Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Blog Discussion

This month's book: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. First, I'm going to open the discussion on the book. Anyone is welcome to comment on what I said or add their feelings about the book, sort of like we're all sitting around my lavish living room with mugs of steaming liquid while a snowstorm rages outside. Okay? Okay.

Also, I don't think there's too many spoilers if you haven't read it, so you can safely scan my review.

I'm all about exuding positivity, so I'm going to name what I liked first and then say a few things I wish were slightly different. Not bad, mind you. Not that I disliked. Just wish were different.

What I liked:

1. The cover. Too bad it has absolutely nothing to do with the words inside. But it intrigued me from the day I saw it, and I would've bought the book based on the cover alone.



2. The MC. She mostly stayed with her character. There was only one time she went gallivanting off doing things I didn't feel like were in her character. Overall, she was well-portrayed.

3. The MC's family. She had a "whole" family, with a mom and a dad and siblings. And that's pretty rare in YA these days. I enjoyed both her mom and dad, and the realism in their relationship. I liked the older brother a lot.

What I wish were slightly different:

1. The romance. Since I'm a character-driven reader, I like my characters to be believable and do realistic things. And the whole time I was being set up for the bad guy to be the male love interest. And he was too bad. He'd done unspeakable things. To her family. To her. To others.

And then...the girl is declaring her undying love for him. It didn't feel real to me. It felt rushed and convenient, with little reasoning.

2. The villain. I wasn't sure who it was -- except for the love interest. And then it turned out to be--get this--this other guy in the book! Um, no. I couldn't go there. The story didn't unfold in a way to lead me to that. And it just made me...unsettled.

3. I'll admit that I almost quit reading this book about 75 pages from the end. Here's why: The MC puts away this book that will tell her all the answers and says she doesn't want to know.

Well, if she doesn't, why should I?? I closed the book, a little peeved, and refused to pick it up again for 24 hours. Then I got over my petty fight with myself and finished it. But seriously? If the MC doesn't care about solving the mystery, why should the reader?

But overall, I would give The Dark Divine 3.5 stars out of 5. I did read it fairly fast, I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding the bad guy, and I loved the background of the MC.

If you've read this book, what did you think? If you haven't, you should, my "dislikes" notwithstanding.

42 comments:

Jess of All Trades said...

They always say if you have enough good points going for you, the novel doesn't have to be perfect. I'm intrigued by what keeps people (and myself) reading a book that isn't all the way loveable.

It's encouraging to me as a writer :D

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I might just skip the book. What you disliked might drive me insane. But you never know. I have been known to change my mind. :D

Michele Emrath said...

I won't be reading it, but I see it on a lot of people's virtual bookshelves. I must say the cover is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I wish I wrote YA or women's lit so I could have a gorgeous cover like that!

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Christina Lee said...

I am in the middle of this book right now. Now I'm wondering who th other villain is--LOL--thanks for not spoiling it! I have put this book down several times b/c the love story is not believable to me in the least. And b/c I can already guess what one of the secrets is. But I will trudge on b/c I want to support the author and I love the family background and dynamics. it's unique.

Jonathon Arntson said...

1. I do not like the cover. That in the YA section?

2. I will be picking it up, based on the familial relationships you pointed out. Most of my books have families of six, which is hard to write, but I am one of five kids with three step-sibs in real life, so I guess writing that is easier than living it!

3. I like this book discussion thing. I apologize if I missed the announcement of what the book will be, but next time I hope to have the book read ahead of time.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

I didn't have time to get this one, but will read next months.

I liked the cover of the book and went to amazon to read the blurb. After reading the blurb and reviews the cover confused me. I hope that will not be a trend now, putting something unrelated on the cover just to draw us in.

The plot sounds interesting enough that I might still give it a read!

Just love having book of the month!! You can take Oparh's place. Elana's book club lol!

Katie Ganshert said...

I've not read it. But I agree, the cover is uber cool.

I like how you do what you like and what you wish were slightly different. A nice way to word things. :)

Suzette Saxton said...

I haven't finished reading it yet. (I appreciate the vagueness of your comments. You rawk!) I like the family relationships. Nice to see that in YA. Also nice to read a book where one (or both) of the parents isn't dead.

Didn't care for the part when Grace thinks there might be something scary outside of her car, so she hides her face and plugs her ears and has a panic attack. Guess I'm sick of weak female protags. (Ahem... Bella)

I look forward to reading the rest so I can see the MC grow and become strong (I hope!)

VR Barkowski said...

As usual, I'm playing catch up and just began reading this. Forgive me for ignoring the things you wish were slightly different. Didn't want to color my reading. Honestly, I picked the book up based on the cover - which I rarely do and now wish I hadn't. I hate when the cover doesn't reflect the story. It feels like false advertising.

Mary Campbell said...

I'm with you on the cover it's gorgeous, but I hate the skeletal white legs - so skinny, but the contrast in colors is perfect. I haven't finished this book yet- maybe it's because of the reasons you point out. It's weird how she keeps helping the love interest without finding out what happened - and I don't see the attraction. Mostly the book isn't holding my interest, but many of the books I'm reading lately aren't holding my interest. I'm suffering from the same thing Suzette is - nothing holds a candle to The Hunger Games. I do want to finish reading though, and I will...eventually.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I only scanned your post because I just got the book in the mail and haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'll be be back with more when I've read it. :-)

Danyelle said...

I haven't read it, but I love the idea of someone having a whole family for a change. Although, I think the other things would make me want to put it down--especially the love interest being a bad bad guy.

Krista said...

I like the way you break down your review. You're going on my bloglist. BTW, I tagged you. Do with it what you like!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I haven't read this but I'm fascinated by the fact that you mentioned the realism in the family relationship. I'm kind of tired of dead, clueless or otherwise absent parents.

Olivia Carter said...

I actually liked this book enough to look past the flaws.

The fact that she was able to have a whole family & religion without being preachy was amazing. That is SO difficult in YA books.

I think the cover is AMAZING but it's misleading. I think it makes the book look like it belongs in the "romance section". Its not nearly as scandalous as the cover would lead you to believe.

Patti said...

Great review. You broke it down nicely. Sounds like an interesting book.

Susan R. Mills said...

I haven't read it. Thanks for the review.

Voidwalker said...

I haven't read it. I was somewhat interested in picking it up eventually, but I'm not so sure I will.

Carolyn V. said...

This book is on the top of my list to read. So glad you reviewed it! Thanks Elana! =)

Lisa Nowak said...

Flash Burnout has a traditional family with great relationships, too.

I don't think I'll read this one. I'd probably want to slap the MC. I'm not that much into romance, so I have to really fall in love with the characters to enjoy it. And I have no patience for stupid characters who fall in love with people who are obviously not good for them.

Kat Harris said...

I could see how that would drive you crazy. But it's interesting that you'd consider putting down a book just when (one would assume) the story's climax is approaching.

I smell a blog topic brewing.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book. I get what you are saying about getting peeved with the MC when she decides she doesn't want to know the answers any more... It bugged me too, but I also thought that was kind of a natural reaction to what she had just learned for a 17 year old girl.

As for the romance, I actually thought it was a lot more believeable than most of the Paranormal YA out there. It was based on a long term friendship. They had history. They KNEW each other. It wasn't based off some mystical "her blood sings to me" crap. And in the end, I though Daniel was actually very sweet and loving as his character progressed.

BTW - Book Discussion/Review = Awesome idea. :D

-KathyJ

Bethany Wiggins said...

I heard through the grape-vine that a lot of the ARC readers complained about the cover and the story having nothing to do with each other. So they threw something in last minute to tie the two together.

Overall, I wasn't that thrilled with the book, either. Three stars from me.

Thanks for an honest review.

Diana Paz said...

I haven't read this one yet. The cover is beautiful, but now that I know it has nothing to do with the story-- AND so many people thought it was only better than okay, it's being put a little lower on the TBR. I'm in the middle of The Girl Who Could Fly, so far so great! (Nothing as unput-downable as Catching Fire though).

T. Anne said...

I haven't read this book. I'm not so sure I've heard of it although, maybe. I looove your honest opinion of it. I too like the cover and am not so crazy about the name. And why on God's green earth would the writer not have the MC care about the plot? Interesting.

Southpaw said...

I have not read it and I'm not sure if I will. The cover for me is only so-so.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I so want to read this book. I don't really even have an idea of what it's about. I just love the cover!!! : )

PJ Hoover said...

i haven't been pushed over the edge to read this yet. I'm sure I will at some point, but it hasn't hit.
Oddly enough, the cover didn't do it for me, but I have heard good things about what's inside and I love all the press it's getting!

Michelle H. said...

I haven't read the book, but I agree with you and several other people here who left comments. The cover is awesome and screams, "BUY ME!"

A great, honest opinion concerning the novel. I won't say if it will deter me from reading the story or not, but your stark appraisal is refreshing.

V. S said...

I read the Dark Divine and enjoyed it. However, I do agree with you on the love interest. it sort of cam eout of nowhere. I enjoy when an author builds up the love interest with tension.

Casey McCormick said...

This is at the top of my buy pile, so I was interested in reading your thoughts. I absolutely love the cover. It's one of my current favorites.

It sounds like the MC might drive me a bit batty, but I think I'll still buy it relatively soon.

Melissa said...

I finished this over the weekend. I really liked it, but I would probably give it 4 out of 5 stars. The mc did show growth throughout the story, going from a strickly by the rules kind of gal (which got on my nerves some) to one who struck out on her own more. The whole thing with her putting the book down did bother me some, as did her taking off alone to a certain place I won't mention:) And it was interesting to see the turmoil in her family (the parents and older brother) and how they changed over the course of the book.

Jemi Fraser said...

I haven't read this one yet - I think I'll probably still give it a shot.

L.T. Elliot said...

I read this book right after Christmas. (Santa is such a nice guy. Really.) I really appreciated your review because sometimes you only hear the good or only hear the bad. I'm glad you talked about both.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I haven't read this book. But that is a great cover. I can see what it would pique interest!

Cassandra Frear said...

Hi. Just wanted you to know that I enjoy your writer's voice.

jdcoughlin said...

That is so funny. Just blogged about book covers. I definitely pick up books with good covers. And sometimes, am amazed to find they have nothing to do with the book. Not like a movie where the best parts are in the trailer, but absolutely nothing. And am so with you with characters that say and do things no one would. One time, okay, twice, maybe. More. Done.

Jackee said...

Good review! I wondered about this one, now I have a better idea if it's up my alley. Thanks for your thoughts.

Jessica said...

Sounds interesting! I think I'd like it because 1) I have a twisted liking for bad boys (I told you it's twisted) and 2) I'd like to read about a whole family. I already know about divorce. *grin*
The cover is okay, but the legs looked kind of funny to me.
Thanks for the review Elana!

Christine Fonseca said...

great list! And yeah, it is on my t
"to be read" list.

giddymomof6 said...

Ooh, I'm so in love with the cover of this book as well! It rocks!!

And erm, well... I'm glad I was warned about the rest. LOL!

Jenni

Tess said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who has those petty fights with myself over novels, or dishes or whatever :D

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