Book Reviews

[review] Darkness Becomes Her – Kelly Keaton

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.

Discovery: I stumbled upon this book while perusing my Goodreads feed one day. The hints of Greek mythology pulled me in, though the cover was a little unappealing.

+     Unique plot. When I picked up this book, I wasn’t expecting the story I got. From the first chapter, Kelly Keaton constantly surprised me with characters and twists that were totally out of the ordinary. I especially loved the world-building involved in New 2 and its population. The novel’s premise was a breath of fresh air desperately needed in the paranormal fantasy sub-genre.

+     Ari(stanae). She’s not the protagonist one might expect to helm this story, and that’s the best thing about her. As soon as she described her life working as a bail bondsman with her foster parents, I knew I’d like her. She never does what anyone thinks she will, she knows what she wants and goes after it whole-heartedly. I admire her courage and hard work, which may go unnoticed in a book full of complex characters. It’s very clear that she carries this story forward.

–     Pacing. I feel like I say this a lot these days, but pacing is so important when it comes to YA novels. If it’s too quick, exposition suffers. If it’s too slow, the reader will lose interest. This particular novel was strange  because it read fairly quickly, but it also seemed to go on for ages. The halfway point meant nothing because I hadn’t actually learned anything important yet. The action-packed last third of the novel was great, but did we really need all those chase scenes in the first half?

–     The antagonist. Since this is the first book in a series, I’m willing to give Kelly Keaton a chance to tie all the ends together properly. However, everything seems a little too contrived. I can’t talk about the antagonist without revealing spoilers, but I will say this: I’m not sure why it had to be her. Talk about bizarre: why New Orleans of all places? How does this all fit together with Ari’s destiny?

Recommendations: I would probably pick this up with the other two books (the sequel is coming out later this year), if only to have the whole story in front of me when I start. Readers may grow frustrated otherwise.

Rating: Satisfactory.

Go check out Kelly Keaton’s site and follow her on Twitter @KellyKeaton.

Next review: Divergent, Veronica Roth

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