Author: Cara Lynn Shultz (Twitter)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: May 27, 2014
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy
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.
The Dark World is set in a very familiar city for many of us - New York City, which lends a touch of reality to an otherwise fantasy and paranormal-driven story. It must be said that I've steered clear of the genre as of late, simply because I've felt that the paranormal felt overdone and outplayed, but with an author like Cara Lynn Shultz at the helm, this novel begged a second look. From the start, it's clear to readers why Ms. Shultz is a fan favourite. With a clear, descriptive and distinct voice, she welcomes us into a world that's dark, alluring and seductive, all the while giving us a thrill ride of an adventure.
In many ways, I feel as though The Dark World succeeded. Paige was a fantastic protagonist with whom readers will easily empathize and associate. Her friendship with Dottie, the ghost, makes her quirky, likable and honest, all of which are characteristics I crave. Dottie, however, was a true delight, as well. She's the type of secondary character that shines so brightly that her light and her personality almost overshadowed that of Paige, until we watch as that light is slowly but surely dimmed throughout the story, giving us more resolve to better understand the Dark World. Enter Logan, and it seems like we have the perfect setup for a paranormal novel, since he's easily just as engaging as Paige.
With a backstory that rivals Paige's, Logan is brooding and handsome, but there's also a humour and flawed reality to his persona, as well, so as their relationship began to develop, I found myself rooting for them quite ardently. Therein, however, lies my one main issue with The Dark World. While we, thankfully, steer clear of the dreaded love triangle, Paige and Logan's connection and ensuing love story was so entirely all-consuming that I felt it began to overshadow the other, perhaps more pressing, elements of the novel. I found that while I was salivating for more details of the paranormal and the Dark World, we were instead given Paige or Logan's desire to better understand one another or to know that the other is safe. It was, frankly, an extremely co-dependent relationship that, to me, weighed the story down.
The Dark World offers us many glimmers of true brilliance though, as well. Just when we think we've seen it all from the paranormal genre, Ms. Shultz gives us powerful new abilities, dangerous demons and an underworld that's eerie and just enticing enough to make us want more. So many tantalizing details are offered up, and it's clear to readers that the Dark World is dark, disturbing and gruesome. However, the writing is done so well that it has a near-cinematic quality to it - offering us a very visceral world to explore.
In the end, I really enjoyed The Dark World, though I felt at times that it was simply setting the stage for future novels, rather than allowing itself to stand on its own. I think that Ms. Shultz has the ability to spin a remarkable new series from this premise though, and I'm desperate to read on and further explore the Dark World and Paige's journey. I give this a high 3.5 out of 5, and I definitely recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal and fantasy.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.