Novel Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

I’ve been reading like crazy for the last week or so. I can’t tell you how liberating it’s been, how relaxing. Great thing about all the reading, I have time for extra reviews. 🙂 Today, we have A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies. This is one of the books I requested and received from NetGalley. The blurb from Ms. Davies’ website:

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 was an easy book to get into. I originally had concerned about the dialogue, which seemed like nothing more than a series of fast paced lines thrown together. However, the dialogue faded away to some interesting turn of events. From then on, the book had me hooked.

Each character had a definite personality. We had the star of the show, Skye, who a conscientious rule follower, the perfect student (always on time, straight As, on track for a wonderful college future). Sure she was a high achiever, but for the most part, she just seemed, well, normal… except for the funky mercury eyes she had at times.

Then there was Cassie, Skye’s best friend. She was what I’d consider the life of the party… and a bit boy crazy. Whenever she appeared, the atmosphere brightened. Skye’s other best friend, Dan… well, Dan was just Dan. More of a side kick than anything. Finally, we had Ian — the boy crushing on Skye, but also a very good friend. Of all the characters, I would have liked to see more of him — the thoughtful, concerned friend who was willing to give a hand. With the implications at the beginning of the story, I just thought he’d play a greater role.

The angels: We had Asher, the fun one, and Devin, the goodie-goodie. I have to say, I didn’t like either one of them after the initial introduction. If they’d come sniffing around my daughters, I’d probably have a word or two to say. It wasn’t until later, they started to grow on me. Despite Asher being the play boy and Devin looking smug half the time, they seemed to be caring (deep, deep, DEEP) inside. Still, the characters seemed well developed, though mysterious.

One thing I might note: though the setting was high school, the characters seemed quite grown up. In fact, it made me think more of an office than a high school, most of the time. Their dialogue, behavior, attitudes — none of it had that high school feel to it. It lacked the silliness I’ve seen in high school students in general. Instead, it was like watching a bunch of late 20s-30 year-olds interact.

So the plot: Excellent. I never knew what to expect next. Who was the good guy? Who was the bad guy? Maybe they were a little bit of both. And what was with Skye? Exactly what was her role in the universe? Where would the events lead her? Unfortunately, it was a cliffhanger, so I have no idea. Grrr. It was more than a cliffhanger. It was just incomplete. Nothing had been resolved. None of the initial questions were answered. Leading up to the end, was great… pieces were following into place, at least I’d hoped. But alas, I only got half the story.

It was like The Matrix Reloaded… you’re getting into it. “Yeah! This is great!” Then the words “To be continue” pop on the screen, and you think WTF? I remember the silence in the theatre as the audience read the word. We all sat there… stunned for the longest moment. Then we quietly got up and left like zombies. That’s how A Beautiful Dark ended. Not really a cliffhanger, just half a piece of work.

What I’ve read so far, 4 out of 5 stars. Would I recommend it to others? I don’t know. The ending of a book has a lot to do with the overall recommendation. Since I haven’t read the ending, I can’t determine if the story is even worth starting.

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies is available at: The Book Depository and Barnes & Nobles

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