Monday, October 10, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her

Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Category: Fantasy
Grades: 7-12
Author: Kelly Keaton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date: 2011
Pages: 273

Ari has always felt like a freak.  With odd-colored eyes, and silver hair that resists dyeing, cutting, or any other attempts to change it, she definitely stands out.  Her mother died when Ari was very young, and though Ari finally has a decent foster family, what she really wants is answers – answers that will only be found in the rebuilt city of New Orleans, New 2.  After a message from her mother surfaces and a bizarre encounter with a man almost leads to her death, Ari heads into the eerie world of New 2, where she seems almost normal for the first time.  Many children are “special” there, but the ruling factions of New 2 seem extremely interested in Ari. Pretty soon, everyone who meets Ari seems to either want to kill her or want to use her, although for what Ari does not know.  From vampires to voodoo to the Ancient Greeks, Ari travels through both the real and the supernatural to try to uncover the truth.  But she must hurry; according to her family history, every woman has died by the age of 21, leaving a girl child behind, and Ari’s time is running out.

Keaton plays on both the renewed interest in the paranormal and the mythology of ancient Greece in this strange, surprisingly well-told story.  Teens will appreciate Ari’s independent spirit (including her willingness to ditch her foster parents, and her ability to take care of herself).  While some of the elements Keaton included might be a bit of a stretch, overall, the book is quite a good read, with a twist at the end that was unexpected. The token vampires seemed to serve little purpose, and the portrayal of Athena was surprisingly negative, but overall the writing stayed believable within the context of the story.  Too, the book ends in a cliffhanger, and more may be revealed in a sequel that helps give depth and meaning to some of these elements.  An enjoyable read that fans of gothic and paranormal fiction will enjoy, Darkness Becomes Her may still find fans in a broader audience.  This reviewer will be watching for the sequel.


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