Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Space Between

Daphne lives in Pandemonium, a city in Hell, and is the youngest daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. She longs for the vibrancy and excitement of Earth, but Pandemonium is largely static and dull. Daphne's half brother Obie has gone to Earth to live with his wife and help people, which is forbidden by Heaven. He has disappeared and Lilith asks Daphne to go to Earth in the face of grave danger to find out what happened to Obie. During her journey, Daphne will meet Truman, a broken soul whose actions bring him closer and closer to Pandemonium, who will act as her guide on Earth. Through their journey together, they will change and help each other in ways they never thought possible.

Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement is one of my favorite teen horror reads, so I had to read The Space Between. Her prose in conjunction with her unique take on folk tales and mythology make her books hard to put down. Her take on Christian mythology is comparable to Laini Taylor's in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This world is not black and white. Demons are not all necessarily evil and angels are not all necessarily good. Daphne has to choose if she will be a soulless monster like her sisters or follow in her half brother Obie's footsteps helping people on Earth. Azrael and the Dark Dreadful are shown to really the villains here, singlemindedly slaughtering any demon they catch on Earth no matter who they are, what they have done, or any other factor. I like a world where demons and angels can choose their own fate and decide how they will influence the world.

Daphne is an odd but likable character. She appears human except for her metal teeth, but she knows nothing of the human world. Her mix of naivete, awkwardness, and honesty made her different than other YA protagonists. She felt a bit strange, which made sense since she's half demon and half angel. Despite being raised to be cold and detached and encouraged to use humans for her own personal gains, she refused to internalize that mode of thinking. I admired her determination that led her to help Truman, who many dismissed as a suicidal hopeless cause, and Obie, for whom she faced unimaginable danger for. Truman is also an interesting character with a heartbreaking backstory and a penchant for being close to death. Daphne actually meets him in Hell when he died, but her intervention allowed him to return to Earth. I don't normally like characters like this, but his self loathing and depression are so raw and understandable that I couldn't help but sympathize with him. I loved seeing the world through their eyes and getting their unique perspective.

The Space Between is a slow burning read. The first half is fairly slow moving, but there's nothing wrong with that. The writing is so wonderful and lush that I just wanted to stay in the story as long as possible like a warm bath. I appreciate that Yovanoff isn't afraid to delve into dark, mature, and realistic themes. I consider her one of the best YA authors because she never talks down to her audience and produces some of the darkest and most interesting stories in the genre.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

No comments: