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Gods & Monsters #1

Darkness Becomes Her

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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 just one 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.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published February 22, 2011

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About the author

Kelly Keaton

9 books1,351 followers
Kelly loves ancient history, fantasy, and mythology. She dreams of one day attaining magical powers, discovering the secret to immortality, ridding her home of pet hair, and being crowned Mardi-Gras queen. As Kelly Gay, she writes the popular adult urban fantasy series, Charlie Madigan, for Pocket Books. While she calls Raleigh, NC, home, she can also be found chatting about books and life on Facebook and Twitter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,423 reviews
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
January 15, 2011
Not what I was expecting. Very different then what I originally thought this was going to be about.
Darkness Becomes Her had a very strong beginning, but somewhere between the voodoo visit and the absolutely rushed relationship that followed ...it kinda lost me.
The plot concept is intriguing, the writing well done, it's characters likable and I even thought the combination of paranormal and mythology was cool, but in the end, it just felt...forced. To many elements thrown together all at once. It was trying to hard and I think the less-is-more theory would have been a safer bet in this case.

Still, anyone looking for a unique look in paranormal literature should find this one entertaining. Sadly, it just wasn't for me.

(Arc provided through S&S galley grab)
Profile Image for Natverse.
479 reviews60 followers
October 25, 2011
Normally, I don't bother with reviewing books, but this one really deserves some explanation. I picked up this book expecting it to be one of the worst reads ever. Surprisingly, it moved fast and it really was engaging...except things just didn't make sense. And even the world of fiction and fantasy have rules.

In the end, while the story could have been really fun, there was just too much going on. It was like reading Twilight crossed over with Percy Jackson and a bit of adult humour/language. It was terrifying.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,390 reviews411 followers
July 3, 2022
This was först published in 2011 and while it definitely has that similar YA vibe at books around that time and earlier has (not all but most), it was better than I had expected and I cared more for the heroine that I thought I would.
Profile Image for Morgan F.
512 reviews469 followers
February 14, 2011
Ari is a freak. With her odd teal eyes and long, silvery hair, she is used to being different, and after spending her life going from foster home to foster home, she is used to being alone. Feeling the need to discover her past, Ari goes to the psychiatric hospital where her mother killed herself 13 years ago. There she given a box with a message from her mother: to run. With foreign sword-weilding figures pursuing her, Ari knows she must return to her birthplace of New Orleans. Now known as New 2, the city rebuilt after the worst storms in history, it is a haven for the odd and different. In New 2, Ari finally feels like she fits in, but really she is only discovering how much she is meant to stand out.

Despite its considerable flaws, I really enjoyed this book. Its high rating is based on my superficial enjoyment of it and nothing else. But I know not everyone will like it. Hey, I know that some won't be able to stand it, but I still liked it, all the same.

Ari was an interesting character. Not a passive heroine (although she does pass out a few times), this girl knows how to kick ass. She calls the main antagonist of the book (whom I shall not reveal) "a fucking bitch", and then punches her in the face! Ohmigod, how that made me giddy! Who does that, except in my wildest imaginings! How many times have I've been reading a book or watching a movie and yell at the protagonist "Just punch her already!" and Ari does it!!! Oh boy, how that made me happy. I will ignore the fact that the antagonist is an all powerful being and should have really incinerated Ari right then and there, but whatever. Ari just won the "most kickass moment of the year" award.

Despite myself, I got really sucked into the story. The scenery was just really awesome. The sunken city of New Orleans is a pretty original place for a young adult novel, and it was refreshing. I think it fitted the craziness of the book really well.

There was something odd about this book, a "twist", if you will that some people will definitely not like. I wasn't expecting it, although it isn't all that hard to figure out. The idea really wasn't that new, but I wasn't expecting it in this setting. It just seemed really odd, but for me, that oddness worked. For some people, it will throw them off. I will admit, I did enjoy the first half of the novel more than the second, because the plot just got more and more convoluted.

There was romance between Ari and a bloke named Sebastian (not enough people use the word "bloke"). It was a fast romance, they had only known each other for a day or so when they started making out, but for me, it seemed fine. It worked, somehow. At least Ari wasn't all like "I looooovvve you! I shall die without your lips on my lips! Your hands on my skin! Your loins on my--*ahem*".....lets move on. They were just two teenagers who liked each other.

But alas......the ending.......Ari sort of turned into Rose Hathaway at the end there. And there was a semi cliff-hanger. Grrrr. I hate those.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Even though the cover is absolutely grotesque.

Two miscellaneous and spoilerific complaints:

Profile Image for Heather Anastasiu.
Author 8 books672 followers
January 24, 2011
Holy crap this book is amazing!!! It starts out with one thread, then slowly more and more are woven in until it’s a complex web of unique personalities, history, and the supernatural. The story is extremely compelling and unlike other supernatural fare in its complex history and wicked smart world-building.

Ari heads into New 2, the dangerous secluded sector separated from the rest of the US in what was previously New Orleans, a place riddled with rumors of dangers and the supernatural. Determined to find out more about her mother’s mysterious past, Ari doesn’t flinch as she enters the shady gothic realm. New 2 is a bit like the island of broken toys where all the misfits are collected together, forming their own fiercely protective families. The sense of home that Ari finds among them is endearing and makes events at the end of the novel all the more gripping.

We don’t learn much about Ari at first other than seeing her in action. As the novel continues, though, Ari’s past and present come into light, not only so far as her exotic lineage, but also in her emotional development as she learns to embrace who and what she may be.

The story starts fast and the heart-racing pace just picks up further and further as the book continues. At the same time, amid the action, there are unusual moments of beauty. The narrative takes unexpected twists and turns, with a slowly revealed past and mythology that unfolds naturally, eventually taking on epic scope. This is seriously some of the best story-telling I’ve read in a long time. As for the sexy Sebastian, I have only one word: YUM.
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,193 reviews2,902 followers
March 23, 2011
In case you couldn't tell from the cover, this novel had a bit of a Gothic tone, and that made the novel all that more awesome. (Although if I'm perfectly honest the cover really doesn't do it for me.... though it is a prettier irl.) But the thing that I really loved about this novel was the references to ancient mythology, which I was not expecting at all! It was a welcome surprise!

This novel is a must read debut! There's a unique setting, an eclectic cast of characters, and a surprising story that is sure to catch your attention! There are a lot of twists and turns going on, and even though I had a few figured out before hand... got to love that foreshadowing, there were still a lot of "oh my gosh, did that just happen" moments. It was impossible not to flip the pages, hoping that we would figure out the truth behind Ari's past. And I loved every minute of it!

Ari is a kick-butt character, and she kicks-butt too! I would definitely put her up there with the likes of Rose Hathaway (from the Vampire Academy series) this girl can take care of herself, but she's not invincible. My favorite character beside Ari was one of the kids in the New 2, Violet, there was something very captivating about her from the moment she showed up on the page.

The one complaint that I had would be the romance between Ari and Sebastian.... only because they had just met for a few hours and then bam they were making out. Neither Ari nor Sebastian seemed like the type of character that would just wear there heart on their sleeve like that... but perhaps there was some magnetic attraction there that I was oblivious to. That being said, the relationship did work nicely in the story, I mean I'm all for making out, though it would have worked without the insta-romance as well.

Overal, Darkness Becomes Her is an action packed, unique twist on ancient mythology, with a kick-butt heroine and one of a kind world!
Profile Image for Mai is a Happy Bibliophile.
206 reviews74 followers
January 24, 2014

Err.. Okay. This book is kinda hard to review so let me be a bit creative with this.

Let's pretend I'm Annabeth Chase from Rick Riordan's series, okay?
(Annabeth's one of those kickass heroines based from a mythology retelling, so yeah, deal with it.)

Hello Goodreads' Friends and Non-Friends and Occassional Strolling Troll! This is my review of Kelly Keaton's Darkness Becomes Her.

I shall abandon Percy and the rest of the gang at Camp Half Blood to accompany you on this quest given unto me by the Oracle (I guess, that's the real ME.), in a post apocalyptic world that was once called New Orleans. So, buckle up, grip that bow, prepare your blades, tie your shoes and toss that shiny hair back and IN WE GO!

So, we have our main character here who goes by the name of Ari Selkirk. She's got long, shiny silver hair and beautiful teal eyes. Weird, right? Anyway, Ari is a foster child who's out to find more about her heritage and the reason why she was born different. I kinda like someone different. But the downside for heroines like her? She's like a special snowflake and I desperately want to crush her with my bare hands every single time she acts like it.
She was raised from one foster family to another, experienced a great deal of pain and abuse from some and never knew anything about her parents. So, you expect someone who grew tough from that kind of past, right? ENGKKK!

"Stop being such a baby!"
"All these years... it wasn't fair!"

Okaay, let's just say that Ari had a different kind of method in dealing with her angst issues.
Anyway, someone or something was out to hunt her. Ari's mother thought so too. Returning from the mental institution her mother stayed in until her last remaining breaths, Ari discovered a very important message from her mother. Run.

Good Girl, Ari. You delivered quite well on the kickass side of things. I like it.

Now, she met a new friend that will take her to the root of all things weird like her.
Welcome to New 2! Home of the Novem Weirdos and Wasteland to the Normal New Orleans People. There, she met new people that are also "special" and different like her. The upside of inserting a lot of new characters in the story is the idea that these people are relevant and makes the story more interesting. So, Ari agreed to stay in that old, beautiful and gothic dwelling with these weirdos. She's determined to know more about her past. I look at her and I anticipate the birth of a badass heroine. And then Ari went to the door, and by that door stood a guy. And that guy is so handsome.
And, Ari.. Ari? Ari? Thus, the birth of InstaLust. I mean, InstaLove.

"A grin split Sebastian's face, slicing two dimples into his cheeks.

Holy Mother of God. I actually stopped breathing for a second."

You're looking ridiculous right now, Ari. Stop it, it's catching. You only met him hours ago, for God's sake.

Moving on, Ari found out that there's a curse running through her family. So, this good-looking guy, Sebastian, offered help. The reason for her weird appearance and terrible beauty was revealed on the later part of the book and even if I found the writing a bit boring, descriptive and bland at times, I have to admit that I loved the part where Ari found out who her ancestor was.
And that grave yard scene with a bitchy goddess? I like it. The gore, the mix of supernatural creatures with mythology looks promising.

The world building is okay. I can easily picture in my mind's eye New 2 filled with voodoo shops, people with masks and Mardi Gras. It reminded me of reading about Karou's world in Daughter of Smoke & Bone.

The Novems are nine families who joined forces to save New Orleans before and together they pooled their resources and made it into New 2 where there'll always be home to the supernatural.
The history that came with these families made me interested to read on, despite hating the MC's voice and her instalove for Sebastian. There are things that felt forced to look like a twist but it was predictable and that took a huge chunk of fun from the story.

The ending is not what I expected to happen though. That bitch Athena is a pain in the ass. How can she take my favorite character away just like that?? (Oh my gosh. This is so weird. I'm Annabeth, my mom's Athena. Bitching-gods. Tskk.)

Now, I am forced to continue the Quest of reading the sequel.


Profile Image for hayden.
1,062 reviews736 followers
September 11, 2011
Any book that has the sick-to-your-stomach combination of Greek mythology, vampires and shapeshifters is doomed to go down the crapper.

Seriously, this book was like the Gods of mythology and supernatural creatures all vomited into a cup and put it in the oven. The book is a perfect example of a good idea with really poor execution. The prose is mediocre at best (Jenna Black's was better, and I criticized her a time or two about hers), definitely nothing extraordinary.
The Darkness Becomes Her franchise is one I can definitely at this point cross off my list of series to continue, even though I have an ARC of #2 (which I'm probably going to donate to my high school's library at this point).
Keaton, no offense. I tried. Really, I did. I loved the beginning. It was interesting, fast-paced, and original. But then it all fell apart. But it's okay. I know Things Fall Apart. It's bound to happen sometimes.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
447 reviews1,142 followers
September 1, 2015
3.5 Stars

I have been looking forward to reading "Darkness Becomes Her" ever since I saw it on Goodreads a while back, and while it didn't knock my socks off it was a really good read.

Ari Selkirk is seventeen and after being passed from one foster home to another for most of her childhood decides to find out about her birth mother. After visiting the doctor at Rocquemore House and being told that her mother had committed suicide shortly after she was born, Ari decides she needs to know more. The doctor gives her a box filled with her mother's things including a letter addressed to her.

The letter is one of the aspects of the plot I couldn't buy into. Ari reads the letter and her mother warns her to run. That's it? Her mother writes a letter but instead of telling her daughter what, why and when, all she gets across is "run"! I couldn't get on board with this. It feels as though the letter was just used as a spring board for the entire story, so Ari could investigate etc, I hate letters like this, whether they're in books or films. I always end up irritated as I think if they wanted to let their loved ones know about the dangers facing them they would surely just tell it straight and not in a series of riddles that they have to work out, which only buries them deeper in what they were being warned against. Just silly.

However, it does the trick as Ari decides to head out to New 2, which used to be New Orleans. Thirteen years ago, two hurricanes hit New Orleans devastating it. But instead of doing what is usually done after a natural disaster, the government sells the city it to a bunch of families for a few billion dollars - really? Not sure why the government would do this...it doesn't seem particularly plausible. Also, the hurricanes that hit the city were described as category four and not five, which is the most destructive hurricane there is. I would have found the selling of the city more believable if it was destroyed by nuclear means and was now a nuclear wasteland where nothing could live or grow for tens of years, but weather? It just didn't seem realistic to me.

But I ignored these two aspects and just followed Ari's journey and it is an interesting one. Ari is a great character and a fab heroine, full of grit, kick-arse moves and oodles of sass, which is sadly a rarity in paranormal YA as this is the kind of character I love reading about.
"Ari!" Sebastian stood on the sidewalk, holding up his hands in a 'What's going on?' gesture.
...I mimicked the gesture with probably more sarcasm than he deserved, and then jogged over, ignoring his questioning look and heading to the main entrance.
He caught up to me at the doors. "You should wait here."
A small laugh escaped my lips as the doors slid open. "You've got a lot to learn about me. I don't wait in the wings."

Ari uses coarse language (she should wash her mouth out with soap!) and has quite a serious personality, so when I read this next quote it really made me smile.

I was pretty sure I knew what I looked like: a cartoon hamster in the headlights. Totally not what I expected him to say, especially after I'd just implied he was one of the bad guys. "Uh..." What the hell was I supposed to say to that? "Okay"
A grin split Sebastian's face, slicing two dimples into his cheeks.
Holy Mary Mother of God. I actually stopped breathing for a second.

It made me smile, firstly because it was nice to hear Ari say something like this as she had been so serious up until this point and secondly, because I thought exactly the same thing. Sebastian is smokin'. There was something about his character I liked from the first moment he entered Ari's life, so I know where she's coming from... ;)

These are the type of moments that made the book for me despite the negative points I've mentioned and gives "Darkness Becomes Her" its huge potential. The combination of vampires and witches with greek gods is unique to me and was exciting to read.

I did find that everything happened a bit too quickly though, including the romance between Ari and Sebastian. Her time in New 2 barely spans two days and yet so much happens and is revealed that it made the novel seem a little shallow, there wasn't enough time to really develop the story or the characters in just 273 pages.


"Darkness Becomes Her" is an exciting read with a great lead heroine and although the story wasn't as edgy as Ari, it was still an enjoyable read. It's an interesting mix of urban fantasy and greek mythology which has incredible potential to be a fabulous series. I hope the next book will be a little longer to allow things to play out at a more realistic pace and for the characters to grow and mature, but I can't wait to read what happens next...
Profile Image for Missy's Book Obsession.
181 reviews104 followers
September 30, 2017
Love this book!!!! Ari is a great herion and sebestion is interesting hero. I thought this book was amazing with the fantasy side and the mythology. It is way different then anything I have I read before. There is a cliffhanger btw. 5/5 Stars for sure!!
Profile Image for Gary.
167 reviews67 followers
October 15, 2015
Only 2 stars for this one. The story line was not very well constructed, the people was very lacking in depth of personality so won't be reading the second book
392 reviews335 followers
February 22, 2011
Rating: 3.5 stars

Darkness Becomes Her is a well needed refreshingly different young adult paranormal read. From it misfit bunch of characters to its action packed plot, it was very unique and completely intriguing.

From page one it is pretty much just go, go, go. Fast paced with a thumping narrative. It is dark, edgy and a little creepy. The story is a mix of mostly mythology with touch of paranormal. Sometimes I got lost with the history and everything else going that I had to go back and re-read parts. Something was off with the flow of this story for me. But the mysterious plot that had me hooked kept pushing me through those moments that I struggled.

My favourite element of this story is the characters. Distinctive, well rounded and fascinating. Ari is strong, smart, independent and doesn't take any crap for anyone. When all hell breaks lose she doesn't stand back and worry about what to do she gets in their and kicks some butt. There is a whole gang of misfit secondary characters in this story that I adored especially Violet. She is a wonderfully odd little character but certainly one that gets into your heart.

Their is a touch of romance. Ari and Sebastian act on attraction pretty quickly but they didn't pretend it to be something is wasn't. It certainly wasn't sweet but rather some sizzling chemistry . I am very curious to see how their feelings will grow and change (hopefully into something with meaning) in the next installment.

Overall, Darkness Becomes Her is a solid debut novel that has left me curious to see what is coming next in this original and imaginative series.

Thanks to Simon Pulse (S&S Galley Grab) for providing me with a copy.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
764 reviews10 followers
April 15, 2018
This was a pretty good read, it was interesting and well paced keeping readers interested all the way through. But despite all of this I just didn't feel as though I wasn't really gripped by the book.

The main character is Ari, a girl alone in the world who decides as a way to go back to her roots to look into the death of her mother. This leads her to a strange place New 2, New Orleans after it has been rebuilt, she ends up with a gang of unwanted youths. And she learns more about the city and it's inhabitants including some of the greek gods/ goddesses. My only issue with this character is that I felt she was a bit of a rip off of other female characters in the YA genre, including Rose Hathaway from VA, Annabeth from Percy Jackson.

There are a lot of secondary characters but I am going to wait until I read the other books in the series before I comment on them.

The storyline was good but it wasn't the most original. The pacing was good and I enjoyed the cliffhanger ending. But something about this book left something to be desired for me and I'm not sure what it was.

3 stars, I may continue with the rest of the series after a little while and then I may need to reread this book to catch myself up.

3 stars, an OK read
Profile Image for Amelia, free market Puritan.
349 reviews34 followers
February 24, 2011
There was so much action and butt-kicking in this book, I had to read it with a heating pad on my tush. You know how it's been mentioned that some books are a little "same song, second verse?" or even "same song, same chorus"? Well, if the mythology trend continues, you might feel that way about some myth book in the future. Chances are you will find Darkness Becomes Her a highly original and exciting thrill ride. I sure did. The story world of this novel is so incredibly fascinating and richly detailed. Set in the near future, the city of New Orleans as we know it no longer exists: instead, it has been turned into New 2, a privately-controlled location with a reputation as a safe haven for paranormals. Keaton excels at bringing the world of New 2 to life in all its old-world, ethereal and dangerous glory.
I have to say, the rich descriptions and highly engaging writing style is what *made* the book for me.
Ari was an interesting main character to follow. For one, she's tough as nails and pretty mature for her age. When your newest foster parents are bail bondsmen, I'd think you'd have to have a strong personality. Sometimes, though, she had a tendency to really overreact. Like, she's the kind of character who goes from like 0 to 60 in the snap of a finger. Halfway into the book I just wanted to reach into the novel and hand her some Lithium or something, like "calm down, girl!" I mean, it's cool that she wasn't wussy, but having a know-it-all, I-don't-need-anybody attitude isn't attractive, either. At least, not for me.
But it was nice to read a book and *not* be able to guess what was about to happen next.
The only thing I didn't like about the book was the extreme and repetitious profanity. HOWEVER, I read an ARC copy and I have been told that a lot of it had been edited out for the final product. So I don't know how much or how little ended up in the final book, but just be advised, if that's something that is meaningful to you.
Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,000 reviews1,210 followers
June 1, 2013
2.5 stars. I want to like this novel--for the title sounds refreshing and the idea is an interesting one; but after reading it I found the author has left many, many things to be desired.

I even drew fanart for it:

Link: http://vampirekiki.deviantart.com/art...

This novel is simply too, too rushed and shabbily put together. The author doesn't seem bothered enough to pause and take her time to develop her characters, deepening the relationships among them a little (to be honest, the romance between Ari and Sebastian is just...laughable). For so many times I was told "I'm a tough girl", "I made friend with all these misfits", "I don't belong anywhere!", but what I want to see but the author has refused to give me for an entire book, is some showing.

And the author's attempt of making the main character Ari a strong young woman doesn't work out quite well. At first Ari is alright, she is a girl with a difficult upbringing, who has to toughen up and learn to fight in order to protect herself. But later I found out some of Ari's behaviors and action don't seem to sit well with the STRONG FEMALE claim:

(1.) Whenever Ari is faced by something/someone she doesn't like, or is faced by a bad situation, Ari's reaction is to run away.

(2.) Ari's late mother left her a note from beyond the grave, pleading her to run away from New 2 (New Orleans 2); and her foster parents had especially asked her not to go into New 2, a known dangerous place. But Ari disobeyed them anyway, going alone without back up.

(3.) Once inside New 2, Ari turns out to be utterly unprepared and poorly informed about the dangers she might face.

My problems with Air don't just end here. For most of the book, Ari keeps saying she is a misfit, a freak, abnormal, simply because the colors of her eyes and hair are unusual. Then she says she's cursed and she's dangerous to those she cares about, and supposedly people in New 2--even the members of the most powerful families, are afraid of her and her power. But throughout the book I have never seen her losing control or doing something truly scary or destructive, so the claim feels very, very empty.

Still, the ending, the introduction of THAT goddess, and the plot twist about Ari's real father are the saving grace of the book. I'll still read the sequel, but I wouldn't keep my hope up.
Profile Image for Once.
2,344 reviews73 followers
January 21, 2011
Be prepared to be enamored within the first couple of pages that you read. Kelly did not hold back when she wrote her Debut novel, she brings her A-game. The book brings something new to the paranormal world. The storyline is grand. This book has all the supernatural elements you are a fan of in other books but written in a manner that has not been written before. The Greek mythology is a perfect blend to go along with a futuristic New Orleans. Kelly wrote each characters flawless. One thing thats very important to me when I read a new book or series is, are the characters memorable? Yes they are in Darkness becomes her.

I will give as much as I can without spoiling the book. Picture New Orleans in the future after 2 massive Hurricanes ruin what you know today as New Orleans. The United States doesn't even consider it part of the country anymore. A group of wealthy families buy New Orleans and change the name to New 2. We are introduced to Ari she considers her self very strange. It might be due to the fact that she has white hair and teal eyes, did I mention if she cuts her hair it reappears again. Ari wants to know more of her past such as her mother since sh has been in foster care practically all her life. She finds a message from her mom, its real simple. RUN! well I can tell you Ari runs but right to the place her mother meant for her to stay away from New 2. On this trip she comes across what the books calls misfits. They began to help Ari in her journey to discover her past and possibly who or what she is. The oldest on the group is named Sebastian, it turns out Sebastian is more than what meets the eyes. Sebastian and the rest show Ari she is not alone in being different, New 2 is a haven for the different. Ari then begins to discover her part and what she finds out is not something you can swallow down easily, will her new friends stick by her side? On February 22nd go to the book store and pick up your copy to find out. You will not be disappointed.

review link: http://www.onceuponatwilight.com/2011...
Profile Image for Samita.
206 reviews3 followers
January 15, 2011
There's no mystery to this book if you know Greek mythology. Of course you won't find Athena dropping the f-bomb in those. So unnecessary. Ari, the heroine is so unlikable, the author goes out of her way to show how strong she is physically though. Ari's romance with Sebastian is contrived, there is no anticipation or build up to their romance other than Sebastian smelling nice, so it really doesn't feel like there's a pay off. The ending is very predictable since you know Ari will get help. There's a lot of action and it's easy read though. If I don't read the next book in the series my heart will not bleed.
Profile Image for Novel Novice.
132 reviews79 followers
February 15, 2011
If you took some of today’s hottest genres in Young Adult fiction, mixed them together and added a heavy dose of Greek mythology, the results would be Kelly Keaton’s Darkness Becomes Her, the first in a new paranormal trilogy.

The book tells the story of 17-year-old Ari, who’s always hated her strange teal eyes and her silver hair that can never be cut or changed (despite her best efforts). After growing up in the foster care system, Ari goes in search of information about her mother, who she is, and where she came from. Her search leads her to New 2 — what used to be New Orleans, before the city was destroyed by a pair of powerful hurricanes. (The book is set in the not-too-distant future). It is in the rebuilt Crescent City where Ari uncovers a world where the paranormal is common and a place where she may finally fit in. The only problem is that the closer Ari gets to learning the truth, the more she puts herself (and her new friends) in danger.

Darkness Becomes Her offers a unique and compelling blend of themes from various genres: the supernatural, southern gothic, dystopian and Greek mythology. And while at times, it can feel as if the stability between all these elements is teetering precariously, Keaton deftly maintains a delicate balance throughout the entire book. She makes the chaos of this wild combination work, and the result is a refreshing tale for readers of YA paranormal lit.

Keaton’s also done an excellent job of writing a book that both establishes what’s to come in the series, while also standing on its own in terms of action, drama and character development. It’s not just an introductory book. There’s a lot going on, and it’s all quite compelling. Darkness Becomes Her offers plenty to make this book alone enjoyable, while also piquing the reader’s interest for future books.

And in a world where the YA shelves are packed with paranormal stories, Keaton makes her mark. I think it’s partly due to the meshing of genres she employs, but I think a lot of it has to due with her use of Greek mythology.If you’ve done any sort of study into Greek mythology, you’ll have fun following the clues and figuring out Ari’s secret before she does. And when the truth is revealed, it sets up that many more intrigues and challenges ahead for the next books in this series. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I LOVED the way Keaton incorporated one story in particular into the heart of this book. It’s new, unique and brilliant!

There’s one other element about Darkness Becomes Her that was a real high point for me, and that’s the fact that it’s a much more mature YA book than many on shelves today. Yeah, it’s got that “14 & up” warning (which for some parents can be a turn-off), but as an adult reader, it’s refreshing to find a character in YA that is so mature. Ari is 17 in this book, but she’s only a few months shy of 18 and she carries herself much more like an adult than a teenager. Sure, she’s still figuring some things out and she definitely makes mistakes — but it’s nice to see a character mature enough to recognize and learn from her mistakes independently. Ari is a well-rounded character, with a tough past (she’s experienced some horrors in her youth) and a unique outlook on life. And much like my favorite vampire slayer Buffy, Ari knows how to kick serious butt. Not because she’s a supernatural beastie … but because her good foster parents taught her self-defense! How cool is that?

And of course, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t at least mention Sebastian … okay, sure, Ari falls for him a little fast, but so did I. And once you learn his secrets, you start to understand the reasons for his immediate charm. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, and I have a feeling we’ll learn lots more about Sebastian and his family in books to come. Plus, Sebastian’s just one member of a very colorful and (for the most part) endearing cast of supporting characters. I think it’s this collective group of individuals that help make Ari an even more enjoyable character. She’s not the only one who’s interesting; she’s surrounded by a very lush and detailed world, characters included.
Profile Image for Riley.
14 reviews4 followers
June 3, 2011
Darkness Becomes Her- Kelley Keaton

4/5 Stars

(Amazon , Goodreads)

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 22, 2011)

"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 just one 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."

I loved this book. Seriously. I read it in five hours. I woke up at seven, grabbed it off my shelf, and was finished by eleven. And it left me breathless. I adore, love, ect. Greek mythology. And you mix mythology with Vampires, Witches, and Demigods? *Dies* .
And the setting couldn't have been more perfect. I love New Orleans, and I've wanted to go there practically my whole life. It's got so much history, you could pick up a rock on the side of the road and even it's story would be fascinating. I love the new take on it- New 2. It's like New Orleans, only mix in some kick butt paranormal stuff.
The characters are all really well developed. Ari, the MC, is wonderfully bad ass, but she can be little mean. But this is coming from me, the girl who is always shy and quiet all the time. So, I kind of give Ari points for not being afraid to tell it like it is. And three words for Sebastian, the loovveee interest, are these: Tall, Dark, and Brooding. Can you say, sexy beast?
I love all the other kids, but I have to say that Violet is definitely my favorite character in the whole book. She's so sweet, smart, and mature. She sees past all the barriers. Violet is just special- one of the characters you automatically fall in love with and wish that they were real.
Overall, this story was fascinating, action packed, and had an amazing romance. I can't wait for the next book. I highly recommend this book if you haven't read it. You totally should.

Profile Image for Crystal.
449 reviews92 followers
January 10, 2011
Where to even begin, I am shocked at this book! I had such high hopes and I was so excited when I saw it on the S&S newsletter but unfortunately it was not my cup of tea whatsoever. The story is about Ari and her need to find out why her Mom commited suicide 14 years ago. Ari's investigation takes her to New 2, which is what New Orleans has turned into after 4 major hurricanes 13 years ago. Now was with the story until this point. Once she gets to New 2 things fall apart for me. Ari finds out she is cursed and that New 2 is full of paranormal beings, no surprise there, but she takes this with no WTH moments or anything. I felt like Ari should have at least had some questions but nope she walks around like it is no big deal. Then her love interest goes from being just a hawt guy to her boyfriend in about 20 pages. I have read enough YA to know that usually when the heroine and hero meet there will be plenty of angsty drama but these two jumped right into it. Before reading this I probably would have been relieved that I didn't have to sit through pages and pages of teenage drama, but I actually missed it. When Sebastian kisses Ari it happened so fast that I thought for sure I had missed pages. Now these are minor bothers I had but the one major WTH for me was the introduction of Athena. I have never read any book where paranormal creatures battle it out with Greek Gods, but Keaton has thrown them all in together. I for one thought it was too crowded and made absoultrly no sense. There wasn't enough backstory for the reader to grasp all the whys and hows of the fight between the two. I won't say much about the curse as if you are going to read this I don't want to spoil everything even though one will probably guess the outcome after the second paragraph. I don't mean to rant I am just in shock over this one and that rarely happens. I guess I should have read the summary better.
Thanks S&S for the opportunity.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,063 reviews69.5k followers
May 6, 2012
It was different.
I'm thinking only time will tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It seems as though Kelly Keaton threw everything in a pot and stirred it around. Greek gods, vampires, shape shifters, witches...everything. When I finished the book I couldn't decide if it was too much, or if it was just a neat way to mix it all up.
She did manage to come up with a newish spin to put on it all, though. I really liked her supernatural take on the floods in New Orleans, and the fact that she basically took all of the heroic figures from The Lightning Thief and turned them into villains.
I didn't think the story was amazing, but it kept my interest. Although, I figured out what kind of creature Ari was almost immediately. So the shocking reveal didn't come as a big surprise to me.
Meh. I think this is one of those Read-It-For-Yourself-And-See-If-You-Like-It kind of books.
Profile Image for D Dyer.
351 reviews28 followers
April 18, 2019
Silver-haired, teal-I’d, Foster kid Ari has always felt a bit like a freak. And when she finds out that her mother committed suicide and left her with one message, Ron, she hast to find out why. That journey takes her to a rebuilt postapocalyptic New Orleans populated by witches, vampires, gods, and other assorted monsters.
This is a brief book and very fast-paced and has some of the benefits and the deficits that frequently come along with fast-paced novels. We get a lot of action and are pulled into this world in a few breathless chapters but aside from our heroin there isn’t much character development. Sebastian, her love interest comes off as interesting but without much depth beyond his unusual magical heritage. In the next novel I really hope to see more development of characters like Violet who have the hints of something interesting but don’t get the space to allow it to blossom. That said, the writing is solid, the pacing fun and fast and the world is an interesting one. I found the concept of setting twisted versions of Greek myths against a New Orleans backdrop really interesting. And Keaton does a good job of capturing the sheer aliveness of New Orleans.
Profile Image for Parajunkee.
406 reviews195 followers
March 9, 2011
Wow. I haven't read a young adult novel, with paranormal themes, this original and compelling in a long time. Step away from the usual vampire love stories and grab Darkness Becomes Her, you won't be disappointed.

Deep in the ruined South of Keaton's imagined world, a young girl goes on a quest to find out about her parents. Abandoned at a young age, Ari has been a product of social services for a very long time. Just recently she has finally come to live with a family that has shown her kindness and love. It has not dispelled her curiosity though, she needs to find out why her mother abandoned her at four years old and her journey will take her to an area of the world, that like her has been abandoned.

Thirteen years prior, two massive hurricanes ripped through the Gulf and ruined the Gulf Coast. The US government abandoned the area, moved the people out and left the land to be reclaimed by nature. Nine of the oldest families of New Orleans would not relent and petitioned the US government to purchase the area. New Orleans became New 2, apart from the US - and New Orleans always having been different, now became another world.

Ari crossed The Rim into the unknown of New 2, where she was born, and begins to find that not everything is as it seems. The city hides secrets, and the rumors of paranormal creatures and magic that have been whispered about, might not be as far fetched as she thought. A ride from a stranger and an offer to stay the night in a large, run-down house in the Garden District, introduce her to the forgotten children of New 2 and probably the first friends that Ari has had the chance to make in a long time. But, friends can be used against you, especially if you are one of the most pursued persons in the area - because it would seem that Ari's arrival in the city hasn't gone unnoticed, both my the ruling body of the city, the Novem, and by much more scarier beings than she ever thought existed.
My frist praise for Ms. Keaton will be about her creation of New 2. Keaton embraced New Orleans, turned it on it's side and created something really special in New 2. She really seemed to get the personality of New Orleans and did a wonderful job of conveying it in Darkness Becomes Her. I know you can hear over and over again how different this region is, probably get tired of hearing it, I mean really, it is still the US right, how different can it be? But, it is. Just everything about this city is unique and a bit off. Something, you get used to when you live here, but stun the people that visit. Keaton did a great job of showing the subtle odditiy of the city and then taking it further by creating New 2. I could see it happening - if there was any city in the world that it could happen it would be New Orleans. A quote that resonnated with me and showed that Keaton really got New Orleans:

"...I was born here, and I knew my mother had lived here, but somehow it was more than that. It was in the emotion of the place, the air of abandonment, the slight decay on everything, the wildness of the plants and trees, the haunted appearance that clung to the grand old houses, and the dark parts where light never reached--deep in the lost gardens, behind vacant lots, and beyond boarded-up windows. {skipped a part because of length}...It was the freedom of being in a place that didn't give a shit what you were, because it was different too."

On top of Keaton's rich imagining of the city she created, her characters are deeply developed and touch you emotionally. You want to take Violet in your arms and protect her, just as Ari does and Sebastien makes your palms sweat. Then along with the characters and the setting the original idea behind what Ari deals with and the plot behind the setting is so original I was literally nodding during reading it, highly impressed with Keaton's creativity. I can't stop singing the praises of this novel. I couldn't put it down. I started reading it the day before Mardi Gras (Lundi Gras) and it took all of my will-power to not bring it on the parade route to read, Mardi Gras day. Standing ovation, Ms. Keaton. I can't wait to read book number two.

While this book is a Young Adult novel there are mature themes. There is violence and mature language. This is recommended for a mature teen audience. Use your judgement parents, it is only a few curse words though. I would give this to a 13/14 year-old, but you might want to read it before you do - but, you'll enjoy it, so I don't think it'll be too hard.
Profile Image for Janna.
354 reviews45 followers
June 13, 2019
Darkness Becomes Her is one of those books that's filled with clichés. The biggest problem I had with this book is that Keaton decided to throw in every fantasy creature there is. There were vampires, shape-shifters and witches which she mixed with Greek mythology. It just couldn't fit in my head. I think the story would've been better if she'd just decided to only use Greek mythology.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the plot-twists were too predictable. Not really my kind of book, but I still enjoyed reading it so that's why I gave it 3 stars.
Profile Image for Kerri (Book Hoarder).
495 reviews46 followers
July 10, 2020
What to say about this book.

I ended up skimming a lot of it because I had a bad feeling that turned out to be pretty justified. The book starts off good, and has potential... But it needed to be fleshed out more, certain aspects of the plot needed to be slowed down, the mythology had my eyebrows lifting and there are problematic aspects of the book as well, considering it's written by a white author and set in New Orleans (or New 2, as it's now called.)

All in all, I feel like the framework was there, in this book, but it could have used a lot of smoothing, some editing for problematic aspects, and less focus on teen romance. Hopefully the second one is better.
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews326 followers
July 17, 2017
4.5 stars!!! From the get go I was hooked. Half a star knocked off because Ari is a pretty average teenage girl and has her moments of insecurity. If only she could always be like Cera from 'The Land Before Time' always bad ass and never doubts herself until she makes a mistake ;)

The cool thing about this book is that I went into pretty blind. I knew it was a supernatural book and that was about it. I knew it had vampires in it and so I bought the trilogy. Stupid reason to buy a trilogy, but there you go. When I started this book I had no expectations. I read the first few pages became hooked and continued. Pretty much everything kept me engaged.

Ari is our main character she has teal eyes and silver hair. She is also an orphan. At 5 or so Ari is put into the foster care system. Her mom committed herself to an Asylum and eventually committed suicide. When we meet Ari she is 17 and at said Asylum trying to get as much information about her mother as she can. Immediately after leaving the Asylum strange things happen. And in quick succession Ari finds herself in New 2. New 2 is the area that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. The Garden District and French Quarter is where Ari spends most of her time in this book. Learning about her mother. Why she is different and what to expect in the future. At one point, I was just as surprised to learn about gods as Ari was and super excited that both monsters and gods could be found in this story.

New 2 is what folks "outside the Rim" say is where you can find the supernatural. Ghosts run wild. Tourists go there to see ghosts and haunted houses. But New 2 is more than what is on the surface and that was one of my favorite parts.

When Ari reaches New 2 she is greeted by a band of misfits. I loved all of them, Violet especially. She has style!

I'm so excited to pick up book 2. If you like supernatural beings and mythology definitely check this book out. I do have to mention...this book does have insta-love, but I found it to be engaging and not a gag-fest so yay to that :D
Profile Image for K.
358 reviews7 followers
April 3, 2011
Well. That was different.

The story takes place about fifteen years in the future. New Orleans has long since been destroyed by hurricanes and subsequently deserted. The United States has washed its hands of the place. It’s a source of boogeyman stories—an Area 51/Bermuda Triangle -type of place, home to the weird and unexplained. After the storms and mass exodus, nine of the oldest families pooled their not inconsiderable funds and bought the land. Thrill seekers and reports are the only ones to brave venturing past The Rim and entering the ruined city. Because there’s a story there, but no one knows quite what it is. It’s there that Ari needs to travel to get to the hospital where she was born and hopefully find record of the father she never knew and the mother who abandoned her as a toddler.

It’s a pretty cool story. New Orleans has been deserted and rebuilt by some diehards. There’s voodoo, the paranormal, and mythology all set against a swampy, gothic background. And Mardi Gras. The place has been abandoned by all but those who really want to be there, and that gives it a kind of lawless, party atmosphere. And the stories of the unexplained aren’t just stories.

But what was up with those characters? It was going pretty well for a bit; Ari wasn’t my favorite, but there was enough action that it didn’t matter. Then once she gets to the city, all these intense interactions take place. With people she’d never met, people she’s bumming a bed from for the night. One scene in particular sticks in my mind, an all-or-nothing confrontation in the rain—between two people who have just met—that kind of gave me whiplash. I was more interested in the secondary characters, the kids that were the detritus of the storms.

It was interesting while it lasted, but probably not something that will stick with me.
Profile Image for ℓуηη_σƒ_νєℓαяιѕ.
441 reviews60 followers
February 4, 2017
Ugh, I wish GR would allow you to do half stars, because I want to rate this one 3.5 stars

I definitely liked this book. The ending kind of leaves you hanging, if you're a fan of little Violet especially. Loved that quirky little girl! The characters in this book are all quirky to some extent or another, which I love. They make a unique little group. And the main character of this book, Ari, is actually a total badass, unlike so many main characters in the books I've read lately. So that was quite refreshing. Again, I would love to read another book about her and her friends.

So the plot of this story is so weird and brilliant. It's like a mashup of Harry Potter (for the witches & warlocks) + Chicagoland Vampires (for vamps & shifters) + Percy Jackson (Greek gods/goddesses). It is definitely a unique plot theme to throw all that together in the plot pot and make a story out of it. So props to the author for this crazy idea! Loved it. There were definitely some creepy weird, and sometimes downright disturbing bits in this book though. I'm not a horror fan, so stuff like that just isn't my cup of tea. But seriously, great writing! Plot building, character building, etc, all done really well.

Also, her descriptions of New 2 were so fantastic that it honestly made me want to go to New Orleans. It sounds like such a quaint, historic, beautiful, artistic haven full of fun and parties! Who doesn't want to go? So thanks Kelly Keaton for making me add yet another destination to my travel list.
Profile Image for shaunna  | oakstheory.
129 reviews7 followers
May 11, 2012
I really loved the characters, the setting, and the story. I thought it was honest and interesting. The writing is also really beautiful. It has 'cheesy' moments in dialogue that doesn't necessarily fit the characters to me, but for the most part it was wonderful. The only thing that lost me is the sudden romantic relationship. It's not that I enjoyed it, but it was so obvious and it seemed to follow this cliche structure in stories like this, and I think the author had something unique and special without it. I think I would have enjoyed it more, if the development in the relationship was more subtle.
Profile Image for Pj.
155 reviews4 followers
July 27, 2012
I really do not understand all of the hype for this book. There was way to much going on with the dystopian setting, vampire ,witch ,and shape shifting main characters, and the villainous Greek gods. Instead of being a cool story this just seemed like Kelly Keaton wanted to put everything popular into one book, and it didn't work out. Also it just seemed rushed and was horribly written.Just not good for me. However I might read the sequel if it is for 3 dollars like this one was.
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