Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro | Rating: ★★★★★
I’d like to give a big thank you to NetGalley for providing me a galley of this novel to read and firstly say that this is the best novel I’ve ever gotten off of the site in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly, the cover and plot drew me in — how gorgeous is that cover? — and as we all know, witch craft related stories are my ultimate weakness.
But I wasn’t expecting such an intriguing story. It was mysterious and creepy and romantic — the vibe of it felt very much like a more fleshed out version of Beautiful Creatures for adults and has the similar mysterious quality that one would find in Ghost Whisperer. I don’t see it having any problems gaining a fanbase — I thoroughly enjoyed it and I simply cannot wait for the next installment and to hopefully have a physical copy of it one day.
Yes, Angie Sandro, you’ve certainly got me hooked into these characters and this frightening world you’ve created.
We’re told the story from two different point of views — Mala and Landry; while they are each others main love interests, their romance doesn’t over power the storyline. It is steamy and fast paced; not without its ups and downs but it doesn’t take over the stories main mystery.
They have to learn to trust each other and work with one another — even though this is very, very difficult at times. Moments change between the two of them and their emotions towards one another flip-flop quite a bit, but what can you expect in their situation, really?
Landry’s older sister, Lainey, has been murdered and it seems to have been done through some sort of Satanic ritual.
We learn right away through the town’s people — and their disgusting racism and inability to actually get to know Mala — that the main suspect in the murder are Mala and her mother. Can I just say that, god damn, some of the people in her town are so insufferable I wanted Mala to just scratch some bitches eyes out?
The LaCroix family is known to practice witch craft, something Mala hopes to never have to truly deal with and continues to live in denial, so they are unfortunately the first to be blamed. It is disgusting how the town treats the two women and seems to view Mala as something to trash and cast aside.
(What doesn’t help their reputation, either, is Mala’s mothers occupation.)
But was this of their doing? Or is there more to the story? And why, all of a sudden, are both Mala and Landry able to sense Lainey’s presence. Are they both losing their minds, or is she trying to tell them something from beyond the grave? Visions fill Mala’s mind and in spite of trying to escape them, they might just lead her to the truth by stories end.
When tragedy strikes again, and the mystery unfolds, what will happen? And who will survive? Mala’s mother admits to having had a vision of her own death and warns Mala that, when she dies, Mala will reserve her powers and have the ability to speak to the dead.
But does this vision happen? And if so, how does she die?
You’ll have to read to find out — and I promise you, you won’t be too disappointed in the way this novel unfolds. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, begging for more and more.
Both Mala and Landry are fickle and indecisive from time to time, but are really fleshed out and interesting to read as individuals. Mala is a tough girl and very brave; I especially liked to read from her point of view. Landry could get a little irritating at times but I learned to forgive him due to the atmosphere in which he’d grown up in as well as the loss of his sister.
Every chapter offers a new lead and keeps you in suspense — it’s beautifully written and flows easily that you could probably read it in just a few sittings. We get glimpses of other characters too — including a man named George, who I expect we’ll see more of in the next edition of the story — and they’re pretty interesting. You know, except the ones who are small minded hicks who know nothing but judgement and reek of nothing more than a holier than thou attitude.
Can you tell I didn’t like some of the people poor Mala had to deal with? Look at me, I’m already a stan for this character and the possibilities that will come from this vivid new series. I’m going to have such a book hangover.
I will say this: there is a little foreshadowing when it comes down to who killed Lainey. As I was reading it, I had two suspects in mind and while one of my suspects was the murderer, it still managed to surprise me. There are many characters that will frighten you and the story is just so magical, mysterious and suspenseful I couldn’t get enough.
And as a warning, the ending has quite the cliffhanger. Can I have the next book in the series like… now? Please?