Review: A Beautiful Dark

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Beautiful DarkA Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Series: A Beautiful Dark #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 27, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 390
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.

In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.

A Beautiful Dark is the first book in a captivating trilogy by debut author Jocelyn Davies.

First Sentence: “The air had a brutal edge to it as I stood outside of Love the Bean, the local free-trade coffee shop.”

What drew me to A Beautiful Dark is probably pretty obvious: there’s a girl wearing a dress on the cover. That said, the more I look at it, the less I’m sure I actually even like the cover. The dress isn’t all that flattering, and I hate the way it goes up at the shoulders. Clearly, the pointy shoulders were to suggest wings, which they do, but they also look like crazy evil-witch-queen shoulder pads.

From the very beginning, this book reminded me heavily of Personal Demons, although this book was definitely better. Both are about a girl being pursued, because of her super secret powers she doesn’t know she has, by two hot guys, one light, one dark. In both books, the guys appear from out of town and infiltrate her high school. Both heroines are torn and want both guys. However, this one works a bit better, because at least it’s not told from the POV of the heroine and one of the guys, which made the love triangle more stupid than most.

The main problem I had with this book was that the characters were all flat, failing to resemble real people at all. First of all, there’s Skye. At first, I thought I might like her, because she was focused on good grades, totally not looks-focused, and not boy crazy. Of course, this level-headed girl goes out of the window as soon as the hot boys show up. For all that she’s supposed to be incredibly intelligent, she fails to make any but the simplest deductions about the situations in which she finds herself. Although possessed of a lot of power, she doesn’t try very hard to learn how to use it, and spends most of her time crying about how she just wants to be normal. Wouldn’t a girl who loves to study want to figure out how to make use of her talents, rather than moping to lessons? Despite all that power, she has no control over at all, and thus does nothing useful with it ever.

In addition to Skye, there are three boys panting after her. First, there’s Ian, the requisite best friend in unrequited love. He ought to be sympathetic, but he has no personality. He merely alternates between trying to buy Skye’s affection with tons of free beverages from the coffee house where he works and being a dick to her because she doesn’t like him.

Asher, the dark angel boy, is the one she feels an immediate lust for, even though she quickly decides that he’s a playboy. The heroine has correctly identified that this guy is a bad place to put her heart, yet she spends most of the book wanting him. I will never like a male lead who winks as much as Asher does. Oh yeah, and did I mention the part where he totally was watching her secretly for most of her life? I thought Edward watching Bella sleep after they met was creepy, but Skye didn’t even know him and he was watching.

Devin seems the best of the lot, assuming you have a thing for boring rule-followers. Not to mention the ordained to be with someone else part of the equation. His main qualification as boyfriend material is that he has a calming effect on Skye. This could be romantic, I suppose, but it’s not here.

Skye’s friends, Dan and Cassie, could have stolen the show. Several series that I love/hate have awful main characters but keep me coming back for the sidekicks (prime example: Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments books). Unfortunately, Davies didn’t care about them all that much, and they don’t do much of anything interesting either.

The plot, too, is lacking. Honestly, despite the fact that it’s almost 400 pages long, not a whole lot happens to move the plot arc along. It feels as though this could have been the opening to a novel (assuming you cut out the unnecessary stuff), rather than a complete novel itself.

Fans of Twilight will flock (punned!) to this series, but if you’re in it for plot, a strong heroine or originality, I would recommend looking elsewhere. That said, I might end up reading the sequel, because it has a pretty cover. Hopefully not though.

Favorite Quote:

“‘It’s a misconception that you need a heart to love.'”

9 responses to “Review: A Beautiful Dark”

  1. This is the book of the month in my goodreads book club. I’m glad I read your review first so I can lower my expectations and maybe enjoy it. I thought since so many people voted for it in the club it must be amazing, but I would have been really angry if I went in with those expectations. All the things that bothered you are things that bother me with some YA books. Like the girl loosing her mind when a hot guy walks in. It’s refreshing to read characters like Katniss who aren’t controlled by hormones and after reading characters like her I find it hard to like anything else. Great review!

    Harley Bear Book Blog

    • Christina says:

      It’s an easy read, so you shouldn’t have any problem getting through it for your book club. I just don’t think it was that good, or at least not good for readers like myself. I like my heroines powerful.

  2. That’s disappointing. I still might give this a shot because I was really excited for this for some reason, but I’ll definitely wait for the library to get it. Now that I’m reading the description again though, I don’t know why I was really excited because I try to stay away from love triangles (as if that’s possible…) Either way, I know to not expect too much, so if I happen to like this book it’ll be super awesome, and if I don’t like it then I’ll probably just stop reading as soon as I can’t stand it without putting more time into it.

    • Christina says:

      Lowering people’s expectations is one reason I don’t feel bad being honest in my opinions about a book. People will still make their own decisions on what to read, and, if you’re interested enough, you’ll ignore my bad review. Actually, you might have a better reading experience, because you lower your expectations. I hope you enjoy it or figure out that you won’t quickly. 🙂

    • Yeah! I prefer honesty because then I know to not expect much going in. I actually don’t really pay much attention to reviews when deciding what I want to read, only when it comes down to purchasing something! 😉

  3. Christina Kit. says:

    I haven’t read this yet, but I read the first page online and I loved the voice and the style.

    I wonder if the lore here is better, and I do like dual POVs.

    Thanks for the review:)

  4. I hate love triangles, they’re beginning to drive me crazy! I totally don’t get why people with special powers would want to be normal! well, I got it with the girl in x-men who couldn’t touch anyone without killing them – that would suck.
    Going to steer clear of this one x

    • Christina says:

      Love triangles can be done right, but it rarely happens unfortunately. Boo!

      I know, I’ve always wanted special powers. I will trader her my ordinariness.

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