Monday, February 6, 2012

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Darkness Becomes Her
(Gods and Monster #1)
by Kelly Keaton

A dark and lush paranormal romance set in a richly reimagined New Orleans-- 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 a 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.

This unique young adult read combines dystopian, fantasy, and Greek mythology to tell the story of a teenage girl trying to find information about her mysterious family. Ari was born with almost-white hair and light teal eyes and has always felt like she stood a bad way. She was raised by a variety of foster families who didn't always treat her right, and has finally decided to go in search of some more information about her birth mother and father. Her search brings her to New 2, formerly New Orleans. Thirteen years ago, massive hurricanes wreaked havoc on the city to the point that it was completely evacuated. It is now cut off from the rest of the United States and run by an enigmatic group call The Novem who have their own rules. New 2 is rumored to be home to all sorts of things that go bump in the night, but mostly its inhabitants are scattered families, orphaned children, and the families of The Novem.

Ari discovers some disturbing news about her mother and makes the decision to journey into New 2, her mother's home and the place that Ari herself was born, in order to learn more. From the moment she even begins considering this trip she has weird experiences, and these just continue as she gets deeper into New 2. A warrior dressed in ancient clothing tries to assassinate her in a hotel parking lot, she is introduced to a 'family' of ragamuffin children and teens who all seem to possess some sort of odd trait or ability, she is kidnapped, and she learns more about her family's past than she even knew she wanted to know.

Along the way, Ari meets Sebastian. I'll admit, I was not a fan of their instant attraction. That seems to be such a trend in YA and I think it could have been handled better. Ari is swooning over Sebastian before he even opens his mouth for the first time. It is nice that they don't jump right into confessing their love or anything, but going from introductions to kissing in a day seemed a little rushed. I did like the Sebastian character though and am interested to see what new things we learn about him in the next installment. He has his own sort of issues that come up as the story goes on and I'm curious to see how they will play out.

Speaking of learning more, I am excited to find out more about Ari as well. She is really just beginning to learn about her family and her own powers, and I can't wait to see how Keaton develops her character throughout the series. She is a fun character and has the potential to be a kickass gal.

My favorite connection in the story was Ari and young Violet, the odd little girl with fanged teeth and an affinity for Mardi Gras masks. I absolutely adored her!

Keaton's strength, as with her adult books as well, is her world building and imagery. Keaton write adult urban fantasy under the name Kelly Gay, and her ability to paint the picture of the setting without boring the readers to death is really amazing. Her choice of New Orleans in ruins is a stunning gothic backdrop to this story and really no other setting would have fit.

Check this story out if you're into New Orleans, vampires, shifters, witches, mythology, heroines becoming ass-kickers, or albino baby alligators.



  1. I recently traded for a copy of this book, now I can't wait to read it. I'm glad that a YA managed to pull of a more urban setting. Sometimes when I read more gothic YA books they always feel like they should have just been made for adults.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one and I shall have to try to get her adult series soon since you keep talking about how great it is.

    Thanks for the great review.

  2. I'm really interested in reading this book. Albino baby alligators? Heck yes! =)

    Nerd Girls at Books to the Sky

  3. I love this book! I do agree with you about Ari and Sebastian's instant attraction being a bit much--there was no buildup or anticipation to their weird kissing session they had and it bothered me. Also, I am definitely with you about loving Ari and Violet's connection and I can't wait to see more of that little girl!

    Very well-written review! =)

    -Shanon @ Escaping With Fiction

  4. Loved your review!!
    Now I want this book now!;)

  5. I love UF! And this book sounds really nice. Thanks for the review! :)


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