Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Keaton (when it comes in)
With her striking features, particularly her unusual, silver hair, growing up in the foster system meant spats of emotional, physical and sexual abuse through her childhood but Ari emerged a strong, capable young woman despite it all. Now that she is nearing her eighteenth birthday and finally with a foster family that trained her to be both physically and mentally strong, Ari sets out on a personal search for the mother she never knew. What she finds at Rocquemore House, the mental asylum that was her mother's last known residence, reveals a note written by her now-deceased mother begging her daughter to run for her life and avoid New Orleans, now called New 2.
Since a devastating hurricane wreaked massive destruction on New Orleans, the government allowed nine wealthy, powerful investors to purchase the city and run it as they saw fit with no intervention. New 2 is now rumored to harbor all types of supernatural beings, although few know which stories are true and which are created for the more daring tourists.
Shortly after receiving her letter, a massive, hulking man with a huge sword attacks Ari and attempts to kill her. Ari is now convinced that if she is ever going to come to terms with her past, she must try to follow the trail of her mother's life, which begins in New 2. With the help of new friend, Sebastian, Ari discovers the curse that has haunted the women in her family for centuries. Its now up to Ari, to find a way to break the curse so she can be the first among them to survive.
I actually loved certain aspects of this book but I felt that it could have been executed a little better as a whole. The storyline was extremely inventive, very unique compared to many of the YA paranormal/paranormal romances that have been published lately. I enjoyed that the author set the book in a city familiar to her readers but entirely different than the city they know. One of my favorites parts of the book was the way the author unfolded New 2 through Ari's eyes.
Speaking of Ari, she is an amazing character. She's tough, she swears and she does not hesitate to stand up for herself and pursue her own interests. The only real complaint I had with this book was with the romance and the relationships Ari finds with characters in New 2. One second Ari is understandably wary of this (of course brooding, dark-haired) guy, and two chapters later, she is snuggling with him and making out. People automatically befriend her in New 2 and they are instantly willing to give their lives for her by the end. This inconsistency pulled me out of the story making it all seem ridiculous at times. I also felt that the ending, while satisfying, was rushed and somewhat anti-climactic. Despite these flaws, I enjoyed this book and I think many teens will look past some of my issues and really identify with Ari and her quest. Like I said, she is a great character and how often do we come across such an inspiring, strong abuse victim in paranormal YA fiction? Definitely give it a try, I think many will enjoy it.
The Bottom Line: Darkness Becomes Her was a good read, with an inventive storyline and a strong character I think teens will really appreciate. Despite some of its shortcomings, I enjoyed and would recommend it to fans of YA paranormal fiction and paranormal romance. It definitely looks like this is the first of a planned series so be on the lookout for the next, I know I will!
The publisher provided me with an advanced reader's copy of the book for this review. Darkness Becomes Her has an expected release date of February 22, 2011. Be sure to check it out when its released!