The Dark Divine by Bree Despain: Book Review

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Cover of The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

3 Stars

Grace Divine, the local pastor’s daughter, walks into art class one day to find Daniel Kalbi checking out her latest project. Not too remarkable, right? Well, Daniel disappeared from her life several years earlier on a violent night that her family never talks about, and she’s had no idea what happened to him. He seems to have changed. He’s angrier, darker, and seems to be hopeless. Grace decides to make his life better however she can, then realizes she’s in way over her head.

I can’t give a reason for my rating. I just didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, so it landed in the forgettable middle. There’s a twist, and I did like it, but that’s about all I can say.

I did like the message that forgiveness helps the person doing the forgiving as much as the person being forgiven. Maybe even more. I have a looooooooooong fuse, but once I get upset with you, I’m done. I don’t really forgive. So that part did hit home as something I need to work on personally.

I have realized that I really only read YA fantasy. I don’t have a whole lot of patience for “real-life” high school drama. This felt a lot more like that kind of book than like a fantasy I would normally read. I know there are plenty of you who like those kinds of books, so you’ll probably like this more than I did.

One thing drove me crazy. It felt like every page or two there was a header proclaiming what time, day, or place the story had moved on to. This is not necessary. Write it in. And she does, so it looked like this:

I rolled over and and looked at the clock: 6:00 a.m.”


followed by Grace running into the woods. A merciless editor should have cut every one of those. It chopped the story up and got repetitive. I did read an ARC, so there is a possibility these got cut in the final version.

I guess what I’m trying to get to is that this was just pretty forgettable for me. I won’t be looking for the next one unless I hear amazing things about it. Plenty of you will like it, so don’t let me put you off.

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  1. I agree about the heading!
    I haven't read this yet, so I'm really glad you mentioned that you thought it read more like a "hs drama" than a typical fantasy story. I personally have a hard time finding "high school drama" stuff interesting, so maybe I'll read a few other books before getting into this one.
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Yeah, the headings sound annoying. I like things that are non-traditional in format (like Death's headings in The Book Thief) but not if it seems redundant or like the author doesn't trust their reader to get it. Or maybe doesn't trust themselves to give it.

    "I have a looooooooooong fuse, but once I get upset with you, I'm done."
    Me too. But it's a trust thing. If you've pissed me off that bad, the trust is gone.

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