A Beautiful Dark
Reading Level: YA
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 27, 2011)
On the night of Skye’s seventeenth birthday, she meets two enigmatic strangers. Complete opposites—like fire and ice—Asher is dark and wild, while Devin is fair and aloof. Their sudden appearance sends Skye’s life into a tailspin. She has no idea what they want, or why they seem to follow her every move—only that their presence coincides with a flurry of strange events. Soon she begins to doubt not just the identity of the two boys, but also the truth about her own past.Eh. I was SO into this book until I hit the end. What a disappointment. I can't begin to tell you how irritated I get when books end abruptly in the middle of the climax. That is such a no-no. I was fuming. Seriously. My husband was driving the car as I finished up the book (and made my irritated caged animal sound), which caused him to nearly swerve into the other lane. I scared him. He doesn't share the same feelings about books, so he didn't understand why such an ending would evoke sounds of fury and annoyance. But I know other people understand where I'm coming from...
In the dead of a bitingly cold Colorado winter, Skye finds herself coming to terms with the impossible secret that threatens to shatter her world. Torn between Asher, who she can’t help falling for, and Devin, who she can’t stay away from, the consequences of Skye’s choice will reach further than the three of them could ever imagine.
Don't get me wrong, I really liked this book. The characters were great, and the whole love triangle was steamy and downright intense at times. Skye was likeable enough, but she really didn't do anything for me. She was one of those mediocre, wishy-washy girl characters. I think I was supposed to feel more for her, but I didn't. BUT, Asher and Devin... that's a different story. They were certainly polar opposites, and very delicious. Like his name, Asher was the dark, mysterious bad boy type. It bothered me that he was so into playing head games, but he still had that appeal. You just couldn't resist him. If Asher and Devin are opposites, then that would make Devin the sunshine and rainbows character. Except that's not exactly how he works. He emits this sense of calmness and tranquility, but he is VERY conflicted (and moody). I was furious with him in the end, but I know his role is pivotal in the following books. I would bet my lotto ticket on that one.
There are some characters that don't get a lot of face time in the book, but certainly deserve it. Dan is hilarious, and one of Skye's best friends. I loved him. I would really like to see more of his light humor in the upcoming books. And then there is Ian... poor, sweet, overlooked Ian. I almost wish that Skye would see him for what he's worth, instead of overlooking him because of the "friend" value. He was so likeable. Of course, as the book went on it seemed like he completely disappeared, which I did not understand. Characters with such hold in books should not dissolve into the ever after.
As I said, I was all into this book for the entire 280 pages (on NetGalley). I couldn't wait to read it. While waiting on the bus for Disney, I read. While waiting on the kids to finish playing in the arcade, I read. I read at the pool, in the car, and under the covers in the camper after everyone went to bed. The story was that gripping. With all the fan girlness aside, I can't believe how the story ended. Not that the events weren't HUGE and shocking, but that those events were the true end. I can't stand books that leave tons of unanswered questions. I'm all for piecing in the story and guessing (because that's the intent of the book), but never ever ever, should a book end during the climax. I mean, WTH?! How can you do that? I get that it builds suspense and all that, but it's infuriating. When the next book finally comes out, it will probably start (I hope) where this one left off-- which means it will start in the middle of the story's climax. I don't know how I feel about that. I tend to like books that start in the middle of the action, because they typically stay fast paced. But what if that's not how the other book starts? Then what? I honestly feel like my NetGalley file was missing pages. I trully justified the ending that way. I said to myself, "The final draft that's coming out (with 400 pages according to Amazon) MUST have an alternate ending. The NetGalley file (with a measly 280 pages) can't be the final draft." Boy, I hope that's the case. I will be checking the shelves September 27th to see if the book does indeed end this way.
Overall, I liked the book. It was a good read... until the end. I'm still fuming about the abrupt stop in the story. It's just not right! If you can live with a book that ends in the middle of the climax (and wait another year to find out what happens), then check this book out. Otherwise, it would be best to wait until the second book comes out so you won't be filled with angst and annoyance while you wait.