By: Larissa | April 26, 2014 | (26) Comments

Review: The Dark World by Cara Lynn ShultzThe Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz
Series: The Dark World, #1
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, YA
Pages: 384
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Paige Kelly is used to weird--in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.

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The Dark World  is a very difficult book for me to review. There were times in the story where I could easily give it 4 stars, and other times I could easily give The Dark World one stars. It’s because of this that I would take this rating with a grain of salt. Of course all reading is subjective and I’d love to hear your own opinions of this one (:

One thing I loved in this story was Dottie! She’s a ghost from the 1950s and has such a fun and enjoyable personality. Honestly, if she narrated a book I would definitely read it. Dottie’s relationship with the main character Paige was also wonderful, it felt realistic and meaningful. They were truly best friends (: The issue with this lies in the fact that Dottie slowly fades away in  The Dark World. She’s very much present in the beginning but after awhile the romance takes over and you don’t see her amazing character as often/really even at all. It was pretty sad actually to see this friendship be whisked to the side for a mediocre romance. I’ll get into the all encompassing romance soon, don’t you worry.

Another cool thing about  The Dark World was how there weren’t a singular type of demons involved. There were lust, wrath, fire, regent…etc. It was interesting to see what unique abilities these demons had and how they could cause havoc. Cara has also created this duo universe scenario, one of which is the normal human one and the other a dark demon one. This world was originally run by warlocks. The warlocks don’t like the demons and want control of this Dark World. ….And there you go. That’s all that this book explained regarding world building. For me, one weakly described info dump isn’t enough for me to truly get a grasp of things. The thing that drove me the most crazy? You don’t even get a glimpse of this Dark World until literally the last 10 pages of  the novel.  It felt ridiculous to me that so much time was spent in the human world with the main characters focusing on their own quibbles and romances when there’s basically a war happening in the Dark World.  I mean Paige has this special snowflake ability to visit both worlds, wouldn’t you think she’d use it?¿¿?? Apparently not.

By not even allowing us into the Dark World until the very end, the author just makes this story seem like a verrry long prequel to the actual story which will happen in the sequel. I feel like this concept could be very well developed and full of promise and the fact it’s barely touched on in this first installment leaves me feeling ripped off and quite annoyed.

I’ve mentioned Paige a few times in this review, and she’s the main character of The Dark World. She was quite the enjoyable narrator, witty and realistic. Though ostracized by her peers by talking seemingly to herself (when actually talking to her ghost best friend. I don’t know why she isn’t attracting friends by the dozens) Paige doesn’t complain about it. Too much. She also seems to have a pretty good relationship with her parents. Paige understands why they would feel overprotective of her and is generally has a positive relationship with them. Her narration of the story was fairly easy to get into and I enjoyed taking a look into her mind. She didn’t annoy me to no end, which is always a positive.

Then you have Logan, Paige’s love interest. I quite enjoyed him. He had this tragic backstory but wasn’t always so brooding and depressing. The backstory made him multidimensional and more than just the love interest of Paige. He was funny and his humor actually did manage to make me laugh at certain points. Logan was very sweet and understanding. I think he complimented Paige well and was a great friend for her.


If only the romance went away in  The Dark World

I feel like the romance became all powerful and took over the story. It went from flirty and witty banter to BOOM AHHH I TOTALLY LOVE YOU. It wasn’t insta-love since there was that wonderful period of friendship, which I truly wish had been where the relationship stayed. However the transition between that flirty friendship was done much too fast and when it occurred, there was no going back. It became the driving force in the story and the reason for anything characters would act/say/do/think. The worst part was the romance totally took over Paige and Logan’s actual characters. They were awesome on their own, but not so much together. They went from being strong individuals to highly dependant on each other. It felt like Paige was constantly a damsel in distress, waiting for Logan to save her from demons and meanwhile making stupid choices to further her troubles.

Instead of the previously enjoyed one liners, we got cheesy and over dramatic proclamations of love.  This romance truly took over the plot and is the reason Dottie practically disappeared from the story. The little thing  about the demon and warlock war also became something simply not as important as Paige and Logan’s true love. It made the characters act unlike themselves quite frankly. Everything else going on in the plot of The Dark World was simply swept under the rug for this typical romance which I just couldn’t support.

There’s a lot of tropes in The Dark World  too. The mean girl trope is definitely present as the book starts by introducing you to “the Queen Bees” of Paige’s school. Of course, they’re insanely pretty and mean to Paige for no reason. Which is sooooo realistic, because mean girls are pure evil and just spout rude comments without having any rhyme or reason. Some casual slut shaming just adds to the brilliance of the mean girl trope used in  The Dark World and is so completely necessary to the overall storyline.

Legitimately, I saw no point to the characters of Pepper (dubbed Paprika by Paige. Clearly that’s so insulting) and Andie (her name always followed with mention of her double D’s). They had nothing to do with the whole romance between Logan and Paige nor the whole demon and warlock war thing. I suppose the author just added them to further showcase how Paige was an outsider at her school?? Still, I think the whole talking to invisible walls would have covered that one nicely.

Another trope that used in The Dark World  frankly confuses me. So Paige is a special snowflake, she has the sole power to travel between the Dark World and the normal human world. The way she got these powers was through saving this boy from running into the street and dying. In the process she nearly died. However, she came back to life. The boy was apparently persuaded by a demon to run into the road. Therefore Paige somehow got this ability to go into the two worlds and see ghosts!?!?  Don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler as you learn this fairly early on in the story. PLUS, IT MAKES ZERO SENSE. So if Paige got this ability from the aforementioned, wouldn’t anybody who did the same get her ability. It was odd how everybody was praising her for being such a special snowflake when according to the logic in which she got her abilities, anybody could.

Overall this read was one which started out quite positively but quickly took a turn for the worst when an overbearing romance reared its ugly head. I think your enjoyment of this novel would be highly dependent on whether you enjoyed the romance between the main character and her love interest.

~Thank you Harlequin Teen for sending me this copy!~


2 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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26 Responses to Review: The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz

  1. That totally sounds like Every Romance Ever…*sigh* Why would they sacrifice an awesome friendship relationship for just another romance?? That’s suuuuper disappointing. Honestly, I’m torn whether I want to go after this one. The premise from the blurb sort of confused me. Is it set in two worlds then? Okay…well, I’m always up for urban fantastical stuff, BUT I don’t like to be confused. >.< I'll probably hold off on this one, but you gave it an uber informative review! HUZZAH! XD
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah it was so typically disappointing /: Ugh, this book totally could have been about Dottie and Paige killing a bunch of demons and being badass. I actually would have much preferred that. It’s not really set in two worlds. Like you mainly hear about the fact that there’s two parallel worlds. You don’t actually experience the other one till the end. It wasn’t very confusing to me, though I feel like some more world building would have been very nice. I’m glad you found this informative (:

  2. Melliane says:

    Oh I’m curious about Dottie and the demons, they all sound very interesting. But it’s too bad that despite a great start the romance took too much place…

    • Larissa says:

      Dottie and the whole ideas of the demons were probably the most intriguing parts of The Dark World for me (: Sadly this one really did go downhill for me when the romance was introduced.

  3. Pili says:

    I wasn’t all that keen on this book cause I feared by the synopsis itself that the romance would take over the book, and since you said it does… I’ll stay away from it.
    Great review!
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, I really should have taken a closer look at the synopsis. Even that seems to be focused on the romance, just like this entire book was. Thank you! (:

  4. Tanja says:

    Now you’ve got me thinking how amazing it would be to have ghost from 50s to narrate a story. I’d totally read it. Needless to say 50s are more and more popular these days in books 🙂 But back to this one…Just the sole fact that this girl has such an amazing power and they doesn’t use it throws me off. I mean why!!??! Anyhow it sounds interesting but I don’t think I’d enjoy it either. Great review, Larissa 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      OMG WOULDN’T IT BE PERFECT?? Dude, we need to co-write this brilliance [; I honestly love the idea of having ghosts from different generations being stuck in our modern day time and being all confused. Like a flapper ghost from the 20s? Ugh. I just have so many feelings for this idea. Yeah! So Paige was supposedly the special one. Yet we don’t really see her use that specialness till the last like 20 pages >.< Thank you! (:

  5. Thanks for your honest thoughts. Just reading the summary made me think this would be one of those annoying romance type of books. Unfortunately, the rest sounds like it could have been really interesting.
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment (: Yeah, I really need to take a closer look of books and their summaries before I request them on Netgalley lol. The beginning of The Dark World was actually very well done, however the romance got introduced and that’s where things fell apart.

  6. ANOTHER ONE with an awesome paranormal premise but is just an excuse for a stupid romance. GAH I am so sick of these! These types of books nearly made me hit a reading slump for a while so I try and stay away. Thank you for the warning and awesome review Larissa! <3
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    • Larissa says:

      Yup /: It seems to becoming a typical trend in YA these days, sadly. Yeah, if these types of books makes you hit reading slumps then I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. Thank you for the lovely comment <33

  7. Melanie says:

    I am seriously reconsidering whether or not I should be reading this one. I am really hating the sound of these tropes. Mean bitchy girls? BLEH. They are one of the worst. Not all people are so bloody dense. I hate when romance takes over actual personalities, like WHY YOU DO THIS?

    Brilliant review, hun! <33

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah /: I don’t think you’d enjoy this one at all, or even in the littlest bit. So many tropes! All so unappealing and add nothing to the story. Romance that takes over the entire plot rarely works for me.

      Thanks girl c:

  8. Amelia says:

    Wow, love this review so much! I have seen this title one some other blogs before and thought it sounded pretty awesome. Looks like it’s not living up to everyone’s expectations. I like the sound of Dottie! It sucks how the other characters ruined your enjoyment of this book. Great review 🙂

    • Larissa says:

      Thank you c: I’m so glad you enjoyed this review. The premise does sound intriguing, doesn’t it?? Dottie was easily the best part of this story. Thank you !

  9. Oh jeez I’m definitely staying away from this one. The whole thing just sounds extremely odd and hard to believe, and I got so confused at your last paragraph explaining how Paige got her powers, so I can’t even imagine having to read that and figure it out while reading it. Sorry this one wasn’t for you, but fantastic review, Larissa! <33
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  10. I haven’t read anything from Cara Lynn Shultz yet but she is on my to-read list. I am interested in this one and want to read it. I like romance so it might not be a problem for me? We’ll see. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Hmmm, maybe you might enjoy this one as it’s quite romance centered c: I also like romance however this one just wasn’t for me. I hope you have better luck with this one then I did. Thanks for your lovely comment ^.^

  11. There are times I favor the friendship aspect more than the romance. Not that I don’t want me some good lovey-dovey, but friendship is another level of deep and meaning, as friends are always there as well through thick and thin. I’m sad that this gets overshadowed later on by the romance =( that does not bode well for me really. It would have been awesome if the book found a right balance between the two.
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    • Larissa says:

      Same! That’s a definite thing for myself. I’m a sucker for a cute romance too, but reading a purely platonic friendship novel can get to me just as much as a sappy romance. If this book could have found a balance, I feel like it would have garnered a much higher rating from myself.

  12. Glass says:

    Judging by your review, I made a right decision when I skipped this book on NG. I don’t have much patience for this kind of books.
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  13. A great, honest review! I didn’t mind this but probably because I don’t mind a mushy romance and I appreciated that this one didn’t feel insta. The premise was interesting but I do agree there were a number of irritating YA tropes. Dottie was fabulous, I’d definitely read a book narrated by her.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂
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