When I hear a novel is being pegged as the YA genre’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you know I immediately had that downloaded on my Kindle. If you followed our site last year, you probably already have an idea of how obsessed we were with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Well, that obsession stemmed from Stieg Larsson’s bestselling books (and also a passionate admiration of David Fincher). Anyway, I was looking for a good book like Dragon Tattoo and hoped to find one in Dark Eyes. I’m happy to say I was right. Dark Eyes is a fast, interesting read with an awesome lead character.
Now, only because something is being labeled as “YA’s answer to Dragon Tattoo” doesn’t mean it’s a toned down version of the same exact story. Dark Eyes is very different than Dragon Tattoo. Sure, both are thrillers circling a smart punk/goth leading lady, but that’s the only similarity I spotted. Dark Eyes follows Wally, a Russian-born NYC runaway. Wally is living on the streets with a group of other teenagers. Together, they work to thrive on the streets. One day a deal leads Wally to some interesting information about her biological mother. Her main reason for living on the streets is to avoid her rocky relationship with her adoptive mother. Wally can’t let go of this new information, especially if it can lead her to her biological mother. However, what Wally doesn’t realize is how dangerous the truth can be.
Wally is very inquisitive and curious, but she’s also incredibly caring. She’s considered in charge of her little group of runways and does her best to take care of them. Basically, it’s hard not to like her. In turn, you’re just as eager as she is to figure out this mystery of her parentage. The book also changes into other characters’ perspectives, in addition to Wally’s. One perspective we get is from a detective investigating the murder of one of Wally’s old acquaintances. The other perspective is from the story’s main villain’s son as they go to New York City in search of something too. The inclusion of all those perspectives helped keep the story moving and engaging.
As for the plot, at moments it was predictable, but there were still quite a few twists and turns that surprised me. I liked how everything ended up being connected, and I realized that everything mentioned had a place in Wally’s story. Overall, Dark Eyes is a great blend of intrigue, action and tad bit of love. The author doesn’t hold back, and he’s not afraid to take some risks. I definitely recommend it to any reader looking for a change of pace and tone, especially in the increasingly static YA genre.
- Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin) (March 15, 2012)
- Length: 383 pages, Hardcover
- Source: Kindle e-book
- Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
- Completed: May 2012