Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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Title:  Dark Star
Author:  Bethany Frenette
Narrator:  Amy Rubinate
Series:  n/a (at this time)
Publisher:  Harper Audio
Publication Date:  October 23, 2012
Source:  purchased
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, her mother's bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won't let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything--and everyone--she loves.

Another book with the word "dark" in the title, another surprise.  I was expecting awesome abilities and powers and leaping from tall buildings, etc.  And I got that for the most part.  It's the paranormal aspect I wasn't expecting, though after re-reading the summary, I should have guessed.  And to be totally fair, I suppose there are always some paranormal attributes to be expected when dealing with superheroes because they exhibit superhuman traits derived from some supernatural event or another.

Regardless, our protagonist is anything but a superhero.  Audrey is whiney and impulsive...two characteristics very unbecoming in a superhero.  But she can predict the future...using her Knowing and a special deck of tarot cards passed down from Kin to Kin...sometimes.  But she does wish she was a superhero like her mom with her superhuman strength or Leon -- her mom's sidekick -- who can teleport.  Alas, she is no more superhero-y than your average psychic.

Audrey's been kept in the dark about her heritage for her entire life.  She didn't think she had any family left in Minneapolis after her grandmother passed.  She doesn't know her father.  And one day a few years ago, Leon just showed up on her mom's doorstep.  I usually enjoy stories where the main character's real identity is kept from them, but the mystery and intrigue behind Audrey's lineage didn't really impress me.  Maybe it's because Audrey herself didn't seem to suspect anything about her was special or different, despite her Knowing.  (Lamest name for a superpower...reminds me of that terrible Nicholas Cage movie.  *shudders*)  But it's more likely I just didn't care about Audrey's story because I didn't find her character likeable...she reminded me a lot of Eve, whom I also barely tolerated.

I did, however, like the secondary cast of characters.  I actually had kind of hoped her best friend Gideon would be one of those best friend-turned-love interest situations, but alas, he remains a good friend and close confidante.  He actually knows her mother's secret identity, so it makes for a better friendship.  (And would make it that much easier for them to hook up, but whatevs.) 

Leon, albeit frustratingly overprotective, was a refreshing love interest.  Sure, he's a tad bit older than Audrey.  And he's her guardian, her protector.  But the novel wasn't bursting with covert glances and cheek-reddening blushes.  Leon wasn't actively pursuing Audrey's affections, all the while knowing he shouldn't.  For the whole of the novel, there is no romance to speak of.  Not outwardly, anyway.  But even so, the spark between Leon and Audrey at the end didn't seem to come out of nowhere.  There were inklings of it throughout, even if neither party would openly admit it.  So, on the romance front, I'm satisfied because it didn't overshadow the entire novel and it managed to feel geniune at the same time.

Despite the fact that there isn't a series listing on Goodreads, I would hedge that there will be further novels featuring Audrey and/or her superhero relatives and friends.  The novel was left pretty open-ended, and since Audrey's requesting to train with the other Kin, I think it's safe to say we'll see more of this world.  Dark Star was fun and exciting at times, though it wasn't nearly as superhero-y as I would have liked.  But I'm not making any hasty decisions as to whether I'd read more from this world or not.

This is the second book I've listened to that was narrated by Amy Rubinate, Everneath being the first.  I thought the depressed undertones she brought to that particular work were perfect, considering what was transpiring in the story, but for Dark Star, it was a little much.  This novel was dark, sure, but at times, I wondered if I had mistakenly skipped back to Everneath because the narration was so similar.  Nothing about the delivery of this book was different from the other, which leads me to believe I probably wouldn't enjoy further audiobooks from this narrator.  I'm glad I listened to Everneath first because I truly enjoyed that one and I'm afraid I would have been in the opposite position otherwise.

So, in summation:  probably best to read, not listen.  Don't expect a superhero story.  And don't expect much in the way of romance.  If you're okay with that, you'll probably enjoy this book.

Favorite quotes:

“Remind me again why I put up with you?"
“Cause you sold me your soul for five bucks, and now you must submit to my will?" I still had the sheet of paper, written in his untidy fifth-grade scrawl. Gideon David Belmonte. One soul.

"I caught something else in his depthless eyes.
There are some places it's best not to look, I thought.
Some places look back."

Rating:  Photobucket

6 comments:

  1. I really like the fact that there isn't so much romance. Sometimes I have the feeling that the author forces romance into a story to make it "complete". It's a shame that this book isn't so superhero-ish, because that's what I expected. I might give it a shot when I find a copy in the library. Nice review :)

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    Replies
    1. I liked the fact that the romance was almost nonexistent, too. :) It was fun, but it was definitely a borrow not buy type of book for me.

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  2. I thought Dark Star was refreshing b/c it didn't have a lot of romance to it. I expected more of a super-girl feel to the story too. I think II got the wrong impression from the summary. LOL. I haven't listened to a lot of audiobooks but I can see how a narrator could totally trash a story with their voice, expression, etc.

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