A BEAUTIFUL DARK
This one was another ‘suggested read’ (this time by Goodreads), for those who enjoyed ‘Starcrossed’, and one read of the blurb let me know it would be a good one! We definitely have a love triangle, folks, so let’s say a big thank you to Our Lord and Saviour Isosceles and get this show on the road!
Condensed review on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/727768026
It’s less than a hundred words long and largely meaningless, so we’re off to a wonderful start!
Our heroine Skye (related to Vee?) stands outside ‘Love the Bean’, a local coffee shop—there’s an opening hook for the ages. Her best friends Cassie and Dan (wonder if they’ll have any impact whatsoever on the story…?) are going to throw her a surprise party, but Skye hates surprise parties. Oh noes!
Partying ensues (party cop would approve!) and during banter we find out that Skye is a necrophiliac who wants to date a zombie during a zombie apocalypse. More banter follows, and Cassie implies that birthdays are, for some reason, ‘hard’ for Skye. I’ll call ‘parents died on her birthday’, but we’ll wait and see how it unfolds.
*SPOILERS: Skye’s parents died on her birthday.*
So more partying and underage drinking happens, and Skye wanders away in a drunken stupor and meets up with Dan’s friend Ian, who apparently he has a crush on Skye or something. (Let me guess, he’s going to be the Mike-from-Twilight of this book?)
Cassie accidentally reminds Skye of her dead parents, so she wanders about outside for a while and runs into a guy with magnetic black eyes, who—given the pseudo-psych eval he does of Skye when she says she’s hiding from her own party—is probably Patch from Hush, Hush.
Ah, Patch, how I missed thee. Those other generic love interests were just too generic for me.
Skye spends the first page of the next chapter describing the colour of her eyes and thinking about the guy she met the night before, who immediately attracted her with his invasive questions, pushy behaviour and over-familiarity.
Skye’s eyes sometimes randomly change colour, which probably means she’s getting a one-way ticket to Sparklypoo. But her self-description is put on hold when she sees two guys arguing kriptikally, two guys who say each other’s names in a dramatic fashion, like they’re in anime or something.
This is ‘Devin’ and ‘Asher’, our love interests for the book.
After Devin pushes Asher over and he lands on top of Skye, she realises it’s the guy from the night before. The force of two love interests meeting for the first time causes an earthquake, and Skye, Cassie, Dan and Ian RUN AWAAAAY! Skye then has a panic attack and sees… some guy… in the distance.
With a massive hangover caused no doubt by description-overload, Skye wakes up to a call from Ian, for the purposes of banter and finding out that rather than an earthquake, the boiler in the basement had exploded, causing the tremors.
Then Skye’s Aunt Jo shows up so Skye can compare her to her ‘fragile, ethereal, perfect’ mother. Fragility = perfection, apparently, the safe-spacers will be pleased? She drives Skye over to the exploded coffee shop so she can have more boring conversation with Ian, and he can confront her about her eyes changing from grey to silver.
Damn, Skye’s a Meyer-pire, isn’t she?
Well, whatever she is, she calls the gang over to help clean up, as you would in any episode of Barney the Dinosaur. Cassie is the only one interested in the two Mysterious Strangers, but only because they were hawt.
Well, that was a pointless chapter.
The next morning, Skye wakes up floating, only not.
Aunt Jo says she’s leaving for a trip to the mountains so that her being a parental figure doesn’t interfere with the plot, and threatens to murder Skye with an ice pick if she breaks curfew, just like my mum used to!
Skye goes off to school and immediately meets up with Asher. Already I can see the ‘First Guy Wins’ trope coming into play. He’s also a Mysterious Transfer Student, and Devin is his ‘cousin’. When they go inside, they run into Devin, who seems to be the Blue Oni to Asher’s Red, but for now doesn’t really do anything.
Skye, Asher and Devin are late for class somehow, but Asher cleverly gets them out of trouble by… telling the truth. Skye is extremely impressed with this; it was almost as good as David’s sic burn of the teacher in ‘Wings‘!
Class is boring, Asher stares at Skye, Devin stares at Asher, and Skye stares at the clock, much like I’m doing. Then in the next class, Devin sits in the ‘flirting’ position, which is apparently a thing in yank-land, while in the class after that Asher shows up, and Skye is so distracted by the existence of these two random guys that she fails to pay attention in class.
At lunch, Cassie proves she can be just as annoying as any other best friend character and goes through all the reasons she’s now convinced Skye has a crush on one of the new boys. She then fulfils the other best friend role of exposition, revealing that both boys had perfect entrance scores and their last school burned down. I’m sure one of them talked to a girl who later committed suicide too. (/Hush, Hush again)
Asher and Devin’s presence causes Skye to go into a fugue state for the next week due to… er… foreshadowing. They’re both stalking her, of course, (she’s probably teh chozen won!1!!1 or something), but Asher is the one who keeps annoying her like good old Patch. She asks if his school really burned down, he says ‘something like that’ she points out that either it did or it didn’t and he tells her to ‘stop seeing the world in black and white’.
………….and, yep, there we go. I hate him.
Team Devin, guys!
Then he asks her out to a movie—the same movie she’s been dying to see for ages. Coincidence? Ha ha, that’s what a sane person might think, but Skye’s seen police dramas before, and she knows that the girl who believes in coincidences ends up dead.
Okay, Devin hasn’t done anything to deserve stupidity like that yet.
Well, to be fair, he hasn’t really done anything at all yet.
The dream team show up for Ian to be jealous and Cassie to gush over both of them. Devin actually shows up about a minute later to be shy and ‘perfect’ and talk about Rules that Asher doesn’t care about, and then leave for no reason.
To recap—two boys moved into town and Skye’s eyes changed colour. That’s about it.
Aunt Jo returns, so I guess there wasn’t much of a point to her trip after all. Skye breaks the thermostat via magical powers of some sort—that or it’s just a cheap piece of crap—and complains about it being cold all the time.
She goes outside and promptly almost falls off a cliff, only to be rescued by Devin. His being in exactly the right place at the right time upsets Skye, but he manages to distract her from his stalking with a Boring Conversation, where Skye takes up the Patch mantle of asking invasive questions.
The conversation continues, Skye foreshadows some flying magic, and they go home with Devin having to keep her from falling over several more times. Great, Skye’s not just any Meyer-pire, she’s Bella Swann. Finally, Devin warns Skye that Asher might get her killed, not realising that that’s an attractive trait in YA paranormal romance.
Skye makes it home for more going on and on about Devin and Asher, and dreams about Asher whispering in her ear like a creeper.
Asher settles into his Creepy Controlling Love Interest role by micromanaging Skye’s school life for her. How kind of him. He also tells her to avoid Devin, because he follows the rules, and people who follow the rules never contribute anything to society.
Asher… you fail.
Then Devin and Skye have some very exciting lunch, and Asher talks to other girls! Gasp! Skye approves of Devin’s social isolation though, and when Asher drops by to ask her out, she turns him down just because so far he has shown no redeemable qualities.
The next day it’s the school trip, and Devin tries to sit next to Skye, but Asher steals the seat first, because annoying Devin means more to him than anything else in the world. But then Cassie takes the seat, proving that it is indeed she who is Skye’s one true love.
The gang play ‘never have I ever’ at the ski resort. Skye’s eyes change colour again. Asher is invasive and annoying. Ian is friendzoned. Devin does sod all.
It’s another wonderful day of ‘A Beautiful Dark‘!
The next day skiing happens, with more who-will-sit-next-to-who drama, and more of Asher’s invasive pseudo-profiling skills. Skye then has a skiing race with Asher which leads to her being swept away by an avalanche.
… if only.
No, Skye and Asher end up in a cave, and Asher creates fire via magic. Literally, rather than through plot convenience; I thought I should make that clear in this kind of book. Skye tells him about her dead parents and then falls asleep.
Skye wakes up in hospital with Devin by her side, and Devin heals her wounds via magic (again, literally). I’m not sure why he had to wait for her to wake up to do this, but whatever. The Dream Team soon arrives which prompts Devin to leave and Ian to get more hot chocolate.
Cassie continues to obsess over Skye’s love life and the Dream Team huddle around a campfire making s’mores. This book just gets better and better.
Asher shows up to gush over Skye’s mad skiing skills, and then some other ho comes along to steal away his attention. Boo! Skye is mad, despite Asher still not having any redeemable qualities. Asher decides he’ll try out for one of those redeeming feature things by telling a ghost story.
… well, more of an urban fantasy conspiracy. Basically, a long time ago the Illuminati secretly controlled the world, and in this book they’re some future-seeing psychics called Gifted and there are guys who carry out their orders, called Guardians. Devin is a Gifted and Asher is a Guardian.
Oh, the book doesn’t say that, it’s just blatantly the case at this point. Anyway, some of the Guardians rebelled against the Gifted (shit, we have to deal with La Resistance in this book even though it’s not dystopian?) and were kicked out of the garden of Eden… which is apparently where they lived…
Then LOVE occurred, when two Guardians on opposite sides took a leaf out of Delirium‘s book—the one about Roms and Jules—and were subsequently banished for their lack of originality. These were Skye’s parents, and Asher and Devin were sent from each side to see if she might grow up to have the power of being a heroine in a YA book.
Oh, the book doesn’t mention Skye by name at this point, but again you’d have to be a moron not to realise it. Anyway, that was a dumb story, let’s move on.
Skye remembers that her parents had the same terrible taste in stories, while Devin looks pissed at Asher for giving away the entire premise of the book in such a lacklustre way, though seeing as we’re over forty % through it was about time some kind of premise showed up.
Aunt Jo shows up to take Skye home in a huff, and it’s mentioned that no one had a story as good as Asher’s, making this class the worst story-tellers in the history of the world.
Skye proceeds to have more strange dreams about her friends being killed off by a volcano and the next day finds a long black feather. Then Cassie shows up to tell her that Devin and Asher left the trip a few hours after she did because they’re stalking her. Skye decides the best way to handle all that seeing Devin and Asher perform magic is to drag Asher into an empty classroom and confront him about it.
Asher says he will tell Skye what’s going on later that day… but not everything, because otherwise the book would be over. Cassie harangues Skye some more about her relationship with Asher—she can’t get blown up by a volcano fast enough for me—and reveals that Asher is now going out with that other ho.
Except he almost certainly isn’t.
Ah, the big reveal… let’s see what we have today, kids…
First of all, Devin and Asher have wings, making this book a better contender for the title of ‘wings’ than ‘Wings‘. Devin’s are white and Asher’s are black, giving me Inescapable flashbacks.
… actually, this is all very much like Inescapable, isn’t it?
Skye has a panic attack on learning that the dumb campfire story was true, so Devin takes her home. It turns out he’s actually a Guardian too, just he’s one of the ones that work for the Gifted while Asher’s totes a rebel, yo! Also they’re not really cousins, just related through Adam and Eve.
Devin gives Skye a ‘trust Big Brother’ pep talk, then Skye sees a random girl for some reason, I’m guessing she’s the villain.
After receiving a message from Aunt Jo saying she’s not going to be in the book after all, Skye sees Devin talking to the girl from before; another Guardian trying to get him to stop his Skye-stalking mission because… it’s dangerous? Why, because Asher’s there? I think the biggest danger you might get from that prick is if he made you go postal and punch him in the face; breaking your hand on his thick skull.
This is Raven, Devin’s fiancé, who reminds me of psychologist-lady-angel from Hush, Hush. She whines a bit, implies she might kill Skye or Asher or someone, then leaves.
(CONTINUED IN PART II… TOMORROW!)