Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler (Review)

Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Publication.Date  August 27th 2013
Published By:  Knopf Books for Young Readers
AuthorSonia Gensler 

The Dark Between on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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.

When she leaves this house tonight, she will take the darkness with her, and eventually it will consume her.
A strange excitement quickened her pulse, but it was nothing like the giddy pleasure of anticipation. Rather it was a charge to her senses that came from doing something important, taking a risk to achieve a good thing, a right thing. She’d never felt this way before. For so long she’d allowed herself to slip into drowsy avoidance whenever conflict reared its head. The only effort she’d made was to attract a man. One who would solve her problems just by loving her. It seemed ridiculous now.
The next bit was her favorite. She pulled the shroud to her shoulders, revealing her face.

More than one lady cried out. A gentleman cleared his throat. Again there was a rustling of fabric as people shifted in their seats. Kate well knew how her brown eyes, rimmed with kohl, appeared as gaping holes in the unnatural paleness of her face. In that moment she didn't care that the luminous powder wrecked her skin, or that the wig made her scalp itch and sweat. Nor did it shame her that the costume -- a gauzy wrap draped over the merest of underpinnings -- left her exposed and shivering. In the dim light of the parlor, she was a wraith from a horror tale.

And she held them all under her spell.

     Set in 1901 Cambridge, England, The Dark Between is a beautifully written and delightfully atmospheric Gothic murder mystery that follows the adventures of three extraordinary teenagers as they investigate the mysterious death of a friend. 

      Sonia Gensler's new book is a magnificent work of fiction. I loved every page of it. Revolving around spiritualism and seances - two subjects I find extremely fascinating - The Dark Between is quite eerie and dark, but also very fun to read. And the fabulous cast of colorful characters makes this book even more entertaining and absorbing. Kate, Elsie and Asher are so very different from each other, and yet they make such an awesome team! I can't tell you which one of these wonderful characters I liked the most. One thing for sure, I connected with all of them. Kate's background story was probably the most heartbreaking one and I often found myself wanting to hug her, protect her, comfort her (not that she needed that, she was so tough and brave!). The beautiful and fragile Elsie was equally fascinating, though not nearly as strong and sassy as Kate. Asher was the perfect gentlemen - at least until you got under his skin - charming, protective and chivalrous. They all have dark pasts filled with secrets, they're all running away from something, and they're all real and three-dimensional. I loved watching them interact with each other and thought the dynamics of their relationship was crackling with sweet chemistry!

     I loved, loved, loved the historical backdrop, as well as the lushly described settings! Sonia incorporated enough period detail into her story to make you feel like you were there, right in the middle of it all, breathing the same air as her characters. At the same time, though, she kept the story fresh and entertaining by weaving in the paranormal elements and spooky situations (loved reading about the psychic phenomena and spirit photography, as well as witnessing Elsie's disturbing and blood-chilling visions!). I found the historical content to be portrayed realistically and accurately, without overwhelming the plot line or taking away from the pacing. Sonia herself admits that doing research for her books is her favorite part of the writing process, and it's really no surprise that The Dark Between's setting is so rich and flavorful. In other words, this story is a real treat

     If you enjoy Gothic fiction, spooky settings and intricate plot lines, you'll definitely fell in love with The Dark Between.

Side note: Click HERE to check out Sonia Gensler's fantastic picture board featuring places and views that inspired The Dark Between!

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1 copy of The Dark Between (thank you, Random House!)
RUNS TILL: October 31st
OPEN TO: 13+, US Street Addresses Only

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