Dark World #1
Cara Lynn Shultz
Paranormal Young Adult
Available May 27th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
The Dark World is a quick read full of humor and romance despite the very serious paranormal happenings, and while it's undoubtedly an entertaining story, the characters do at times come across far younger than their seventeen years. It's not to say that at seventeen years-old Paige and Logan should be exuding maturity in waves because we can all remember being their age–when every emotion was heightened and the issues facing us were quite possibly the most difficult issues faced by anyone ever–but there are a myriad of moments as the romance between the two of them progresses that feel more on par with junior high rather than high school. As mentioned previously, Ms. Shultz has a cute sense of humor, but the meant-to-be witty banter between Paige and Logan, like the more tender romantic moments, will likely work far better for younger readers than older ones like myself.
Paige is a strong heroine for the most part, taking the revelation that she's a pivotal player in a demon-warlock battle for the Dark World throne surprisingly well, her experience talking to spirits no one else can see allowing her to keep a level head when others likely would have experienced a mild meltdown. She's mostly defenseless in the beginning, but she's not content to stay that way, asking Logan to teach her how to protect herself rather than simply relying on him to come to her rescue again and again. She doesn't magically become a badass overnight though, something that gives us a great deal of comfort because it makes her feel all the more real, and while she often does need Logan to step in when it comes to facing those who wish to claim Paige's talents for their side, it's not for lack of trying on her part.
She has a good head on her shoulders, doing her best to be vigilant once she learns of the threat to her person, and with one small exception, her interactions with Logan are low on angst. The two of them communicate well, Paige not the type of young woman to keep her feelings shrouded in mystery, but she does allow one revelation toward the end to get the better of her and overreacts to what she learns. Luckily for us though, it doesn't take long for her to realize her mistake and set about fixing it, and we're able to breath a sigh of relief that everything isn't going to completely derail before we reach the final page.
While things are definitely left open with a cliffhanger at the end of this first installment, we're not sobbing emotional messes upon closing the back cover, instead we find ourselves satisfied with how things currently stand for Paige and Logan emotionally and content with the knowledge that their circumstances will be further explored and their journey continued in the next book. Overall, The Dark World will probably be very successful with younger YA readers who are more likely to eat up the slightly theatrical nature of both the villains and the humor, but the impending war and the barely hinted-at intricacies of certain relationships hold a great deal of promise, giving us hope that subsequent installments might improve and build on the solid foundation established in this first book.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.