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Reading Under the Willow Tree

Environmental Science student, book reader, big dreamer, Sailing/Kayak/Surf instructor, Film buff, Adventurer, Girl.

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The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine  - Bree Despain
The Dark Divine
By Bree Despain
The Dark Divine book 1
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Were/shifter
Format: ebook, 372 pages
Published        December 22nd 2009         by EgmontUSA
Grace Divine, daughter  of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night  Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a  truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family  has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and  enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll  stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking  artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer  Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions  stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But  she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.
I had heard a lot of good things about this book before I picked it up, and thankfully I was not disappointed.  I really liked this book, somehow it got under my skin and I couldn’t put it down which lead to a very late night. 
To be honest this book is not all that dissimilar from a lot of other YA books out there.  The setup is not exactly new and it reminded me of Twilight in parts.   You have a good wholesome girl and a dark, dangerous and uber attractive guy, they fall in love despite all the problems and dangers and all sorts of supernatural shenanigans ensue.  It is a familiar story, but Dark Divine does things a little bit differently and it is these things that made me prefer this over other books of its genre, especially Twilight.
The first ‘thing’ is that behind the hot werewolf and angst driven love story this book is actually quite deep.  There are tonnes of messages and ideas about family, faith, forgiveness, jealousy, betrayal, mortality, illness, love, lust and hero worship.  These are the themes that drive everything else (even the romance) and is essentially the backbone of the whole book.
The characters face a lot of moral dilemmas, again this is not new, but in Dark Divine these dilemmas are talked and thought about, there are no judgements, no ‘this is right from wrong so our characters must comply’feeling that I sometimes get from other YA books.  I liked this approach; it was more grown up and more real.
All of this was complimented by a great cast of characters.  Grace is just a normal girl stuck between her heart and head, the love of her life and her brother.  She had a few silly moments where I wanted to slap her upside the head but for the most part she was fine.  I liked that she didn’t always have to be saved and that it was down to her to be the hero.
The best character by far is Daniel, I found him impossible not to like.  He was gorgeous, mysterious, talented, caring and funny. But most importantly he was not overbearing or over protective.  He asked Grace to do stuff like stay in because it might be dangerous but he didn’t force her.  He was utterly swoon worthy and I adored him.
The storyline and plot are pretty sound also.  There are a couple of bits that made me frown and a couple of clichés but nothing major. There were parts that I saw coming a mile away and parts that managed to surprise me.  Most importantly this book was extremely entertaining and really well written. 
I enjoyed this immensely and cannot wait to get stuck into the next book in the series.
4 out of 5 stars
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