Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz

Paige Kelly is used to weird--in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.

My Rating
My Review
If you are considering reading The Dark World, I must give you warning. The Dark World is a drug of Young Adult fiction. From the first couple of pages, I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into the world. Soon enough, I had the book at my side at all times. I was reading between classes, sneaking reading during classes, reading while eating, procrastinating on homework and staying up past my bedtime to keep the pages turning. Even after finishing the book (which, thankfully, only took two days), my thoughts drifted back to the novel - as they did during the hours in which I couldn't read. There's not many ways to put it, and it was like a lust demon hid within the pages to hypnotize me into submission. I was addicted. Completely hooked to the point of knowing what I liked, but not knowing why I liked it so much. What made The Dark World so intriguing to me?

Was it the plot, perhaps? The Dark World is the story of a teenage girl, Paige, who gets her eyes roughly opened. Not only are there demons and warlocks and "ghosts", but there's an entirely new world - parallel to our own - in which they stay. Unless, of course, they manage to cross over to our world. That's a cool concept, especially the dark world part. I mean, I've seen plenty of demons in fiction, but a creepy, underworld-esque version of New York only a painful portal trip away? Awesome. Not only is that basic logline pretty killer, but the pacing is great and twists keep coming. There was one particular moment that took me for surprise, but that's all I'll say about it. The novel succeeded in being a major page turner, but is that enough to feed the obsession I gained? Being as I'm not too much of a plot person, I don't think that's it.

It could have been the characters. Paige was definitely interesting. Again, an outcast protagonist isn't exactly new, but I can't say I've often seen a character gain this reputation because her ability to speak with spirits makes her seem insane. But what really sold me on enjoying her as a character is her personality in spite of that. Most YA outcasts tend to be filled with overwhelming angst and pent-up sexual aggression. I'm not saying that combination never works out, but it is refreshing to have an outcast who - despite a bit of social awkwardness and romantic insecurity - has a great sense of humor and a willingness to take the world head on. Her entertaining point of view only added to the story. Speaking of adding to the story, I can't write a review of The Dark World without at least mentioning Logan Bradley. I won't go into detail about this character because I'm writing a review and not a novel. However, I can assure that he's everything you're looking for in a fictional romantic interest and will very likely contribute to your increased disappointment in reality (which doesn't help with the addictive quality, that's for sure). Even the supporting characters, like Travis and Ajax, are very well-developed with unique personalities.

Of course, it is said that every story has already been told, and I am a firm believer that the majority of the story is in the way it's told. Fortunately, The Dark World is well written and highly entertaining. I laughed, I teared up, I swooned at every other thing that Logan said or did...the reading experience was an adventure in itself. The beginning was a bit cliche but it quickly gravitated away from that. (And all the swoony parts definitely didn't hurt.)

I suppose that it's most likely a combination of all these factors, as well as others, that had me devouring this novel like a good slice of NY pizza. I can easily recommend The Dark World to YA paranormal fans without question. Now, however, I have to get help for this minor obsession - or, at least, find a new fiction addiction to keep me occupied until book two.

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