Tuesday, October 22, 2013

[Review: The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler]

"The Dark Between"
Author: Sonia Gensler
Series: ?
Pages: 352
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery
Date Published: August 27th, 2013
Publisher: Knopf
Format Read: Hardback from the library


A supernatural romance about the powers that lie in the shadows of the mind, perfect for fans of Sarah Rees Brennan, Alyxandra Harvey, and Libba Bray.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave—or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

My Thoughts:

I'll start out by saying that this book wasn't as scary as I had hoped.  Yes, it definitely had it's moments of eerie, spookiness, which I enjoyed, but it never made my skin crawl.  It was more of a mystery novel with horror elements than a horror novel with a mystery around the edges and once I got my head wrapped around that fact, I had a great time diving into this book!

I struggled a little bit with the 3 points of view in the beginning.  Somehow the voices didn't seem all that different to begin with, even though one of the characters is clearly male.  But as Gensler grew the story, she also grew each character--separately.  Kate, Asher and Elsie all became their own persons as the book continued.  And even though their friendship was the strongest part of the novel, seeing them all grow as individuals was great.  Somehow Gensler pulled off working on the characters as individuals, which in the end made them stronger as a group.  It was when the secrets started to melt away and the truth started to come out that these three really started to respect each other.  I loved Gensler for taking this approach.  You don't see this kind of friendship storytelling happen often, but she did it right.

All three characters have huge chips on their shoulders, but it played out well here.  Giving all three a clear reason for coming together to solve the mystery of the deaths happening around them.  Kate is poor, and her father was a man with money, but when he dies she ends up pretending to be a ghost.  Asher had to leave his home in the States when he and his father have a falling out.  And Elsie has the biggest secret of all, the one that makes her keep herself slightly drugged at all times.  I really enjoyed Kate, she was tough and the youngest of the three.  Though I did find her lack of emotion odd at times.  Asher was dashing and a hopeless romantic, but also had a ton of brains.  I couldn't help but enjoy him.  And Elsie, at first I wanted to write her off, but by the end of the book, even I was a fan.

There are even some romances in the air.  Some of it gets a little messy, but I enjoyed seeing all three of them come to terms with the feelings caused by being shoved together in a house and left to occupy themselves.  Things aren't always what they seem either and you just might end up cheering along a combo that you didn't see coming!  Seriously, the way things ended gave me all the feels for all the characters. 

This is one of those books that you can't say too much about.  Gensler lays the mystery of everything out really well.  She presents deaths, suspects and clues in a muddled fashion that really works, even though it left me wanting more.  You know who didn't do it, but you also aren't sure who did.  When it all wraps up Gensler gives us an ending that is as satisfying and it is unsatisfying.  She leaves you happy to see how things wrapped up, but she leaves you craving more about these three and the rest of their lives.

        3 Unicorns = I liked it a lot but it had it's issues!

Now, head over to Read My Breath Away to check in with Jess and the Pretty Dark Nothing blog tour! 


Tammy Sparks said...

I've had this on my to read list for awhile and was hoping to read more positive reviews. I so want it to be awesome bacause the cover is so cool! I'm sure I'll read it anyway. Thanks for reviewing it!

Renae @ Respiring Thoughts said...

Hah, I totally know what you mean about books you can't say much about! They're not terrible, but they're just...there. Too bad this wasn't scary like you wanted, though it's good that didn't ruin things for you! It's interesting how spiritualism-type books have become so popular all of a sudden. (I like them so I'm no complaining lol).

Nicole said...

Gosh that cover still freaks me out. Since I am a chicken (which I have made no secret) I am glad to hear this wasn't too scary. This sounds good but not a must read right now so I think i'll keep this on the back burner for when I'm in the mood for a creepy mystery.