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Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.
Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

341 pages, Hardcover

First published July 31, 2014

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Brenna Yovanoff

15 books2,327 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 499 reviews
September 19, 2014
“That boy is the devil.”

“Well, I’m going to kiss him.”

Do you hear that? That sad whispering in the shadows. The sound of silent tears. The quiet wailing of a thousand brokenhearted readers?

That, my friends, is the sound of wasted potential. Because that's what this book was, thanks to the appearance of a motherfucking pussy of a love interest. If you asked me, 30 pages into the book, what my rating for this book would be...without a doubt, I would have given it a solid 4. I mean,how could a book that contained this sentence be anything but fucking awesome?
“What’s wrong with me? I never did anything to anyone.”

Fisher was quiet for a second and when he answered, he sounded strange.

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “They’re just nervous about how your eyes are sewed shut.”

The writing is beautiful. One thing about Brenna Yovanoff, she can fucking write. This is not my first book by Ms. Yovanoff. I have always been a fan of her writing. I think she is an incredible writer. Yet, no matter how many of her books I've read, there's always some element that keeps them from being enjoyable.

In this book, it is---shocking, for an YA novel, I know---the overwhelming amount of insta-love for an asshole.

Oh, he's an asshole who's really not an asshole. He's just pretending to be a douche. Again, shocking, I know. My jaw just dropped open. It's not like every other freaking YA novel has one of those or anything.

The Summary:
“I’m not sure I belong out in the world,” I said, finally. “I think bad things might happen when I’m around."
Clementine is not quite a girl. She was once, a long time ago. Perhaps. Maybe. All she is right now is a vague consciousness. A thing, in a dark place. Surrounded by roots and soil and darkness. Until a group of boys decide to do the stupid thing and run into an abandoned cellar. There, they find Clementine, hidden in a cellar.
In the moldy dark of the closet, I opened my mouth.

I stood in the dark, with roots tangled in my hair, bits of glass sticking to my skin, still holding the windup bear.
She is rescued, by a boy named Eric. Eric, like the prince in a Disney movie. To Clementine, he seems that way, too.
When I turned my head, he seemed to glow against my eyelids, and I knew he must be the hero of the story, just like in all the books.

This is ever-after, I thought. This is the happily, the end. This is the prince who saved me.
But Eric isn't her world. He is not her world. He should not be her world, for Clementine has family, who have denied her existence. She was once a living creature, a girl. Her memories are scant, but they exist. She has family, an aunt, a cousin named Shiny...who is beautiful, who missed her...who, most importantly, remember Clementine.

Clementine existed. She exists.

But instead of getting familiar with the real world again, she is obsessed with a boy.
I just couldn’t tell if the fog in my head was because I didn’t want to see him, or if it was because I secretly wanted to see him so bad it made me dizzy.
Instead of getting to know her newly-reacquainted cousin, she is obsessed with a boy.
“Why are you being so mean today?”

Shiny glared at me. “Because you ditched me! I’m your family, and he’s just some down-hollow creep who likes to pretend so hard that he’s not. He’s nothing to you.”
The town is inundated with strange things. Odd phenomena are happening everywhere, strange things are showing up...like monstrous fishes.
Its mouth was full of long, jagged teeth. Row upon row of them, and every one like a needle.
And Clementine is obsessed with a boy.

He could be dangerous to her. He could be a danger to the whole town, but still, Clementine is obsessed with the boy.
“I know he’s got a powerful kind of craft and the more we’re together, the more it seems to get away from him, but we can’t seem to stay apart. I don’t want to stay apart.”
It doesn't matter if Eric is an asshat. It doesn't matter that he spurns her and coldly rejects her in front of his friends when she comes to him, hoping to make a friend.
Fisher stood with his hands in his pockets. His shoulders were hard and the look he gave the rest of them was unimpressed. “I didn’t see shit but a dirty little redneck girl that had got stuck down in a caved-in cellar hole, and we pulled her out. So don’t go blowing this up into some kind of thing.”
Because Clementine is still obsessed with the boy.
I couldn’t help the way I wanted to stand close to him. I couldn’t help that when I closed my eyes, I sometimes saw the world through someone else’s, or that it was like he found me even before he came to find me.
Enough is enough. I wholly support Clementine's cousin when she says...
“He isn’t close to good enough."
I expected more of my creepy heroines.

The Setting:
It was commonly held that every piece of craft in Hoax County came from down in the hollow. It was supposed to be a wild place, full of strange plants and hell dogs and fiends with glowing eyes and more power than a person could even properly conceive of—foreign things, bound by the hollow like creatures in a book, or else bound to the families that served them.
The setting is wickedly cool. It is set in a small, closed-up, closed-minded Southern town, with roots in dark magic and witchcraft.

I think you guys all know that to me, it's the equivalent of book crack. If it's one thing that made this book worth reading, it's the setting. It's the horror. It's the dark creatures. It's the side characters. It's the magic. It's the hell dogs and the dead plants and the creatures with jagged teeth. It sure as hell ain't the main character, a silly, foolish girl with as much common sense as a newborn...which sort of makes sense, but on the other hand, it doesn't endear her to me very much.

The setting is exceedingly better than the annoying...

Love Interest:
I turned to Fisher, waiting for him to explain—to tell them—that it hadn’t been me, but he just stared back, not moving, not blinking. He didn’t say anything.
Well, you're such a bloody fucking Southern Gentleman, aren't you, Eric?

I hated his guts. I fucking hated his guts. Without Eric, this book would have garnered at least a 3, despite the main character's weakness. With Eric...well, there's just no going back. He is a douchebag. He is the kind of man who will stand back and do nothing when there exists injustice because he is a fucking thundercunt.

Oh, I get it. It's ok. He's only preeeeeeteeeeeeeeeending. *pouts* of course he is. That's what you would call a cliché. And no, it's not ok. I don't want my boyfriend to stand aside and say nothing to defend me when his best friends are talking trash because he's simply afraid of being perceived as different. It is not fucking ok to be a jerk because you're suuuuuuuuuuch a wounded soul, maaaaaaaan. That's not the kind of man---or boy---I want in real life, and it's not the kind I want in books. I don't care if his dog was killed in a fire, and he's an orphan who was abandoned 5 times by his foster parents. There's no excuse for being a horrible human being just because you've had a shitty life.

Eric has a tragic past ;_; and BOY does Clementine really buy into that shit. She makes up all kinds of excuses for his bullshittery.
It was painfully apparent, suddenly, that all his snarling and glaring was because he didn’t know how to be hurt.
Eric is condescending, he has several "woman, get back in the kitchen!" moments in the book.
I stripped everything, piling it in the middle of the rug.
“Take them down and put them in the wash,” he said, sinking into the rocking chair.

“Before you do that with the blankets and everything,” he said behind me, “you need to flip the mattress.”
Really, man? Really?

Again, I agree with Clementine's cousin on this.
Shiny glared at Rae and shook her head. “Do not even talk to me about Eric Fisher.”

“Who is he?” I said, studying the pack of boys.

“Just a plain jackass.”
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,354 followers
August 13, 2014
This was a straaaange book! But most importantly: it's deliciously creepy!

Brenna delights us with some more of her gothic, morbid, yet marvelously fascinating storytelling in her newest release. Fiendish is compelling from the very first chapter. After a quick introduction to Clementine, a slight glimpse of who she was prior, we experience her entrapment inside this cellar, held in place by willow roots, while a decade passes. The cryptic but riveting manner with which the passing of time is described had me enchanted. It was, in a way, full of desperation and longing, though strangely beautiful. All of this occurs within the first few chapters, laying the foundation - and the promise - of an eccentric, highly original road to come. Once Clementine is set free, however, is when the real excitement begins, with magic and crafts and hellhounds and fiends and other ghastly things. The horrific entities are described with hair-raising detail, set within a landscape that is vividly painted throughout.

This is a plot and mystery driven novel. In addition to the alarming present happenings, there's a mysterious past that Clementine has yet to unscramble, and a future that remains grimly uncertain. That said, the characters themselves, although not superficial, lack the charisma and density that I require to form a true connection. This is likely due to having to juggle a large secondary cast. Townsfolk, family, antagonists; each group involving a handful of characters. Still, I found a large cast for this story was a necessary part of making it all the more interesting; it's a balance for which I was okay with losing some to win some. Besides, the mysterious plot is more than worth it. I loved the bizarre vibe throughout this whole ordeal: Ominous signs of a second reckoning, the irrepressible magic that seems to be fueled by Clementine, the hollow (a stretch of land where evil lurks) with its seductive danger, the history of this town and its fiends. It was, to put it simply, fan-freaking-tastic!

Also on the subject of balance, with all the eeriness and horror, I was glad to have some sweet moments of awkward, youthful romance to lighten things up. Don't expect a passion-filled, all-encompassing love story. It's a simple, yet sweet romance that leaves you smiling.

Much like Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, and (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn, Fiendish is a kind of Magical Realism novel where magic is a reality that comes with no explanation for its existence, only explanations within it. If this is something you're a fan of, along with horror and fast-paced mystery, this is one book you must not be without!

"It's ash," I whispered, holding out my hands to the awful dust falling all around me. "The sky is burning."

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
589 reviews1,029 followers
January 31, 2015
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

I'll be frank, I was not impressed by Brenna Yovanoff's latest release, Fiendish. The author definitely has some writing talent--because her writing--particularly the descriptions--were gorgeous, but they did not make up for the cons.

Three Reasons Why Fiendish Didn't Work For Me

1. The storyline bored me to death. Honestly, watching a game of golf would be more interesting than this. At the start of the book, I was really intrigued and curious as to why Clementine was trapped in a cellar for all these years, and why on earth her eyes were sewn shut. I mean, that's just seriously creeeepy and messed up. However, the story evidently becomes more and more progressively boring due to one main reason: the pace. This book moved at such a slow pace for me, particularly because we weren't getting anywhere. Sure, there was a great hook at the start, but there wasn't any other big motive that made me want to continue. I did end up skimming a few chapters towards the end.

2. The romance was a complete failure. Clementine was saved from the cellar by this guy called Fisher and surprise, surprise, he's the future love interest for Clementine. Who saw that one coming? *eye roll* Anyhow, the romance kicked off a little too early, and ended up being an awful case of instant-love. Furthermore, I hated Fisher. He wasn't even a decent guy, he acted like a total fake and was a jackass in general. Just bleh, not attractive at all.

3. Half the things in this novel made no sense to me whatsoever. One of the major things that didn't have any logic was Clementine and Shiny's reaction to Clementine's sudden reappearance and acceptance. Clementine girl, can't just pop out of no where and lead a normal life just like that. Your eyes were sewn shut and you were trapped inside a cellar for years and YEARS; and now that you are out, you're just going to go shopping? Things like this simply made no sense to me, and I spent more time trying to make sense of these illogical scenarios rather than actually trying to enjoy the read.

In all:

Unfortunately, Fiendish didn't end up being my next best book friend. It certainly had a huge potential, but it honestly just felt wasted in my opinion.

~Thank you Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me this copy!~

February 28, 2016
This book had the potential of being really good but the author didn't live up to the idea. It's better then the last book I read by the author but not by much. I did want to like it more.

So, basically, some girl was bricked up in the cellar of her burned down house and ten years later someone finds her. Apparently, the townies went on a rampage because weird oddities were popping up here and there. So there was the whole 'get the witches!' thing.

I had issues with Clem. She just popped out of the cellar and is all like 'whatever bro' and go on with her business. She doesn't really grieve or act surprised at anything. She's totally fine, for the most part. In fact, only hours after being saved, she literally walks to department store to try on bras because now she has boobs.

At no time is she like 'wow! the world has changed!' Hell, she even goes on a car ride with her rescuer and then frees all the animals from a makeshift zoo. This is literally only several hours after she was free. The day would never be complete without her 'I'm going to kiss Fisher' thing.

The biggest, hugest, most terrible fault of this book is the world building. Basically, there no world building and this is a huge problem. If it was set in the normal world, this wouldn't've been a problem. The problem comes in with the fact that it isn't. It's some mix between normal world of a couple decades ago and a magical world sent a good hundred or two ago.

The magical system is never explain. At all. This whole book circles the magic system but we know next to nothing about it. It's incredibly confusing. Apparently only the hicks have magic? What? That's the sum total of world building you're going to do?

There's a whole lot of 'omgz! don't let them see your craft' and 'keep it low' but we're never really told what each does for most of the book. Clem's a dirt. No wait, she's a light. No, maybe she's...

The whole fiendish element (they aren't necessarily fiends, they're just random spirits who are supposedly bad. They just sort of stare at people in this book) was never fully explained, other than families get one every so often.

And I simply don't buy that the town folk would want to kill them. Not with the abilities they had. You're not going to kill someone who can heal you in seconds.

The actual setting was confusing too. I've no idea where this book takes place. We're never told. We aren't even told when it is. It's bizarrely 1900s and 1960s. There are cars, washing machines, and electricity but no telephones or TV.

But, above all else, the main failing with book is the resolution and how stupid it all was. It's just so incredibly stupid that I'm tempted, a couple weeks later, to lower the rating I gave this book. I seriously am.

Of all the possible (and incredibly easy) solutions that the hicks were presented with, they picked the most outrageous and ridiculous on of the whole lot. Basically,
757 reviews2,348 followers
May 3, 2017
Ugh DNF at 51%

This book starts out interesting but as it progresses I was starting to lose interest.

-All Clemetine really cared about was Fisher. She would not stop talking about him. She was desperate for him. Ugh I cant even. Even when he told her to go away she would stay and I'm surprised Fisher still wants to kiss her after her annoying ass behaviour.

-Where is the horror? Instead of creepy stuff I'm reading about weird magic crap that is extremely confusing. I honestly didn't even understand what was going on. It was boring and didn't catch my attention.

-I couldn't care less about the weird confusing plot. I didn't connect with the characters. The story didn't pull me in and I just could NOT force myself to finish this piece of crap horror book.

Profile Image for Jessi (Novel Heartbeat).
1,046 reviews612 followers
July 17, 2016



That's the best word I can describe this book with, and it's mostly all I have to say about it. But I can't write a one word review, can I?

First of all, this book was weird. And confusing. There were a lot of WTF moments, and sometimes it didn't make any sense at all. There were a lot of terms that weren't explained, either: downhollow, fiend (which I eventually figured out was basically a demon), crooked (I finally gathered it meant a person who had craft). Then there were the humors. I'm still not quite sure how many there are, because it was never actually explained. The little bits and pieces I got were: Dirt, which is real and raw; light, which is rare; breath, which is the weakest and most wanting; and creek. That's it. And it was completely spread out and mentioned only in passing. Therefore I never completely grasped it. Based on this sentence - There were five points on the star, and that meant there was still the power of creek - there's 5 humors, I guess? I have NO idea what the fifth is. If it was mentioned, I missed it somehow. A short explanation in the beginning would have really helped readers to understand the world.

Second of all, the pacing was very slow. There wasn't really anything happening throughout the majority of the book. I think the only thing that kept me going was the hoping that something would happen. Something did happen, at the very end, but it was just so...dull and anticlimactic that it wasn't even worth it. If someone asked me what the book was about, I'm not even sure I'd be able to answer. "Um...there was...craft...and something about 5...and then there was a creek and a forest and this creepy girl...."

Yep. That good. It would have been a great concept if the execution had been better. The only thing I really liked about this was that it had that creepy backwoods gothic feel to it. The imagery was awesome, actually! I just couldn't connect to the story or the characters. The characters all felt flat, Clementine and Fisher had little to no personality to speak of (in fact, I had to go back and look up their names because I'd already forgotten), and I just didn't give a crap about them or anything that was happening. It wasn't memorable, either. And for some reason, it kind of felt like Beautiful Creatures. I'm not really sure why, because the only thing they have in common is witchcraft - perhaps the setting?

All in all, I feel like I wasted time reading this book. Would I recommend it to anyone? Probably not...

This review was originally posted on Novel Heartbeat. To see a breakdown of my assessment, please visit the full review here.
Profile Image for Angela.
3,199 reviews371 followers
November 20, 2015
2.5 Stars

I'm not a huge fan of creepy, but I was in the mood for it. I wanted something that was going to give me that scared feeling, make me feel a tickle on the back of my neck in the dark, maybe make me wonder about the what ifs. Fiendish started off with such great promise, a girl locked in a cellar for ten years, tangled in roots, eyes sewed shut, and no one seems to remember her when she emerges into the light. I was so sure I'd made a good choice.

And that feeling stuck with me for quite a while. Brenna Yovanoff's prose is gorgeous, just so utterly beautiful to read and experience the story through. I highlighted so many examples of this while I was reading, and was greatly enjoying myself. But then, something happened. I can't even point to what. But I got so bored. The book was taking this meandering pace to get to anything, and nothing much was really happening. Scenes were occurring, but I couldn't figure out why I needed to see them.

There were even times when creepy things were happening, but because they didn't seem to serve a purpose, or were just thrown in for the characters to have something to do, I was bored during them as well.

Which is all incredibly unfortunate, because I was invested in the characters - four primary characters for the majority of the book - and I wanted to know more about their 'craft', more about their magic. Clementine is our main character, we experience the story through her eyes, and despite the fact of her being locked up in the cellar with no human contact for the last ten years, she's incredibly well-rounded and settled into herself, into her own personality. Then there's Fisher - the love interest - it's almost obligatory in a young-adult novel to have a love interest, and Fisher didn't bother me nearly as much as others have. Sure, he's an asshole occasionally, but Clementine calls him on it. And, usually, when it counts he stands up and does the right thing. Shiny, Clementine's cousin, was awesome. Her and Clementine's relationship and friendship was great. She's a bit of a cynic and balances out Clementine's optimism nicely. Then there's Rae, who I'd have loved to gotten to know better, but who fascinated all the same.

So, there you have four characters with so much potential that I could barely stand to pause in reading. About halfway through, though, it started to become clear that Fiendish was going to take me up to the edge of what I was hoping to see and never quite deliver.

The characters, and their gifts, never really got the time they needed; the story seemed better suited to a novella than a full-length novel; and the world seemed like it had a lot of thought put into it, but didn't seem to have a lot of time on the page.

All in all, though I enjoyed it while I was reading I can't help but feeling like Fiendish is just lacking.
Profile Image for Crowinator.
810 reviews361 followers
July 16, 2014
Brenna Yovanoff writes creepy, ominous paranormal horror with a perfectly ingrained setting better than most YA authors. Best of all, her novels are all STAND ALONE. No trilogies that make you wait years for resolution here. While this doesn't stand up to Paper Valentine for me (my favorite of hers), it's solid and most people who have liked her past books will appreciate it.

Read-alikes: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab; Chime by Franny Billingsly.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,282 reviews1,655 followers
August 25, 2014
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

For more reviews, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

What’s funny about Fiendish is that I was really tempted to DNF after the first chapter. I was confused and it didn’t make any damn sense. Plus, I’ve been DNFing left and right and that’s been working for me. However, I pushed on a couple of chapters and Fiendish got really good. So basically, I am here to tell you that, even if you find the start really puzzling and off-putting, keep going because it will make sense. If you’re into southern gothic witchy horror, you will not want to miss Yovanoff’s latest.

Yovanoff has an outstanding way with setting a mood. Every bit of her writing and setting comes together into this dreamy, gothic sense that pervades absolutely every bit of the book. It’s enchanting really and helps catch the reader up and make the strange world within convincing. She has a way of making this paranormal story seem magical and completely ordinary all at the same time. The writing itself isn’t particularly complex, but somehow it all comes together perfectly and does just what it needs to do. Gothic writing isn��t generally my thing, but I think Yovanoff does it beautifully here.

Fiendish has a great hook. The first chapter, as I said is confusing, a hodgepodge of strange images and memories all swirled together. After that, though, the heroine, Clementine DeVore, is rescued from a cellar she’s been trapped in for 10 years. How did she survive? Magic. Deal with that, okay. Magic pervades this book and either you like that or you don’t. Clementine was down there in some sort of stasis, occasionally seeing through the eyes of someone else, her own sewn shut, trapped from the age of seven. At this point, I had to know what was going on in this town, even before I was really engaged. This kept me reading.

Which is good, because this book is creepy in such a good way. This town, you see, borders on this magical place called the Hollow and there are witchy people living in the town. There are also normal people who hate the witchy people, most of whom try to hide their craft. The powers are tied to the elements, like dirt, fire, water, air. Down in the hollows, there are helldogs and fiends and magic is so potent. It all has a very organic feel and, damn, is it terrifying when the reckoning comes and the magic spills over.

Also, in case you couldn’t tell from the horror label, but this book is dark dark dark. It’s not the sort of story with an easy resolution. There is pain and things are uncomfortable as all hell. This is not a pretty, fluffy fantasy, nor is it for the faintest of heart. I’m not too easily scared by books, but there were a couple of memorably haunting scenes in this one.

The characters are interesting, which I mean in its true definition not in the one where interesting means awful or boring. Clementine, actually, is probably the least compelling of the set for me. Shiny, her cousin, is sassy, bitchy and fiery. Rae’s the one magical person who seems truly capable of control, even as things fall apart, sort of the Velma of the group. There’s creepy old man Heintz with his horrible zoo and his abused daughter Davenport. The cast is as strange and atmospheric as the magic they wield.

The only thing that left me cold was the romance. Because of reasons, Clementine sort of saw Fisher while she was trapped in the cellar. It’s the paranormal clichés with Fisher being a bad boy and Shiny warning her away, but Clementine is too drawn to him for that. He even tells her to stay away for her own good, but oh no. They’re such cheeseballs and, while they don’t actually claim to be in love because thank kanye the romance isn’t a huge factor most of the time, the whole thing smacks of instalove. I do not ship it and I do not care about their feelings.

Come to fiendish for the dark and creepy, and you shall likely leave satisfied, my friends. It’s fun watching Yovanoff getting better and better at her own craft, and I’m looking forward to what she does next.
Profile Image for Albert.
1,428 reviews33 followers
June 11, 2015
Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff is not your typical young adult fantasy tale. It is dark, brooding, and within its prose lies a deep and sad understanding of society at large. That is probably why I love these stories so much.

Clementine DeVore is a young girl, trapped in a cellar, tied up by roots as the years have passed. She has been down in the cellar of her abandoned home for ten years. Forgotten and deserted. But now she has been found by the only one who can feel her. Fisher can hear the soft heartbeat in the old vacant home. The one that was burned down so many years ago. He hears the heartbeat and it calls to him. He frees Clementine, but he knows her appearance will only tear at the fragile threads that hold his small town together. New South Bend is a small town with many secrets. The peace between the people of the town and the people of the Willows has been broken by a murderous violence before. Fear and prejudice drives the townspeople, and the magic of the few remaining people of the Willows, the few who are called the fiendish are what separate them. Clementine was hidden long ago and now that she has returned strange happenings are beginning again. Is it Clementine? Is it the creatures who live just beyond? Or is it the past returning to repeat itself. Why was Clementine, as a small child, buried deep in the cellar and by who? Clementine must find out just what happened all those years ago during the time known as the reckoning. Before it happens again.

Fiendish is clever and powerful writing. The setting is a small town on the cusp of another world, where dangerous and magical creatures exist. But when terrible things begin to happen, the townspeople turn on those that are different with deadly and bloody results. We have seen this played out through history as the one who is different, is always blamed for what is happening by a populace who just doesn't understand what is happening around them.

Brenna Yovanoff does not write cutesy happily ever after stories of fairies and elves and lucky charms. Her creatures are a throwback to the original tales of the Brother's Grimm and we should all be thankful of that.

The main character of Clementine DeVore is original and well rounded. A young girl who returns after a decade of being buried in her family home. A home that was burned down and her mother murdered. You can even forgive the obvious teen romance aspect of the book as Clementine and Fisher are pre-ordained to be drawn to one another by the spells of another.

What is so terrific in this novel is the intricately woven back story to the reckoning and why Clementine was buried by her own family and what really drives this second reckoning that threatens her and what remains of her kind. I won't tell you about that, it is a plot that has to be read to be enjoyed. And that is what separates Fiendish from so many young adult fantasy books, it actually has a plot. Not the standard, cookie cutter, YA book about a young girl who saves everyone and gets a boyfriend too because he is just so cute!

A very good read!
Profile Image for Erica.
1,344 reviews439 followers
Shelved as 'couldnt-finish'
February 20, 2019
Awww, man.
I really really thought this book was going to enchant me. It's got a spooky but intriguing cover, it's a stand-alone, and the synopsis says something about a girl being awoken and brought forth from under a bunch of tree roots. It sounds awesome!

It probably is awesome, just not for me. I'm too old, too cynical, too in need of the bridges that span one moment to the next instead of just wildly jumping from this moment to another.

The tale felt dreamy. I'm sure it's supposed to. But it's not one of those dreams that are surreal, mystical, and amazing; instead, it is one of those frustrating dreams where I know what should be happening but no one around me seems to be abiding by the rules of what should happen next. I mean, we've got a girl who was encased in willow roots in the cellar of a burned-down house. You know things aren't going to make sense but I think I thought people would suss stuff out and I'd become informed and the story would take shape. I was wrong.
First off, I could not get over the terrible lack of curiosity on the part of everyone in the entire town. Even Clementine never really stopped to wonder, "Hey, how the hell did I survive ten years underground with no food, water, sunlight, toilet break, tampons, fresh oxygen" etc. I could not stop wondering, "Why is NO ONE PUZZLED BY THIS?" Don't worry, that's not a spoiler. It's on the dustjacket flap.
I had a problem with Clementine knowing about the town and the people who lived there thanks to her childhood memories but as she's being taken around town, she's both treated like and acts like a visitor. Her own cousin acts like Clementine has never been here and knows nothing of the area and Clementine seems to agree with this except for when she knows where everything is and who everyone is.
But the thing that bothered me most was Clementine's instant and ridiculous attraction to what's-his-name...Fisher. I mean, in the very first chapter, he's carrying her from her prison and she's rhapsodizing about the feel of her cheek against his collarbone even though she has no idea what's going on.

I stopped once I finished page 199. I made it more than halfway through but the things that were irritating me were just too big to be put aside. I'd love to know what was going on in this town but I suspect I would not have cared once I got that far. It seemed better to not finish/not rate this than to finish and give it one star.

I really wish I would have been able to enjoy this story. Maybe I'll try another of hers at a later date.
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
893 reviews254 followers
April 4, 2017
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

I never know what to expect from Brenna Yovanoff. I've read all of Brenna's books and all of them took me by surprise! You can always expect creepy, strange stories from her, but you never quite know what will be in the book!

And creepy and weird this book was.
"Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten."
If that doesn't sound both creepy and weird to you, I don't know what does.
And this book was deliciously creepy! From page 1 you get immediately drawn into the book. The strange beginning makes you curious (at least it did for me) and want to know more!

To me honest, I don't know why I couldn't give this book a higher rating. I really enjoyed this book. Sure, it was strange, but I really like strange books! And I was really in the mood for a creeptastic read! But there were just something that prevented me from enjoying this book as much as I wanted.
Was it the characters?
No, I don't think so.
While I didn't fully connect to the characters, I had no problem with them.
Sure, Clementine's character was a bit off, for someone who has been trapped in a cellar for a majority of her life.
They were not flat, cardboard characters. They weren't annoying.
The romance?
Nope. I was actually okay with the romance! (if you know me at all, this is very rare!)
There was no insta-love, no weird love triangle, or some pointlessly thrown in romance, it actually was paced smoothly and fit into the book.
So, what was my problem?
I think my problem might be the ending.
Now, the ending ending to the book was okay, but the last 50 pages or so was very confusing for me. I had no idea what was going on within these pages and that really messed me up because that was the climax of the story!

But the ending cannot be my only problem! And that's what I can't understand! I liked everything else, I just couldn't understand the ending, yet I cannot give this book a higher rating? I just can't get myself to give a higher rating. I enjoyed this book and I guess that's what 3.5 stars mean.

Creepy. Weird. That's this book in two words. The ending can be described in one word: Confusing.
But everything else? Great! I am definitely going to read Brenna's next book!
Profile Image for Theodora.
150 reviews206 followers
September 9, 2017
I fell headfirst into a sinkhole of pretty things, and the world inside your eyelids is just as big as the one outside.

Clementine DeVore spent ten years of her life trapped in the cellar of her house and pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten. When she was seven years old, the hollow near her house, a place of immense magical power, crawling with fiends and helldogs, started leaking magic into the world in explosive bursts. The people in town blamed the fiendish people living out in the Willows and burned down their houses to protect themselves.

Ten years later, Clementine is set free by Fisher, a boy as wicked as anyone out in the Willows, and she is determined to uncover the secrets around the strange circumstances of her entrapment, and start living again. But as she seeks answers about who it was that sealed her in the cellar, and tries to make sense of her craft and her attraction to Fisher, the hollow starts acting up again. And it falls on her to prevent it from destroying everything and stop the townspeople from burning down what's left of her family.

Sometimes it doesn't matter how dark the world gets. You can be saved by the smallest thing.

Fiendish is a book brimming with crooked magic, creepy tricks and powerful fiends. It is beautifully written and the descriptions are lovely. The characters are powerful, each in their own way, and so very different from one another that they create a wonderful cast. The magic feels real and raw and scary. I really like Brenna's writing and found the plot incredibly interesting. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.

My mama told me that when things were hurting, sometimes it made them wild.
Profile Image for Melanie.
119 reviews
November 14, 2014
I love the cover, it incorporates the plot and characters into it. You can see that the plants on the house represent Fisher's craft and the house represents where Clementine came from.

I honestly didn't like the romance. It was a typical young adult insta-romance. I wish the romance was more developed. Basically Clementine saw Fisher and was all like I'm going to kiss that boy, not even knowing anything about him. Fisher wasn't even a good love choice, at one point during the story he leaves Clementine without saying anything because his craft acts up which by my standards is a bad boyfriend. The romance just doesn't cut for me.

I liked pretty much all the characters. I especially liked Shiny, I loved her sassiness and protectiveness of Clementine. I did feel like her and Rad could've had their own little relationship. I liked Clementine but, nothing really stood out to me about her. I didn't really care for Fisher he felt more like a minor character.

Overall I like Fiendish but, I felt it could've been more. I mean I've read other books by the author and she's a really good writer but, this didn't really show her good writing. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for T..
Author 2 books26 followers
Want to read
November 10, 2015
17 Oct. Had me at "Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten."
Profile Image for Alexandra Christo.
Author 7 books5,148 followers
January 1, 2022
Magic realism is one of my favourite things and Fiendish embraces the nuance of magic in an otherwise ordinary world, combining the wonderful with the everyday. And, in fact, making the wonderful into everyday.

Clementine DeVore spent ten years in a cellar and, somehow, she survived. When she returns to the world with her eyes sewn shut, she finds that nobody remembers she existed. The same magic that kept Clementine alive, erased her from the world.

New South Bend has a rustic feel, like a town caught somewhere between time, never sure of where exactly it belongs. It's the modern world, but it's not. There's something of the past layered deep within, and the old South feel makes for a perfect setting, both wild and homely.

With a mix of families who know craft and those that don't, a constant tension exists that's only made worse when Clementine returns and the magic of the town grows stronger. The loyalty between the 'crooked' folks and the 'ordinary' folks was interesting; how in the worst times they banded together to destroy each other.

The town being split by the strange and the normal was a nice touch and makes you think about good and bad and what it is that puts a group of people into either of those categories.

Clementine is one of the best characters I've read about. She wasn't a bad-ass fighter, but she was strong in another way: strong-willed. A heroine who said what she thought and did what was best, at any cost. Her determination to set the world right and to always be kind, even when people were not being kind to her, was admirable and showed an inner strength we don't often see in YA.

Her relationship with Fisher was wonderful to watch unfold. Their dialogue lit up the pages, with each snappy conversation stapled by more tender and sincere moments. Two people who were so very different and yet so very much the same and who seemed to bring out bravery and power in the other.

Brenna Yovanoff's writing was as mystical as her story, with a dreamy and evocative prose that was almost poetic. Yovanoff knew when to be creepy and surreal, and when to pull it back. Her writing was just the right thing at just the right moments and the story unfolded at exactly the right pace, giving me a book that earned its place in my favourites.

Favourite quote:
"I was too little to think a miracle could be anything but good."
Profile Image for katnick.
89 reviews
August 2, 2014
I won a copy of Fiendish through Goodreads First Reads. I requested it because I like dark YA fantasy and because I previously enjoyed one of Yovanoff's other novels, The Replacement.

In Fiendish, the main character, Clementine, is hidden in a root cellar as a child and rescued as a teenager by Fisher, the town bad boy. Whatever magic was used to seal Clementine away also affects her memory and the memories of everyone else in town. No one seems to remember she ever existed, with the exception of Fisher, her cousin Shiny, and their friend Rae, who are all magic users.

Clementine adjusts to her new teenaged body and hormones remarkably fast, considering she was only seven or eight the last time she was awake. Her goal is ostensibly to discover who hid her in the cellar and why, but since she doesn't really have any clues that could tell her where to start looking, she spends most of the book coaxing Fisher out of his anger issues and discovering her friends' magical abilities. When she finally does find her answers, it feels like a huge info dump that she triggers almost by accident.

In fact, most of the magic that Clementine and her friends use is accidental and the entire system from which it springs remains nebulous and unexplained. We learn that there are beings called Fiends which are scary-looking and connected to a hollow where magical things happen. The Fiends are somehow linked to the families that have magic powers, but it's not really clear whether the Fiends are good or bad or in between. I also wasn't sure whether the Fiends were invented or connected to an existing fairy tale or legend.

The strongest aspect of Fiendish is its atmosphere. Everything in small town New South Bend is run down and overgrown. The town seems to be run by a handful of teenagers who are split down the middle between 'crooked' magic users and 'redneck' normal people. The few adults who are mentioned are useless, so no one ever seems to get properly fed or clothed. They keep their heads down while their suspicious, fearful offspring watch and wait for an excuse to resort to violence. Clementine really stands out in this setting, as her natural inclination is to look after everybody.

Overall, I liked Fiendish. By the end of the book, enough of the magic rules and town secrets had been revealed to make me think that a sequel would be worth reading and perhaps even better than the original. I'll keep an eye out for it.
Profile Image for Sarah B.
836 reviews18 followers
December 31, 2021
I just finished this and it was so very good and thrilling right until the end, a big climax and all. So very few books do that if you ask me! But it's about time that I read something that was actually exciting and that had a standoff at the end, where you had no idea how things would go as they were just too wild to predict.

This is a story about magic and outcasts in a small town. Certain families have the Craft, magic in their blood and they are looked down upon by the normal parts of society. Because in the past some very bad the-world-is-ending freaky events had happened and the magical families in town had been blamed. So now those families are just trying to scrape by and survive. And the next generation is in their teens.

And this is where the main character, Clementine, comes in. For unknown reasons she had slept for like a decade in a tiny room and now she woke up. What had happened? Why? Who had put the spell on her? Where is her mother? And even more important is why are things getting so strange again?

The mysteries in here kept me turning the pages. Lots of action. The story is very well written and I was pulled right in. There is a little romance too but not anything over the top. But more importantly it shows what can happen if people are abused too much.

Glad I read this! It was an exciting creepy story in a very well developed world.
Profile Image for Sarah (thegirltheycalljones).
436 reviews290 followers
May 29, 2017
3,5 stars.
I shouldn't have read Places No One Knows first because it's the last book written by Brenna Yovanoff and it's always risky to start with the most achieved one : the previous books might look pale in comparison.
Though you can see she was still developing her writing skills in this one (Places No One Knows being, for me, excellent on the matter of writing), you have here a very good story already imprinted with her touch. That lady definitely knows how to create an ambiance! The story is full of great ideas, may the be small details or more central ones, and you can feel this peculiar city al round you while reading. The MCs were good, but the secondary characters were even better and I wouldn't have minded to read more about that lot.
I'll definitely check any other book Yovanoff will write in the future, being taken away in this odd atmosphere she very well knows how to set is a wonderful feeling!
Profile Image for Ashley (gotbookcitement).
716 reviews83 followers
February 7, 2018

This was super, super strange. Very weird, but I was interested in it. I don't really know how I feel about the main character Clementine. This was just very strange. I don't really know how to feel. I'm definitely going to be reading more from Brenna Yovanoff.
I know a lot of people complained in other reviews about the insta-love, but I wasn't really bothered by it.
I just don't really know how to articulate my feelings regarding this book. This was kind of an experience to read, a weird experience.
Profile Image for Maria.
292 reviews11 followers
March 12, 2018
Magical but very rough around the edges.

The first half of this book gave me some serious Raven Boys vibes with its strange and slightly creepy magic. I loved it! It felt so strange and unique. However, I did not really like where the story went from there on, most of the characters were very flat and the romance was unnecessary. So three stars.

Even though I think that, with this premise and setting, Fiendish could have been a lot more, it was still entertaining for the moment.
Profile Image for P.M..
1,271 reviews
May 2, 2020
This felt more like the Salem Witch Hysteria Heads to the Backwoods. I have read other books by this author which I liked. This was just too hillbilly-ish for my taste.
Profile Image for Heather A.
686 reviews16 followers
November 26, 2014
This is a very strange book. I honestly don't really know if I liked it that much or not. I absolutely loved the writing. I loved the settings and I loved the main character.

I love small town books, especially small towns with a darker side, and this town's darker side was stepped in dark magic and the families who lived there. Their interaction with the regular townspeople, while could be viewed as irritating and disturbing, was also quite fascinating.

There was just something about it that also rubbed me the wrong way. I can't even say what it was. Part of it was I think the romance didn't agree with me. The story is about a girl called Clementine who is hidden away in a basement for years and years and somehow manages to survive, she's rescued by a boy named Fisher. The mystery to unravels is whats going on in the town, why magic is acting up and how and why did Clementine get in the basement in the first place.

But whilst figuring out all these and dealing with being alive in a backwater town that looks down on people with magic, Clementine is obsessed with Fisher. Which in a way is understandable. Fisher isn't even nice to her, he's a jackass. He disses her in front of his friends, and publicly, and yet when they're alone, of course, his feelings change. Didn't work for me.

I loved the author's take on magic, and I loved the friends Clementine makes, especially her cousin Shiny, who was at times a complete and utter don't take no shit bitch. Clementine herself is a very strange character, but she does seem to have a good moral complex. She gets it set in her to do the right thing, even when others don't agree.

I loved the build up to the end. The last bit of the book was completely gripping. While there was a lot about it I liked, there were too many things about it that left me with an uncomfortable feeling which is why it didn't get a higher rating from me.

Crosses off a Square for Holiday Bingo - A Mystery.
Profile Image for Crystal Galvan.
31 reviews5 followers
February 28, 2016
So I picked this up at the library, and was excited to read because she's the author of another book on my reading list.

what did I just read?

I have three complaints for this train wreck


The entire book is written as if the reader already knows the details and mechanics of the fantasy world. (we don't, Brenna)

The narrator (Clemintine) explains absolutely nothing. The only information the readers get to piece together the story is when Clemintine asks Shiny about what happened while she was gone and fleeting conversations where she talks about "craft", whatever the hell that is.


None. At all. The only thing that could be called a "climax" is if the reader BY CHANCE figures out something.

3. Ah yes let's makeout with the boy we met yesterday

It's worse because (in my eyes at least) being locked away since you were five without any human interaction equates to you still being five, at least mentally. He's kissing a five year old. Also since she goes into so much detail about every waking hour of the day, I just assumed Clementine never got her hair brushed. She still looks like Hagrid. Fisher is macking on a five year old Hagrid. Gross.

Profile Image for Mimi Zane.
293 reviews
August 4, 2014
***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

Trapped in a cellar from a powerful spell, Clementine DeVore was found by a boy named Fisher. Ten years prior in New South Bend, strange and different things began to happen. The towns people became worried and burned Clementine's house down. All grown up now with no memory of the past years, Clementine begins her journey to find out the truth.

I was ecstatic to finally have won a young adult (YA) book from Penguin's First-To-Read program. But to be honest, I'm not really a fan of Ms. Yovanoff's work. I wasnt able to finish the The Replacement duology, so I was hesitant going into this read. At first, I loved the mystery and the characters. The first fifty pages were creepy, enticing and vivid; I couldn't read fast enough. However, as the story progressed I became bored. I kept zoning out, the mystery was dull and slow. I was craving more of the goriness and creepy bewitching stuff.

This cover is one of the most fitting covers I have seen for a YA book.The quality of the picture looks HD. I really adore this cover.

Ultimately, if you've read and enjoyed this author's previous work, this is a great addition. If you have not, I would recommend Fiendish to R.L Stine fans.
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