Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reviews: Halo & The Dark Divine

Despite the fact that I haven't been posting my reviews like I should, I have been reading.  Most of the writing I've been doing on my computer has been on my current project.  I'm working on being better with time management.  I'm play catch-up over the next few days.

Both these books are for the 2011 Young Adult Challenge, where I stated I would read 12 books.

Book 2/12

Title: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Summary:  Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels are sent from Heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings. 

But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

My Review:  (There are spoilers for this review!)

I'm not sure that I can accurately, let alone eloquently, explain my feelings for this book. We have an angel in human form for a main character and I'm assuming that's why the novel is filled with so much exposition and description. So much focus on it. At first it really annoyed me, until I was able to see that as the main character is experiencing her first trip to earth maybe that is how it would be.  That said,  I ended up skimming large portions of exposition where it seemed to serve no purpose to the plot.

The romance was okay. It falls into the same box of issues that I have with Twilight. I enjoy it, but I think as an adult, I can't buy into the true-love-perfect-relationship-soul-mate, where the guy has no imperfections in the eyes of the girl.  And I hate when fighting with the boy drives the girl to have a complete breakdown.  Maybe if I was a teenager I would think it was incredible and romantic, but I'm not sure. 

The introduction of Jake Thorne (hello obvious character name), the event that proceeded and the ending all happened so quickly that it was almost an after thought. It felt like it was thrown in as something that Bethany and Xavier had to face simply because they were too perfect or a reason for Bethany, Gabriel and Ivy even being on Earth. 

Basically, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't a book I would tell people to rush out to read. I'd probably say, "If you're bored and like cheesy romance, check this out." Liked it enough 

Overall: 2 stars

Book 3/12

Title: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Summary:  Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood. 

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother. 

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.

My Review:  First, I had no idea that the order I was reading the YA books would lead me on some semi-religious theme throughout them.  I was mostly basing it on books that looked interesting and others were talking about.  Second, this is another one of those books where it was quite hard for me to articulate how I felt about the book.  This review might seem almost bi-polar as I really did like the book and want to read more from the author, but I also couldn't overlook some of the issues I had with this book. 

I'm not the most religious girl, but I really enjoyed the use of Grace and her family's religion (and the role within their community that came with it) in the book as it didn't come off too heavy-handed. For the most part, I enjoyed Grace, the main character, but at times she seemed too perfect and never seemed to ask the most basic questions of the people in her life.  It was as though she was purposefully ignorant for no good reason.  The same can be said for her conversations and relationship with Daniel.  I liked the connection the two of them shared, but it was all over the place.  I get that's part of the point of them getting together, but at times it was too much.

My other issue was pacing. It seemed like we had very long lead-ups to the reveals and the ending, and then there was hardly anytime spent on the actual moments as they happened. I didn't get to enjoy the pay off quite the way I wanted to - I felt somewhat robbed of the time to be both happy and sad for Grace and Daniel. 

I still enjoyed it.  It was an addictive read.  I liked the twist of the end for Grace (again, just wish there was more to savor of it) and I'm intrigued to see what becomes of the characters and how they develop.

Overall: 3 stars 

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