Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Dark Divine Series

The Dark Divine
Author Bree Despain

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.

Impressions:  When the main character is the daughter of a local pastor, religion is going to be central to the plot, or it is fairly safe to assume.  Why it works:  Whether the author shares the same beliefs is irrelevant, because the views, actions and reactions to events are clearly expressed and formed within the fictional characters.  In other words, this is where the character is coming from and how we are to interpret their motives.  Does it matter if I agree with the beliefs presented?  No, because it is Grace's story.  We are entering her world and witnessing how she will react based on her values, morals and beliefs.   After accepting this, I embraced the story and followed Grace's struggles and gave in to sympathies.  The relationship between Daniel and Grace was powerfully depicted and moved me to tears, twice.  My heart ache because it stirred old feelings that I experienced with first love.  However, not everyone will have a similarly strong reaction.  The momentum of the plot intensifies, building and driving the reader onward.  By doing so, the book quickly becomes a page turning adventure that likely will have many readers plowing through in one day.  I myself, finished at 3 a.m. simply because I was so comfortable and absorbed in the story.  I was captivated until the very end.  
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The Lost Saint
Author Bree Despain

A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns. Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with he werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace's relationship with Daniel is put in danger -- in more ways than one. Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her -- not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung. Bree Despain delivers sizzling romance and thrilling action in the heart-pounding sequel to the The Dark Divine.

More Thoughts:  After the climax in book #1, Grace is faced with major changes, or at least should be.  When this occurs to a character a reader has some expectation of growth or growing conflict.  Despite what has happened to Grace, she continues for the first half of the book to 'just want to help' everyone, which is noble, but comes across as childish rhetoric.  The naivety in book #1 is understandable, but by book #2 I wanted to see Grace mature and own her strength.  Instead, she wandered around talking about wanting to help, bumbling like she'd did before and blaming.  Frankly, the lack of character development across the board was disappointing.  Daniel even fell by the way side and actually seemed to regress and at times disappear from the picture.  So when he re-emerges as hero in the end I didn't get the same emotional reaction.  Also, I'm not a big fan of inserting summary into book series. The retelling of events is fine for those who didn't bother to read book #1, but for those who did, it becomes a little annoying.  I'm reading book 2 because I want a new story, not a recap of the first.  Because of this, I almost tossed the book aside.  At mid-point this goes away and book 2 begins.  I'm glad I hung in there because the second half was better.  However, it does not live up to or outdo book 1 and because of this, I was let down.  
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