on October 7, 2011
Sometimes, I get in book ruts. I feel like I've read the same thing time and again. So when I read the synopsis for Brightest Kind of Darkness, I was thrilled to have something new and intriguing to dig into.
This book has a few valuable assets in it's favor. Starting with the main characters, Nara and Ethan. Separately, they are solid characters. Nara is amiable, resilient and athletic (definitely something I don't see in a lot of YA female characters). The story is told entirely through her point-of-view, so there is instant affinity towards her.
Nara's new friend/classmate/potential boyfriend, Ethan, is an asset to the book as well. He's steadfast, reliable and had the prerequisite handsome and mysterious characteristics. From the start, it is clear Ethan has a troubled past, and a shaky, at best, present. To be with Nara as she peels the layers from his exterior was alternately cool and sad.
The story becomes much more intriguing when Ethan and Nara begin to work together to uncover the truths behind their strange abilities, and how they tie together. I loved their partnership. The lead role alternated consistently between the two, lending a feeling of trust and mutual admiration. Nara never became domineering or unreasonable. Ethan never forced Nara to sit back and let him handle or control the situation.
My one glitch in the story would be the slow revelations. I sort of felt like I was out of the loop in regards to what the big secret was for too long. A lot of the answers to the questions I was asking myself did come. But I found myself growing impatient in the meantime.
All in all, I found Brightest Kind of Darkness to be a genuinely appealing book. Once again, I have to say that I loved the premise. Loved the fact that the story was different from a lot of the books out there. I found reading this book to be time well spent.
"Ethan had this knack for leaving me breathless and teetering. Like a chair tilted on two legs, I
was never sure if I was going to topple over or land on solid ground."
* I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. *
on January 8, 2012
Okay. Recent controversies may have cropped up about authors and negative reviews, but this book was a two-star book for me, and I'm sticking to it. Which actually is kind of weird, because there were a few parts that I really liked.
First, the good stuff. The concept itself is pretty cool, and there's a lot of tension building up in the first half of the book. Nara Collins is a teenage girl who consistently dreams of her future, and not just little things. We're talking EVERYTHING: goals scored in soccer games, phone calls from her estranged dad, the works. Consequently, Nara is a control freak. The book opens with her claiming to enjoy surprises (comparing it to "wearing my best friend's favorite shirt"), but to be honest, her actions don't really back that up later in the book. Nara likes controlling her life, and who can blame her? If I could've seen the future in high school, I'd probably have aced all of my exams too.
Her romantic interest, Ethan, is also actually pretty interesting background-wise. He's a loner, has his own complicated background, and seemingly knows something about Nara's ability.
[We eventually learn that he's able to somehow STEAL Nara's dreams from her, which is kinda weird and never really explained. He's also got some sort of psychic tattoo thing going on, which again isn't addressed, other than the fact that it's apparently hot and gives him the quintessential bad boy image.]
(The spoiling is done!)
Now, the not-so-good stuff: the writing. Ethan reads like an textbook example of damaged bad-boy 101. When he's not smirking, snarling, or angsting (all of which are actual terms used to describe him in the book, I have page numbers), he's protecting Nara from falling bookcases and the forces of fate. I get that the whole protective-guy thing is considered romantic to some people, and I really don't have a problem with it to an extent. But there's a fine line between protective and just plain paranoid. Nara can SEE THE FUTURE. Rather than calling on your old juvenile-delinquent buddies from another school to fight the guys who threatened her (which happens, yes), maybe the best solution would just be to back off and let the girl do her thing.
I'm not totally clear if this is self-published or not. I initially assumed it was, but the cover touts the author as "award-winning" and I think the inside advertises more books written by her, so I'm not sure. Either way, the language in this book is clunky. Here are some examples:
"You must speak of free will. I cannot tell you more. Hurry!" (Keep in mind this is Ethan, a teenaged boy, saying this.)
Curling his lips inward, he continued with a determined snarl, "Nothing will happen to you!"
Despite the uneven writing, I think I would have given this book a 3-star rating if there had been any actual rising action, falling action, or even a conclusion in the plot. As it is, the book just sort of keeps going until it stops, presumably leading into a sequel.
Basically, reading this book didn't make me feel like I'd been cheated out of the $0.99 I spent on it, but I don't know that I can really recommend it to anyone. I might read next book, depending on how long the series is intended to be. I'm not really interested in seeing everything dragging out over several books.
on November 26, 2011
Nara lives each and every day twice. She lives them in her dreams before she ever lives in them in real life, so she always knows what to expect. It's predictable. It's monotonous. And it can be incredibly boring. When Nara dreams about a bomb going off at school, she knows that she has to stop it, or all that death will be on her hands. So, she calls in an anonymous tip about the bomb to stop it in time. Little does she know that that one action opened an inevitable Pandora's box for herself. People begin suffering from mysterious ailments, and the dangerous and rebellious Ethan seems to be the only one she can suddenly depend on when her powers suddenly stop. What's the cause of the change, and can Nara fix it in time?
I'm incredibly selective with the self-published books I choose to review these days, and it must be said that I've been entirely certain as of late that I've heard every spin on the paranormal young adult genre that there could possibly be. Brightest Kind of Darkness proved me wrong in the best possible way. The story was solid and strong, alive with fast-paced action, heart-pounding suspense and a plot that grips you from start to finish. Author P.T. Michelle has proven her merit with an incredibly well-written novel that's rife with tension, rich with full-bodied and relatable characters and a story that is so original that it's certain to make a name for itself in the genre.
I kid you not when I say that Brightest Kind of Darkness is one of the best reads I've had thus far this year. Nara was a true heroine - honest and brave, strong and fierce and incredibly passionate about life and holding fast to her gift. She wasn't popular, but she wasn't a loner. She was resilient, and she was kind; very much the type of person you would want to be friends with. Likewise, Ethan was every bit the dangerously delicious bad-boy, however, he wasn't a cliche. There was a darkness around his character, but the same could be said for Nara, and when the two connected, there became light. Their love is power, but it's also beautiful and pure, which is a rarity in a genre overrun by insta-love. It took time to develop and grow, and the plot served to foster it throughout. Brightest Kind of Darkness used two very powerful and very tangible characters to shine through a fast-paced plot. Nara's actions set the stage for a runaway train of suspense and mystery, but the twists and turns kept the story and characters fresh and alive throughout. Brightest Kind of Darkness plays off the idea that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, which is terrifying and utterly mesmerizing. In essence, the book proves to us that Fate is real, and it is not to be tampered with.
All in all, Brightest Kind of Darkness absolutely blew me away. Fresh and alluring, it's sure to find a place in every book lover's TBR. I give it a 5 out of 5, and I can't recommend it enough to all fans of YA fiction, especially those who enjoy paranormal and paranormal romance stories.
I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.
on December 12, 2012
There are problems with this book beginning and end. Michelle does not have anything at the beginning of the book to establish either character or conflict. We open with the protagonist violating her routine before she has estblished it. For this book to have been excellent it needed a few pages of Inara getting through life with her powers before opening the conflict. The arrival of Fate had no foundation. The conflict between Nara and her father is never resolved. They do not even have a single conversation. And who put a bomb in Ethan's locker and how that ties to the rest of the story is completely abandoned after the first chapter; Nara does not even consider it once in relation to fates darker motives. Ug.
on January 8, 2012
I have been eyeing this book for awhile now and finally read it last night! I was not disappointed. In the last week or so I have purchased 4 YA paranormal books based on rave reviews only to find out they are complete rubbish! Spelling errors drive me up the wall crazy but the few I found I ignored because I was so engrossed by this story. I really loved it. Which considering I hate a certain series of movies that have a similar story line ... that is saying A LOT. If you are on the fence about reading this book because that 99 cents could buy you a cheeseburger ... skip lunch and read this book right now.
on November 20, 2012
I loved the initial concept of this book, however the execution left much to be desired. The beginning was intriguing, but by the midway point and towards the end, when Fate was introduced as a physical being it just seemed, for a lack of a better word, dumb. I felt as if I was reading a crappy written version of the Final Destination films. I got through 80% of the book and realized that I didn't really care what happened in the end.
on September 19, 2012
I liked this book for the most part, but I did not love it. I liked the main character Nara, she was described well, and I felt as though I knew her and could relate to her. Her life is somewhat complicated by an emotionally distant mother and a father who left them when she was a little girl. But, there were also some aspects to her life that I did not understand. She seems very normal, but she only has one close friend. And then, as the book progresses, you get the impression, that the other kids don't like her ....ok, but why? I understand high school kids can be mean, but it seemed like they all either hated her, or were completely disinterested in her for no particular reason.
Then as I got more into the book, I enjoyed the relationship between Nara and Ethan. Clearly there was a connection there, and when you realize what it is, it makes some sense. But there again, I never fully comprehended the dream thing. First of all I didn't understand Ethan's dreams, why exactly did he see those creatures? I understand he absorbed other's issues, but I didn't get why they manifested themselves as demons in his dreams, but maybe that is just my issue. And Nara at the beginning of the book complains that she never gets surprises, but it seems like, even when she knows what will happen, that she does seemed surprised several times by what is said. I think overall, it is a hard concept to convey when writing, you can't have your main character not react, but on the other hand, when the character is supposed to already know what happens, it can come off as conflicting.
Another issue I had was that not much happened. There was action, but it seemed to be the same thing over and over again. Seeing something bad happening, stopping it, then the repraisal. Seeing something bad happen, stopping it, OK, you get the point...
I also did not buy the whole not calling the dad thing. SPOILER ALERT. OK, I get she is angry and has years of hurt, but this is the only chance she has for info, and to add to that, once her Aunt tells her that he paid the ultimate price, could she not figure out on her own, that perhaps, his leaving was not his choice?
All these issues could have been somewhat overlooked if the ending was better, but it wasn't ... it was very blah. Pretty much the same scenario as before with small differences.
At this point I am not sure if I will read book number two. I may if I have nothing else that I am anxious to read, but it is definitately not a priority. I wouldn't say I don't recommend the book, it is well-written, and I felt the characters were developed well, but the plot is somewhat lacking, and I didn't feel that I was given any information. So if you do read it, don't expect a page turner, just a decent read.
on December 2, 2012
This book started off okay and then I lost interest. I'm almost 80% complete with it and am just continuing to read for the sake of finishing it, which is difficult because nothing has really happened. The first half of the book is spent by the main character, Inara, trying to discover the "dark" secret of Ethan, her love interest. When the secret is finally revealed, it's not dramatic or shocking and nothing really comes of it or changes. The relationship between the two is pretty tame. I'd reccomend this for girls around the age of 14. The couple spends most of their time together talking, working on a history paper together, saving and rescuing puppies and playing soccer. The characters just never really develop to the point of caring.
on November 4, 2013
What a mess! It was so potentially likable and ultimately so irritating. Ethan and Nara, the YA's with magical powers, and who fall in love, spend the first three books enduring so much unnecessary mistrust because they won't share critical secrets with each other, even after they discover that they share supernatural traits. This goes for the other magical teens as well. So it just dragged on interminably into three books, with the same trust issues spreading among everyone like a cancer. Reading about the constantly unconsummated love between these two hormone driven teens makes your head spin, and Ethan has so many personality changes, and identities that he has nothing believable about him. Although it's basically entertaining, and has a unique idea for a fantasy about teens with supernatural abilities, and lots of cute animal pals, this series ultimately fails because it never satisfactorily resolves issues. Sorry, but I can't recommend it.
on December 11, 2015
Brightest Kind of Darkness was an extremely well done story concept. The idea was exceptional and I loved the way the author managed to reveal details slowly, working things into the story so that the reader is figuring things out right along with the characters. The book is well edited too, which was a huge plus for me, as bad editing is a pet peeve that'll make me close a book and never open it again.
Lately, I've been in a bit of a rut, unable to find a book that I not only enjoyed but outright loved (thanks a lot, Diana Gabaldon), but this book fit the bill with just enough intrigue to hook me and just enough romance to keep me. I can't wait to read the rest of the series, and couldn't hold back a happy little squeal when I realized that Ethan (the Prequel novella) is free! I'm anxious to introduce this series to my oldest daughter ... when she gets just a little older (she's only 11, and this book did have some flirtation, alcohol use, sexual suggestion, and some pretty hot kissing scenes).