Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?
Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped – and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie’s whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.
This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanoff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.
If I hadn’t seen Brenna Yovanoff’s name on the cover of this book, would I still have picked it up? Seeing as paranormal romances about fallen angels are a dime a dozen in YA these days, I’d say it would have been highly unlikely – and that would have been a crying shame, because this book is freaking fantastic. I utterly loved it.
I’m still reeling over the many shades and layers of this book. I love how Yovanoff spun the black and white ideas of good and evil into many shades of gray, and how she made demons the most sympathetic characters in her story, without ever shying away from their darkness. And I loved loved loved the ways in which Yovanoff reminds us that demons are just fallen angels, and that Old Testament style fury unleashed by angels can be terrible indeed. Yovanoff has built a complex, fascinating world around her unique take on that most fundamental of tales, the Garden of Eden, and it is just impossible to look away.
As for the characters, oh, the characters – I love them all. Daphne is a wonderful prism through which to see our human world, as she sets out from Pandemonium and experiences it all for the first time, and she is brilliantly un-human and yet totally human at the same time. Her wonderful confusion and strangeness are always fascinating, never alienating, and all in all she is impossible to resist. As for Truman, he’s a broken wreck bent on self destruction, and yet he is still utterly sympathetic and likable – which is just about an impossible line to walk, but Yovanoff pulls it off with style. The ways in which Daphne and Truman fear what they have inside themselves give them both such interesting colors and shades, and it made me utterly believe in their eventual pairing. This isn’t a book about the facade of romance, the window dressing of good looks and smoldering eyes, this is a book about the power of finding someone who doesn’t flinch away from the worst things about yourself, who can see exactly who and what you are and still call you beautiful. Now THAT’S what I call a romance.
And don’t forget the plot – how it all comes together at the end is brilliant. I did not see it coming, any of it, and the ending is so powerful, so beautiful and complex in what it says about love, that I’m still savoring the taste of it. This story packs a punch.
Having now read both The Replacement and The Space Between, I feel like I’ve got a handle on Yovanoff’s style – complex characterizations, killer atmosphere, and a thematic love of exploring shades of gray – and I love it. This author is without a doubt firmly on my must read list.
So I’m admittedly not an easy nut to crack when it comes to the paranormal niche of angels and demons, but Brenna Yovanoff owned me, start to finish, with The Space Between. This book is truly an original.
Byrt Grade: A
As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…
Yovanoff (The Replacement) once again develops complex, believable characters as well as a supernatural milieu that feels both original and lived in. This confident tale contains moments of beauty, terror, and significant wisdom.
I would love to tell you more of the things that I really enjoyed, but the fact is that the things I loved are some of the great plot twists that you don’t really see coming. They’re well done and add interesting depth to the story. Go forth and read this. It is excellent.
The setting and the romance were equally brilliant, and I don’t know where to begin talking about either one. Daphne and Truman were so far from perfect, and I think that’s what made me fall for their romance more than I have for most others: they were so flawed, and so flawed in front of each other. Within a matter of days, they saw deep into each other and that’s where the romance blossomed. Not from lust or physical attraction or mystery, but from what they learned when the walls came down.