Dark Star by Bethany Frenette

Title: Dark Star
Loved it
Graded
Author: Bethany Frenette
Genre: Fantasy, Superheroes
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Elements: Superpowers
Series: Book 1 of the Dark Star series

dsAudrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human–something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile. 

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers–livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin. 

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight. 

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything–and everyone–she loves.

I read this book a while ago– Hey, this sounds familiar. Clearly I’m rehashing a bit of 2012 in my reading list.

It does have the superhero element that I’m terribly fond of, but I adore that the focus is less on Audrey’s mom as Morning Star, and more on Audrey as daughter of said superhero given how ordinary she considers herself. It has the common trope of said everyday girl on the street not realising that she is in fact, more than ordinary, but here the trope rings true.

The pages are full of subtle hints that Audrey doesn’t see herself as much more than Morning Star’s daughter. For all that we see her interactions outside of the Guardian world, her every waking thought is consumed by Guardian activities.

The one thing that compelled (really!) me to reread Dark Star was in fact Audrey and Leon’s relationship. In addition to Audrey mom’s identity as the superhero/Guardian Morning Star, there are the three overarching main relationships:

  • Audrey and Morning Star,
  • Leon and Morning Star, and
  • Audrey and said sidekick, Leon.

The third one is interesting, and one that hasn’t been explored much in fiction that I’ve read. Take the two characters of lesser interest, and let them take the spotlight. It’s a narrative that plays well on-screen with the Dark Star mythology, particularly when you thrust those two characters together and force them to interact more on page.

Certainly, we saw more of the first and third relationships that that of Leon and Morning Star’s, for those scenes took place off-screen while they did whatever superheroes did, which clearly Audrey wasn’t invited to.

The mythology focuses on the existence of the Beneath, a desolate version of our reality. Imagine the movie Constantine with its constant parallels between the different realities, and you have a pretty good fit of the Twin Cities and the Beneath. I enjoyed the difference in setting–and the small glimpses of the horror that stalks the Twin Cities.

What Frenette does best is to build up a stretch of almost unnoticeable tension, then bam! Comes a few scenes of high tension where all the plot developments come into play. It’s an editing trick that works particularly well with several well-placed twists. I find that I quite enjoy being out-smarted when I thought I’ve gone through every known trope in YA history.

Fantastic book. Smart characters. Unusual perspective. Love it.

  2 comments for “Dark Star by Bethany Frenette

  1. Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 12:31 AM

    I’ve had this one on my wishlist a long time, because I love superheroes too.
    Liviania recently posted…Review: Midnight ThiefMy Profile

  2. Wednesday, 24 September 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for
    a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
    Any ideas? Thanks!
    Brodie recently posted…BrodieMy Profile

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