March 8, 2012

Book Review: The Space Between

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction

Since I've been writing query letters and think this book's jacket cover is pretty near pitch-perfect, I'm not going to try and reinvent it:

"Everything burns in Pandemonium... a city in Hell made of chrome and steel, where there is no future and life is an expanse of frozen time. That's where Daphne lives. The daughter of a demon and a fallen angel, she wonders what lies in store for her. Will she become a soulless demon like her sisters? Or follow in the footsteps of her brother Obie, whose life is devoted to saving lost souls on Earth? All she wants is to find a place where she belongs. When Obie saves a bleeding, broken boy named Truman from the brink of death and then suddenly goes missing, Daphne struggles between her demon instincts and her growing--yet achingly unfamiliar--feelings for Truman. As Daphne and Truman search for Obie, they must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in their way. But Daphne also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be."

I'm not usually one for angel/demon stories particularly, but I fell into this one headlong. One of the things I loved was what one reviewer called Yovanoff's 'moral ambivalence'. She delves into some pretty dark territory, and she doe it deftly and absorbingly without fear of touching on what some would consider taboo areas for YA lit. Truman drinks, smokes, swears and self-destructs in a variety of ways, and yet I still cared about him. I think I cared about him more because he was, to me, a very realistic portrait of a teenage boy in trouble. I loved the dark fantastical elements, too: demon girls with metal teeth and worlds that burn. This story is creepy, no doubt about it. It's creepy and dark done incredibly, enviably well, in ways that made me WANT to stay up until 3AM with ugly things.

I also loved this book for one of the same reasons I loved Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races: because the love story was so engrossing without being the main event. While the tension between Daphne and Truman is palpable, it's never really spoken or overtly underlined. Everything is subtext and longing expertly portrayed. The yearning jumped off the pages, creating a connection that I didn't want to step away from.

In short, I loved it.


  1. The Replacement has been on my to-read list for a while now, but this. Oh man. I want to read this riiiiight now. It sounds absolutely perfect.

    And Greenhouse Lit Agency seem very, very awesome.

    On the topic of angels and demons, have you read 'The Daughter of Smoke and Bone'? It's a beautiful story.

    1. Oh, weird, it has a very different title (Smoulder) and cover in the UK. I much prefer the US version. I have the same issue with the UK The Replacement cover...

    2. The Australian cover for The Replacement is AWFUL! I sometimes wonder why they don't just leave an awesome cover alone.

      I thought of you while reading this book - I think you're going to really like it.