Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: Shades of Darkness (Ravenborn #1) by A.R. Kahler

Book Blurb:

Islington Arts Academy is not an average high school. Nestled in the forests of Michigan, surrounded by trees and nature and virtually no evidence of civilization, it is an oasis for those looking to get away. Perfect for a student like Kaira Winters, who wants nothing more than to put her past behind her and focus on the present…and her looming graduation, just a few months away.

But the past has a way of returning when least expected.

Kaira knows that what happened before, at her old school, wasn’t normal. She knows that what happened to her ex-boyfriend wasn’t natural. But she refuses to believe that the recent death on campus, the one that left everyone on edge, has anything to do with her. She refuses to believe that she could be at fault again.

But just as the past always returns, the truth can never stay hidden for long.

Even if Kaira didn’t cause the first death at Islington, or the second, or the third, she has the ability to find out who did. She has the obligation to stop whatever is coming to campus. To end the darkness that is falling with the same snow that once blanketed the woods in beauty.

But to embrace this power—to relinquish herself to the ancient entity that has been lurking in the corners of her mind–is to let go of her humanity…and Kaira doesn’t know how far she can go before she loses herself completely.

My Review:

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Supernatual, Teen Witches--

Kaira sent herself to the middle of nowhere to finish high school at a prestigious art school. But art was not the only reason she sought out the far away school. Kaira is running from her personal life as well, which she has a hard time escaping due to the nightmares that plague her. While trying to finish up her art portfolio and wait from college acceptance, something terrible happens. Kaira is afraid her demons have returned.

So I am a little conflicted on this book. On one hand I liked it and found it to be an interesting idea and very unique, and on the over hand I feel a little disconnected. The book focuses on magic, destruction, and my favorite topic- Tarot cards. I love tarot cards in all their forms and what they represent. When I find a story that mentions them, let alone incorporates them into the plot, I am instantly intrigued. And on that note, the concept for the book was really interesting and creepy, which I loved here. The story was a mix of so many supernatural themes that blended with mythology, and the realistic issues of being a teenager and growing up and dealing with romance and change. I liked the idea of the book, the twists and turns, and the importance of premonitions and signs.

Here is where my interested started waning. I wanted more of the supernatural, to learn more about Kaira's past and how she became something so broken, but instead the angsty feelings took over. The first 100 pages out of this 300 page story dragged a little for me because there were a few hints of what is to come, instead it was full of the drama of school, the pressure of college and art portfolio's, the quirky behavior of art/drama students, the sadness of leaving everything behind at graduation, the denying of potential romance, and a lot of talk about the fluidness of sexuality and friendship. I am all for being yourself and embracing your differences, but I wanted supernatural. I am glad I got to know Kaira, but I was almost ready to put the book down because I was disappointed in the direction it seemed to take. I did not really care about the art school or the issues with being an artists or the school nuances, I wanted the meat of the story that drew me to the book originally.

Another thing was that Kaira was an interesting character, but to be perfectly honest, she was not believable as a teen girl. Her thoughts and feelings were not things I could relate to, which is an issue that I come across almost every time I read a book written by a man with a female main character. Maybe I am alone in my opinion that men don't write realistic first person teen girls (or women in general), but I struggle with connecting with the characters because they don't think or act in the ways that I do or would have. That being said, the author did a good job of creating individual characters with different personalities and traits, but Kaira felt more like a boy to me than a teen girl, which caused some issues for me. (Side note also, I felt she was very touchy-feely with her friends, more than I was comfortable with, but I don't like anyone in my personal bubble, so whatever.)

Overall this was a really dark and compelling plot, but I only felt like the book was ok because of the slow start and lack of connection I felt towards Kaira. I am sure that others will love this book and I would recommend it for anyone who wants something new.

I received this title in return for an honest review.

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