Thirteen years ago, New Orleans was destroyed by two hurricanes, which also decimated the southern half of Louisiana. Now called “New 2”, the old New Orleans and the surrounding area has been bought and rebuilt by the Novem, a group of powerful Louisiana families. The rest of the United States believes the rumors that exotic, mysterious New 2 is a sanctuary for paranormals. (And it is!)
Seventeen-year-old Ari Selkirk, who has been different all her life, is searching for her biological mother who gave her up for adoption at age four. What sets Ari apart are her teal-colored eyes and silver hair, which can never be cut, curled or colored. She has grown up in the foster care system, and her search leads her to New 2. Ari is befriended by Sebastian and his unusual friends, who try to help her discover why monstrous demons are trying to kill her and why her mother abandoned her. It all has to do with a family curse, and she must try to break the curse. Otherwise, she could end up dead, like her grandmother, at the young age of just twenty-one!
Darkness Becomes Her is the first young adult novel for Kelly Keaton, who has previously only written for adults, under the pen name “Kelly Gay”. The author has managed to incorporate quite a lot of Greek mythology into the story, along with the paranormal element. Since I grew up in Louisiana, I really enjoyed the descriptions of New Orleans, with its voodoo undercurrents and mystical references. Ari is a cool, but tough heroine, who doesn’t realize just how beautiful she actually is. Sebastian, who turns out to be her love interest, and the other outcasts who live with him, are just as intriguing, each in their own way. I expect these characters will be more developed with the next two books in the series.
Unfortunately, I did find a mistake in Ms. Keaton’s research. On page 28, she refers to the area around New Orleans as having counties. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. that does not have counties; instead, it has parishes, due to heavy influence of the Catholic Church on Louisiana’s heritage. I am surprised that this error was not discovered during research, or caught by the editor.
Darkness Becomes Her is a dark, necromantic read, sure to keep the reader turning pages! Look for two more additions to this series! I recommend it for high school and public libraries.