Dark Parties by Sara Grant | Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I can't change what happened. If I'm honest, I
don't want to. I won't regret it. I'll keep those memories trapped in a
bubble away from labels of good and bad and right and wrong.
I've been trying to put together my thoughts on the good, the bad and the in betweens in Sara Grant's novel Dark Parties for at least a week now. But, I can't. There was something so disappointing about it--and a bit patchy in terms of how things tied together--but I am having difficulty putting it into words. I think I expected something else entirely when it came to this novel due to its intriguing blurb. There's something about the description that holds a promise for a dystopian novel that is unique in a sea of similarities.
But Dark Parties seems to trip over itself on more than one occasion and it is what ultimately makes this read to be so tedious. It just felt like at every damn turn, the concept could have really worked but didn't quite make the mark. The entire time you felt like you knew what would happen--that you'd read it in some other variation before. Like literature deja vu. Except you hadn't, not really. Dark Parties isn't a bad novel, it's just not terribly good and hits so many speed bumps on the way.
Which kind of makes no sense because Sara Grant isn't an awful writer.
I think, in tone, her storytelling skills show quite a bit of promise but somehow didn't translate into this story enough to capture my attention. Like I said, the sense of familiarity was bothersome--I don't mind that feeling when it's done to make you feel intimately close to the characters. In this case, it just felt like we saw the future before it happened.
Another bad note: I didn't feel particularly attached to the characters or the setting. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them. I can't say that I even felt indifference towards them or their actions. You have this uniquely woven world and plots that could have been everything a good dystopian novel is meant to be, but it felt wasted on something entirely different.
There were also some bits (romantically speaking) that felt underwhelming in an incredibly awkward and unfortunate way. I couldn't get into it. I was just in this mindset the entire time--like, I wanted something to be more freely told or explored in depth and alas, it wasn't. I sound like I'm completely tearing this book apart, don't I? I'm not. Really.
I'm sure a lot of readers will like it and find the pace to be fast and satisfying. But I'm not one of those readers and I can't see myself picking up this novel again in the near future.