Darkness Becomes Her Hardcover – Feb 22 2011
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“Unforgettable, complex, and unique. I could not put this book down.”--#1 New York Times Bestselling author Christopher Pike
"Darkness Becomes Her is part “Lightning Thief,” part “Twilight,” and part “Maximum Ride.” [It] will leave many readers clamoring for the next installment."--SLJ
"A page-turning story with a multidimensional heroine and an atmospheric near-future setting."--Publisher's Weekly
*"Keaton creates a New Orleans setting rife with Gothic rot and decay, and allows Ari to discover, articulate, and explore a range of political and ethical questions without ever striking a didactic note. Deft character descriptions humanize not only the creatures, but also help to individuate characters who suffer a variety of physical and emotional challenges. A great choice for a book discussion group willing to take on another round of vampires. The cliff-hanger end promises a sequel."--Booklist, starred review
About the Author
Kelly Keaton is the critically acclaimed author of The Darkness Becomes Her trilogy. As Kelly Gay, she writes the popular Charlie Madigan series for Pocket Books. While she calls Raleigh, North Carolina, home, she can also be found chatting about books and life on Facebook and Twitter. Read more about Kelly on her website at KellyKeaton.net.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
My rating: 5/5
Ari has had a tough life, growing up without a mom, and suffering the abuses that come with being a foster child. She's had to grow up fast, but now she's with a couple who really are good foster parents. They are also bail bondsmen, and Ari does help them out with their work. She has some questions about the mother who abandoned her though, and so she sets off to find out what she can about her. Little does she know that she's in for a whole new world of crazy. Having found some information about her mom she continues on to decipher the strange note that her mother had left her. With the help of some newfound friends she'll finally get to the bottom of things and find out just who, or what, she is.
Darkness Becomes Her is a genuinely entertaining, thrilling and breathtaking ride. Ari is a tough and sassy main character who uses the f-shot freely and fluently. Her tough girl exterior wards off some, but when she meets a group of kids in the New 2, she realizes that maybe there are others like her, others who are different like she is. I found myself easily identifying with Ari, and I really liked that she opened up to let others in, especially since she normally doesn't let anyone in.
The world building of the city, New 2, is portrayed beautifully. New 2 comes to life and is rich with detail. It fully engulfs the reader and draws them in, allowing them to feel as if they were there exploring the different areas of the city alongside Ari and her friends.
Though this is primarily Ari's story, there is a romantic element to the book.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
However, I did have a couple of real dislikes.
The profanity: The heroine is supposed to be a hard-edged, foster-child type teenage girl. She fights like Buffy the Vampire and solves her own problems rather than waiting for a hero. She also swears as part of her `edge.' Only it didn't work for me because she is also wishy-washy about making decisions (she changes her mind a lot), emotionally overwrought (passes out from over emotion kind of stuff), and falls in love so fast it makes her look stupid. And all this made her seem not hard-edged at all. So the profanity ended up being forced (like the author trying to prove how hard she was) rather than real.
The detached body parts: There really are real detached body parts in this book- it's got a Buffesque grotesquery to it. However, even better was the grammar. The best (worst?) was so funny that all my kids came running to see why I was laughing so hard. On page 178 the author intended to say that the heroine rolled her eyes after someone made a snarky comment. Then the heroine glanced over at some couples on a dance floor. However what the author put into print was, "My eyes rolled, falling onto the dancers..." (writing this made me laugh all over again).
The Big give away: The giant story has to do with the heroine's identity. Her deceased mother left her a message to `run' because someone is trying to catch/kill her. So she runs, gets chased, and tries to figure out what it going on. And the answer to why this is all happening is pretty unique (or at least I hadn't run into this exact scenario before). I would have liked this book a lot more if I'd been able to slowly unravel the mystery as the clues were dropped, etc. But the author RUINED it by putting a clue on page three that was so obvious that it explained everything and gave the entire mystery away. I don't know if she did it on purpose or not, but it totally spoiled the surprise.
The romance: By far the weakest part of the story. Within hours of meeting Mr. Perfect-but-Attractively-Grumpy, the heroine falls in love. It happened so fast it was boring. The romance scenes could have been cut/pasted from other books they were so unoriginal.
But even with all that, this wasn't the worst book I'd ever read. I probably won't read more in the series (is this a series? Probably), but for a quick read, it did its job.
The characters in this book charmed me - every. single. one. I loved Ari, our heroine. She was strong, yet still vulnerable. The best part? She didn't act like a spoiled, whiny brat! The love interest, to me, is obvious from the very beginning. Sebastian is a truly swoon-worthy character, heritage or not, and I loved that he was so brave and fearless - even when he knew he wasn't invincible. I also love that Ari and Sebastian didn't go completely love-struck and just forget about the entire world around them. No, the tension was just a soft buzz. You knew it was there, but it never distracts you from the real story. The other characters, especially the house of "misfits", was exceedingly charming and the other characters were well-fleshed out and never deviated from themselves - no matter how rotten I thought they were. Ha.
Like I said, there was a definite cliffhanger. Of course, it didn't take the cliffhanger for me to be hooked ... the story pretty much had me from "hello" and I'm still not out of its trance even after I completely finished the story. One thing that caught me off-guard was the amount of offensive language in the book. I don't think it was completely necessary to the story at all, but it's there - so, if you have a younger child reading the book, you might want to take that into consideration. But it didn't make my interest in the novel stray any. This has to be one of my top most enjoyable reads so far this year. It's definitely a recommendation for paranormal lovers that may also have an interest in Greek mythology.
Greek Mythology is looking the next hot thing in Paranormal YA. There are at least a dozen books coming out in 2011 that play off the Pantheon of gods in one form or another and I couldn't be more excited to read them. I can't reveal the unique mythological twist that DARKNESS BECOMES HER employs without spoiling a major revelation in the book, but it's fresh and exciting and delightfully messed up in the way only a Greek tragedy can be.
Ari is the protagonists here. She's an orphan who bounced from one awful foster care situation to the next before landing with a loving couple who run a bail bonds company. They provide her not only with love for the first time in her life, but also teach her the tricks of the bounty hunter trade including impressive (yet not unrealistic) fighting and weapons proficiency in preparation of her joining the business when she turns eighteen. Those skills end up saving her life and others when she tracks down a lead about her birth mother in New 2, a semi-alternate New Orleans that was destroyed and then became home to the country's `freak' population of rumored vampires, witches, and shapeshifters.
While I understood Ari's personality, I found her prickly and bordering on waspish throughout most of DARKNESS BECOMES HER. She goes from zero to !@%&ing pissed off in seconds (*Note there is a abnormally high amount of profanity in this book than normal for the YA genre). Understandable but annoying. Then there's Sebastian, New 2 resident who ends up helping Ari. Cool and calm despite dealing with huge responsibilities for a teenager, not to mention a frightening and uncertain future because of his unique heritage. I absolutely understood Ari's attraction to him, but I didn't quite get Sebastian's attraction to her.
For mythology junkies, DARKNESS BECOMES HER delivers a great reimagining of some of the gods and myths in a fun, contemporary way that lends itself perfectly to the Paranormal YA genre. The protagonist has her ups and downs, but in the hands of the talented Kelly Keaton, I'm confident that she'll mellow out after her growing pains. The as yet untitled second book in the Gods and Monsters series will be published in February 2012. I'm looking forward to it.
Kissing. The events leading up to and immediately following a rape are described. References to child molestation.
Ari was born with teal eyes and silver hair which can not be changed nor destroyed. She has always felt like a freak. Ari has grown up in numerous foster homes since her mother left her as a child. Now that she's older, she wants some answers as to who she is and where she has come from.
Ari is not guaranteed many answers when she finds her mother has been dead for many years. She does, however, uncover one short and not extremely detailed message: RUN. Where can she run and who exactly is she running from? Ari knows someone, or something, is after her.
She decides to return to the place of her birth, New 2, the rebuilt city of New Orleans which was destroyed by multiple category 4 hurricanes when she was a child. Ari has never been sure of what New 2 really holds but once she returns, she finds it is very different. Where growing up Ari was pretty much a freak, in New 2 she is practically normal.
Creatures here seem to be afraid of Ari and what she can do, whatever that is. She is determined to find out the truth about herself, but sometimes the truth is more terrifying and haunting than Ari could ever suspect.
The premise was quite different than what I've come across in most YA paranormal novels recently. It had an entire slew of different creatures. Your more common vampire and werewolf showed up, as well as more unique characters like harpies, gods and arachnid people.
The setting of New 2 - an improvised version of New Orleans - was quite interesting. With the amount of hurricanes that hit around that area, I could actually imagine the type of damage that could happen and the way the city was rebuilt by the society in this novel. New 2 is now a secluded and dangerous sector separated from the rest of the U.S. after it's purchase and refurbishment by the Novem. The area is now riddled with rumors of the supernatural.
The story building was a little weaker. Taken in sections it's pretty cool, but, all in one book, it didn't really work for me. First of all, there is New 2. There was a series of devastating hurricanes that effed up New Orleans. Afterwards, the government abandoned the city as too costly to restore, so a group of nine wealthy families (The Novem) purchased the city. They fixed up some of the city and made it a safe haven for special folks, because the Novem consist of three witch families, three vampire families and three shifter families. Paranormal: check.
Then, as you read on about the curse and everything, you learn that there is another facet to the plot. Greek gods and other figures from mythology are totally running around and doing awful things. Definitely important to remember that Athena is not just the Goddess of Wisdom, but also the Goddess of War (which I always thought was a bit of a stupid combination, although wisdom is good for strategy). Mythology: check.
So basically, this story has every possible magical/paranormal/powerful being possible. While all cool, the combination really just didn't work for me. I think the story would have been a lot stronger with either just the first section or just the second. Overall, a fun, if a bit silly, teen read. A second book is in the works, judging from the ending of this one, and I do intend to give it a shot.
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