Review: The Dark Divine (Books #1,2) by Bree Despain

     The Dark Divine
Bree Despain; Published December 22nd 2009 by EgmontUSA
A Prodigal Son
A Dangerous Love
A Deadly Secret
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.
 – Goodreads on  The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine #1)

It’s not the title that “sold” it to me, but the cover. I’m very cover-oriented, as usual, I know, I know. But I’m a graphics enthusiast, I can’t help it!!
 So there I was, cruising around Goodreads; you see all kinds of “related” covers, all staring studdmuffins (at times showing some yummy skin), or awesome, fantasy-looking chicks, or flowers. You don’t see a lot of covers showing feet, at least I hadn’t seen them before stumbling on The Dark Divine. The cover was so different, and delicately beautiful, I just had to check out the book. The blurb sounded intriguing, so I went for it.

The story was interesting; of course, me reading about a Pastor’s family, and their God-abiding, God-promoting sort of life was something of a novelty. Topics like what you should believe in, what you should care about and what you should take to bed, I never enjoy discussing, they’re too personal things for anyone but myself to have a meaningful opinion on. So reads that contain religious stuff are a general turn-off for me, because unlike reads tangent on the other topics I’ve mentioned, these often tend to be sort of indoctrinating, and I don’t deal well with indoctrination.
 However, in this book the faith itself is not the focus (and I was one happy camper because of that!!), and most religion-related things revolve actually around acts of kindness, compassion or volunteer work – community, in one word, not belief system. I liked that very much.

The plot was quite interesting; I was constantly wondering about Jude, and his mysterious aversion towards Daniel. I kept thinking, “Dude, whatever he did, it can’t be that bad!”, so when I finally found out just what his attitude was about I sort of understood his feelings. They felt sort of exaggerated to me (the dude seems a fan of drama), but not ridiculous or totally unfounded.
 I really loved the whole Urbat thing, and everything related to them.

The characters were ok, but not overly charming. Despite my usual enthusiasm for the bada$$/bad-boy/villain segment, I wasn’t a fan of Daniel’s, not even when he seemed to be on that side of the fence. Grace was amusing, and fresh, and her I liked, but again, I wasn’t enthusiastic. Bree Despain‘s writing instilled a sense of calm within me, and perhaps that was what kept me from getting too emotionally involved with the characters, or the story.
 I did really enjoy the tension and chemistry between Daniel and Grace, and to me it felt like the most chemistry they had was in the first part of the book. From a point on, it felt like their chemistry slowly but surely decreased (and that word sounds a lot like “deceased”, doesn’t it?). The less chemistry they had, the more action seemed to seep into the story. I would have loved it if these things would have gone hand in hand, instead of sort of replacing each other.

If I were the rate the book by parts, I’d give the second part of it a 4 butterflies rating for action, and the first part a 4 butterflies rating for the Grace/Daniel chemistry; because they don’t play well with each other though, not as well as they could, the parts together make a 3.

All in all, it was a good read, and I was glad I went for it, especially when I got to Book 2.

    The Lost Saint: A Dark Divine Novel
Bree Despain; Published December 28th 2010 by EgmontUSA
A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.
Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the 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.
 – Goodreads on  The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine #2)

To quote the author herself, I didn’t believe it was possible for the cover to be any more beautiful the first book’s, but it is. Gorgeous, gorgeous cover.

Now, this little darling, I quite loved.
 Not fangirl-mode loved, but loved nonetheless. I could have been fangirling over it, but there was something that annoyed me enough to temper my enthusiasm: the time-stamps. You know? The cannot blows. Ten seconds later: it hits a bird. Five minutes later: the wall is down. I mean, let’s just go with the action, and leave the timing chart up to the reader’s imagination; that actually ruins the really dynamic feel of the story.
 Another thing that sort of burst my bubble was the chemistry between characters, again. Here there was even less of it, but thankfully it felt action-packed, so that didn’t really ruin the whole thing.

Whereas the rhythm felt a bit slack in the first part of the first book of this series (that sometimes happens with series books, the first one takes the brunt of the world-building, setting the stage up for all the others to make some magic happen), the second one started off great, and it just went to become even better with every page. Grace became thoroughly adorable, a slight shade of feisty and a bit more volcanic; Daniel became more boring though, and Jude more annoying. But Grace was cool enough to compensate, and the rapid pace of events made for a thrilling read.

Of course, it ends in a big-time frustrating way; lucky for me, it’s not long until December, so I’ll soothe my nerves then.
 I’ll be surely looking out for the next book in this series. If previous ones are any clue, this should be even better then the previous.


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