The Dark World
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.
For the first few chapters, THE DARK WORLD by Cara Lynn Shultz couldn’t hold my attention. I found the start of the book clunky, over-flowing with adverbs and unnecessary speech tags. The author wastes paragraphs on everyone’s hair, but skips over important emotional moments, like when Dottie the ghost girl tells the main character she killed herself because she was a pregnant teen in the ‘50s. Even the action scenes felt flat. Then Logan Bradley appeared, and the book got a new life.
Teenage demon-slayer and half-warlock Logan steals the book with chivalry and style. Paige is fine as a protagonist, though she doesn’t quite succeed at being the Veronica Mars she wants to be, but until Logan comes along, there’s a lot of pity in the narration for her position as the school's 'mental case.' It doesn’t help that her parents are beyond over-protective, and her acceptance of and excuse for their controlling behavior feels like a disservice to the tough girl she’s supposed to be. Fortunately, while the YA love story that takes over the second half of the book is typical of its kind, it brightens the story and Paige herself, lifting the narrative out of the dreariness it’s mired in at the start. Forget about the demons – Logan brings Paige hot chocolate and teaches her how to fight with a sword. Plus, he casts spells and can hypnotize people.
Fans of the genre will be pleased with the sweetness of Paige and Logan’s romance (speedy though it is), and likely intrigued by the power-struggle in the titular Dark World, a place I hope will be fleshed out in the next book. It’s not extraordinary, but THE DARK WORLD does have some magic.
- The Dark World
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