Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Darkness Becomes Her: Review

Darkness Becomes Her
Written by: Kelly Keaton
Softcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Language: English
February 2011, $14.99
Genre: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

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. 


Ever since I was a kid I have been obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology. Maybe it was due to watching Clash of the Titans one too many times as a kid, but the more probable cause was my father. See he loves stargazing and he would point out the constellations for me and I would ask who Orion or Andromeda were. Then my mom let me research to my heart’s content. While I know fairytales are the big thing right now and who knows what the next in thing will be, but I dig the mythology shtick. Kind of the same way I dig the faerie sub-genre because as a kid and even still those are realms that completely fascinate me.

Ari Selkirk has spent most of her life in and out of foster homes and she has learned to be tough and independent. It also helps that her foster parents are bail bondsman and she helps out as much as she can. But she has always wanted to know more about her mother. Why did she commit suicide so soon after Ari was born and why are there so many secrets? After visiting the asylum where her mother died and receiving a box of her mother’s things along with a letter addressed to her, Ari heads to New 2 (formally known as New Orleans after multiple hurricanes destroyed it) despite the warnings. And what she finds in New 2 is not at all what she expected, especially the things she finds out about herself.

Things I loved: I like Ari. She is tough and snarky with a decent head on her shoulders for the most part. She doesn’t look to be saved, but rather saves herself. While she is flawed (she occasionally tends to fly off the handle or jump to the worst possible conclusion rather quickly), I like her. She curses, makes bad decisions, but defends those she cares about. She’s not a hard character to like for the most part and that helps the story a great deal.

I completely dig the combination of witches and vampires with Greek mythos. And of course all of the nods to said mythos such as Arachne make my little Greek mythology geek very happy.

I love the secondary characters. I don’t want to give away too much but everyone in the household made me smile. Especially one particular little girl who has a pet albino alligator. I really want to see those characters fleshed out and see them grow as they have a lot of potential.

Things I didn’t love so much: For me my biggest complaint was I knew the myth long before she did. And how can young people not know who Medusa is or even her myth? Have you not seen Clash of the Titans? Did you not have Mythology bits in school? I just couldn’t buy it. Because it was screaming at my face like the snake hair of a gorgon. I did like that they had the whole mythos though with the beautiful hair and the beautiful priestess. Poor girl. Athena was just a bitca.

I do think that the romance bit happened a bit too quickly, especially when you know that this is not the only book in the series. I like slow believable burn, not I just met you and this is crazy, but... I don’t care how good looking Sebastian is. Another problem is Ari is too quick to trust, too quick to just believe anything. Let’s face it if you grew up in a bail bondsman family you’d probably not be so quick to trust, you’d be careful and have a hell of a lot of questions. If tomorrow we found that Athena existed, how would you react? Other than possibly check yourself back into that mental asylum. And it’s not just the romance that moves along at a quick pace, it is the whole plot in general. In a way it reminds me of episodic television where this is no time to process, you only have an hour so cram as much as you can. This can be good as the story moves along very quickly, but at the expense of a bit of believability and character development. It makes the story a wee bit predictable because of the pace.

And we do have the plausibility of the government selling a devastated New Orleans to a bunch of old school money families. A bit odd don’t you think. But easy enough for me to suspend my disbelief.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. It was a quick book. While yes there are some complaints, I have a feeling they will work themselves out in the next installment.

Part of: a Series.

Also Recommended: Read the original Greek mythos, because it is awesome. Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony, Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and a lot of Charles de Lint’s work.

3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

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