Review: The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros

darkest joyReviewed by Janell

I haven’t been reading a lot of angsty New Adult lately because I’m tired of characters moping around, thinking about how horrible they are. If they don’t like themselves, I have trouble liking them. This book sounded a little different, though. A girl goes through a sudden tragedy and tries to escape the past, and then she meets a deep sea fisherman. Have you ever read a fisherman hero? Or a guy on a boat who wasn’t a pirate? I had to check it out.

The writing in this book is very stylistic. It’s first person POV, present tense, and it alternates between Brooke and Chance. The story opens with Brooke driving home for Christmas, when tragedy strikes her family. A few weeks later, she leaves Seattle to stay in her great-aunt’s cabin in Alaska so that she can avoid all the memories and hide out. Every little detail is written with care, with a lot of focus given to the angle of the sun, the dust on all the surfaces, and the isolation of the cabin. This quote is taken from an advanced reader copy, and could change in the final edit, but it gives an example of the style:

I watch the fjords run parallel to me as I drive, rising up like ice kissed by the palest blue as the ocean shimmers at its feet. My eyes move to the road, then unerringly they float back to the view. I note the nutmeg-colored sand of the Homer Spit bisecting the sea as the sandbar extends its finger into the ocean depths. Fathomless…secret.

This was just a random page from Chapter Two; I could have selected anything to showcase the pace and detailing throughout the book. It’s very pretty.

As for the plot, well, Brooke tries to be invisible, but it’s a small town. The book blurb mentions that Chance sees Brooke take a swan dive off of a pier, so they have a dramatic early meeting. Later, they shake hands and feel an electrical spark. I’m not a fan of literal sparks, but I give this one a pass. Chance has his own deep-sea fishing boat, and he sees himself as committed to the sea, no room or time for anyone else. But, naturally, there’s something about Brooke. Brooke doesn’t feel ready to love someone because they can be ripped away so quickly. But, naturally, there’s something about Chance.

In one sense, the relationship felt slow and natural, probably because of the somber tone of the book as a whole. If I subtract the descriptive writing style, there is a sense of insta-love. But Chance saved her life, so the intense feelings are believable. The characters impressed me with their honesty, their lack of pretense or mind games. The sex was simple yet spicy. And by that, I guess I mean that the book calls a penis a penis, no substitute words needed. They didn’t sit around talking about how Brooke was broken and how Chance would save her, they just realized what was happening and then had sex again.

I liked everything about this book except for the suspense plot, because it didn’t seem to be grounded in the same reality as the rest of the book. It also felt unnecessary — the connection and growth of the characters would have been enough because of the writing. Oh, I guess I didn’t need all the “take a chance on Chance” hints, either, but the guy had to be named that for a reason.

Overall, this was much deeper than I was expecting. It gave me a great sense of setting and character, and I was really impressed with the writing style.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Darkest Joy
by Marata Eros
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Speak Your Mind

*