The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

darkdivineThe Dark Divine tells the story of siblings Jude and Grace Divine: your average preacher’s kids living in Minnesota with average high school struggles. Jude is, of course, the Golden Child. Grace isn’t quite as holy as her brother, but she does her best to be self-sacrificing. Everything is, of course, disrupted by the sudden reappearance of the Divine’s prodigal adoptive child, Daniel. Grace was always in love with Daniel and just a little bit worshipful of his beauty and his natural artistic ability. And three years after he and Jude had some sort of incident, Grace finds that she still has feelings for him (despite his less than charming bad-boy attitude). Despite Jude expressly forbidding her to speak with him, despite everyone’s warnings (including Daniel’s own) about his character, Grace helps him find a place within their community and continues to love him, no matter how much of a monster he might be.

The Dark Divine explores the idea of monsters living amongst humans–and the struggle to define what a monster truly is. Definitely an interesting take on the werewolf mythology–the idea that werewolves started out as protectors of humanity. I enjoyed the book although I think there were definitely weak points in the writing (Grace’s friend April was a particularly flat character and I also think Grace’s mom never quite got much explanation or sympathy). I did find Grace’s decision to either be loyal to her brother or to be with Daniel to be fascinating. It’s the same struggle Maggie has in George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss. Also, there are of course parallels to Wuthering Heights–they can be found in nearly every YA paranormal romance (though of course the hero usually turns out to be MUCH nicer than Heathcliff ever was). I’ve got the sequel, The Lost Saint, sitting on my shelf. Eventually I will read it, but for now I have quite a lot of other books to finish–including the third installment in Meg Cabot’s Abandon series and also Wild by Chery Strayed.

Also, as an added bonus, I think Hozier’s song “Take Me to Church” is the perfect song to go with this book. And I love Ed Sheeran’s cover:

 

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