May 19, 2012

Review: The Other Side of Dark

By: Sarah Smith
Published: November 2010 by Atheneum
Format: Hardback, 309 pages
First Reviewed: December 2010
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

From the other side of dark they come, the ghosts of the dead.

George Perkins, a mentally challenged boy who has been put in charge of a bloodsoaked treasure. Katie Mullens’s father who died in the Middle East. And the Others…

Law Walker, son of a famous African American professor, had a crush on Katie before she went crazy. Before her mother died. She was always a talented artist, but now her drawings have gone crazy too. They’re dark, they’re bloody—and they’re real. Katie draws what she sees. Dead people. Ghosts.

Now Katie needs Law to help the visions stop. And Law wants to help her. So what if his dad doesn’t want him dating a white girl? But Law needs Katie too, to find out what George knows about the treasure … and what Katie is going to see will be much bigger, much more shocking than anyone expected.
This powerhouse novel is about ugly histories, brave and desperate choices, and learning to see people—dead and alive—for who they really are.

Rating: 3/5

I read the first line, and thought, This is going to be good. Seriously, it was a great first line. But then I read through the first page, and immediately started to dislike the narrative. Though I kept on because this is a ghost book. Not one of those annoying paranormal romances with ghosts. An actual ghost story. So I kept reading. And yes, I enjoyed it, but there were some things (mainly the writing) that sort of drove me nuts.

Interesting setting. Normally books that have anything to do with slavery is set in the South, but this was in Boston. I thought the setting could have helped set the tone of the book a bit more since it wasn't described too much (at least not for me), but overall not too many complaints from me.

Liked the characters, but didn't love them. At some points I even disliked them, especially in the beginning. I felt the two main characters' personalities weren't too different and fell flat much of the time. I never felt sorry for Katie like it seemed Smith wanted the reader to, and Law just didn't feel complete for some reason. As for the major-minor and the minor characters, nothing to complain about except Law's friends. They'd come in every fifty or so pages, and they all seemed the same and dull.

The writing would be my biggest complaint about the book. In the beginning, I literally hated the writing. For most of the first half, it was the type I normally see in young, new writers where they think talking to the reader brings out more personality (she even did that "My name is..." stuff), when in fact it was more annoying than anything. Then this was the first book I've ever read where commas were used with action tags. But only in the first half of the book. Then she switched to dashes (like it should be), and only sometimes using the comma. For example: "Blah," she lowers her voice. Then ten pages later: "Blah." I lower my voice. Come on, at least stay consistent. I also felt the narratives (this is a dual narrative between Katie and Law) weren't too distinct from one another. I wouldn't be able to open the book anywhere and know who's narrating. The writing overall just could have been better.

The book had a very creative plot and is one of the few books I've read where the romance isn't the main part. It's not exaggerated, nor does it take away from the main plot. I want more of these types of books in YA. We just don't get them because everyone seems to think that romance is the most important aspect of everything. -_- Anyway, I loved the history tie-in and also the speed at which things unraveled. The only complaint I had was that I felt Katie came to terms with seeing ghosts way too simply. She was literally fine with it with a paragraph. It was just awkward.

Love the story, didn't care for the writing. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but wish I could have loved everything about it. It's a different read from what's on the shelves today. It was a nice change and even though the writing wasn't my favorite, it wasn't terrible. You can learn a lot of "what not to do"s from it. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment