Member Reviews

I am sure that someone would love this book. In fact, while I was reading it, I thought that this book would make a good movie. That being said, I found the pace slow and I found it difficult to like the protagonist. There is a good chance that I will purchase this book for the library as I think there are those who would like it. It just wasn't for me.

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Ruby Chen actually likes playing the piano, while her parents are only into for the certificate. She loves her lessons but anxiety is making it harder to perform. So is keeping an eye on her younger sister who is sneaking to dance lessons in the same mall. Then those creepy things that she’s always seen in the corner of her eye, make a sudden in your face, or rather wrapped around your leg, appearance. She’s rescued by a mysterious boy. Things go from bad to worse as she is introduced to the spirit world. She must help evict the demons – especially the one that has taken over her sister!
Ruby is all the feelings of a teenage girl – magnified because in addition to school and family she has to take on demons. She’s a great character. The story is creepy and tense. I look forward to reading more.

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Publishing Worldwide for this DRC.
#RickRiordanPresentsTheDarkBecomesHer #NetGalley

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The Chinese and Taiwanese mythology interwoven in the story was fun. If you are a mythology fan, getting to learn about other mythologies is always a plus! I was fascinated by the mythology, and I do plan to look for more Chinese and Taiwanese mythology books.
The horror! There were times I felt like I was Ruby. I felt the tongue on my ankle and had actually checked my leg. Judy Lin knew how to bring the horror and she brought it! It sucked me in and left me with chills. Mind you, I’m not a horror reader, but it got my senses heightened.

This book started out strong. It left me devouring the book in one sitting, but after the sudden relationship and character’s personalities shifted, I lost interest. I feel like the shift took away from the horror and the overarching story. However, because of the first 55% of the book I really cannot rate it any lower than 3 out of 5.

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This is a great stand alone thriller with horror elements based on Taiwanese folklore. The author invites us into modern day Vancouver and doesn't spare any details when describing the weather and the atmosphere on the streets. Young adults reading this will empathize with the pressures Ruby faces from her parents and many will delight in the light romance element as well.
Anyone who has taken classical piano lessons will be able to relate to Ruby's performance anxiety and many of us will be jealous of her ability to play Rachmaninoff!
There are so many things to love about this book!

Thank you Net Galley for the ARC!

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Judy I. Lin writes in a wonderful voice for youth and expands Rick Riordan Presents with a different kind of tale. I enjoyed the mythology, along with just the right amount of thrill, and I’m looking forward to seeing more books from this author.

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I absolutely loved this book. And can't wait to read it again when spooky season gets closer!

The story focuses on a family that has immigrated from Taiwan to Canada and the stresses of trying to appease her parents and yet be true to herself. I loved learning about some of the different spirits and traditions from Taiwan. It was so well written and I am extremely excited to recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a spooky new read.

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC of this book! My opinion remains my own!

Ruby Chen is being crushed under the weight of her parents’ expectations. The eldest daughter in a Tawainese Canadian family, Ruby contorts herself to fit into the mold of the perfect child - a responsible elder sister and role model for her two siblings, a scholar whose grades will obtain her admission into a prestigious university, and excelling at her (parent-approved) volunteer and extracurricular efforts. The perfect daughter would not ever rebel against her parents by making music a serious course of study rather than a hobby that can round out her resume, and most certainly would never speak of the shadows she sees in the city, the lingering spirits of the dead. Meanwhile, her younger sister, Tina, is more defiant, skirting around her parents’ demands and limitations. She uses the funds for her parent-approved math tutoring to instead follow her dreams of dance.

One fateful autumn evening, while racing to catch the bus home from her piano lessons in a Chinatown mall, one of those shadows she is so used to seeing but that she has always considered harmless becomes more than a mere shadow and is most certainly not harmless, only being saved by the timely appearance of a young man from a bubble tea shop. The encounter leaves her shaken, questioning her own sense of reality as the shadows continue to become more real to her, more capable of interacting with her. Meanwhile, day by day, her sister becomes more cold, more calculating, more sinister - a different person entirely. Terrified of what is happening to both her and her sister, Ruby seeks answers and help from a young man who saved her back in the alley. But as her quest to save her sister from the dark forces consuming her continues, Ruby becomes entangled in a conflict much larger than herself and her family.

This book has it all - an atmospheric setting (autumn in Vancouver’s Chinatown) with ghouls, demons, ghosts, possession, curses, and a battle of good versus evil that endangers the future for humanity itself, all told in rich, beautiful prose from the viewpoint of a young woman struggling to find the strength to be who she is in the face of immense pressure to be someone, or something, else.

VERDICT: I loved this book. The plot moves along well, although I will admit it dragged in some places a little and the last 80 pages or so flew by so quickly. I loved Judy I. Lin’s inclusion of Chinese characters throughout the text, giving this sense of authenticity to the interactions of the characters, the majority of whom are multilingual. I think this will be a great pick for those tweens and teenagers who especially like more creepy rather than gory horror and, of course, those who are fans of mythology based fiction for which Rick Riordan Presents books are well-known for.

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UGHHHH I LOVE RICK RIORDAN PRESENTS SO THIS WAS AN INSTANT PICK!!!! I loved the mythology and the writing and horror and characters it was absolutely stunning!!!!

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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me review this book. This is another great read by Rick Riordan Presents. I like the spin on Taiwanese mythology. Ruby doesn’t just sit by and watch everything unfold around her. She tries to figure out why her younger sister isn’t a ting like herself and realizes that the gods and monsters are real.

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Thank you Netgalley and Rick Riordan Presents for this ARC in exchange for this book!

This is another one of Rick Riodan Presents’s YA horror books that comes out this year, and I’m all for it. I have been enjoying all the horror/thriller books the publishing company has sent out this year, and this book is no exception. "The Dark Becomes Her" by Judy I. Lin plunges readers into a sinister world of the supernatural, sisterhood, and the shadows that lurk within our deepest desires. If you enjoy horror books filled with different supernatural creatures (these ones inspired by Chinese/Taiwanese mythology/folklore), then you will absolutely love this book. This book focuses on elements of demonic possession, beliefs, and diaspora.

The story follows Ruby Chen, the dutiful eldest daughter who excels in every aspect of her life, including keeping her younger sister, Tina, on track for academic success. However, when the sisters are attacked by a ghost in Vancouver's Chinatown, Ruby's life takes a dark turn. Overnight, Tina undergoes a disturbing transformation, exhibiting signs of demonic possession.
As Ruby races to save her sister, she becomes entangled in an ancient battle over the gateway to the underworld. On one side stands an evil traveling temple, determined to unleash darkness upon Chinatown, while on the other side are the guardians tasked with stopping them. Caught in the middle, Ruby must confront not only the horror plaguing her community but also the darkness within herself.

Lin weaves Chinese and Taiwanese mythology into a bone-chilling narrative that explores themes of identity, family, and the Asian diaspora experience. Some of the horror-filled and boner-chilling descriptions of the different mythological creatures within the book reminded me of both Junji Ito's macabre storytelling. I really enjoyed all of the mythology presented throughout the book, and Lin also made sure to include Chinese characters in the book when providing explanations on the different characters. I felt like some sort of glossary at the end of the book would be helpful in keeping track of all the different creatures and terminology as I found myself getting lost at times. What I think would make this book even more fun is if there were images to accompany the descriptions of the creatures.

I really enjoyed the mythology aspect of the book as well as Ruby’s characterization as she is forced to listen to her parents’ heavy expectations of her, especially because she is the older sister. If you are from an Asian family (and are maybe the eldest), then you may be able to relate a lot of Ruby’s experiences with the unrealistic expectations placed upon her. I thought these elements felt really realistic and added a lot to the story. The plot was predictable at times, but it was always fast-paced with more and more elements being added and different creatures being shown. The romance in the book was also sweet, and it didn’t feel like it was developed too fast as the events within this book took place over a few weeks.

Overall, "The Dark Becomes Her" propels you through a pulse-pounding journey that will leave you breathless until the very end. I absolutely loved the ending of the book and how all the different plot points came together. I do wish there was some more development of Ruby’s relationship with her sister as there wasn’t too much of it, considering Tina was possessed through much of the book. If there were to be a sequel of this book, I would definitely read it, especially if more of this development were made.

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