is Grace's description of her art class: "This is art class. We paint pictures while listening to classic rock." I totally had an art class like this in highschool and I loved it. Although the highschool is not the main setting for the story. I felt like we were at Grace's house, and in her yard with the Oak tree most often.

When I started reading, I didn't exactly know where the story was going to go. Grace is entering her art class and this jerk guy is in her spot AND he's messing with her picture of the Oak tree. He's cocky and angsty with Grace, teasing her for being the daughter of a Pastor. Then she realizes that he's Daniel, her best friend who disappeared when they were younger. He was closer to Jude, her brother, but Daniel stayed with their family when he was young and Grace always had a crush on him. Not knowing that he knew her, I was like "who IS this guy? Grace please punch him". When she realizes it's Dan, she wants to know what happened to him and to Jude, five years ago. Jude is tight-lipped and resentful, he storms out when Grace invites Daniel for dinner. Daniel is reluctant when it comes to information, but eventually outs everything. Grace also realizes that her father knows a lot more than she can guess.

You really have to read more than half of the book to get a sense of what's really going on here. I loved how slowly the Reveal happened.

I was a little put off by the character name Grace Divine, daughter of a Pastor? It seemed a little obvious. But in the story Grace informs us that along the way her ancestor's last name used to be Divinovich. But it was changed to reflect the family's religious connection. Other characters' names play a symbolic role as well, for those of you who want to try and figure out what will happen before the end.

The Dark Divine gets a bit sexy along the way too. Daniel plays this cocky character--well actually he was darker than that. He's more sarcastic than cocky. But he's kind of controlling as well. He tells Grace what to do all the time. Or what not to do. And he holds information from her. Then he's a jerk and takes off on her all the time. Anyway, here's a juicy bit:

Daniel leaned toward me until his warm breath lingered on my face again. "You know, some religious scholars believe that when faced with overwhelming temptation"--he reached out and brushed a tangled strand of hair off my neck--"you should commit a small sin, just to relieve the pressure a bit."

In the shadows, his eyes seemed darker than usual, and his stare didn't just make him look hungry--he was starving. His lips were almost close enough to taste.

"That's stupid. And...and...I don't need any pressure relieved." I shoved him away and stepped out of the alcove. "I'm going home."

Their push and pull was fun to read, but I really enjoyed finding out the mystery of what happened in their lives.

And here's a bit of Bree's initial inspiration for the book:

People often ask me where I got the inspiration to write The Dark Divine. Honestly, it's a hard question to answer because it didn't just come from one place, or a dream, or a single idea. It was more like a perfect storm of ideas, thoughts, and memories, over a few weeks time. It all came together while I was riding in the car on a dark January night in 2005. It was shortly after I'd read the book Speak, watched the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, listened to the song Such Great Heights over and over again, and was asked to teach a lesson about the concept of grace at my church. I was thinking about all of these things, along with a random memory from the 9th grade, when we stopped at red light and I looked up at billboard in the dark and suddenly this conversation between a brother and a sister popped into my head. The brother was warning his sister to stay away from their former best friend. "He's dangerous. He isn't the person he used to be. You have to promise to stay away from him." And that was when it all started. . . (from Bree's blog)

Okay, it's crazy but at the time I had this quiet passing thought that the art class scenarios and the art teacher reminded me of Speak! Man, I should have written that before so you would believe me. :)

The Dark Divine is coming out in like a week! Pick it up for a holiday read. You'll finish it in a snap.



Kelsey said...

Great review!

kelseythebookscout at gmail dot com

Tales of Whimsy said...

Oh my! I would LOVE this. Please enter me :)

I'm an old follower :)

nikniknik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
throuthehaze said...

I would love to read this! Count me in please

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Katie said...

I've already read this & fell deeply in love with it, but I'd love a finished copy!

Tweeted- http://twitter.com/sophisti_katied/status/6708983946

-Katie :)

ninefly said...

hmm, the religious aspect could either make or break this book for me, though all the reviews I've read so far have been highly positive
either way I'll look forward to reading this!

x2 tweeted



Gene Cuvier said...

Gene Marie

Tweeted @genemarie1

D Swizzle said...

please enter me! im a follower!


Sheere said...

I found her name a little odd at the beginning too.
Please enter me!

X2 tweeted


jpetroroy said...

Great review!

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the opportunity to win THE DARK DIVINE by Bree Despain.
Happy Holidays!
x2 = I Tweeted:

Wendy said...

I can't wait to read this book! I've heard such good things and okay.. I LOVE the cover!!

- Wendy (omgitswendy at gmail dot com)

Nicole Settle said...

I really want to read this! Thanks for the giveaway. I'd love to be entered.


Rhiannon Hart said...

I was sure this was going to be another "Look! I'm so beautiful and two boys are in love with me!" story, but looks like I shouldn't have been so quick to judge.

I'd love to win a copy if you can post to Aus. Tweeted too: http://twitter.com/rhiannonlhart

rhi.hart at gmail.com

Diana Dang said...

Would love to read this one!

faked_sugartone at hotmail

Sara M said...

I've been waiting for this book for months! Definitely count me in!

Sara M
sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

Natalie said...

Awesome! I'd love to read this book. Count me in!

+1 Tweeted it!


Robyn @ Robolobolyn's Universe said...

Ooou! Enter me! :) Wait... is this contest open to Canadians? If it, is enter me! ;p

Robyn (:

Ellz said...

Please enter me, I desperately want to read this. Thanks for the chance to win it!

X2 zenfoxflowerATyahooDOTcom
tweeted http://twitter.com/EllzReadz/status/6711966610
Elie (Ellz Readz)

Emily H. said...

treerose @ Yahoo . com

Anonymous said...

Enter me!

Lisa B.

angel28140 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

Nikki @ Bookizzle said...

Nice review! I won't lie, the nail polish was the first thing that captured my attention too, haha. I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on this book -- I'd love to be entered!

- Nikki
(nikkinizzle at gmail.com)

Ursina (Farmer's Daughter's Bookshelf) said...

Great reveiw! I want to read that book, so please enter me. If I remember I'll feature your contest on next week's edition of Caught in Print.

That totally sounds like my art class. I miss art so much.

farmersdaughtersbooks [at] rocketmail [dot] com

Staysi said...

Awesome review! Omgsh, thanks for the "juicy bit"!! I'm REALLY looking forward to the release of TDD! :D Please enter me. X2
(blogged @ http://lostininkreviews.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-i-want-for-christmas.html)

staysil7 [at] yahoo [dot] com

lovely1117 said...

This and Bleeding Violet are my two look-forward-to-reading books this winter! I hope I win! :D


Trollololol said...

ooh I really want to read this book!



Unknown said...

Oh gosh, this book looks so good!


Chioma said...

Wow, this books gets better and better with every review!!! I need this book!!!


mariska said...

i've been curious about The Dark Divine when i saw the book cover when i entered the pool for Best Cover on other blog.

please count me in so i will now what the best in this book :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

Amy Chang said...

Tehe sounds delicious! :D

Amy Chang
amychaang [at] gmail.com

x2 - I tweeted!

Brodie said...

Great review! And ohhh the teaser! Oh man, I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the non-spoilery review, I'm trying my best not to read anything that will ruin it :D

I would love, love, love to be entered if this is international! I tweeted - http://bit.ly/7ie1QQ

Thank you!!

InfinitePlaylist said...

I'd love to win this :D
my name is Sophie, you can reach me here:
infiniteplaylist AT gmail DOT com

JG said...

Great review! I would love to be entered in the contest!

x2 sidebar link

theintrovertedreader AT gmail

Jessy said...

Thanks for the review. I would love to be entered to win!

+1-Tweeted: http://twitter.com/Emma015/statuses/6732232932


Lindsay Frost said...

I would LOVE to win this!!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D


Anonymous said...

Is this contest international? If so, please enter me!

x2 I posted the link on my sidebar

hanjie.1992 @ live.com.my

Thanks again!

Stacey Brucale said...

Please enter me!


Lawral the Librarian said...

This looks awesome!


Travis said...

Enter me please!


pepsivanilla said...

Ooh what a great excerpt/quote!


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks for the review! :)

mrso_d at yahoo dot com

Anya said...

Great review! I cant wait for this book! Im soo excited:)Enter me if this is international:)

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/AnyaKapllani/status/6742785456



Justine said...

Oh man, I've got to read this! Count me in! :)


Anonymous said...

I *really* want to read this book now! I love the premise of the mystery behind Daniel's disappearance. (I think I spelled that wrong but I don't have spell check on this puter.)

x2 <a href=http://twitter.com/thebookvixen/status/6744393676

thebookvixen at gmail dot com

Crystal said...

this book sounds great and the cover is beautiful. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the great review!

Erin said...

I am so excited for this book!!!

erin (.)dubrock(@)comcast(.)net

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Ooh The Dark Divine. I'm so excited for this book!!

-Posted on my sidebar


brizmus said...

Awesome awesome awesome! I can't wait to read this!
I'm an old follower!

I put it in my sidebar under the contest list for x2

mindy said...

fabulous review with no spoilers this sounds wonderful thanks minsthins at optonline dot net

jemscout425 said...


stargirlreads said...

would love to win it

old follower


Llehn said...

I'd love to play please! Thanks!

Already a follower.


Sara said...

Awesome contest!! This book sounds soo good, and your review was excellent!

x2 I posted this on my sidebar under contests: http://yavampirebooks.blogspot.com/


cstironkat said...

Please enter me in your giveaway. I need a good book after finals and all the studying.

motocross clothing said...

Nice Review! Really impressive......

Amanda Leigh said...

Great review! I would love to win this book!


Brooke said...

Great Review without giving away too much... Sounds great...

Alicia said...

Would love to read this.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

bloggyig at gmail dot com

D Q said...

I would love to be entered.

Nancye said...

Please enter me. Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book, please count me in! Great review!

X2 Blogged: http://goodgonegirl.blogspot.com/2009/12/happy-giveaways.html

Anna ♥

Shooting Stars Mag said...

nice review. i would love to read this. it sounds great.


lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Erica said...

I would love to be entered!

:) Erica

Spav said...

Nice review.

Tweet: http://twitter.com/Sparima/status/6859210103


Alessandra said...

If this is open internationally, please enter me, too :)


Coistycat said...

I would love to be entered into your fantastic book giveaway.

Donna B

Have RT'd you on twitter (@Coistycat)

Thank you for running such a great giveaway.

Good Luck all who enter.xx

Faye( Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm) said...

TDD!!!*finger x'd, hope i win*

redleocat at yahoo.com

sidebar +2

Nicole D. said...

Please enter me! Thanks!
Nicole ndz917[at]yahoo[dot]com

The Library Lurker said...

Wow, great contest! Thanks so much!


Kristen said...

I need this book in Hardcover!

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/bookgoil/status/6894291320

I'm a new follower... :)

dragonzgoil at gmail dot com

Aik said...

I've always wanted to read this book!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Aik said...

I tweeted:


aikychien at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Count me IN! :)



Esther said...

Mmm purple!

I'm follower eshchory[at]gmail[dot]com and I tweeted

Ellie Wright said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.
eswright18 at gmail dot com

Jess13angel said...

Great contest =)
x2 Tweeted

I'm a follower

Tuning Into YA Books said...

I really can't wait to read it!


Steff said...

sounds like an awesome book!

x2 sidebar: http://abookfulofthoughts.blogspot.com/

Steff :)

Missy said...

Sounds wonderful!

I just found you on the YA Book Blog Directory.

I follow you, I put this contest in my sidebar, as well as tweeting about it (@missyreadreview).

- Missy

~The Book Pixie said...

I have been really excited about this one. Please enter me. I'm a follower.

X2 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/thebookpixie/status/7214255234


Anonymous said...

Please enter me. walkerd@primus.ca

dsandyboy said...

Count me in.



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