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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
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.]
Grace Divine is the pastor's daughter, and she and her family must live up to that status. Her brother Jude is the epitome of a pastor's son. He always thinks of others first, never fails to go out of his way to help people, and is the apple of everyone's eye. When Daniel Kalbi returns after a mysterious disappearance, Grace is drawn to him. Despite the memories of her brother returning covered in blood from seeing Daniel right before he disappeared and Jude's warning for Grace to stay far away from Daniel, she keeps finding herself with him.
As Daniel's story unfolds, Grace isn't sure who she can trust. Stories of ancient beings created to do God's bidding swirl into modern day stories of werewolves and monsters. Meanwhile, the town is again plagued with odd deaths and mutilations just as it was years ago before Daniel disappeared. Jude insists Daniel is evil, but Grace can't see beyond the kind, caring Daniel she used to know. Now Grace must decide whether she can make the ultimate sacrifice to save Daniel, and must weigh the consequences of her choice.
While this story has certainly been well played int he past few years, Despain does a good job of changing up the ready worn. She takes a supernatural creature and gives it new life and new purpose. I was glad this story did not take as long as some others (*cough* Hush, Hush *cough* Fallen) to reveal the nature of the odd stirrings and bumps in the night. Sometimes when the meat of the story is revealed too late, I find myself wondering whether it was worth the work to get through. Instead this is a well-paced story with interesting characters and plenty to keep you interested. The writing is relatively clean with hints of creepy happenings and violence without any real gore. It would be suitable for any junior high to high school student, but would probably appeal mostly to girls (the cover might have something to do with that).