Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Copyright 2009
EgmontUSA - Young Adult/Paranormal
372 pages

The Dark Divine is the first e-book I've completed, which is possibly much more exciting than you can imagine. When I first got my e-reader (just after Christmas) I found that I'd read a chapter or two and then completely forget I was reading an e-book for a few days. It didn't come as naturally to me to grab the reader as it seems to for a lot of people, but I finally decided I was just going to have to work on making it a habit. Success! I finished an e-book!

Grace Divine has never known what happened between her brother Jude and Daniel Kalbi or why Daniel disappeared. Now he's back in town and she finds herself curiously drawn to him, even though Jude has warned her to keep her distance. Why is Jude so angry with Daniel? What's causing the arguments between her father, a pastor, and her slightly obsessive-compulsive mother? Is it really so wrong to love and want to help someone who has hurt the people you care for? Doesn't the Bible tell us to forgive?

I don't believe it's a spoiler to say there's something to do with werewolves in The Dark Divine because I know I read that much before I picked up the book and it takes a very long time before you actually get to the werewolf part of the book. The vast majority of The Dark Divine is about relationships -- the relationship between Daniel and the Divine family, how they took him in and then he abruptly left their lives and how Grace still finds him magnetically appealing. Even though she knows his absence was difficult for her family and they're strongly opposed to her having anything to do with him, as the daughter of a pastor Grace is accustomed to helping people and Daniel seems to need a friend.

What I loved about The Dark Divine:

I think Bree Despain did a great job of slowly peeling away the layers of the story, revealing the secrets Grace's father and brother kept close in the past, whilst simultaneously developing a romantic dilemma with plenty of conflict. And, the conflict simply grows stronger as Daniel's story is revealed. I also love the way the book is written such that Christianity is simply a part of Grace's identity. The Dark Divine isn't about Christianity at all. Grace's beliefs are simply inseparable from who she is and how she reacts.

What I disliked about The Dark Divine:

There were some minor strands of the story that confused me. I don't know if there were extremely small holes in the plot or I missed something, but toward the end I found myself thinking, "I don't get it. Why is Grace thinking that to herself? Where's her logic coming from?" In the end, some of those confusing bits were explained but I can't say I was totally satisfied. And, yet, I really enjoyed the reading and think the main reason the book ended up my first completed electronic read has to do with the fact that the story was compelling enough that I pretty much didn't touch any other books for the few days it took me to read The Dark Divine.

In other words, the "dislike" section of this review is pretty weak. If I still gave numerical ratings, I'd go with 3.5 or 4 stars, depending on my mood. That's one reason I don't use numerical ratings, anymore. I'm so moody that I find myself thinking, "This was about a 4-star book," when I finish and then 2 weeks later, I'll reflect on scenes I loved or hated and suddenly I want to go back and change my rating in one direction or another.

At any rate, I hope to read the second book in the series. But, so far my upper limit on e-book prices hasn't cracked $5 and the next book, The Lost Saint, is not what I consider a reasonable price for an e-book.

Cover thoughts:

Well . . . it's pretty. Very eye-catching. I have no idea what bare legs wrapped in hot pink tulle with matching toenail polish have to do with Grace Divine or the story, though.

Thoughts on defining genre:

I've occasionally hesitated to use the word "paranormal" because I haven't been certain I'm using it correctly, but I looked up the definition online and Merriam-Webster defines paranormal as "not scientifically explainable." Oh. Okay, that seems to work for werewolves. The American Heritage Dictionary goes a little further: "Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation." That works better, in my mind, because (if I recall right) I'm pretty sure the prefix "para" means "beside" and when I think of the word paranormal, I think "beyond the normal" but "beside the normal" makes sense because it beside contrasts whatever you're talking about (ghosts, werewolves) with the normal but also implies a coexistence, right? Am I overanalyzing, here?

And a question:

I recently asked the people in my book group if they have an upper limit they're willing to pay for e-books or simply download whatever books they desire, regardless of price, for the sake of not adding additional clutter to their homes. The responses were interesting and quite varied. I'm curious about those of you who read my blog. If you own a reader, does the price of an e-book matter to you? Does it frustrate you if you find that a book you desire to read is cheaper in paperback than e-book form or are you willing to pay more to keep yet another book from cluttering up your home?

Time for a kitty fix!

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Yeah, I don't get the cover on books a lot of the time. They seem to be more about catching the eye than having anything to do with the cover artist reading the book.

  2. Kelly,

    It's definitely eye-catching but I confess to being such a literal person that I desire a book cover to be in some way accurate to the story. This is where the quote, "Get used to disappointment" probably comes in handy. ;)

  3. I'm with you on the e-book price. Five dollars seems to be my upper limit too, although I did buy LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann for $6.17 (right after I finished reading it from the library, no less). If it is a book by one of my favorite authors and one that I really want to read, I will consider $9.99. But probably not much more than that.

    I just got my Kindle for Christmas and I think the McCann book is the most expensive one I've purchased yet.

  4. Melissa,

    I think that may be part of the deal, here -- I am terribly unfaithful. There are only a handful of authors whose books I deliberately go out of my way to acquire as soon as possible. Otherwise, I'm accustomed to waiting till I have a coupon or a book comes out in paperback. Discounted books are a little more nebulous in the e-book world. You won't happen across stacks of them to paw through and so far there doesn't seem to be anything the likes of discounts that apply to any e-book you choose unless I'm missing something.

    Oof. Bookfool may have a little trouble adjusting to this new electronic world. Thanks for your reply, Melissa!

  5. I don't have an e-reader yet but I do know that I won't be willing to pay high prices for books on it. Especially when there are so many free books available. And because I use my library so much. The reasons go on and on :) I am interested in reading this book at some point. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  6. Samantha,

    You'll hate to hear this but I said exactly the same thing. I'll just load free books! I've purchased two e-books, though. The Dark Divine was on my wish list and when I discovered it cost about the same as a credit at Paperback Swap, I decided I might as well buy it and bypass the line. The other one, Cutting for Stone, is a book I'm reading for my F2F book group. I figured it's so fat that I'd end up returning it to the library without finishing, but I could be wrong about that. I'm finding that it was worth the $5 pricetag.

    I hope you like The Dark Divine, when you get around to reading it!

  7. I'm pretty choosy about how much I spend on e-books. My tippy top has been 9.99 (and I usually use a coupon, too). However, in the last few days I've downloaded some books that I need for readalongs, and I've spent 12.99. I didn't realize until after the fact that 12.99 was $2 more expensive than the trade paperback. Grrr!

    Glad you liked your first finished e-book! It sounds good!

  8. Andiloo,

    Paying more than trade paperback price would make me growl, too. So far, I've checked the e-book price versus paperback, every time. It just ticks me off that an e-book can cost as much or more as a book that costs so much more to produce, although I can see e-books eventually being really great for the environment if it means less use of paper and trees growing back where the earth has gone bald.

    I think you'd like The Dark Divine. It was a fun read and didn't give me that "ditto" sensation.

  9. The Dark Divine sounds good, but if I had just seen the cover, I wouldn't have been interested. I do like paranormal books, though!

    I wouldn't go above 9.99 for an e-book. Usually, I only order an e-book when I want something RIGHT NOW--like when it is 10:00 at night, and I have to have a book immediately. That is the powerful draw of an e-book for me, the immediacy (and convenience). :)

  10. I have this book and the first book in this series up for review, and I am rather excited about them. I don't read very many YA books, and also very little paranormal, but there is something about these books that really gets my blood humming! I am glad to hear that you lied this one and that the roblems you had with it were only minor.

    As far as e-books go, I am noe in the stage of only buying e-versions of books that I want to read because storage space is an issue. I don't usually like to pay more than 10.00 for an e-book because I feel as if I am really getting less for my money than if I was actually buying a physical version of a paper book. Often if a book is priced higher than that threshold, I will wait for the price to go down.

  11. Jenclair,

    I don't think I would have noticed the book based on the cover, either. A friend mentioned it and that's how it ended up on my wish list, but then I discovered it cost about as much for the e-book as it does to swap a book ($2.39) and that's what convinced me it was worth buying.

    There is definitely something to be said for the instantaneous gratification you can get from downloading an e-book -- and the convenience!


    I seem to be reading a lot more paranormal YA, in recent months. Some are great, some a little ho-hum -- usually because they are too similar to some other YA. I particularly enjoy them if there's something unique about them and this one definitely had that little bit of difference that made it stand out a bit.

    $10 seems to be a common threshold. That's a bit much for me, at this point, but I can imagine I might occasionally go that high if I'm dying to read a book. We'll see. :)

  12. I have quite a few ebooks but I always forget about them! Out of sight, out of mind. Plus, I think I prefer the books...

  13. Ladytink,

    That's exactly it! I kept leaving my reader in the den and when I climbed into bed to do my evening reading, there was my lovely stack of books. It wouldn't even occur to me to jump up to hunt down my reader. Now, I keep it at bedside and grab it when I'm in the mood to read whatever book I'm working on. I still do prefer books, though. I love the feel and smell of a real book.

  14. My sister and I got an ipad to share for Christmas. So far I have downloaded the Nook, Kindle, and a few other reading apps. I have not paid for a single book. There are so many sources of free ones that are legal. Have you ever heard of Netgalley? That is one place I have found. :)

  15. Brittanie,

    Yes, I just signed up for Netgalley, but I haven't figured it out, yet. I'm backing away from galleys, though. Need to work on fiercely attacking my stacks.

  16. Honestly, if I'm buying an ebook I usually don't even pay attention to the price XD Isn't that horrible? If I see something I like I just download it, lol.

    I've had my ereader since last May and I've only read like 3 books on it...I do the same thing as you! I just completely forget that I'm reading something on it, lol.

  17. Chris,

    Oh, dear. That's just naughty. LOL I think the more people refuse to pay ridiculously high e-book prices (and I mean as much as it costs for a paper book or more -- apparently, authors are not getting a great deal out of e-book sales, so I'm not saying they should be so cheap that authors suffer), the better off we'll all be. You know, just from an economic standpoint of pricing based on demand.

    Isn't that awful, totally forgetting you're reading an e-book? I've really had to work on that. Actually, I'm trying to change a lot of my habits. I'm trying to focus enough on one book to actually *finish* something, every few days. It seems to be going pretty well. I have to finish my next e-book, Cutting for Stone, by the 16th (for my f2f group). Oh, I forgot to write about my last f2f meeting. Eeks!

    I'm obviously in babble mode, here. Wait till you see my next post. You'll love it. On that note, I've got to go get started.

  18. Congrats on finishing your first ebook!! I couldn't get in to this story at all unfortunately but glad to see you enjoyed it. As for ebook prices, no real limit though it really does irk me if the paper book is cheaper. The paper book I can lend, swap, donate, etc so it should be more I always figure!! (Amazon can do lending but seems to be US only for now.)

  19. Amy,

    Thanks! I'm not surprised you didn't get into this one. It doesn't seem like your thing. Wither might be more up your alley because there's food for discussion about the treatment of females and their varying reactions to sharing a spouse.

    Yep, I'm with you on pb vs. ebook.


Thank you for visiting my blog! I use comment moderation because apparently my blog is a spam magnet. Don't worry. If you're not a robot, your comment will eventually show up and I will respond, with a few exceptions. If a comment smacks of advertising, contains a dubious link or is offensive, it will be deleted. I love to hear from real people! I'm a really chatty gal and I love your comments!