Sunday, 1 July 2012

Review: Dark Warning by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
Ever since Taney was four she's known she could see things before they happened. She also knows that she must keep her gift a secret - at all costs. Teased and isolated by the local children for being strange, as Taney grows older, she has more and more questions. Why is her father so terrified of her gift? What happened to her mother?

Then she meets the mysterious Billy, an outsider just as she is. Charming and attentive, Billy is the first person with whom Taney can simply be herself; with whom she can share her strange burden, and begin, instead, to feel proud of her ability. But then the visions come - lone girls attacked as they walk home at night.

And as Billy begins to withdraw further into himself, Taney must ask herself who to trust - her only friend, or the visions that torment her dreams...

I will admit, the initial reason I decided to read this book was because of the cover. It's so pretty! And it depicts a haunting theme which also encouraged me to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this book was actually set in Dublin; told from a Dubliner's POV and written by an author who is actually from Dublin herself! It was a breath of fresh air to read a story that's set in a place so close to home and in an era where the distinction between the lower and upper classes dominated society.

I dove straight into the world of Taney Tyrell with a mouthful of questions just waiting to be answered. Why is her dad so afraid of her gift? How did she get it? What happened to her mother? Unfortunately, these questions weren't answered until the last handful of chapters although some aspects of them were easily figured out.

The one thing that fascinates me about this entire story is that it was derived from stories that the author's grandmother used to tell her as a kid. In particular, the one of Billy - the male lead in the book. The use of Irish dialect also adds more life to the story so readers can get a firm grasp on the roots of where the scene is set.

The plot progressed at a steady pace but with no real depth to the characters or to the plot itself. We come to the clear realisation that Taney is a lonely girl in a world where no one wants to be associated with a 'witch'. She finds comfort in her friendship with Billy - aka. Billy-the-bowl - who is an orphan with no legs and a serious gambling problem. The early stages of their friendship makes your heart swell at the innocence of their youth but dark clouds soon enclose them as a dangerous attacker begins roaming the streets of Stonybatter.

I won't give away any details about this attacker but perceptive readers will easily figure out his/her identity. Taney becomes very frustrated at the presence of this attacker because her gift - premonitions and floating (out of body experience) - draws her towards him/her and she witnesses the numerous attacks on defenceless girls walking home from work with a pocket-full of shillings. Due to Taney's fathers strict orders not to speak of her gift, she hides the details of her ability along with her running away money.

Although I ultimately enjoyed this book, it's slight predictability and lack of depth took away from my enjoyment. Not everyone will be fussed on this book probably because of it's sudden change of scenery from action-packed-America-based-romance-filled-fiction to back-to-the-past-no-romance-in-sight-mystery-themed-fiction but I would recommend it for people to try because of this change.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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