Review: “Dark Angel” by T. J. Bennett

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I absolutely love Gothic romances. Especially those set on a mysterious island, with mysterious people, and a mysterious atmosphere. So, the basic equation for things like this is: This Book + Me = Instant Love. Simple as that. Sadly, the literary world is filled with unpredictability, and over 50% of the time, this isn’t the case. But, because of all the good karma I racked up in the past few weeks, the universe decided to do me a huge favor and make this book likeable.

Catherine almost drowns in a violent storm, but luckily, she winds up on an island. However, this island is supposedly cursed, and anyone who’s on it never returns.

Stubbornly determined to get back to England, she believes she is prepared to get past everything in order to return to the orphans she takes care of.

For the first half of this book, I loved almost everything. There was this atmosphere of unknown, and it was utterly compelling. After half-way, though, the writing got lazy and I found myself bored.

In a dishearteningly high percentage of books, there’s one out of two female protagonists: There’s the sweet, innocent, boring Mary Sue, or there’s the stubborn, fighting, and so obstinate that it gets annoying Mary Sue. Both are the epitome of perfection, just shown in different ways. Catherine was the second type, and for me, that’s the type I like a little better. She was a nurse, and she basically believed that she knew everything there was to know about medicine. Specifically, the class known as SexEd.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I’m talking about the manufacturing of historic condoms. Condoms. And it wasn’t even the out of the blue spout about the magical thing called safe sex. Oh no, it was the intended conversation about goat intestines being shaped into these lovely objects. And the marketing of them.

Go ahead. Call me a prude. Inside my brilliant, wonderful, and humble mind, I’m really just a twelve year old at heart. But you have not read Catherine’s rant about condoms. But hey, I now have an interesting dinner conversation: “Ah yes, the French were a great inventor of many things. Take, for example, how they stretched a goat’s intestines to fit over a man’s…”

Anyways, moving on from those pointless paragraphs to the rest of the characters. Particularly Gerard, who’s name I can’t say out loud for some reason. You know who he reminds me of? Jericho Barrons, from the Fever series. But, just not as awesome. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still pretty amazing, but I just didn’t really like him as much as I thought I would. Probably because for some insane reason, I can’t say words with two “r”s in them with less then a letter in between. Also, I cannot, in any way possible, picture a “Gerard” as some insanely attractive person. It just doesn’t happen in my mind.

Sadly, though, Gerard was not the only thing I couldn’t pronounce. There was the name of the island- Ynys Nos. Call me petty, but I really hate things I can’t say out loud.

Parts of the book were just too predictable for me- particularly towards the end. The “mystery” was so obvious that I couldn’t help but take short breaks to recover from some characters’ stupidity.

Other than that long list, though, the book was actually pretty good. While there were still some aspects I didn’t like, Dark Angel, was a very addictive and quick read. The library description alone was enough to give it three stars. There was enough character development to make it seem real, the atmosphere was suspenseful, and even some of the secondary characters seemed interesting. This was a well written retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and I will definitely be reading more of Bennett’s work.

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