Dark Star by Bethany Frenette
Official Summary: “Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.
Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.
To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.
When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.”
In Dark Star by Bethany Frenette, Minneapolis is protected by its very own superhero, Morning Star, who also happens to have a daughter. This is the story of her daughter. Audrey has always known of her mother’s secret identity as well as that of her mom’s sidekick, Leon. In fact, it has even slipped out to her best friend, Gideon. But, it remains a secret from the rest of the city and Audrey doesn’t think it has much impact on her life. She is a normal high school student and, while she thinks her mother’s powers are cool, she doesn’t think about them much beyond that. But then while she is out at a local club, one of her friends, Tink is attacked. Audrey and Leon find Tink, but not before she has been attacked, which is enough to make Audrey curious about what is going on in her city. When she returns to the club to try to solve the mystery, she too is attacked. This is enough to convince her mother to let her in on the truth of her secret identity - she and Audrey are both Kin with the power to fight Harrowers, who are demons that have crossed over into our world. Audrey must learn to protect herself from this new danger while simultaneously learning the true history of her family.
This book is a fun take on the typical urban fantasy. I really like how Audrey has no problem believing that her mom is a superhero at the beginning of the book. This was a nice variation on the typical plot where the protagonist doesn’t even realize that there are any supernatural elements to their world. I also thought that the fact that Audrey’s mother chose to keep Audrey’s own identity from her gave this book an added element of tension. Audrey is not only dealing with coming into her own powers, but she also learns about the father she never knew and her extended family as her true identity is revealed to her. Audrey and her mother have a great, but believable, relationship that is close but at the same time has some tension as would be expected of a teenage girl and her mother.
Readers will also love the book because of the characters, who are all believable and entertaining. Both Gideon and Tink are fun secondary characters who complement Audrey’s personality and the three are believable as close friends who have known each other for a long time. I also appreciated the fact that Frenette did not create a stereotypical love triangle and instead made it clear from the beginning that Audrey and Gideon were just close friends, because love triangles are a bit of an overdone trope in Young Adult novels that can easily slip into cliche. While I don’t want to give away the other characters that ultimately end up being important to the plot, I will say that all of them are well-developed and convincing parts of the story and they add to Frenette’s universe rather than seeming extraneous.
This book reminded me in many ways of the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is a fun story of a high school girl coming into her own as a superhero with powers she never imagined. Fans of the show will definitely enjoy this story, but it will appeal to any reader who enjoys Young Adult Urban Fantasies. Frenette has created a believable world and an entertaining group of characters. I hope that she will follow this book up with more about Audrey and her friends.
Check it Out: Dark Star will be available on October 23rd and is currently available for pre-order.
Note: Review based on ARC from publisher.