Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
My rating: 2.5 of 5 genies
Published: September 27, 2011 by HarperTeen
Pages: 390
Source: Library Loan
Format: Hardcover
Purchase At: The or

Goodreads Summary
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.

My Initial Thoughts

This cover is gorgeous! Man it's so pretty with the shiny words and girl at the front pulling a whole Rose in Titanic pose! All she really needs is a Jack, but in this case, Sky does not get 1 admirer - not just 2 either - but 3 guys who want her. How do I know this from only reading approximately 44.5 pages into the book? Well that's just the problem, A Beautiful Dark is painfully predictable. Most of you may not know, but I put off marking this as "unfinishable" because I was dreading the review, I couldn't do it.

And while some people think that ripping a book apart is fun, that there's some enjoyment in burning it to flames, page by page there isn't. Truth be told, someone worked very hard on this and since Jocelyn Davis has never once offended me in any way shape or form, I think it only fair that I deliver a respectful review. Kind of one of those "get in, get out deals." Hit it!!


The main problem with this book seems to be that it is very literally a regurgitation of very YA novel to date with aspects taken moderately from each. There was nothing to expect because quite honestly I already knew.

For example, Skye has 2 best friends, I will get to them later, but they like to throw her a 'surprise' party every year even though she doesn't like the gatherings. AT. ALL. That point was made so evidently aware to me that I almost shook the friends and slapped them upside the head with salmon for continuing with the 'tradition' when poor Skye looked like she just dreaded the whole ordeal and only went along with it to please them. What kind of friends are these? Beats me how she fakes liking the parties every year! The friends come off as heavily inconsiderate for persisting despite her refusal.

It should be sweet that they do it for her, really it's a nice gesture, but ONLY WHEN THE PERSON BENEFITS FROM IT. This girl hated the parties, end of story and it didn't help sell the whole "best friends since forever" angle that Cassie and Dan didn't see it. Plus, the parties are probably doing more harm than good since every year they serve as a somewhat permanent reminder of the parents she doesn't have. [Maybe they were too strung up in their own little world? If the question most of you are contemplating now is "they like each other" I'm going to have to say yes, yes they do, and I got this much from reading almost 45 pages. And like with Skye's ritual birthday parties, there really were no more surprises to be had. (hide spoiler)]

Secondly, the love triangle or whatever contraption it was intended to be, I'm still trying to work out in my mind what shape would work but...Oy Vey.

All those guys for one girl?? What is she supposed to do, shoot candy out her boobs like Katy Perry?! It was unbelievable and tired. When I first met Ian my impression of him was of the sweet guy next door, but since the book's blurb points out that 2 other guys are supposed to compete for Skye's momentary affection I knew something had to be wrong. And then it hit me:

Ian is a plot device. He doesn't really have any purpose as a character other than better exemplifying just how lovely our dear protagonist supposedly is, because if 3 hot men want her she must be something special. Instead it left me feeling fidgety and bored because it was pretty apparent who in that twisted relationship would be hurt in the end: Ian, and I liked him. This wouldn't have been a problem if the other guys - Asher and Devin - were anything to write home about. Fair enough I didn't get that far, but the foundation was laid pretty bare and like I said, been there, done that was my response.

Asher and Devin reminded me a little of Damon and Stefan Salvatore in angel-angsty-bad boy form:

- Long brooding looks at female? Check.
- Creepy sense of female having known both guys before? Check. By the way this sets the stage for very creepy explanations as to why. I hear some Edward-Cullen level stalking occurred?? Yeah, enough said.
- The general appeal of both guys makes it impossible for the leading lady to get either from her mind? Check!!
- She will consequently have to choose between them. *Gasp* Who will it be!?! Dun, dun, dun, dun!!!

It was all done before! Everything has happened somewhere else and while I went in with high hopes and great expectations blazing, I was disappointed. I could have given up at 10 or so pages in, but instead kept at it as best I could until a good friend of mine pointed out, there is no point in reading something you know you aren't going to like. As soon as the stale disposition of this novel and its characters registered I knew this wasn't the type of book that I'd rave over.

As a protagonist, Skye is standard. And brooding. And just far too uneventful to make me want to come back. She lives in a ski town that didn't really offer much and by the time I stopped it was just before she meets the boys at her high school. Honestly, I am beginning to think that school isn't such a safe place anymore! All the paedophiles wind up there. And yes these boys are paedophiles, they are immortal and therefore by far older than Skye. I'm serious, the more I read YA fiction the more I consider home-school for my children.

awkward gif photo: Awkward awkward.gif

You're right, finely dressed man! They'll probably turn out awkward.

In Conclusion

*Sigh* I have nothing else to say. I went as far as I could go with this one and hopefully this review is at least helpful. 2.5 genies out of 5! Like I said, it would have received a higher rating if it were original, but it isn't. Or at least not to me, feel free to form your own opinions.

This novel had its perks, I wouldn't read it again, but it was an okay read.

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Going by FTC guidelines, allow me to point out that all the novels reviewed on this blog were either bought by me, or given by an author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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