Title: A Beautiful Dark
Author: Jocelyn Davies
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: A Beautiful Dark (Book 1)
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
ISBN-10: 0061990655 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0061990656 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed By: Macie
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.
Quick and Dirty: While I found the characters and mythology interesting, the plot was unsteady.
Opening Sentence: The air had a brutal edge to it as I stood outside of Love the Bean, the local free-trade coffee shop.
In this novel, Skye is a quiet, well-behaved teen who does not seem very enthusiastic about the world around her, except for the stark beauty of snowy Colorado. She has two close friends, Cassie and Dan, but I didn’t feel that Skye truly felt connected to them beyond the convenience of interacting with those around her. Individually, the characters work, and each have their own depth depending on their importance to the story. Besides conversation and some references to the past, we really do not get a sense of who some of the characters like Dan or Ian are beyond vague descriptions and interactions with Skye. Asher and Devin, on the other hand, are described with more attention to detail as Skye learns more about the two. Her adopted aunt’s character delivers more depth, but I think that is because Skye has no other family to turn to, and Aunt Jo has been her caring and supporting rock and Skye’s only connection to her parent’s past. I think these characterizations are Jocelyn Davies’ way to indicate the lack of connection Skye feels with those around her until the two new strangers enter her life.
Asher and Devin explode into Skye’s life, almost literally. She is drawn to both guys, but for different reasons. Asher is fun, sexy, and a wee bit dangerous, while Devin exudes tranquility and follows all the rules. While this seemed cliched at first, their characterization made complete sense as the book progressed. Both were sent to look after Skye and make note of her progress as she grows older. In fact, the book starts with Skye’s seventeenth birthday party where she first meets Asher and sees him fighting with Devin. Asher and Devin are at odds throughout the whole book, both warning Skye to not trust the other one, as if Skye wasn’t confused enough about them. This tug and pull between the three of them is what kept the story going, though the story was a bit inconsistent at times.
There are some gaps in the timeline and information that could have been stronger. For example, Skye instantly gives up skiing, something she loves to do, after an accident, but never mentions it again or say that she misses it which I find odd for someone who was a passionate champion skier. There is also the fact that Asher has been around for a lot longer than Devin, but that is never explained. Switching from Skye obsessing over Asher and Devin to her hosting a party without either of them seemed incongruous to the story. Also, if Cassie was Skye’s best friend, wouldn’t Skye at least talk to her some about the two guys, even if she doesn’t reveal their secrets? The one time she tries was ill timed and seems to alienate her from Cassie even more, though Cassie doesn’t realize it. I just feel Skye and Cassie’s relationship is too vague, and could have been portrayed better.
The ending of the book came too fast, and left too many questions for me to sit comfortably until the next book comes out. The events at the very end were a bit confusing to read. There is just too much information that Skye and the reader don’t know, which leads to betrayal and high emotions. I hope that the next installment will answer those lingering questions and let us know what Skye’s future is.
My mind was tugged in a thousand different directions, as we walked through the darkening parking lot as the sky shifted from twilight to night. I barely noticed all the remaining cars that belonged to the students involved in after-school practices and meetings.
I wasn’t like anyone else I’d ever known before these guys showed up in my life. How would I fit in with Cassie, Dan, and Ian? Holding this secret–a secret so big that it felt like it would consume me.
I must have shivered, because Devin took his jacket off and hung it across my shoulders lightly, almost as if he was afraid to touch me. I hoped he didn’t realize that it wasn’t just the cold I was shivering from.
He was quiet, leaving me to my own thoughts. And there were lots of them. Every now and then I would begin a sentence and leave it unfinished, trailing off into the bitter night air.
Finally Devin turned to me, his face illuminated as we passed under a streetlight. “That happened very quickly, much more suddenly than I would have liked.” Then we were back in the dark, his face hidden again. I saw him relax and realized he preferred if I couldn’t see him. “If you have any questions, you can ask me.” We were almost at my car; I could see it a couple of rows away.
“What are you?” It was the question I’d asked before they’d managed to avoid answering.
“I’m a Guardian. A messenger.”
A Beautiful Dark Series:
2. A Fractured Light
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of A Beautiful Dark. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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