Book: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN/ASIN: 9781442409248 (arc)
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Check out Kelly Keaton.
Power, knowledge and vengeance…these are the three key ingredients to Darkness Becomes Her, Kelly Keaton’s debut YA series. Keaton writes a strong YA novel about Ari Selkirk, a seventeen-year-old on a quest to find out anything she can about her biological family. As a former orphan and foster kid who grew up in the system, Ari is not anyone’s victim. This is a gun-toting teen, trained as a junior bail bondsman by her current loving foster parents, who most of all, is a survivor first, and shit-kicker later.
Her quest takes her to the boundary of The Rim and New 2. And later, directly into belly of the beast, New 2, that dark territory formerly known as New Orleans. Rebuilt into a strange land, governed by the Novem, and peopled by even stranger citizens (if the rumors are true), New 2 is the spectacular jewel in the crown for Keaton. It’s a sultry amalgam of the steamy legacy of New Orleans, but refashioned into Keaton’s own brooding and twisted territory. Rife as a playground and doubling as a sanctuary for paranormal entities known at the Doue, and the nine aristocratic families of the Novem, New 2 is crooked, labyrinthine, seething, and otherworldly. Home to demi-gods and even gods.
The rag-tag group that Ari is ensconced in during her quest read as post-apoc, paranormal, and grungy-homeless-hip. Settled in a Garden District manse, that hovers between decrepit and intact, this urban family reluctantly fills her in a way that she’s never before experienced-not even by the Sanderson’s, her current foster parents.
Violet is the key to Ari…the one person that has been able to crack the façade, to bring her beyond the inhuman shield she had forged that helped her survive through the most tormented parts of her life. Sebastian Lamarliere also is a critical character in understanding who Ari is. His shadowy mystery will have readers swooning. Even though his distant and brooding persona does not take away the fact that he is Josephine Arnaud’s grandson, the ruling matriarch of the Arnaud family. This lends a sinister twist to Keating’s story because it introduces the possibility of Bastien being influenced by his crooked grandmere. (those who have read the novel know the truth-so I won’t mention it here)
For the reader, Ari exists both as delightfully damaged and yet full of light. Like Carol-Ann we are drawn to her, her purity of spirit encased within a tough shell. The lure of her legendary ancestry has Keaton yanking on the chains of the Greek pantheon, complete with a plethora of snakes who might or might not do Ari’s bidding as well as pulling in other familiar paranormal beasties. Another build-up to the show-down that will happen in Book 2 are the alliances that Ari has made with the Born or Made, and her control over her extraordinary power. Ari will be a force to be reckoned with in the next novel…hopefully she will not have a head of snakes by then...
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)