A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
My Cold Weather “Beach Read”
Who says just because the weather is nippy and leaves are turning that you shouldn’t have a good beach read? The overwhelming sentiment I had while reading A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies is that I should be digging my toes into the sand and sipping a fruity mixed drink, because this is pretty much the perfect beach read. I get that the snowy setting (there are even avalanches!) preclude this from EVER being a summer title, but that doesn’t mean I can’t light a cozy fire, grab a mug of hot cocoa and “beach it” if the book fits. This story was a low-stakes, fun, lightning quick guilty pleasure read–very satisfying.
We meet Skye on her seventeenth birthday. Which is handy, because that happens to be the day Shizz Gets Real. She meets two handsome and mysterious new boys, Asher, a dark and dangerous snarkmaster, and Devin, a blond, icey zenmaster, for the first time (and they make an epic first impression by getting into a hot boy brawl at her party). Additional birthday treats for Skye: her eyes are doing bizarre quicksilver tricks, and a boiler inexplicably explodes in the coffee shop during her party, causing everyone to evacuate as though their small Colorado town was on a major faultline.
At school the next day, Skye runs into the mysterious new boys again, and pretty much around every corner there after. So why are they following her? And what’s going on with her gray-turned-silver eyes? And what’s up with the thermostat, the bus heater, and the other electrical devices that seem to go haywire and overheat around her? Are these just a bizarre set of coincidences, or something more?
You’ll have to wait until one of these hot new boys tells a campfire story to get a clue to the answers to these questions, and then it’s pretty clear what’s going on (though it takes Skye a bit longer to connect the dots). But when she does realize the truth, her decision between Asher and Devin takes on a great deal more importance than “which of these hot boys do I want to make out with at The Bean this Friday?” She is now choosing between light and dark, order and chaos, ice and fire, and her choice will shape her destiny beyond mere high school hooking up, and possibly affect the destinies of angels and humans alike. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say this book is a unique take on angel mythologies, and carves out a nice place for itself within the subgenre.
Oh love triangles–will I ever tire of you? Apparently not, because I knew full well A Beautiful Dark would demand a Team “—” choice (mine’s Asher, by the way), and I still couldn’t stay away.
I never really felt Skye was in any danger from Asher or Devin, because it was clear both guys were having a hard time focusing on their angelic agendas because they were crushing big time on our girl. The only real danger I felt Skye might befall came from a jealous girlfriend/betrothed angel (who kind of gave off the same vibes as Evermore’s villainess). Perhaps I was wrong to feel so at ease, or maybe it was because so much of the supernatural world she was facing was unseen, just a myth she was being gradually inducted into, that I couldn’t feel the danger as acutely.
The ending is an absurdly cruel cliffy, and the fact that I was compelled to throw the book as far as I could (an embarrassingly scant few feet) is proof I was invested enough to want it to go on further, like NOW. I’ll have to wait until the sequel, A Fractured Light.
This is definitely a must for my fellow Lauren Kate fans looking to bridge the gap between Passion and Rapture. It’s an interesting addition to the angel lore, a fun ride with a solid trio of main characters and a wonderful supporting cast (I especially loved bubbly Cassie, Skye’s BFF).