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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 288 pages 
Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 22, 2011) 
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.
She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

Book Opening:
"Under the cafeteria table, my right knee bounced like a jackhammer possessed. Adrenaline snaked through my limbs, urging me to bolt, to hightail it out of Rocquemore House and never look back.

Deep breaths." 

Notable Scene:
"My legs gave out and I dropped to my rear on the dance floor, the gown billowing around me, making me feel very small and very much like the child everyone called me. A child pretending to be a big girl in her frilly ball gown.  A child who didn't know anything about the world she found herself in. A child compared to the old and ancient beings I'd come to know." – Page 204 ARC version

Confession:  Prior to reading Darkness Becomes Her, I assumed this was going to be the start to a new vampire series. Maybe it was the location. After all, Keaton couldn't have picked a more perfect setting for a creepy vampire story. But Darkness Becomes Her turned out to be completely different from anything I had imagined. I admit, initially I was a little disappointed – I had it in my head I was signing up for a certain kind of book and was a little unsettled when it turned out to be something different (though no fault of the author's).  But once the book hooked its claws into me and captured my interest with its unique world building and story line, I enjoyed immersing myself into Ari's strange new world. 
I loved Keaton's vision of "New 2." This was the crumbling, abandoned city of New Orleans, filled with misty old cemeteries, murky swamps and a city bursting with all sorts of bizarre oddities. To most people, New 2 was little more than a "dead zone". It was a place respectable folks naturally shied away from, and as such attracted mostly thieves and miscreants.  This type of gothic location couldn't have been more perfect for me- I ate up everything  about the city and couldn't wait to learn more. In some ways, New 2 was like a main character that I never got tired of reading about!

As for Ari, I loved her too. Imagine being a young girl on your own and deciding to head into a scary place like New 2 with no one watching out for you.  But Ari went anyways because she was tired of not knowing who she really was and what happened in the past to her birth mother. My heart was in my throat when Ari crossed the line into New 2- I loved that the book kicks off quickly with her making the decision, instead of languishing around with Ari wondering what she should do.
Though occasionally the writing did seem to meander a little bit for me, I was able to overlook it pretty easily. I was won over by Kelly Keaton's unique plot line and also with Ari herself, a truly unique individual with her strange silvery hair and  mind-blowing abilities. Throw in the dark magic of a once grand city with all sorts of secrets hidden underneath its dilapidated buildings and empty streets, and Darkness Becomes Her was a winner. The book ended on a major cliffhanger, involving one of my favorite characters. So be ready for it- it's a shocker! 

Bottom Line: Suspenseful and intriguing, Darkness Becomes Her opened up a whole new paranormal world for me; one  dripping with Greek mythology, voodoo priests and a rag-tag gang of misfits struggling to survive years  in the once vibrant city of New Orleans.

1/2 Stars

Kelly Keaton
Kelly loves ancient history, fantasy, and mythology. She dreams of one day attaining magical powers, discovering the secret to immortality, ridding her home of pet hair, and being crowned Mardi-Gras queen. She likes pre-Raphaelite art, moonlight on snow, and MMORPGs. She lives in NC with her family, one Great Dane, and two incredibly hairy cats. DARKNESS BECOMES HER is her first Young Adult novel. She is published in adult fiction as Kelly Gay.
Official Website


Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book yet (so thanks for the spoiler-free review) but it sounds completely different than I was expecting. I am excited to read it. I love novels with that gothic, southern feel. Great review!

the epic rat said...

It was a major cliff-hanger! I loved this unexpectability of this book, and I have to admit that I had to do a double-take on New 2 and the fact that its residents had taken over it from the government! Is this true? Obviously not, but man, I was concerned!