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Review: Darkness Becomes Her

Darkness Becomes Her is the debut young adult novel for author Kelly Keaton and the first book in the Gods & Monsters series. It will be released in the U.S. on February 22, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats.

It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

Published by Simon Pulse, the print edition is 288 pages.

Darkness Becomes Her is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

Goodreads description:

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.

***

When two Category Four hurricanes hit New Orleans thirteen years ago they caused so much devastation that the government decided it wasn’t worth the money it would take to rebuild the city. Thousands evacuated, but some remained.

They call themselves the Novem. They are an alliance of nine of the oldest, and wealthiest, families who decided to pool their resources to buy the city and stay on to rebuild, beginning with the French Quarter.

There had been much speculation about why these families would want to invest so heavily in what appeared to be a worthless cause, but few would actually venture beyond The Rim to find out. Especially when the rumors spoke of monsters, murder and paranormal activity.

But when Aristanae Selkirk learns that the only way to find answers about who her mother was, and why she feared for the life of a daughter she abandoned years before, she will have to take the risk and return to the city of her birth.

However, the answers she hopes to find may not be so easy to come by, and once she crosses over into the city Ari quickly discovers that her teal eyes and silver hair that have always branded her a freak are some of the least bizarre things in New 2.

And when her mother’s fears are backed by an attempt on her life, Ari will need all the help she can get, even of the paranormal variety.

***

Darkness Becomes Her is a sensational debut novel by author Kelly Keaton. This book will grab hold just about the time the heroine, Ari Selkirk, crosses over The Rim and takes that harrowing twenty-four mile journey on the bridge into New 2.

In her quest for answers to find out who and what she is, Ari will discover that she is not alone in her freakishness. A majority of the residents of New 2 are anything but normal. The only difference between her and them is that she wants to be.

Author Kelly Keaton does a phenomenal job of detailing the reimagined city of New Orleans. Readers will be able to get a real feel for its dilapidated elegance and the energy of the people who chose to remain behind.

Ms. Keaton manages to create this backdrop for a story that is multi-faceted, with the different elements working surprisingly well together. It’s not every author that can combine paranormal/urban fantasy with Greek mythology and really make it work.

Ari is an independent, smart, strong and very determined heroine that readers will easily connect with. For someone with as difficult an early life as she’s had, she has managed to retain her strength and her compassion for others.

Darkness Becomes Her is a tremendous start to this new series. With a pace that starts off slowly but then kicks into high gear, a search for answers with shocking results, the beginnings of a love story, and page after page of nail-biting action, this book has it all.

And with a wide array of characters to love – from the powerful and somewhat mysterious gray-eyed Sebastian Lamarliere, to the sweet, adorable, masked and fanged Violet – the only thing missing is more story.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

This is one of those books that once you read a few pages you will not be able to stop reading. There are so many little surprises and some pretty big ones.

I loved the idea, but didn’t think it would be possible to combine the paranormal with gods and monsters without the story feeling way too over the top. I was definitely skeptical for about five seconds when I was reading, but the author totally made it feel believable.

I just love that all of these different types of beings are hanging out in post-devastation New Orleans with the rest of the world none the wiser. I hope we see a lot more of these secondary characters in future books and meet a few new ones.

I also really liked the way the author switched up the style of her writing. It would alternate between passages that just flowed to somewhat terse sentences, giving the story a really nice rhythm.

And I got such a kick out of Ari. I loved the fact that one minute she could be kicking-butt and saving everyone and the next give herself a mental kick in the head when she does or says something stupid.

I cannot wait for the second book in this series as there are still so many questions I’m dying to get answers to.

One of my favorite passages – and yes, they always seem to be about the love story:

He pulled me closer, tighter, deepening the kiss as though starving, yet taking the time to savor every second. I knew how to kiss, knew the mechanics involved, but this was the first time I’d ever lost myself, ever wanted it more than breathing and wanted to keep doing it until time stood still and the earth faded away.

(Please note this passage is from an unfinished ARC. I will make any changes to the excerpted material once the published version comes out.)

***

Note to readers (and this may change in the final version): There is a significant amount of profanity that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

This review is based on an eARC I received as part of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.

Post updated 2/25 with book trailer for Darkness Becomes Her:

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