Dark World #1
by Cara Lynn Shultz
Series: A Dark World Novel (Book 1)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (May 27, 2014)
Paige Kelly is used to weird—in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demonslayer—and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons—and she might never make it home.
I’m pretty sure Andye might have a different opinion on this, as she is reading it too, but here is mine to compare hers with.
In a nutshell, it started out weird and kinda boring. I am not too into talking to 50’s style ghosts in the bathroom.
But then, suddenly the ho-hum bathroom encountered a freaky, VERY freaky, fiery chick with expanding mouth and scissor incisors.
This book got interesting.
Then, Logan became AWESOME. And the main character, Paige, apparently had skills beyond just talking to ghosts. Just like that, the book became a cross between the The Mortal Instruments and Angelfire. It was all Shadowhunters, evil demons, sexy relationships and teenage drama. I haven’t read Angelfire in years but I couldn’t stop thinking of those books when I read it.
I almost didn’t get further than the second chapter but I’m glad I did. This series has potential.
There were some cool parts to this book that were not just copycats of the type of fantasies it is similar to. Mainly, this was in the worlds and the backstory.
I loved the idea of the overlapping worlds- the mysterious Dark World layered over our normal one. In most stories, the good and bad seem to share a world. Or if they don’t, you don’t really go into the other world(s). In this story, though, the distinction is everything. It was very creative- the imagery of the broken, abused, disturbed New York City overlapping the real city (which the author - or at least main character - obviously loved, loved, loved).
I felt like the backstory was well written, and for some reason I was expecting a lot of holes in the logic of it. But, I didn’t really find any, instead receiving answers to most of my questions- like what ghosts are, what demons do, why Paige is special, etc… Instead of holes, the reader is left with a parallel universe that the typical human never discovers. But, that doesn’t mean that powerful warlocks and demons aren’t still fighting for control in a never-ending war.
I also appreciated that these entities couldn’t really cross so much between the Dark World and the normal one. That would have made it too easy, and I feel like this sets this apart from books where demons are pretty much just everywhere.
Although I was fascinated by the concept of the Dark World, I felt like this book just gave a taste of it. That was disappointing. It was like teen drama got in the way of the real story behind the story. Or maybe it was more like this book was setting the scene for what I hope is a much better, more involved story.
The romance was sweet, maybe a little too gushy and serious for such a short-relationships. But who am I to talk as I got married after just months with a guy?
Still, I am not a big fan of “We will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever be anything but in love forever” books for teens, as I think they set us all up for unrealistic expectations. It isn’t that I thought the relationship was totally cheesy or unfathomable. I mean it when I say it really was sweet. But it was just, well, so very serious. I’m pretty sure I said that already.
But, the romance became the whole focus of the book for a long while and I am not sure I liked that.
I was glad, though, that the relationship wasn’t totally perfect, as that would have been oh-way-too-boring. There was at least something this darling new couple had to work through.
And, I can’t help but love a hot guy who hands-out invisible swords, is cute, vulnerable but strong, respects the girl’s family, and lives to protect self-sacrificially. A prince charming, totally. Well, he would be if he would just take-off that blasted Yankees cap! I also think he has just a few past-issues he should probably work through, like the vengeance obsession thing, before he just expects to move on into a wonderful relationship so easily (as if it won’t come up).
I did like Paige as a character alright, that she was strong herself, that she didn’t care about what others thought of her, that she was willing to forgive or at least not feel like she had to be a jerk back to those who treated her badly. I connected with her, and thought she wasn’t a bad role-model (well, besides only having dead friends thing). And I did consider her annoyingly naive at times. I enjoyed her sense of humor and I thought her dad was pretty adorable too, with all of his loving quirks and logo-branded freebie mugs.
The Dark World was good. It was a generally enjoyable read and I was fully intrigued by the world. But, I do feel like it was more of a potential scene for a better story, than great in-and-of itself. Sure, go ahead and read it. You might really like it. But, if fell short on the “love it” category for me. I think I really liked it in the context of knowing that there is more to come.
“Inspiring the average American to change the world to end poverty and injustice.”
- Language: Moderate
- Violence: Heavy
- Sexuality: Mild in action, but borderline moderate because of references?
Overall, I would call this a pretty clean-read.