Friday 10 August 2012

Review: A Beautiful Dark

Title: A Beautiful Dark (A Beautiful Dark #1)
Author: Jocelyn Davies
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: 27th September 2011
Rating: 5/5 stars

When I’m fully engaged in what I’m reading and it’s all cute and exciting, I have this thing where I can’t stop smiling and I’m in a good mood and a little bit random. Yes, I’m weird, I know. One brother looks at me like I’m crazy, the other tells me to be quiet (not so politely) and my dad just says, ‘She’s off again’ in a tone that says he doesn’t expect anything less by this point. But the point is, I’ve been in kind of a haze lately, like my brain was full of cotton wool and though I was enjoying some of the stuff I was reading, I wasn’t really connecting with it. A Beautiful Dark got through that fog.

Skye’s seventeenth birthday triggers a chain of events she didn’t see coming, and it all starts with the birthday party – one she never wanted in the first place. Just seconds after two mysterious strangers get into a fight, what’s first assumed to be an earthquake forces the party to a head. Thinking that to be the end, she’s shocked to find that those same strangers, Asher and Devin, are now going to her school. Not only that, more weird stuff is happening. She soon realises there’s more to Asher and Devin than it appears, that they belong to two different sides, and their story is going to bring her life crashing down around her, and with it, a question: which side will she choose?

I know what you’re thinking. Angels, Nephilim, you’ve heard it all before. Think again. This book doesn’t even use the word Nephilim. I guess, now that I think about it, I can see some parallels between the angel story here and elsewhere, but the way it’s set out makes it seem completely different – in some ways, is different. I love the idea of there being two opposite sides, neither one quite what you’d expect despite their obvious labels of light and dark, good and evil, Order and Rebellion. The conditions that come with being a part of one of these factions aren’t exactly ones you’d accept lightly and Davies does a great job of showing that, however great or ideal something seems on the surface, there is always more to it.

Skye was definitely likeable. She’s remarkably mature: persevering, very academically focused and her experiences mark her more than they would someone else. What I found moving was that it was all for her parents, who died when she was six. Mostly she was tough and tried to get on with things as best she could, but occasionally that vulnerability would show. Despite such a tragedy, it didn’t make her resentful of legal guardian Aunt Jo. It was sweet to see how much they loved each other. Skye’s best friend, Cassie, was a little annoying at first, but that soon went away and she proved to be a good friend. Ian and Dan weren’t hugely present for me, though I did appreciate Dan’s concern for Skye. There was a bit of confusion in her when it came to Asher and Devin, which I can see putting some readers off, but I think there was a heavy incline toward Asher.

This brings me nicely to the two angels, or as Devin corrects Skye, Malakh, meaning messenger. Devin, blonde-haired, blue-eyed and white-winged as he is, belongs to the Order, the faction responsible for peace. Being on the side of the light, you’d think he’d be friendly and understanding, right? That’s what I’d expect, anyway. But actually, he’s more on the pushy and less on the understanding. In a way I feel bad for being critical of him, given that he has no choice – literally. In the Order, you either set the rules, or you follow them, and Devin falls into the latter category. Despite that, I couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated at how closed off he could be. There were times when another side to him emerged, but no sooner did that happen than he was back to his old self. But then again, the last time we see him in the see how there are two completely different angles to look at him and how confusing it can get.

Asher, our traditional tall, dark and handsome, is a Rebel. He was cheeky, flirtatious, always joking around but also serious at times – in short, completely lovable. When you think of a group being ‘light’ or ‘good’, you immediately assume or are told that the other is the exact opposite. In this case, I don’t think that applies. Neither side is good and neither side is bad, something the author explores well here. Davies keeps you on your toes. There’s one obvious point where the reader isn’t sure whether to trust Devin or not, but when it came to Asher, no sooner do you completely put your faith in him than something happens to make you realise, perhaps you were wrong.

Overall, this book completely surpassed my expectations. I’ve seen quite a few negative ratings for this and a friend of mine warned me expressly, so I was a little cautious, but thankfully it worked out fine for me. With an engaging plotline, some great characters and a killer ending (no pun intended ;D), this is definitely one to get your hands on.


  1. I enjoyed this one! I love how you describe the blurring lines between the supposedly 'good' and 'bad' sides. Jocelyn really explored that well.

    I really liked Skye and much preferred Asher over the boys! But Devin did intrigued me, I wanted to see him BREAK OUT. Very much looking forward to the sequel after what happened in the end, so thanks for reminding me all the things I enjoyed about this. Amazing review! :D

  2. I love angel books :D Although my recent reads had been about angels, I still find myself attracted to these kinds of books. My guess is its the wings. I love imagining the soft, silky feathers.

    This book sounds lovely considering it seems like it has a cast of well-rounded characters. I hate books that have characters for the purpose of place-holding and contain no real depth. So...

    Glad you enjoyed this book despite the negative reviews it had. In the end, what matters the most is your own opinion as a reader. :D Fantastic review, Aa'Ishah :D

  3. Wow, this sounds fantastic! I'm glad you had such a strong reaction to this book. I know what you mean about reading good books but not anything that manages to reach out to you beyond that. That's how it always seems to be for me too - until I reach that occasional 5-star book. I need to pick this up soon! Amazing review, Aa'Ishah! :)

  4. Wow! I loved this review... I feel really bad, I have missed out on so many YA and paranormal books currently. I definitely need to catch up on the times, lol! I loved this review! You know when we have the conversation a dark, handsome guys in novels, did Asher have the same vibe for it? I'm liking him already. We have similar tastes in books that's for sure, its another one on the recs list for me! :)

  5. Fantastic review, A! I've seen this book a lot of time before but never really bothered to check it out. But after seeing your review, I got really interested. I just added it on my tbr now! Woohoo! lol! I'm so glad you enjoyed this! :)

  6. Such a beautiful review Aa'Ishah! I get all these comments from my family all the time too! hey Just don't get how a book can be so captivating at times that you don't really pay attention to what's going on around you and this definitely sounds like one of those books! And I'm glad it's different from a lot of the angel books that we've been getting! :)

  7. This definitely sounds like an awesome read! It's refreshing to read something a little different from the usual good versus evil theme. I'm glad this book got through that fog that you had and you felt connected to what you read. Great review!

  8. I get those looks too Aa'Ishah! Mostly when I'm laughing out loud for no apparent reason to those around me. I love it when books put me in a blissfully happy book. Another angel series? This one sounds really good compared to some. Wonderful review! :)

  9. "When I’m fully engaged in what I’m reading and it’s all cute and exciting, I have this thing where I can’t stop smiling and I’m in a good mood and a little bit random."

    Oh goodness I have EXACTLY the same thing.

    And I SO get this, too: "I’ve been in kind of a haze lately, like my brain was full of cotton wool and though I was enjoying some of the stuff I was reading."

    I am SO excited you loved this, and I'm really loving the sound of Asher and Devin messing with your expectations about good/bad order/chaos light/dark! AMAZING! ♥

  10. I've seen this book around, but I had no idea that it was that good! :)
    I'm definitely going to check it out after that fab review you wrote. :)
    The characters, especially the MC, seem really brilliant.
    Thank you for convincing me to check the book out.
    Beautiful review, Aa'Ishah!

    P.S I get those looks from my sister too. Pffft! It seems like siblings don't understand how great books are! :P


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