Saturday, July 28, 2012

ARC Review: Dark Star by Bethany Frenette


Title: Dark Star 

Author: Bethany Frenette 

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Release Date: October 23rd, 2012 

I think I should start out by saying that, contrary to what you might read, Dark Star is not a superhero novel. I'll say it again: Dark Star is not a superhero novel. At least, not the usual type. When I think superheroes, I tend to think of a scene similar to The Avengers with a bunch of kick-butt people in colorful suits battling evil with their epic skills. Yeah, that scene from The Avengers? It's not there in Dark Star.  In actuality, Dark Star is a novel about a teenage girl who discovers that her world is not quite what she thinks it is. Sounds familiar? It is. Yet, there are a few plot twists in this story that manage to make it shine just a tad bit despite its formulaic-ness. 

Audrey has known she was special ever since she was the little girl. It's hard not to, really, when you're the daughter of Morning Star, the superhero vigilante who saves the city by night and saves her one-mom household by day. But, in addition to that, Audrey has always had her Knowing - abilities that enable her to Know what lies in the past and future and conduct tarot card readings with expertise. (In other words, she's a psychic...more or less.) So, when girls mysteriously begin to disappear in her small town, only to be found dead a few days later with their ankles slashed, she doesn't just know something is wrong, she Knows something is wrong. When Tink, Audrey's best friend, nearly gets kidnapped herself, Audrey takes it upon herself to find out once and for all just what is happening, why her mother isn't putting a stop to it, and just who - or what - she really is.

Yeah, not many superheroes in that synopsis, I know. I actually think I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more if I wasn't expecting it to be a Marvel-comic-book-turned-YA-adventure, so perhaps other readers can avoid the disappointment I felt when I first cracked open the spine of this novel. That being said, Dark Star still has a lot going for it. For one, it was a relatively engaging read and while I thought the world-building came in just a tad bit too late, I really enjoyed Frenette's take on demon lore and the manner in which she explained her world. Furthermore, I think the characters she created were remarkably interesting and I truly loved the lack of a missing-parent syndrome. Morning Star, Audrey's mother, was very much apart of her life and I was thrilled to see that and experience their mother-daughter relationship. In addition, I really have to give Frenette props for the unexpected plot twist at the end. It was something I definitely wasn't expecting and I loved it. 

Nevertheless, despite its many positive aspects, Dark Star had a few qualities that were good, but could have been better. For one, the romance. Leon, Morning Star's sidekick and, as we later find out, Audrey's romantic interest, is one hell of a guy. Not only is he remarkably different from most male protagonists, he is kind, intelligent, kick-butt, and his relationship with Audrey is a firm friendship filled with witty banter. While I loved it, and him, to pieces, I was surprised when their friendship quite unexpectedly turned to romance during the last couple of pages of this story. Up until that point, I had loved the fact that Dark Star had been devoid of romance - no he-stared-into-my-eyes, no he-held-onto-my-hand-for-longer-than-was-strictly-necessary, nothing. Zip, zilch, zero. It was refreshing and put a well-deserved amount of focus onto the scintillating plot, but all that changed suddenly. I was hoping that their road to a love story would be a little more well-developed, especially as I didn't sense any romantic intentions from Leon's side, so I'm holding out for an explanation in the sequel as well as more growth to both their characters. 

In addition to my qualm with the romance, I found I was a tad bit let down by the characters. I loved the cast of secondary characters that graced this novel, from Audrey's best friends Tink and Gideon to her cousins, grandparents, math teacher, and friendly-neighborhood-cop. Yet, I failed to feel a true connection with any of them. Yes, I liked seeing them interact and found them to be interesting and original as they failed to mold into stereotypical roles, but Frenette failed to make me really care, not only for her secondary characters, but for Audrey as well! While I admired Audrey's stubbornness, determination, and her nature in general, I didn't truly feel for her and by the end of this novel, I was left feeling as if I had only gotten a glimpse into her life opposed to a full-fledged novel. I am hoping that this is a simple debutante's error as I have seen more than one author develop their protagonist in later novels as they know their story is a series, but I was still a tad bit disappointed.

Overall, I would not say that Dark Star, is, by any means, a bad read. I found myself to be disappointed with it as it didn't contain the superhero awesomeness it promised and its story was relatively formulaic. However, it was still enjoyable and I'm holding out for a better sequel than debut. Dark Star is the type of novel that I know for a fact a lot of reviewers will gush over, but I'm just not one of them. It reminded me a little too much of City of Bones in some ways, except with less humor, hot guys, kick-ass characters, action, and a different take on demon lore. So, while I have to admit that I liked Clare's take on this paranormal creature much better, Dark Star was still a fascinating mystery to read and I'll be keeping my eye out for the sequel when it releases.

28 comments:

  1. I like the cover. The girl looks like a superhero :P
    Nice review! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! :) She is kind of a superhero...her mother is one though!

      Delete
  2. Lovely review, Keertana! I'm really disappointed that this book isn't about super-heroes - the synopsis promised so much of that, and that would be such a twist in the YA genre... *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Beatriz! I was so disappointed too, but hopefully now that you know you won't be as unhappy about it. *fingers crossed*

      Delete
  3. Nice review! :D
    Covers could be deceiving sometimes. I thought it was a super hero book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, so did I! In fact, even the synopsis claimed that, but it isn't unfortunately. *sigh*

      Delete
  4. I'm super bummed that this is not as superheroish as I (and you!) had hoped. The romance in YA is often what trips me up (see my forthcoming review for Throne of Glass :-\) and it's a shame to see it's here in this one too.

    Scratching this one off my TBR shelves. Predictable + no superheroes = no need.

    On the other hand, I eagerly await your Something Strange and Deadly review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really looking forward to your review of Throne of Glass, Jessie! :D I was totally bummed over this one too! I probably would scratch this off of my TBR-Shelf too, but I can be a little harsh and don't really give books another try when other reviewers haven't enjoyed them.

      I loooved Something Strange and Deadly. I don't know if it was because I was in a bit of a reading stump and it took me out of it and it wasn't a perfect book, but I enjoyed it SO much. I think the qualities to love about it totally outweighed the negatives, so it's receiving a veryy positive from me. It should be up on Monday! :D

      Delete
  5. Interesting review, Keertana! I haven't heard much about this book but it already sounds as though I should change my expectations slightly. I'm glad you didn't dislike it. Of course, it sounds like it could have been much better, but I assume it also could have been much worse. :) I like the sound of Leon and Audrey's relationship, even if it did turn unexpectedly into a romance near the end. I look forward to giving this a go one day. Great review! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sam!(: I can't wait to see what you think of this one! I hope you enjoy it more not that your expectations have been changed! :D

      Delete
  6. *sobs* How could this not be a superhero story?! I was SO excited for this book, I can't even put it into words! And then it's not even about superheros. =( Like you, I was totally expecting something like The Avengers. *sighs* I do suppose I'll have to change my expectations. Although, I am way less excited for this one now. =(

    Anyways, I am still glad that you enjoyed this one Keertana, although you didn't love it. I really enjoyed City of Bones, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that I'll like this one as well, even though there's no superheroes [which I've expressed enough heartbreak about already]. However, character connection is super important for me, so the fact that you didn't end up connecting with any of the characters is a bit disappointing.

    Fabulous review Keertana! You've definitely changed my expectations for this book, so hopefully I'll be able to enjoy it a bit more than you did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I felt the same exact way, so I know exactly what you mean! :'( I still did like it though, so I hope you'll like this one better than I did since you won't be expecting too much from it. I'll keep my fingers crossed! :)

      Delete
  7. I knew that this one was more paranormal than superhero, but I'll admit the superhero shades are what made me want to read it. I love books with no romance, and I really kind of wish I hadn't read that it pops up right at the end. I feel like I'm disappointed before I even start. Hopefully I'll enjoy it regardless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so too, Heidi! I was expecting a lot of superhero action from this one and while I had my hopes up for the romance, I was let down by the last few pages, but I'm really hoping you like this one better! I can't wait to see what you think of it! :)

      Delete
  8. Awesome review!!! It does look like a superhero novel doesn't it?? I can't say I'm not a little disappointed that its not but it does still sound like an intriguing novel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ange! I am a little disappointed about that too, but I hope you still manage to enjoy it! :D

      Delete
  9. I still may give this a go, Keertana. Especially with your warning in place. Not much in the way of super-heroes, check. I wouldn't be too happy to suddenly find there's a romance when there's absolutely no build-up. Not my cup of tea but now that I know I hope it'll soften the blow. The mystery sounds wonderful in this story and that's the reason I'd like to pick it up. While this didn't meet your expectations I found your review extremely helpful. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd definitely be very interested to see what you think of this one Rachel! I was hoping my review would be helpful to others and would dispel their previous expectations of this one so they might enjoy it more than I did, so I'm glad you found it helpful! :D

      Delete
  10. Nice Post, I like It Your site,, I will Visit Back Here Next Time, And I hope you will Visit My site also Motor Matic Injeksi Irit Harga Murah,Pulsa Elektrik Murah Semarang,Laku.com Belanja Online Grosir Eceran Murah dan Aman dan Pulauweb Hosting
    Murah
    Thanks ...Nice To Know You

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lovely review! I love a book with unexpected plot twists! I might have to check this book out, it sounds pretty cool--even though the romance angle sounds abrupt. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shanon! I'd definitely recommend reading this one, but just go into it with different expectations. I hope you like it! :D

      Delete
  12. I was actually expecting a 'hero' novel, so I'll definitely be going in with different expectations now. (on a sidenote, can you believe I have yet to watch The Avengers? Or even Thor?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! But I do have them on hold at the library, so hopefully I can watch soon).

    No missing-parent syndrome? An actual mother-daughter relationship? Your words make me a happy reader!! It's a shame that the characters and unexpected romance prevented you from enjoying this more, but I am really glad you still liked it. I'm very interested to see what I'll think when I get to read it.

    Yet another brilliant review!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brodie! I haven't seen Thor, Iron Man, Iron Man II, or Captain America, so I'm totally with you on the I-have-not-seen-all-the-super-hero-movies-in-the-world-yet camp! ;)

      Yup, that's right - an actual mother-daughter relationship! *cue gasps* I'd still recommend this one, despite its lack of superheroes and abrupt romance, so I hope you're able to enjoy it with a few altered expectations! I can't wait to see what you think of it! :D

      Delete
  13. Oh, noes! I really wanted this to have actual superheroes and superhero action scenes. I thought that's what it's all about and I was so excited about it. To hear that it's just another formulaic paranormal YA is so disappointing. Nevertheless, I might give it a chance. IF nothing else, I was dead set on reading it before, it's hard to change course now, lol, but I know to expect less.
    Another fantastic review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samee! I still do think you should give this one a chance though and I hope that, with some altered expectations, you're able to enjoy it! I can't wait to see what you think of it, Maja! :D

      Delete
  14. Want to read this book, already!!! Wonderful review, Keertana!!

    http://therandomranterer.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Delaney! I can't wait to see what you think of it yourself! :)

      Delete

I love hearing from my readers and I read, reply, and appreciate every one of the comments I receive!(: If you're a fellow blogger, please leave a link to your blog - I'd love to drop by!

Unfortunately, this is now an award-free blog. I simply do not have the time to respond and forward on the award, but I truly appreciate the nomination regardless.