Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.
Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.
She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very…different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.
Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.
Imagine that New Orleans never recovered from the devastation wrought by the hurricanes. That the US government simply did not have the resources to restore it to its former elegance, instead finding it much easier to simply sell the city to nine families who could be poster families for Mysterious. If you can imagine that, the world created by Ms. Keaton is very easy to slip into. The story is fast paced, the romance is intriguing and the dynamics between the characters very compelling. This is a debut period and Ms. Keaton marks her entrance into the genre (and into writinghood) with a story that fits in well amongst the other intrigues on the market. Her mythos is well thought out and has the potential to be developed further into something more than what it is at the moment. Something with just a bit more depth.
What the author needs to work on is her pacing. As I said, her characterizations are spot on but the entire story seems rushed. Seems crammed into the constrictive space of a few days and hours. This is the premise to a series so having a chapter or two simply setting up the world and the characters would make it easier for the reader to submerge herself (or himself) into the fantastic world that has been created. The romance will not seem substantial if the two characters fall for each other without a decent space of knowing each other – without having the time to work through the feelings – otherwise, all remarks on on the seriousness of the emotions will provoke scorn and scoffing. (I’m not saying I’m cynical, you know, I’m just saying.)
And Ari needs to tone down the melodrama. I understand her life is in shambles but I do not feel it the same way she does simply because it happens before I am able to form any sort of emotional attachment with her. And because I don’t have an attachment with her, I have to view her not as a projected part of myself (cuz honestly, I become the main characters after a while when I’m reading) but as someone I know and may not necessarily like too much. She can express the same feelings but without the pathos – I think pathos and melodrama should be used sparingly anyway. Continued use of it just makes it exhausting to read the character and to take her seriously.
That aside, I liked Darkness Becomes Her. I thought the characters were memorable, the mythos engaging and the book, an interesting opening to an intriguing series. Since this is a debut novel, I look forward to seeing how Ms. Keaton grows as an author.