- Age Range: 12 - 17 years
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 700 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: EgmontUSA (December 22, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1606840576
- ISBN-13: 978-1606840573
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 218 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,441,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dark Divine Hardcover – December 22, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Grace Divine, a pastor's daughter, doesn't think she lives up to the name that her father tells her means "heavenly help." Her brother, Jude, a church volunteer whose faith seems unshakable, has always seemed to be the more "graceful" Divine. When his friend Daniel returns to town after a long and mysterious absence, Jude recognizes Grace's attraction to him but urges her to stay away with unusual vehemence. Against his advice, Grace begins a relationship with Daniel, whose reluctance to discuss his disappearance piques her curiosity. As she attempts to uncover the mystery of Daniel's past, Jude discourages her investigations with oblique references to an ancient evil and a transforming curse. The novel builds to a dramatic climax involving the surprise revelation of a Divine family secret and a violent confrontation that suggests a possible sequel. Despain's first novel mixes romance and the supernatural and offers true love as the ultimate defense against lycanthropes. This long novel is a slow starter, but as Grace discovers unexpected local connections to the mystery of Daniel's absence, the pace picks up and the suspense builds. Although not a novel of Christian fiction, the book's thematic investment in faith and sacrifice distinguishes it from traditional supernatural romances.—Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
With its eye-catching cover (pale, slender legs with purple toenails entwine with purple chiffon on a black background), intriguing title, and the hook of werewolves in love, comparisons to Meyer’s Twilight series are inevitable. However, Despain roots her story firmly in the faith of her protagonist’s family. Sixteen-year-old Grace Divine is a pastor’s daughter and has heard every joke possible about her name. But her family practices what her father preaches: community, caring, and forgiveness, including taking in a neighbor’s abused child and raising him as their own. That boy, Daniel, and Grace fall in love, and when Daniel reveals that he is a werewolf, Pastor Divine searches for remedies while trying to keep his family safe. Though the romantic passages are predictable and characterization sometimes weak, Despain raises complex issues of responsibility and forgiveness and offers no easy answers. Atmospheric and compelling, Despain’s first novel will be popular, and a sequel eagerly anticipated. Grades 7-11. --Debbie Carton
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Top customer reviews
This novel is like a can of mixed nuts. It's got a few yummy cashews, which always get gobbled up first; the peanuts and almonds are next, though not as satisfying; last are the unidentifiable nuts, which no one really wants, but seem to make up the bulk of the mix. Yeah, this novel is just like that.
The Hounds of Heaven angle is an interesting take on werewolf lore. This is not merely a yarn about the duality of man - the story draws on the ages old battle between good and evil; heaven versus hell. The premise is interesting and gave the author much room in which to play. Unfortunately, many opportunities to delve deeply into the lore were squandered by less interesting story arcs.
Though the novel never devolves into any bible-thumping rhetoric, the religious connotations are everywhere and are an inextricable component of the book. When married with the analogous character names (Grace Divine, really?), it's all just a bit too much. If you don't mind this sort of thing, you should be fine. And let me be clear, it's not so much that I was vexed by the biblical references or the religious tone, only that it was done in such a heavy-handed manner. Does that make sense?
Things kind of disintegrate in the end. After the marathon of storytelling, we're sprinting to the finish in a hodgepodge of action sequences and disjointed narrative. Some story arcs (Don Mooney) are abandoned and what little explanation is offered fails to satisfy. This is especially sad in Mooney's case as he was one of the more interesting characters and I was so hopeful his story would be more deeply explored. Frustrating. I'm also not certain I buy Grace's revival of conscience toward the end, nor do I buy the idea that two teens could be so in love they're willing to overlook the fact that one of them is dating someone else. That generally breeds all manner of conflict, yet all is fine? Whaaaat??? Perfect chance for legit conflict, totally ignored!
In short, this is pretty generic Y/A. Nothing about this book stands out and I struggle to find a reason to go on. There's no cliff-hanger ending, which I appreciate, so if you're interested in checking it out be assured you won't be required to get book two to see how it ends... unless you want to, of course.
Grace is kind, caring, stubborn, and bossy. She's a people pleaser with a rebellious streak. It's very easy to connect with her. And Grace is put in a ton of weird, and complex situations that she handles well. I don't think I'd fare as well.
Daniel is dark, mysterious, sexy and vulnerable. What a great recipe for a male romantic love interest, right? He's an excellent artist with an extremely trouble past that at times made me flinch. It is amazing this guy has turned so well.
I found it troublesome that those around Grace label Daniel as a Bad Boy. There is the 'dark' mystery in his past, but his present actions only show him to be a kind, helpful, quiet, generous guy. His romance with Grace is sweet and innocent rather than hot.
The Dark Divine is jam packed with good characterization and a well paced plot. I mean, this book never slowed, it just kept you on a steady fast ride all the way through.
While we're dealing with Grace's family complications, her feelings for Daniel, her problems at school and her obligations to the parish, we're worried about all the people disappearing and the weird pet killings raging through the town.
One complaint would be that Grace's best friend, April, becomes one of those annoying BFF's that goes crazy for a guy, in this case, Grace's brother, Jude. It often seems like April is willing to choose trying for a chance with Jude over taking care of her friendship with Grace.
I would have also preferred if the paranormal element was introduced sooner. My love for paranormal is why I read this stuff so please give it to me sooner!
I sooo wish to talk about the paranormal element, but that's a fun reveal so...my lips are sealed -- more like my hands are tied.
I was a bit worried about Grace's dad being a pastor, but my fear was unwarranted. Selflessness and forgiveness are portrayed and talked about often but The Dark Divine didn't get preachy. This is a forbidden love kind of story, so every now and then, something winked "Twilight" to me, but Despain's story and characters are unique and I was quick to get over it.
Romance, mystery, suspense, the supernatural...if that's your cup of tea, then you should snap up The Dark Divine.
I’ve had this book on my shelf for a long time, and it was actually better than I expected.
When Daniel shows back up in town, Grace is forced to either ignore him and push away the past, or let him back in her life and find out what really happened between him and her brother all those years ago.
It’s definitely frustrating the way they’re all keeping Grace in the dark about it, but it’s a surprise when she finally figures out what happened. It makes sense why they kept it a secret, and why Daniel disappeared. I wasn’t terribly surprised by who was behind it all, but it’s still a surprise how it went down and who all knew.
This was better than I thought it would be; it kept me interested through the whole book, and I liked the relationship between Grace and Daniel. I liked him. And the plot was actually pretty interesting, and makes me a little intrigued for the next book. I don’t know if I’ll be picking it up, but I definitely would have enjoyed it more when I was in high school.
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]