“As I watched her soar gracefully over the treetops, I couldn’t help but think that sometimes beauty camouflaged the ugliest creatures.”
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.
I dive into this book without knowing anything about it. After few pages of reading I still can’t figure out the story is all about though my curiosity never leave me wanting to explore more especially when the two mysterious characters suddenly pop up. Obviously there is some paranormal identity in them that I need to know. So I keep reading in spite of a slow pacing and a typical paranormal YA setup.
Skye is a an orphan trying to live a normal life when she starts to notice strange things going on. She has a two best friends, Cassie and Dan and three admirers. One human who get the unrequited love and two angels who were both mysterious in every move they make. These two angels both pop up to Skye’s life claiming to help her discover her real identity and possible powers she may possess. Devin is the calm and peaceful one who represents the orders. While Asher the typical bad boy represents the rebels. These two characters and the rules surrounds them makes the story more mysteriously intriguing.
Asher and Devin both claim to have feelings for Skye despite the rules and regulations of their mission, but the sincerity of their claims were constantly put into questions. They both do things that will make you think that you understand their motives only to be turned upside down by the their next moves. Their hot-cold dance around Skye is like unending circles that makes me a little bit dizzy.
As much as I want to like Skye I don’t connect with her. She is a bit complicated character to follow. She do things that sometimes negate her previous actions which makes her more childish in my eyes. I find her friends Cassie and Dan more interesting characters than her. They may not have super powers or amazing personal backgrounds but it is easy to connect with them. When Skye becomes too busy dealing with Asher and Devin I feel sorry for her friends because they were easily take out of the picture. I usually don’t talk about minor characters but I can’t help but notice how the author handle her minor characters in here. At first they were part of the story then suddenly pull out to give way to the love interest. Then when the plot needs them again especially Cassie, the author just push her back again to fullfill some task for the plot.
“I was starting to realize – no matter how much I wished it wasn’t true – that we were growing up. There were some things that your best friends just couldn’t fix simply by being there for you.”
The mythology that the author created in this book has potential if developed more. When she take out God, heaven and hell out of the picture to tell the stories about the war between angels she simply crafted her own path. The rebels and orders have their own cut of mythology that will make you question the different sides of dark and light. The calm and chaos they carry are a bit delusional that you want to questions both sides and their real motives. It’s hard to see the details in black and white because both sides were more complicated than they claim.
The idea of orders handling fate of human is also interesting. Though personally I don’t like how they function in the story. Manipulating others’ life just to bring order isn’t something agreable for me, especially if they completely works for their own hidden motives like in the story.
The ending is abrupt but definitely action pack that gives an unexpected twist. The cliff hanger in the end is evil which will make you wish for more pages and explanations. Because just when the actions begin you are suddenly left hanging in the air.
Overall, A Beautiful Dark is a nice attempt to give a refreshing cut to the overly crowded paranormal genre with angelic theme. With characters that become mysterious as you read and the unclear boundary between good and evil this book is pretty entertaining.
This review is based on an e-ARC I received courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins via NetGalley.