Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review: Darkness Becomes Her

Synopsis: 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.

My Review: I am really on the fence with this novel.  There are a lot of things that I really thought were highly original and unique, and others that just annoyed the crap out of me.  So many things are just keeping me from liking it, and that sucks because I WANT to like it.  I just can’t.  

I had a supreme hate/like relationship with Ari.  I mean first off, two bail bondsmen for foster parents?  That was just a pathetic excuse for her to kick everyone else’s ass.  Her whole tough girl attitude just rubbed me the wrong way.  Which is surprising in itself because I adore kickass female MC’s, but the author was just trying so desperately hard to have Ari be a bad-ass that it was just annoying.  She also had a nasty habit of jumping to conclusions and cussing like a sailor.  I’m sorry, but dropping the F-bomb every couple of paragraphs got REALLY tiring after the first chapter.  I was reminded of other kids at my school who feel the need to add an explicative to every single sentence.  “We need to go to f-ing Wendy’s.” Like really? I cuss way more than I probably should, but I don’t do THAT.  All the cussing was uncalled for and was actually detrimental to the story.  Plus, Ari’s little crescent tattoo by her eye just bugged the crap out of me.  Facial tattoos are like Monroe piercings.  They don’t look good on ANYONE! I was at least expecting some relationship with what Ari was to the crescent, but no.  I would have accepted it then, but otherwise not a chance.  Pretty poor criticism I know, but that was just a personal thing for me. 

So with all my ranting about Ari and her many defects, she wasn’t really that bad of an MC.  She was strong and determined to do what she thought was right.  She doesn’t sit idle, but takes action when necessary.  I admired those qualities in her.  Okay so this really doesn’t have to deal with Ari as a character but it just really pissed me off with the author’s portrayal of the foster care system.   One of Ari’s particular foster mothers stuffed raw chicken down her throat and threw her in a cage and treated her like a dog?  WTF?!  I am sorry, but that was highly un-called for and a totally inaccurate depiction of the foster care system.  Granted some guardians in the system should not be, but come on!  That was just another poor attempt to depict Ari as a tough ass chick who could deal with any shit thrown her way.  I was just SICK of it.  

Okay I promise no more ranting.  For now…

As I should have expected the romance in this novel totally fell flat for me.  Sebastian was really cool and I really enjoyed his character.  However, Ari and his relationship was just a WTH moment.  Ari shows up in New2 for A DAY and soon they’re making out in a restaurant booth?  Uhm, huh?  Am I missing some integral information about being a teenager?  Sebastian is portrayed as the type of person that doesn’t give a shit and would rather be by himself.  They’re relationship just made absolutely no sense to me.  

All my complaints aside, I LOVED New2.  I spent time in New Orleans for New Years last year with my band and it was seriously one of the funnest trips I’ve been on.  It was awesome to have first hand knowledge of all the places that Ari visits.  The Garden District, Café Du Monde (their beignets are seriously to die for), Jackson Square, The Voodoo Queen, etc.  I absolutely loved New Orleans, and I think it’s because of my first hand experience of the city that really made me appreciate the atmosphere of this novel.  I’ll give props to the author.  It was an awesome setting.  Half destroyed and dilapidated New Orleans was infinitely cool.  

The final reveal of what Ari actually was interesting.  I was really surprised and really didn’t see it coming.  Though when Athena showed up in the story I should have gotten a clue.  I’m pretty well versed in Greek mythology and so I’d like to think that I know what I’m talking about.  Athena’s portrayal bugged the crap out of me.  Uh hello, Athena was not JUST the goddess of war.  If the author wanted a bloodthirsty deity who wore the skins of her victims then she should have picked Ares.  Athena was about wisdom in battle.  Goddess of BOTH wisdom and war.  Athena was just a plain psycho bitch in this book and from a mythological stand point it really bothered me.  Hey, it’s fiction, the author can do whatever she likes, but it just bugged me.  

Overall, the few admirable things about this novel couldn’t save it for me.  It was just a disappointment.  I can honestly say that I don’t know if I’ll even read the sequel.  Maybe if others have some good reviews I might consider it, but otherwise I’m done with this series.