Living Within the Pages – Book Review #16

1 12 2011

Title: A Beautiful Dark

Author: Jocelyn Davies

Series: A Beautiful Dark trilogy (#1)

Amazon Rating: 4

Goodreads Rating: 3.85

Alex’s Rating: 4

It is books like A Beautiful Dark that keep me reading and loving the genre. It is books like A Beautiful Dark that inspire me further and ignite my passion to write YA of my own.

This debut novel by Jocelyn Davies, editor and writer, was a true pleasure to read (note it only took a little over a day for me to finish). The writing was clever, sad, angsty, but I never felt like it was directed to only and young adult audience. Adults can definitely enjoy this as well (I know I did).

The female lead, Skye Parker, was strong yet vulnerable and confused. She had normal (I use that term loosely) problems, but on a cosmic level, if that makes any sense at all. I never got the sad abandoned vibe or the overly angry and destructible teenager. We got a girl who has gone through a terrible tragedy and is stumbling through her own path of redemption with friends, what little family she has in Aunt Jo, and of course boys–what’s a YA novel without a good love triangle anyhow?

While the above mentioned seem like the typical recipe for YA, Davies’ novel steps beyond that. I never felt annoyed with being in Skye’s head through paragraphs of personal prose. The dialogue was real, not contrived or forced or awkward. Harper Collins does a wonderful job recruiting authors for their YA paranormal quota and I think they may have struck gold on this one.

Skye’s problems and issues come from being alone and not wanting to trust. Going through a tragedy, having your heart broken, and being skeptical when people seem too good to be true are real problems and it is hard to see past those as a seventeen year old. While Skye shows vulnerable moments, uncertain moments, towards the end of the novel everything “clicks” and she realizes she must go it on her own. Such a tough decision especially if you are rooting for someone special in the book 😉 But you realize this is what is best. This is the message you want to send to your reader. That it is all about choice and sometimes the hardest path is one alone, but it will make you stronger. She has priorities that sometimes fall by the wayside and she makes sacrifices in regards to skiing, friendships, and her heart.

While some may say this is all cliche YA, it just WORKED in this novel. Skye, Asher, Devin, Aunt Jo, Cassie, Dan, and Ian were all loveable and relatable. Raven was awful and a bit awkward in her hasty entrance and hatred, but hey, we need a villain don’t we? I got angry at both Asher and Devin, I laughed with Cassie’s witticisms and her obvious “predicament.” I felt for Skye when she would remember her parents, her frustration with finding out the truth about herself, and her constant state of flux in regards to her light and dark warriors.

The book was well paced and I could not put it down. It did not end how I thought it would, and to be honest, I didn’t have an ending in mind, and that was wonderful. I often times skip to the end to see what happens, but with this book I wanted to be surprised.  

Fans of angel series, you will be so pleasantly surprised and may find a replacement for Fallen or Hush, Hush. Readers of the Grace and Hallowed series, you will add another favorite.

I can’t wait for book #2. This library renter will be going to purchase the book immediately!