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Thursday, October 3, 2013
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue See by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Dial

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. 
Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?
Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back. 
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.


Review: (Warning: I tend to avoid spoilers, but this review contains some in order to state my case)           

          This book did not work for me at all. First, a lot of details in this that novel are prime examples of what is considered "gothic": an old mansion, mysterious hauntings, cemeteries, the specter of the devil, and family secrets. Sounds good right? The problem is that all of this is so much meaningless set dressing having very little to do with the actual plot. In gothic stories the setting is an integral part of the action. You could transport this story to any setting and have it be the same.


       The plot? Basically mysterious hot boy comes to town, girl is smitten, hot boy torments neighbor, children, girl's brother, and kills a guy. Hot boy's hot brother arrives to tell the girl: "Hey, my brother's just misunderstood. P.S. he's mind controlling you". Girl is surprisingly cool with this. Girl is almost set on fire by assailant with mind control powers. Girl is nearly sexually assaulted by hot guy and feels instant forgiveness. Mind control? Who cares! He's hot. Some family secrets come out that have very little to do with present day events and nothing to do with any kind of devil, even on a symbolic level. Some more deaths and attacks occur. A twist! Apparently hot guy only committed some murders, not all of them. What a guy. 
       
        Despite all the events listed above, the novel manages to be boring. Much page time is devoted to activities such as nap-taking and food preparation. There's not much to be said for the characters either. River is our resident hot guy. He can speak for himself: 
"Some people don't deserve to live. And, to go a step further, some people need to die" Loc. 1784 of e-book
         Violet, our heroine, likes wearing her grandmother's clothes, old movies, reading Faulkner, and painting. This gives her a sense of superiority. She spends much of the novel being angry with River then giving up on that anger (mind control) and enjoying naps/meals with him. She's surprisingly comfortable with losing her free will, even once it's been regained. Violet has a neighbor named Sunshine whose hobbies include drinking ice tea, flirting with Violet's brother, Luke, and being slut-shamed by Violet. I absolutely hate what happens to Sunshine. Luke's hobbies are painting and making sexist comments. 
        
       I always get lured in to novels like these in the hopes that they will commit to the premise: either have the love interest be evil and the protagonist makes the choice to stop him, or have her embrace it with full awareness. This wishy-washy he's not so bad nonsense is maddening, especially when the narrative seems to condone the murders and assaults committed by the "hero". 

1 lonely star.

2 comments:

Ellen Alwaysyaatheart said...

I am sorry this book didn't work for you. For some reason, I haven't been drawn to read it, though I have read some positive things about it also. Thanks for your honest and informative review.

Jaime said...

Ellen - thanks for commenting. I too saw many positive reviews and I was surprised at my negative reaction once I read it. Ah well, tastes differ. I'm glad to hear you found the review informative, that's my primary goal :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue See by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Dial

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. 
Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?
Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back. 
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.


Review: (Warning: I tend to avoid spoilers, but this review contains some in order to state my case)           

          This book did not work for me at all. First, a lot of details in this that novel are prime examples of what is considered "gothic": an old mansion, mysterious hauntings, cemeteries, the specter of the devil, and family secrets. Sounds good right? The problem is that all of this is so much meaningless set dressing having very little to do with the actual plot. In gothic stories the setting is an integral part of the action. You could transport this story to any setting and have it be the same.


       The plot? Basically mysterious hot boy comes to town, girl is smitten, hot boy torments neighbor, children, girl's brother, and kills a guy. Hot boy's hot brother arrives to tell the girl: "Hey, my brother's just misunderstood. P.S. he's mind controlling you". Girl is surprisingly cool with this. Girl is almost set on fire by assailant with mind control powers. Girl is nearly sexually assaulted by hot guy and feels instant forgiveness. Mind control? Who cares! He's hot. Some family secrets come out that have very little to do with present day events and nothing to do with any kind of devil, even on a symbolic level. Some more deaths and attacks occur. A twist! Apparently hot guy only committed some murders, not all of them. What a guy. 
       
        Despite all the events listed above, the novel manages to be boring. Much page time is devoted to activities such as nap-taking and food preparation. There's not much to be said for the characters either. River is our resident hot guy. He can speak for himself: 
"Some people don't deserve to live. And, to go a step further, some people need to die" Loc. 1784 of e-book
         Violet, our heroine, likes wearing her grandmother's clothes, old movies, reading Faulkner, and painting. This gives her a sense of superiority. She spends much of the novel being angry with River then giving up on that anger (mind control) and enjoying naps/meals with him. She's surprisingly comfortable with losing her free will, even once it's been regained. Violet has a neighbor named Sunshine whose hobbies include drinking ice tea, flirting with Violet's brother, Luke, and being slut-shamed by Violet. I absolutely hate what happens to Sunshine. Luke's hobbies are painting and making sexist comments. 
        
       I always get lured in to novels like these in the hopes that they will commit to the premise: either have the love interest be evil and the protagonist makes the choice to stop him, or have her embrace it with full awareness. This wishy-washy he's not so bad nonsense is maddening, especially when the narrative seems to condone the murders and assaults committed by the "hero". 

1 lonely star.

2 comments:

  1. I am sorry this book didn't work for you. For some reason, I haven't been drawn to read it, though I have read some positive things about it also. Thanks for your honest and informative review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ellen - thanks for commenting. I too saw many positive reviews and I was surprised at my negative reaction once I read it. Ah well, tastes differ. I'm glad to hear you found the review informative, that's my primary goal :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you, comments are appreciated :)