Author: Bethany Frenette
Series: Dark Star #1
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Reading Level: Young Adult
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 354 (ARC)
Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.
Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.
To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, her mother's bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won't let Audrey out of his sight.
When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything--and everyone--she loves.
I could not put this book down! I was excited for this one because of the fact that it had superheroes! And while it did have superheroes, this isn't exactly a superhero story. It's about Guardians, an evil that lurks in another dimension Beneath, a girl finding her place in the world while fulfilling her dreams, and so much more. And the addition of the superhero parent just made it that much cooler.
The plot in this novel was totally engrossing. The lore behind the good Kin and the evil Harrowers and how they both share a common ancestry was fascinating. The places within the Kin such as the Remnant, the Guardians, the regular Kin, and the kick ass Morning Star was astonishing. I truly couldn't get enough. The creativity exuded in this debut makes me beyond excited for any of Frenette's future novels!
My favorite part about this book was the characterization. While Audrey was a very strong lead, I did feel disconnected from her at times. She never listened to what Leon and her mother told her, even when they were just trying to protect her. Audrey's mother, the amazing Morning Star, was very stern, but the type of secret super hero mother any girl could ever wish for. But my favorite character, without a doubt, was Leon. Immaculately dressed, intelligent, cute, and incredibly protective, I could never get enough of him and his witty remarks and crooked smiles. Sidekick to Morning Star, he was never a thorn in my side the way Audrey originally viewed him. Next to Leon, I really enjoyed Audrey's best friend, Gideon, who was nerdy and brought a lot of humor to the story. Tink was also an enjoyable character, but she was stubborn and her stubbornness and dislike of the Kin was slightly frustrating at times. All other characters, for the most part, were enjoyable as well.
The romance was adorable as well. It was very slow moving, almost non-existent for most of the book. We saw hints of it coming out when Leon and Audrey had their flour fight in the kitchen while baking a cake and when he took her to his secluded thinking spot to get her some much needed fresh air, but otherwise it was almost as if it wasn't there. Then, at the end, the romance escalated incredibly fast. While I loved the story and the fact that there was romance, I think it could have been fleshed out more properly while still remaining a subplot to the overall amazingness that is the main plot. (Yes, I used amazingness even though it's not a word because there simply is no other word to describe this plot. It's just that amazing.)
My one other problem with this novel was the pacing. At times, the pacing was magnificent and the attention to detail was really enjoyable, but there were other times in the story, especially near the end, where everything went by really fast and there was almost a lack of detail. I felt as if events occurred in too quick of a succession, so much so that I could barely wrap my head around one before the other began. Secrets were revealed all to quickly when we weren't even curious about them to begin with. Sure, I really enjoyed some bombshells, like Leon's true identity, but others were dropped too quickly with no back story. The ending, I wish, was written with more detail and less rushed. It made me want a lot more from the novel and is what made me drop the half star from this rating. As happy as it made me, it was incredibly unsatisfying compared to the rest of the novel.
All in all, this is definitely a book worth checking out if you like fantasy and action. It's cute and serious all at once, with amazing lore, description, and sprinkles of hilarity throughout. I am eagerly anticipating the sequel and waiting to learn more about the mysteries of the Kin, the Harrowers, and the true identity of the one who can single-handedly protect or destroy the entire world...the Remnant.