ARC Review: Dark World-Cara Lynn Shultz


The-Dark-World-Cara-Lynn-Shultz_FEATGoodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks

4.5/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Harlequin Teen.

“Maybe he was merely a legitimately nice person, nonjudgemental and kind. I’d read about those mythical figures in books, although I sure as hell hadn’t met any. I’d figured they’d gone extinct with the dodo bird.”

***

“Our eyes locked for a lengthy moment-too lengthy-in a gaze fraught with the kind of delicious tension and chest-warming rush of adrenaline that sets your heart pounding and your lips turning up into a smile of their own volition. The kind of gaze that inspires trite songs that usually piss me off, because songwriters always rhyme ‘eyes’ with ‘surprise,’ and I always considered it lazy songwriting. Until now.”

***

Logan stared at the ground as he collected his thoughts. “You, Paige Dawn Kelly, are the wrecking ball to my routine, colorless life,” he said, finally meeting my eyes, “and I couldn’t be happier or more terrified about it.”

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Paige Kelly never thought that the simple act of being a good Samaritan would destroy her life. After saving the life of a toddler who wandered out into incoming traffic, Paige is hit by a car in the process, dies for a minute, and wakes up with a creepy new talent, the ability to see dead people. At first, Paige couldn’t tell the difference between ghosts and humans, she often found herself the mockery of her peers and earning wide-eyed glances from people on the street. When it looks like you’re having a full-blown conversation with the air or worse, yourself, it’s easy to question your sanity. Paige is placed on a cocktail of meds to combat her “episodes” but the ghosts aren’t going away and her parents shelter and look down on her as someone with a fragile mind, in need of constant surveillance and protection. What Paige wants is to be normal again, to have friends, and to not be known as the resident crazy. In high school, unfortunately, this is impossible. 

Forced to repeat her sophomore year at a prep school, Paige was eager to start over but from the second she steps foot into the girls bathroom, all chance at normalcy goes down the drain. Paige decides to talk to a girl that everyone seemed to be ignoring. That was her first mistake. The second was confronting the other girls in the bathroom. The beautiful blonde girl with scars on her wrists only existed in Paige’s vision. Freak became her permanent label, everyone steered clear of the weirdo who spent her time conversing with nobody.

Paige has just gotten used to her awkward life as a social pariah when she spots 3 students touring the school. They’re gorgeous, ethereal creatures and Paige can’t help admire them but something within her tells her these students are not at all what they appear. When Paige is cornered by a fiery redheaded beauty in detention, her world is turned upside down for the second time, as te girl’s hallowed gaze consumes her and she threatens Paige’s life.

When the sweet transfer boy, Logan, comes to her rescue, magical sword blazing, Paige is shocked and terrified. An epic battle of superhuman feats and scorching fire ensues. Paige, teaming up with Logan, learns of another world, one just on the other side of this reality, where warlocks and demons are bitter enemies and Hell is just around the corner. Paige’s ability is a coveted commodity on both sides and it doesn’t take her long to learn that the demons are coming for her. With her trusty protector at her side, Paige must learn to fight to survive or become slave to demonic whims. 

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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.

-via Goodreads

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PROS:

  • The cover is absolutely breathtaking, completely creative, and one of my all time favorites. It’s so pretty you just want to pet it and prominently display it for view on your bookshelf. I love the dual worlds and that Paige is the connection between them.
  • The dialogue is fun, fluid, and incredibly realistic. It’s full of wonderful humor and raw, emotional confessions. 
  • A twist so unexpected and surprising that when it’s revealed, it’s as devastating as it is unsettling. Everything you thought you knew is tossed aside and you’ll be forced to question motives.
  • The dark world is a sinister, terrifying place filled with grotesque creatures, spine-tingling descriptions, and grave danger. The violence and gore are meticulously detailed, you’ll have no problem bringing these images to life in your mind.
  • Every character, even down to the smallest is vibrant and unique, they all have distinct, full personalities that add some flair and laughter to this already quirky story. The characters are alive, bursting with life and vive that you don’t often find. Amazingly real.
  • Paige is a sarcastic, blunt and somewhat confrontational girl. She’s been hurt by her past. Sometimes she’s lonely and insecure but she doesn’t let the poor treatment from others get to her. The way her parents view her is heartbreaking, their lack of trust and fear that she’ll crumble into dust at the smallest touch allows the reader to understand Paige on a deep, emotional level. Sometimes it’s as if no matter what Paige says it doesn’t get through to them but she always pushes forward, she’s resilient and strong. Paige loves Dottie, their friendship is built on mutual understanding and heart, they’re the best of girlfriends, well as best as you can be with a ghost.Paige’s confusion about boys is really relatable, the fear of misinterpreting flirty remarks or opening your heart to someone who might not reciprocate your feelings is authentic and written well.
  • Dottie is a peach. She’s boy crazy, flirtatious, always trying to help Paige with catching a man, and her colloquialisms easily bring you back to the 50s. From her shellacked hair to her mannerisms, Dottie is a delightful time trip back to past. 
  • Logan will make your heart melt. He’s swoonworthy to the extreme. From the way he looks at Paige to his hopelessly romantic professions of love-the boy has some lines, yes he does-Logan is a compassionate, loyal, and protective warrior. The juxtaposition from his wicked sword-fighting skills to the tender way he caresses and speaks to Paige, “Logan was a study in dichotomy: fierce and brutal, an efficient killer saddled with so much self-doubt.” Logan is driven by a thirst for revenge that makes him a vicious warrior but he’s very merciful. His heart is his best feature and his confidence makes for some of the best flirty, playful lines.
  • Logan and Paige are perfect for one another. The scenes with them just hanging out as friends are light and casual sometimes, and others they’re filled with that marvelous tension of mutual attraction. 
  • Ajax is a cocky, coy, deliriously impish demon. He’s like a ravenous teenage boy, always ready with a clever quip or his hands in a bag of potato chips. 
  • Mr. Kelly, Paige’s father, is a silly, over-protective, and a bit wacky character. His obsession with free stuff is so ridiculous you can’t help but sympathize with Paige and laugh along. 
  • Aiden is evil. His tortuous antics are selfish and sadistic, one particular seen is so twisted and vile that it’s borderline horror film. His taunts, the malicious way he uses people like pawns, and his relentless attacks make him a huge threat, one that is deserving of the villain title.

CONS:

  • Rego’s role in the overall plot was a little cloudy. While this did add to the mystery of his character and upped suspicion, it felt like something was missing.
  • Paige’s powers are crucial to the story but exactly how they’re used and why they want her specifically is vague. Paige can’t be the only person with this ability.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Pleasant reading,

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