publisher: Simon Pulse
release date: February 22, 2011
hardcover, 288 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
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.
Review: Ari is one tough cookie. Her harsh upbringing in various foster homes and the mysteries of her past, along with being trained to fight by the only foster parents that ever cared about her have made her a girl not to be messed with. Her quest to chase down her past lands her in the rebuilt New Orleans, known as New 2, a town full of every kind of creature and misfits, and run by the highest families of vampires, demi-gods, and witches. Ari finds herself smack in the middle of some political secrets and still doesn't even know what she is or what she can do. I loved how real she seemed, tough as nails on the exterior, but still a bit fragile and damaged on the inside.
This story has a great array of interesting characters, most of which you don't really get to know all that well, but one of my favorites was little Violet. She doesn't say much but she just has this very cool presence and I could help picturing her as a character drawn by Edward Gorey. Sebastian is also a good character, kind of quiet but protective of the little band of misfits that have made a home in an old house in the Garden District. The love story between Ari and Sebastian happens a little too instantly, but it back-tracks itself a little and they get a really good connection going.
On a side note, the swearing is kind of out of control in this one. Normally swearing in books doesn't bother me at all---I'm not deluded, I know teens (and almost everyone, for that matter) swear. But I found this a little on the excessive side. As in, one or two of the more vulgar four-letter words gracing every other bit of dialogue, and that included Ari's inner dialogue. I get that she was tough and angry and so was much of the cast (even the goddess had a potty mouth! lol) but I think a good 30-count of the f-word could have been nixed and the story would have come across with the same amount of awesome fierce attitude.
Darkness Becomes Her really had a lot of fun elements: amazing fight scenes, a bit of creepiness, the lush setting of New Orleans in full blown Mardi Gras celebration, some light romance with a one very knee-weakening first kiss, magic, mystery and a few mind-boggling plot twist that I really did not see coming. I can't wait to see where this series goes.
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