Published: June 1st 2014 by HarlequinTeen
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Goodreads ● Booktopia ● Bookworld
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.
This book guys. This book.
It could have gone wrong at a dozen different points, but Shultz deserves all the praise for keeping The Dark World classy and mostly devoid of the tropes I dislike in YA.
This story world is awesome. There are ghosts and demons and warlocks, half demons and half warlocks, and people with wings. Wings!
It was never confusing and the author took the time to make sure everything was internally consistent. I think we could have spent a little more time exploring the Dark World, but I guess that’s what the sequels will do.
Let’s talk about our protagonist. Paige Kelly saved a little boy from getting squished in an accident, and was technically dead for a minute until she was brought back by doctors. The experience has left her with the ability to see and talk to ghosts. This has serious consequences: she’s put on antipsychotics and her parents are very worried about her, and she doesn’t have any friends at school (where they call her Bellevue Kelly, being the charming teenagers they are). Well she’s got one friend: Dottie, a ghost who committed suicide in the 1950s.
Paige is the kind of girl I like to read about. She’s snarky to those who dislike her but loyal to her friends, and makes the best of her situation. She didn’t put herself, or those around her, in needless danger – she was very aware of her actions and their consequences. Although her parents’ overbearing nature got on her nerves, she recognised that it came from a place of love and concern, which most story-book teens seem to overlook.
I have a teensy crush on the romantic lead in The Dark World. Logan is all sorts of hot and amazing. Great looks and demon slaying aside, my favourite thing about him is that he cares for Paige. He doesn’t emotionally manipulate her. He listens to her. He trains her so she can defend herself against demons instead of making her rely on him all the time. He respects her parents. He protects her. So yeah, I was a little (OK, a lot) swoony over him throughout the book.
I also liked the friendship between Paige and Dotty, and Paige’s relationship with her parents. I love that all these people were positive influences in her life.
The only reason this book didn’t get five stars is the plotting. It begins slowly, which isn’t the real problem. The issue is that it begins like every other YA paranormal. We meet a girl, her friends, and her family, find out about her past, meet Boy 1, then Boy 2, and supernatural stuff happens. At this point, I was ready to put the book down and read something else, but oh man, am I glad I stuck around! I’ve been conditioned to look for love triangles in YA, so I was always thinking ahead and trying to figure out how Boy 2 would woo Paige, and this distracted me from the story. I also guessed Logan’s secret a while before Paige (actually I thought it was so obvious that when it was brought up again I was really confused, because I thought we’d already established THE THING I CAN’T TALK ABOUT).
I really liked this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. I have Shultz’s other series, Spellbound, and am looking forward to reading it. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill paranormal story, and I’m very glad I picked it up 🙂 I hope you try it, and love it, as well!