Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
YA Fantastical Horror
Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest opinion.
My favorite covers tend to have pretty dresses on them (see Wither for example) but something about the font for this one immediately caught my interest and had me positively salivating for its release. I'm so glad I've finally had the chance to pick it up!
Now that I've finished, I'm of two opinions. On the one hand, I loved the writing. I found it absolutely atmospheric and arresting, nearly impossible to put down. But I hated the characters and the fact that the plot felt pretty aimless for the majority of the book before ratcheting up the horror.
Violet and her twin brother Luke live in a falling apart mansion unsupervised while their parents pursue their art abroad. Desperate for some cash, she advertises for a renter and soon enough along comes the charming River West. Coinciding with his arrival are some strange occurrences, ones that have Violet mistrusting her senses as River seems to possess extraordinary powers of persuasion. But he's not the only devil in town...
We'll start with the good, which was the beautiful writing. I found myself completely sucked in and nearly incapable of putting the book down for long. I'd set it down after a chapter, intending to do something else but kept finding myself drawn back to find out what would happen next. BUT then we reach a plot twist that would be a spoiler that led to me thinking what was the point?! We were all set up to believe one thing and then that is taken away and twisted. True, that is the point when things really start getting horrifying and really had me clutching my pearls but it also negated a lot of the information that had previously been shared with us. And not in a way that had me doubting the reliability of the narrator, which was already shaky; rather it is in a way that left me upset with the author for this poor contrivance.
Moving on to the distinctly negative, I didn't feel much of anything for any of the characters and when I did, it was anger with them. I never got much of a feel for Violet outside of her relationship with River, Luke is so disgusting with his machismo, and their neighbor/friend Sunshine seemed to be entirely defined by her sexuality without being allowed a brain. River's manipulation rubbed me the wrong way and obviously I hated that other character who shows up.
Overall: Beautiful writing with some truly horrific events, the writing about which only drives home their horror but with poor characters leading the way. I'm still inclined to check out the second book in this two-part series if only to see if the characters can be deepened and redeemed enough for me to care.
Other Opinions: Again my blogging friends had a lot of thoughts, here are just a few
A Reader of Fictions
Candace's Book Blog
In Bed With Books
Jen Ryland/YA Romantics
The Book Swarm
The Flyleaf Review