Monday, December 28, 2009

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Tags: YA, paranormal romance, werewolves, religion

Rating: 3 out of 5


Pastor’s daughter Grace Divine knows that something is not right with the reappearance of Daniel Kalbi, her older brother Jude’s old best friend and almost-brother, who disappeared one night several years ago—the same night Jude came home covered in his own blood. But she doesn’t expect how embroiled in the affairs she ends up being when she falls in love with Daniel, who possesses a powerful and dark secret.

As Grace struggles to live up to her name and help Daniel love himself, she also deals with Jude’s increasingly disturbing behavior towards her and Daniel, and she must decide where she stands after learning Daniel’s devastating secret. Grace may hold the power to save or destroy Daniel’s soul in her hands—now she must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for him.


THE DARK DIVINE is an interesting but ultimately underwhelming read that will still be eagerly embraced by paranormal romance fans of Twilight, Shiver, and other similar books.

The best thing about THE DARK DIVINE was the way it rewrote the typical werewolf story and infused it with history, magic, religion, and the balance of good and evil. It gave depth to Daniel’s werewolf character. I’m not a big werewolf girl, nor am I religious, but I enjoyed the way the two unexpectedly intertwined and enhanced one another in this book.

Unfortunately, the characters were for me rather difficult to connect with, as most of them felt like types I’ve read many times before. Grace was an extremely passive protagonist who elicited little sympathy from me. The tension between Grace’s parents often felt forced and unexplained. Daniel started out as stereotypical, but as the plot finally built and his background was finally revealed, he turned into a much more believable character.

As for the romance, it felt like one that I’ve read many times before: good girls feels undeniable attraction with bad boy, who acts like a jerk initially but actually reciprocates the feelings, and True Love Ends Happily Ever After. The familiarity of the course of the romance was unimpressive and rather disappointing to me.

The plot was rather infuriatingly slow, which may put off more impatient readers, but it does eventually build into an exciting paranormal world with an action-packed, heart-stopping ending. It does take an inventive writer to pull off what Bree Despain has as the ending, and I found it believable, heart-stopping, and satisfying. Overall, THE DARK DIVINE was perhaps not the book for me, but fans of Twilight-esque true love paranormal romances will find it a great addition to the genre.

Similar Authors
Stephenie Meyer
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver)

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - Not sure what this has to do with the story at all (are those Grace's super-pale-and-skinny legs or something?) but it's still really pretty and attractive.

EgmontUSA / Dec. 22, 2009 / Hardcover / $17.99

Sent for review from EgmontUSA/Random House.


  1. I literally just finished this, and am about to start writing my review, so I haven't read yours through completely yet.

    I just wanted to say that I LOVED it! :)

  2. I read the premise and it seemed really good. I can't wait to read the book.

    Sorry that you didn't like it a lot.

  3. I liked ur review. A real honest one. I am sorry the book didnt live upto your expectations.

  4. Sorry the book wasn't for you. Thanks for your honest review :)

  5. Love your review. Eager to read this one and figure out my opinion.

  6. I think this will be a winner with me then!

  7. I really appreciate the honesty in this review. I've read mostly positive reviews up to now, but I am so glad that you pointed out things you didn't like. I too am tired with the same girl-falls-in-love-with-paranormal-boy plotline, so now I'm more hesitant to pick this book up.

    Awesome, informative review :)

  8. I just finished this book last week and I loved it. In your review you said things that didn't really come to mind after reading it and it made me think. That's one of the things that I love about books: some will like it and others wont. That's why I love having book conversations... I appreciate the honest review and I hope that you will still read the next ones to come in the series.

  9. Oh noes, first negative review I've come across! And you're comparing the author to Stiefvater and Meyer, whose books I find so unbearably meh. I won't get hold of it here for ages but I'll still look out for it.

  10. Nice, balanced review. I've been hearing great things about this one and wasn't sure what the standout aspect was that was making people love it so much, so you've dispelled some of the mystery for me (which is a good thing). I'm not specifically crazy about bad boy characters but I do like a good paranormal romance. I'll probably still read this if I get the chance, I just won't go ordering it in specially. Thanks for the heads up!

  11. Yours is the first non-rave review I've read. It offers a nice perspective for comparison. Thanks for the review Steph.

  12. So glad I wasn't the only one who didn't love this book. I liked it but didn't love it. I'm getting a little tired of this premise as well. I'm gonna have to take a break from any like that for awhile. Thanks for the review!

  13. I'm reading this one right now, and, while I can see that it will probably be a little tried-and-true, I do like it thus far. I wish everyone hadn't told me it was a werewolf story, though. I'd like to have figured that out on my own, but I've known since the book first started getting plugged.

    Thanks, Steph, for your always honest reviews.

  14. The premise is definitely a turn-off for me -- it takes a really great book to make me look past the typical tropes of bad-boy/good-girl and the Twilight-like elements that seem to be everywhere (and I did like Twilight!). Great review -- think I'll pass (for now)! But that cover is pretty!

  15. Great review. I'm not sure if I can handle another good girl/bad boy book, though. I need a refreshing take on it, ya know?

  16. Definitely a slower-paced plot, but you're right, the ending was fantastic. I disagree slightly over your estimation of Daniel -- I didn't quite see him as the typical bad boy, because I felt like I "knew" him from his childhood friendship with Grace. I adored the mythology in the book, and the religious aspects too. Thanks for a great review!


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


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