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Between #2

Between the Spark and the Burn

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The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry--until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .

320 pages, Hardcover

First published September 3, 2014

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About the author

April Genevieve Tucholke

15 books1,610 followers
April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Between the Spark and the Burn, Wink Poppy Midnight, The Boneless Mercies, and Seven Endless Forests. She also curated the horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. Her books have been published in sixteen countries, and have received ten starred reviews. They have been selected for the Junior Library Guild, Kids' Indie Next picks, and YALSA Teens Top Ten. When she's not writing, April likes walking in the woods, exploring abandoned houses, and studying poison. She currently resides in Oregon wine country.

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5 stars
972 (24%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 559 reviews
Profile Image for Mara YA Mood Reader.
336 reviews267 followers
September 21, 2020
”River’s brother kissed me in the darkest hour of the night at the darkest time of the year, but what I felt when his lips touched mine wasn’t darkness.”

September 19, 2020 (reread #1): Still 5 Stars!! Yet again I slammed through this in just a couple days!!

May 4, 2018:
This easily could’ve been a trilogy and I’m sooooooo hungover on this book that I’ve done nothing alllllll night after finishing it and alllllll day but think
And think and think about it!!

Blimey this was just. So. Assfkfjdjsisnfg. Beautiful!

And I’m sad and I’m sad and I’m sad sad sad that it’s all over.

And there’s no more.

And there’s no more Tucholke. Who gives me that Stiefvater feeling.

I loved these characters. Their relationships. Their friendships. The complication of its simplicity, my heart cries out for it!!!!!!!!!

I freaking loved the un-love-triangle-love-triangle. Is that a thing? Because I ate it up. It worked. It. Worked! No eye rolling no played out trope here. Just pure enjoyment. Heady, intoxicating entertainment.

Sultry like rain on a mid-summer night. Thrilling like the first time you let a boy’s hand wonder. Dark and gothic in a comforting way, like the feeling you get when autumn arrives, when you stand outside at dusk and watch the crows silhouetted in bare-branched trees and the sky is smudged with orange and pink and almost black and the air is heavy with woodsmoke reminiscent of warm holiday gatherings......mmmm I love autumn.

I love Tucholke.

Please write more. My soul hungers.
Profile Image for Erin Bowman.
Author 18 books1,920 followers
March 1, 2013
Guys, I love this book. I loved it more than the first. I probably shouldn’t even be reviewing it as it will undergo rounds of revisions before publication, but what I read still knocked my socks off.

All the characters I loved are back and things are as creepy as ever. I truly cannot say much without spoiling both this book or its predecessor, so I’ll say just this: You want to read this two-book series. April’s prose is haunting and gorgeous and visceral and it gives me extreme writer’s envy. Extreme. I want to curl up in these pages and live there forever. Stunning writing. Captivating plot. Unique, morally ambiguous characters. This book has it all, and I can’t wait to read whatever April publishes next.

Originally posted here.

NOTE: This review is based on an early draft of the manuscript.
Profile Image for Steysha.
109 reviews212 followers
August 8, 2014
"And then I noticed the birds.Black-feathered corpses. Everywhere. Piled up on steps, kicked into snow piles, dangling by their necks from lampposts and signs. There were eight nailed to the door of the dark, abandoned-looking Youngman’s Inn, and five hanging by their feet from the iron church gate.
The four of us walked down the center of the road. Still and silent. I saw lights in windows, but there was no one in the street. Not a soul."

You know how you sometimes stamble on a book that is just insane, it has no logic, just the flourishing madness? And you end up loving it? Well, that was the case.

Violet, and her rather big crew, lives in a Citizen Cane. It’s Christmas, time for laughing and happiness. But that`s for normal families, right? And this one doesn`t have anything to do with them.
After Reddings broke into Violet`s life, all turned upside down. Brodie disappeared in an unknown direction, River vanished to work on his "glow" and madness, and only Neely stayed close. Violet tries to recover from her nearly-death. But no matter how much time had passed, she can`t forget River.

One day, Violet finds a diary of her grandmother Freddie, retelling about her relationships with Redding.
Reading an extracts from it was very interesting: rich, spoiled kids, doing what they want, full of passion and madness.
Then she and Neely decide to listen to the radio, which tells them about the strange supernatural events that occur in different cities. Missing people, murderings, suicides. All this leads them to the idea of Brodie and River.

They decide that it's time to stop waiting, time to act. Taking Sunshine and Luke in company, they go on a quest.
«The landscape had stayed roughly the same since we turned away from the sea . . . winter, winter, winter, with barren trees and green pines and wooden fences and open fields full of crows. But we were up higher now, and the sky was bigger. Even the clouds were bigger..»

Places they’ve visited were extraordinary. Kids go to the mountains, to the quaint village where people pour blood on the graves, and boy with the crows steals the dreams of girls. Could it be River? Or Brodie? Or they are working together?
Violet decides she’s tired of fear; she wants to look danger in the face, and not sit around. And though she’s homesick, she is brave enough to leave everything behind, no matter what, and go in search of adventure.

In the village they are introduced to a red-haired boy, who was accused by citizens in all crimes, and decide to save him from certain death. After it, Violet, Finch and Neely follow the trail of the Redding boys.
Along with the characters, we are going to visit islands, where wild horses run throughout the neighborhood and people worship the sea god, or the city, where trees whisper strange thoughts in your ear and children disappear.

The writing style is just incredible. Everything was described in very atmospheric way, words were scary and beautiful, frightful and delightful.
«The nursery. Sunshine opened the door, but none of us went in. Boy things, everywhere, shoes and toys and books and a rocking horse and . . . And all I could think about was a small crushed boy body, tangled in leaves and shadows»

I also liked the developing of the characters. Violet became move brave, though she is still very submissive and does what she is told to do.
Neely is a breakout of this book. In the first book I didn’t really care about him, but that has changed in the sequel. He is a strong person who loves his brother more than himself.
I was really interested in Finch, the new character. A quiet boy who has no family and who spent most of his life in the woods. He is attentive and kind, and brave, and smart.
But the thing that I liked the most was a total insanity of each one of them. They didn’t think like normal people. They didn’t react like normal people.

The ending was… well, I don’t know how I feel about it. More feels like there was none. It leaves a lot of space for imagination, but personally I like it more when everything is said in the story.
Overall, I loved this series. It surprised me, fascinated me. Sometimes it made me happy, sometimes sad. Sometimes it creeped me out. But I loved it through and through. Thank you, Ms. Tucholke!
Profile Image for Whitney.
341 reviews
August 15, 2015
I loved everything about it EXCEPT the ending. But honestly the writing makes up for it.

After thinking about it I think I'm going to give this book 3.5 stars rather than the full 4. I have a few reasons for this...

This book is the sequel to the amazing and glorious Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I read that book last summer and I FELL IN LOVE. I loved everything about it, the writing, the characters, and just the magical feeling you get while reading it. Now I waited a year to read this book because I was waiting for it come out in paperback (bad reason I know). Anyway, I thought I was going to love this second book but I just....didn't.

The beautiful and magical writing was there but the story wasn't. I MEAN NEELY? REALLY? HOW THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN? And River?! If you've read it you'll know what I'm talking about. I just thought there were some major problems with the plot, so much happened in such a short amount of time.

I kind of just want to forget that this sequel exists. THE FIRST BOOK WAS SO AMAZING!

Despite all of this I will always recommend this duet. I can't wait to read more from this author.
Profile Image for Jess.
446 reviews596 followers
September 4, 2014
°☆.。.:*・Actual Rating: 2.7 stars °☆.。.:*・
(Or more commonly known as the Jess is indecisive but it's not yet a three)

I got conned into a story promoting illogical ideas and themes by lyrical, purple prose.

Granted, Young Adult fiction pulls these stunts on me quite a lot but last night it cost me sleep. And brain cells because out of sheer frustration I dropped the book onto my face. Several times.

After the haunting cliffhanger that was Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, we find ourselves reunited with the lovely protagonist Violet White who is lonesome despite being surrounded by company. You see, she’s been missing the devil—a devil. River Redding has uprooted himself from her life, left behind a void in her heart and caused a physiological emptiness. He’s gone searching for his very own devil, for the devil, Broodie; Broodie who left behind a war path, Broodie who crushed the heart of Echo, Broodie who pulled at the thread of sanity and has been unwinding it ever since. So what does Violet do? She seeks out her devil.

Illogical. Illogical. Illogical. One day I will start my very own school of common sense where I accept the most lacking, unfortunate souls and grant them with a repository of self-preservation skills, the ability to do common knowledge deduction and the sense to understand danger. And Violet White will be my first student. Free of charge because I pity her poor soul.

Violet, she’s a thrill seeker. That’s what I’ve deduced. Why on earth would someone chase after a manipulative psychopath just to feel whole again. Why else would someone slum it with hitchhiking, tragic soulless kids and pour out their life story just to fill a desire to be manipulated, once again? What was the endgame to this novel? What was I meant to take away from this? Not to be an idiot, or not to be an idiot?

This book is based off the definition of irrationality. It lacks the minimum quota of sense. You wouldn’t even describe it as favouring a supernatural element of irrationality as though it was playing homage to the Romantic era. Romanticism still made sense; there were anchors. Between the Spark and the Burn lost its anchor at sea and drifted away, lost and lonely and desperate to find its way back home.

Let’s begin with masochism and sadism. No, the psychotic River Redding did not disgust me, as he did in the last book. Instead I was filled with a horrendous pit in my stomach, curtesy of certain images evoked through metaphors and dialogue.

I had tasted love and terror last summer, and it left a sweetness in my mouth. I wanted to go somewhere. Anywhere…I wanted to get bone-shaking scared and face my fear. I wanted to get scratched. Bruised. Bloody.

Why, dear Vi? I’ve yet to pinpoint River Redding’s seductive qualities. What about him makes you yearn pain and torture, drives a girl to the edge of the earth and to hell and back?

And the sadism. There’s a lot of wishing ill on one another. All these characters mention brutal acts of torture in the passing, filled with utter nonchalance, without a care in the world. It disgusted me, no matter how lyrical or how beautiful the metaphor was.

“I wished you’d used your knife on Brodie’s heart instead of his wrist. I wish you sliced it in two and stopped it dead.”

There is also an absence of fear. It’s untouched terrain. Here we have a car of kids, beneath the legal age, road tripping in search of the devil, picking up strays here and there, and not caring to learn about the concept of identity and background checks. Stranger or not, Violet is perfectly content with spilling her traumatic and dramatic, illogical past to a complete stranger, let him touch her bloody scars, pat her down and become her best friend. Why? I, for one, would first like to know where you, dear stranger, hail from; your life story, which hopefully has an absence of murder and brutal killings, and your intentions.

The bits and pieces (or chunks, if I’m being honest) of complaints for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (I have a review too brutal and terribly vulgar to mentioned again) remained evident, but they were in the background. So I gave them little care. There was one foot quote. I let it pass. I kid. Who do you think I am? Of course I marked it down. *

He was barefoot too, even with the cold, and he had the same pretty feet as his older brother.

The slut-shaming was subdued, only because Sunshine’s appearance dwindled. Did you listen to us, dear author? Sunshine shuffled back into the corner, the insignificance of her character allowing her to blend perfectly into the dark. But there were still references intended to make dear Violet appear utterly “virginal” (which is completely ironic considering all this hullabaloo about her promiscuous rendezvous, sans clothes—super ambiguous, by the way, just to add to the confusion).

There is also the lovely introduction of my two most hated tropes: insta!love and the dreaded love triangle. The latter ties in with some following analysis, so I’ll graze over it here. It was there, proposed in the damn premise. I just thought they were kidding. They weren’t. The insta!love? It happened in less than 24 hours. There was a kiss and suddenly we were up for sacrificing lives to cheat death. All very heroic. Har, har.

Let’s talk pretentiousness.

I can take quite a fair bit of ostentatious writing and themes. I’ve got quite a tolerance for it. Between the Spark and the Burn pushed my limits. I didn���t mind it as it began to unfold. But ridiculousness is ridiculous and an attempt at aesthetically poetic themes and imagery can only go so far.

There is no logic to this book. If we were reading a dystopia it would be about a world crafted around the absence reality—how abstract. Much of the logic's elusiveness is credited to the fact that the book is attempting, and I say attempting very seriously, to conjure this aesthetically beatific story. In many ways, yes, it could be compared to The Picture of Dorian Gray in that the prose is magnificent and certain scenes are ambiguously dreamy and mystic, but I cannot ignore the absolute lack of storyline; what the book set out to achieve and what idea it choose to explore still escapes me. The Picture of Dorian Gray (or you may know it as my favourite book of all time. No qualms) was written with concept. The breaches of morals and ethics were explored in a Faustian bargain. But it wasn’t wrapped up with a sweet red bow and a sea of ridiculous and anecdotal scenes that have no place and achieve no merits and praises.

If this sounds completely baffling then I’m sorry. It’s a hard element to the story to elucidate. If you’ve read it then you’d understand what I’m rambling on about. It tries much too hard to achieve an aesthetically beautiful book, as though we were back in the “art of art’s sake” movement.

And that is where it looses it’s ability to evoke empathy from the audience, it’s ability to communicate to the reader and it’s ability to remain, even in the slightest, believable.

Let me give you an example:

“Violet, can you ever forgive me?”
I didn’t think about it, not even for a second. “No,” I whispered. “I’ll never forgive you.”
But then we were kissing again, and oh, I was so happy, I couldn’t help it, sunshine was streaming out of my fingertips and each and every atom in me was shaken up and sparingly with joy and I wanted everything to be like last summer…

Do you see what I mean. It’s a book of contradictions, simply because it would conjure this beautiful image. A girl allured, tricked by sin, fallen deeply in love with the devil; a virginal girl with no inhibitions, caught and captured and loosing her sense of right and wrong.

And it’s an image that people gravitate to. Good and bad. Light and darkness. It’s an enticing image. But it makes for no storyline.

Here’s another example:

…and the next thing I knew he was pulling his shirt over his head and slipping out of his wool trouser and climbing into my bed and I was climbing in right next to him…and then both of us, sleep, sleep, sleep.

I’m not criticising this as a person preaching conservatism. I could hardly give a care. It’s a beautiful image, to just have two people lying beside one another, enjoined in the pure form that human beings first graced the earth in. But that’s just it. It’s aesthetically beautiful. It is also ridiculously unbelievable in its context. I didn’t quote the bit before that but essentially the scene popped out of nowhere. There was nothing to suggest that we were going to come to this. It was simply a damn normal conversation. So why, why, must we suddenly strip naked?

It’s all about aestheticism and I know it sounds damn ironic coming from the biggest fan of an author who essentially preached the aesthetic movement, but could we do imagery with a bit of logic and backstory, please?

If you can justify why then I’ll take it. I’ll even take a measly, unsubstantial excuse. I’ll take anything. Just tell me why.

But I must, and will, take a moment to praise the writing. I ate it up because I breath lyricism.

You may notice that this has been given two and a half stars (and 0.2 stars on top of that). Half a star up from the first book. The first two stars are achieved on the merits of the glorious writing, all on it’s own. It’s why I gave the first book two stars. I couldn’t, and never would, rate a book written raw and lyrical with simply one star. No matter how unsubstantial the plot is. That’s because stories, they thrive off the written word. If it’s written beautifully then it has a life to it. One stars are reserved for ridiculous plots, idiotic themes and mediocre “please-add-a-metpahor” writing.

Perhaps, in that sense, this is why this story works. It would never, not in a million years, be delivered well, had it not been written with this lyrical prose. I said it about the first book, and I’ll say it again. Lyrical prose works better in third person POV. In first it sounds obnoxious. Did Violet White’s voice come off as obnoxious? Yes, you can bet your life on it. But, at least it was written the way it was. Could you imagine such a book with such a premise written with the bare minimum of descriptions and metaphors. I would break my DNF rule and chuck that out the window, à la Bradley Cooper.

Between the Spark and the Burn centres it’s life source off it’s magnificent prose. It is the only way the ambiguity of this eerily, and perhaps gothic tale can be told. It is the only way this disturbing idea can be elucidated in an aesthetic manner. It is the only way the atmospheric, outdated settings can be heightened. And in that manner, I say Tucholke has a real way with words. It’s a talent unachievable to many.

I must warn that while the last book pushed the line close, this book breaches it. The line in question? That one between lyrical and purple—prose, that it. If you’ve got a big aversion to purple prose then go home, you’ll barf your way through this book. I have a guilty pleasure; I enjoy the heck out of purple prose. I can’t help it and so I loved it. Depending on your tastes, this could make or break it.

It took me two days to pump this review out. Why? Because I was damn confused myself as to how I felt about it. I was confused throughout the book (but I distinctly remember not having the kindest thoughts—I found a recorded memo that featured many vulgarities of the fuck variety and a whole bunch of rhetorical questions. Note taking became tedious). Even now, I remain confused. Would I have loved it, had there been logic?

But here’s a forewarning. As of current, there are no plans for a third book. I asked Miss Tucholke and she confirmed it herself. A possibility of a third book is open, but it is not a priority. She’s moved on. I have not. The duloagy ends on a cliffhanger. Lyrical, but cliffhanger nonetheless.

Can you imagine my seething anger upon realising that there was no explanation to the frustration I was subjected to? It was as open ended as you could get. The story had no beginning and it sure as hell has no end. If that doesn’t put one off, I don’t know what else will.

*I've chattered away about this topic before. Feet and I do not get along. Case in point: the reviews for Compulsion (click here here) and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (click here). Read at risk. They are brutally mean reviews that may have unfortunately been written at a sensitive time (or otherwise known as the period where I was on a deadline for a major analytical work. No biggie, ha!)

This review can be found on MyReadingDress


Full review to come soon. In the meantime, have my half-conscious rambles.

I haven't read a book in one sitting in what seems like eons ago. I did it with this one. Not because I liked it. It was ridiculous and I've got a stupidly soft spot for purple prose. But certain things never change and sometimes change is good. We went around in circles, Between the Spark and the Burn, but I was thirsty for lyrical and lyrical you did provide. But, for me, love is empathy, love is realism and love, it could be crazy and illogical and all those warped up things, but it must strike a chord, evoke some pathos from the audience. How? By being less detached from the damn world and a little more like we didn't eat up a bunch of idealism and fantastical fairytales of old money living on clouds.

I've lost it, haven't I. I lost it when I read this bloody lyrical book and now I'm writing like I own the world.
Profile Image for Kassidy.
339 reviews11k followers
July 13, 2016

I really enjoyed this sequel/conclusion to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I'm not going to get into a summary because I don't want to spoil the first book.

My favorite aspect of these books is the atmosphere they create. The writing is quite beautiful and poetic, and it is great with describing sensory detail. Because of that, the scenes and settings feel very real.

These books are often labeled as "scary" or "horror", and I would argue against that. They aren't the happiest of books, but really have more of an ominous feel. Since the writing is poetic, it comes off as a bit creepy at times. The first book is set in a sort-of gothic small town (reminds me of the TV show Ravenswood), so that definitely adds a creep factor, but I would say these books are more "thrillers". The first book is a lot creepier than this one. They both have dark undertones, but I don't think they would give anyone nightmares, in my opinion.

The ominous and dark tone to the books is another aspect I love. The writing is successful at giving off the creepy vibe. I thought it was unique and I haven't read any other YA books like these. They also mix in the supernatural and paranormal which I thought was fun.

There's also a romance story line in both of the books, which is also tinged with darkness. It was a little insta-love in the first book, but I liked the development into the second. Things definitely get complicated.

The main character Violet has an old soul. She loves vintage things and was very close to her deceased grandmother. The story is from her point of view and she often thinks about her grandmother. In this second installment, we get more information on her grandmother's past and it then parallels to Violet's life. I thought that was a neat touch. I enjoyed Violet's character, although she wasn't very relatable, I found her interesting.

That's the case with pretty much all the characters. They are all very strange, and I don't think the reader is really meant to strongly connect to them. These books are more about their odd story. Also, there's the big factor of trust. Like I said before, there is a lot of darkness, so it's hard to know which characters are good, or if any are good. I found them all intriguing and thought-provoking.

I think these books are a fun, dark, and weird adventure and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to read something with a bit of creep factor, but not very scary. This second book really took things to a new level of weird, but I definitely enjoyed it. The ending is slightly open-ended, but I think it suited the story. If you read the first book and wasn't super crazy about it, I would still suggest reading this final book because the writing is stronger and it's an interesting development to the story. These books aren't phenomenal, but I found them highly enjoyable and entertaining.

*I was sent a copy of this book from Penguin Publishing in return for an honest review, all opinions are my own*

Review originally posted at: http://travelingthroughpages.booklike...
Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews154 followers
June 12, 2018
You can also find my review here:https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....

I have been putting off reading this for months. Not because I didn't want to, but because I didn't want the story to be over. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was one of my few five star reads of 2018. As much as I wanted to read the sequel,  I didn't want the story to end. This book is something I wanted to cherish and read when I was prepared for an incredible book. After a couple of mediocre reads, I knew it was finally time to return to some of my favorite characters I have read about in 2018.

In comparison to the first book in the series, this one did suffer from a little bit of second-book-syndrome. The breathtaking writing, eccentric characters and Tim Burton vibe all appeared again, but the plot didn't knock the story out of the park. Don't get me wrong, it's still fantastic, it's just not making my list of favorites.

I think the reason that I didn't like this one as much as the first is because River isn't in the book until the middle and he is my favorite character. I love that devil boy even though he is capable of such darkness. The character written so well and is so fascinating to me. I missed not having him and a lot of this story. I like the bad boys, what can I say? He's mysterious and just a little bit evil, but he also has redeeming qualities.

The best part of the book is the writing. The descriptions are vivid and the book carries a gothic air to it that feels pretty creepy. I will read anything written by April Genevieve Tulcholke, because she truly is an artist.  I'm a little sad that this is the end of the series. I didn't want it to end, which is why I put off reading this sequel for so long. Thankfully April Genevieve Tulcholke is writing more books, which I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on. I don't have a single author to compare her writing to that would do it justice. So all I can do is tell you to read this duology. It's gothic, vivid and different. You won't regret it.


My 5 star review of the first book in the series can be found here: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews421 followers
May 14, 2015

I read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea last year and I loved it so much. I was really excited for Between the Spark and the Burn but for some reason, even though I bought it on the release day, it sat on my shelf for a really long time. I had no doubt that when I finally picked this book up, I would love it.

The writing style is out of this world. It has a really interesting, classic vibe to it and it's something I don't see in YA novels a lot. The writing reminds me a little of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

The characters are so interesting and different. I could never really get emotionally invested in the characters but that didn't stop me from loving them. I really like Violet and River a lot.

The concept is great. It was new, different, and original. It was dark, strange and wonderful. It was everything that a book could possibly be all at once.

Overall, Between the Spark and the Burn is a wonderful sequel. I read it in one day because I just couldn't put it down. April Genevieve Tucholke is an insanely amazing writer and I can't wait to read her next book.
If you haven't read this duology yet, you should because it's wonderful.

Profile Image for Aleri .
205 reviews34 followers
June 24, 2017
Ese final me quedo a deber mucho, me quedo con la primera parte
Profile Image for Zemira Warner.
1,569 reviews1,040 followers
March 18, 2016
It's strange how I love the idea of this book. Just not the book itself. Same thing happened with the first one. I think I wanted it to be amazing so in a way, it was, even though I was aware of all the things I usually don't like in other books. I just didn't care because I was finally reading a strange gothic story. It was as if I was under a spell.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
July 29, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Between the Spark and Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke
Book Two of the Between series
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the author (thank you, April!)

Summary (from Goodreads):

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.

The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .

What I Liked:

How to write this review. I remember when I read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, I prefaced my review by saying that I wouldn't be able to do the book justice. Same goes for this book. I didn't rate this book quite as high as the first book, but I still seriously loved this book.

River, Neely, Luke, and Sunshine set out to find Brodie and River, after hearing strange reports on the radio about a sea king and a boy stealing girls' dreams, and children disappearing. Could River and Brodie be working together? Could River have broken his promise, or could he have gone mad from the glow? Will they find the boys before it's too late?

Just like in the first book, the prose blew me away. The writing style is AMAZING. Like in the first book, this book is written in an old-time, small-town type of way. It's Gothic and lush and beautiful. I've never read books with such a unique and distinctive writing style. There came a point in both books that I knew what Violet would say, or how she would portray a certain thought, because the writing style was so unique and well-crafted. Once again, I'm impressed and stunned!

Violet is a quiet, thoughtful character. She seems passive, but she is a girl of subtle action. I love that she decided to take a chance and search for the Redding boys. She took a chance to free Finch, a boy in a town that was sure that he was the one stealing girls' dreams. I loved Violet's bravery and her command over what she wanted.

Neely plays a large and important role in this book. I didn't get a good feel of him in book one (mostly my fault, because I wasn't too concerned with him, so I ignored him), but his character gets very developed in this novel. I am a huge fan of Neely! I found that I really liked him. He is selfless and brave, protective and loyal. There are so many great qualities to him, but he isn't perfect.

Sunshine and Luke aren't *too* important in this book, but their roles are necessary. They accompany Violet and Neely for the first half of the journey to Inn's End, but they go back to Maine, whereas Neely and Violet go to North Carolina with Finch, the boy they rescued in Inn's End. In South Carolina, Neely, Violet, and Finch meet Canto, and she joins the crew. I wasn't a huge fan of Canto, but I liked her role in the book.

The plot of this book is slow-moving, but like the last book, the it creeps up on you, slow snaking its way through what seems like a slow plot. The story is like a narrative, a journal entry, a description of small events that are important, but the important plot winds its way slowly through the story. I. Love. This. Tucholke surprised me with the climax, honestly. I wasn't expecting it at all. I don't know if I should have, or if I have wrapped up in the spellbinding prose, but I really enjoyed the surprises.

The romance is different in this book. I don't want to give anything away, but it's different. At first, I was a little surprised at the direction that Tucholke took it. But then I was totally on-board. It makes complete sense, with book one, and I really like what Tucholke did. I can't say anything too specific, because you really need to READ this book in particular to understand. Trust me.

The setting is very different in this book. In the first book, we were given much detail on Violet's grandmother's house. The entire book takes place in her town (or house). This book takes place in the house, or in the Appalachian Mountains, or on an island off the coast of North Carolina, or in Colorado. Literally all over the place. I really like this! Tucholke does just as amazing a job of weaving the setting into the story as she does with the setting of the beautiful house (in book one).

Also, we get a lot of journal entries from Violet's grandmother, Freddie. I like this. I like that readers (and Violet) get to see into Freddie's past. Freddie is an interesting woman, just as much affected by the glow as Violet was. The two stories parallel, though they are different. I found myself looking forward to reading the journal entries - which is rare for me (usually, I don't read filler things like entries before the chapter begins, or so on).

This series is a duology, so this is the last book of the series. The ending of this book is, well, not necessarily bittersweet, but not super duper everything-wraps-up-so-perfectly happy. It's a really fitting ending, and I loved it. That doesn't mean it is perfect and everyone who should live lives and everyone who should die dies and everyone who loves each other finds their way to each other. Again though, an excellent, fitting ending.

What I Did Not Like:

Errr, I'll get back to you on this one. I can't think of anything at the moment.

Would I Recommend It:

YES! Very much so! This series in general is one of my favorite series of all time. The writing style alone is enough to make anyone want to read the books. But the story is beautiful and haunting and rich. Both books are very fulfilling! So you should read books one and two if you haven't.


4 stars. What a fabulous series! I'll definitely be reading anything that Tucholke writes. I hope she has something wonderful up her sleeves, besides the anthology. And you already KNOW that I'm reading that anthology (even though I don't usually care for anthologies)!
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 39 books8,964 followers
January 20, 2016
The setting was a whole character in this book. It was so well described. I felt the sand on my skin and the snow melting into my hair. Amazing! Such rich metaphor. Did not see the end coming at all. Just as stirring as the first book.
Profile Image for Bárbara.
230 reviews
October 19, 2019
2-2.5 estrellas (¿2.25?)
Recuerdo haber leído la primera parte de esta duología en un par de horas. La narración de Tucholke es ligera, ágil e intrigante, así que al empezar a leer Entre la chispa y la hoguera me dije que me venía perfecto después de los chascarros de mis últimas lecturas.

Primero lo primero: esta continuación tiene fallas argumentales graves. Por mucho que me haya gustado, y que me haya atrapado, no puedo dejar de admitir que a la hora de pensar en los motivos de los personajes o del mismo argumento para seguir adelante, hay un gran vacío, una página en blanco. Por esto, no puedo ponerle 4 estrellas. Sí, me mantuvo atenta; sí, los personajes me gustan; sin embargo, es imperdonable que al llegar al clímax todo te importe un carajo porque la autora nunca justificó bien el por qué de las acciones de los personajes.

Dejando eso a un lado, me quejo únicamente de la resolución de la historia. Esperaba algo mucho más oscuro, considerando todo lo ocurrido en el primero libro, y todo lo que nos muestran en este.

Sin embargo, me agradó el road trip (aunque innecesario), porque la autora sí se maneja bien al pintarnos escenas y paisajes tétricos y al jugar con la psique de los personajes y la nuestra. ¿Quién es el villano? ¿Quién es el verdadero demonio? Tucholke juega con estas preguntas hasta el mismísimo final.

Mis personajes favoritos siguen siendo Neely y Jack. Creo que Violet, River y Brodie acá quedan más desdibujados, y aunque se le intenta dar voy a Luke y Sunshine, no se logra. Los padres de Violet brillan por su ausencia nuevamente. Hay una manía con los padres desaparecidos en la literatura juvenil, ¿acaso ya no quedan familias funcionales en el mundo?

Para cerrar, Entre la chispa y la hoguera es de esos libros que se supone debería cerrar de la manera redonda una historia, pero que se queda corto. Sí, te mantiene atento a sus páginas, sí, te entretiene. No obstante, si lo miras bien, fácilmente podrías no leerlo y quedarte con el final del primer libro. Esto del resplandor era algo que prometía, pero queda a medio camino ya que la autora no supo resolver lo que su uso supone para los protagonistas. Shame.

PD: Le pondría más estrellas porque, en serio, no es taaaaan malo como lo pinto. Me entretuvo, ¡eso es importante! Pero no puedo. No puedo pasar por alto las fallas >.<
Profile Image for poppet..
175 reviews48 followers
December 21, 2017
“He was warm as summer rain. Smooth as the sea, and twice as deep.”


I'm soo freaking mad with this book because it ended with so many things unanswered!!
Between the spark and the burn was a little bit more mysterious than Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea although both books were a little bit nonsense I still enjoyed them, mostly because of the scenarios like the creepy abandoned city, then that tiny island that in my head was exactly like that one in the Netflix adaptation of A Serie of Unfortunate Events.

“River stopped singing, groaned, and started tugging at his sweater. “I can’t wear these human clothes, Vi,” he whispered to me. “They rub my fins wrong.”

(Major spoilers are going to be hidden but some situations/scenes that don’t reveal much of the plot are not so if you haven’t read the book or whatever you’ve been warned.)

Okay I wanna start with Violet, a part of me is so glad she was not completely willing to fall under River’s ~spell~ but at the same time I didn't want her fooling around with Neely it felt somewhat insta love for me (there is even a part where Neely goes: "I've been in love with you Violet since the first time I saw you in my brothers arms" which was the first time they met and I was like ???? could you simply not)
So, Neely has an anti-glow...okay, but how??? the author never goes on deep to explain how he got it and why he is the only one to have it

“If you keep doing this, keep getting the bruises and un-glowing River . . . what will happen?”
Neely laughed. “Who knows?”
“Will you go mad too?”
“I hope not, Vi. Then you’d have two singing sea kings on your hands.”

I know I just said that I was happy that Violet wasn’t with River in this book but I have to be honest with myself ‘cause there was like a 30% of me that really wanted for them to fix the “relationship” they had in the first book and now start from a more healthy place since the reason why River left was because he needed to work on controlling his glow.

Since this freaking kid appeared I already suspected that it was this guy, the villian that I don't remember his name, it was just too predictable.

And I don’t know everything was just weird and not exactly in the best way. In the end both River and the-guy-that-i-don’t-remember-his-name,-the-villain end up a bit fucked up but like I said before there are so many things unanswered like if the author really had the motivation she could’ve taken it slower and make this a trilogy I don’t know but I give this book kudos for the mysterious and creepy vibe.

“River used to notice things. He used to notice everything.
But now he was just a sea king. A half-mad singing sea king.
Profile Image for Renee (The B-Roll).
322 reviews32 followers
September 20, 2019
For all of my ideas/thoughts/issues with this book, visit my full review at: thebroll7.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/bo...
I have a lot more to say about this book there.

Sometimes a story is decent enough that I actually want to continue on in the duology or series just to see how things turn out and what happens to characters that I liked in the beginning.  Sometimes, that isn't the case.  A week or two ago, I read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and enjoyed it.  It wasn't too juvenile, the premise was interesting, the "magical" system in it was entertaining and overall, it was a decent read with a nice atmospheric setting.  After finishing that one and being left with some major cliffhangers, I decided to go ahead and read the followup because why not!  I found it at the local public library, requested it, and began reading it a few days ago.

Let me just say, I am not pleased with this book or the outcome of the entire story.  I don't want this to come off as mean or callous, it is just that I really liked the first book and the things that happened, and to follow up with this book as the sequel just negates so much for me and nearly ruins the story.   I will say, on a positive note that the writing in this book is pretty good.  There are a few things that just sound like bad colloquialisms or incorrect grammar that I would have replaced with something else, but this book is someone else's creative piece, so I can't judge that.  Stylistically, this book matches the first and there almost seems to be no gaps between the two.  I enjoyed how they seamlessly flowed into one another.   

I think that the story began well in the first book and the second book really tried to be more than it was.  There are several places in this book where the events are completely unrealistic and unbelievable, characters do things out of character, some of the language gets messed up, and it just becomes overall too much by the end.  I know a book isn't the best when I don't even want to read it.  I had to fight myself to read the last 12 pages, and that seriously took a day and I wasn't even reading anything else at the same time.  A tiny detail that really got on my nerves was the naming of characters.  In the first book, I thought it was cute and original, but by the time I got through this book, I was over it.  There are so many weird names that I have rarely seen in real life:  Canto, Sunshine, Neely, Pine, Finch, River... who does that!?  Although, I did like when Pine explained her name a little in the story and thought it was cute.  Otherwise, come on.

My biggest problem with this book, and the sole reason why I gave it two stars is the overall exposition, development, and conclusion of the overarching story in this book. 
Profile Image for Weezie.
317 reviews26 followers
November 18, 2015
A disappointing sequel to one of my favorite books. Left with more questions than answers, and the author seems to have no plans for a third book. Ugh.

*EDIT* Because I properly collected my thoughts.

I think I was more disappointed with this sequel because of Violet. In the first book, she had come across as a very strong, take charge kind of woman and in the second book, her character was very clingy and jealous... she didn't want any of the men around her to be focused on any girl but her. (ex: when she cried because of Canto and Finch). I wasn't really disturbed by the way she flitted between the Redding brothers, but more at the lack of feelings she had towards them. She even expressed a severe dislike towards River but still climbed into bed with him in some bid to not "be like Freddie" who had given up on Will. Would have love to seen some female friendships, either between Canto and Violet or Violet and Sunshine, but, well, that was just a wish.

Also, can we talk about the whole "a woman needs a man" thing? When Violet didn't have River, she needed Neely. When Canto lost one boy, she turned to another and when she lost that one... she went to nurse a boy she didn't even know back to health?? What kind of fresh hell is that?
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 16 books1,656 followers
July 31, 2014
I loved BETWEEN THE DEVIL & THE DEEP BLUE SEA, but if it's possible, I loved this second book even MORE. I love the choices Violet makes - not always right, but always relatable. I love how the settings all function as characters, from Violet's crumbling Maine mansion by the sea, the Citizen Kane, to a frightening town where the citizens are all glowed up and murderous, to the small island where they go hunting for a sea king, to a former bordello in the Colorado mountains. I love Neely, River's hotheaded, laughing, sexy brother, and the relationship between him and River. Most of all, I love April's wordsmithing. There are some authors that other authors fangirl over, and she's one of mine. It seems like every word in this book has been chosen with perfect care and fits just right to create the creepy-gorgeous atmosphere. There is a sense of lingering unease throughout - but mixed with a sort of cozy, bohemian, whimsical charm. I don't know how she pulls it off, but I love it.
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews323 followers
July 18, 2015
"Freddie used to say that life could be safe, or it could be interesting, but it couldn't be both."

I love the way April Genevieve Tucholke writes. It's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. With that said this book was a sad sequel to an amazing beginning. Everything that was good about the first book didn't show itself in this one. It was safe and definitely not interesting.

This end to the duology took me forever to finish and read. I just didn't want to read it. Every time I put it down it was for longer and longer. I checked it out of the library I want to say 5 months ago and kept renewing it.

I will definitely read more of April's books because I do think she has a wonderful writing style, I just didn't like the characters in this book as much as I liked them in the first. And that ending. UGH. How can these teens continue to forgive and let by gones be by gones?

I would have done away with him ages ago. The whole lot!
Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
February 7, 2014
(Spoiler Alert if you have not read the first book, Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea...There are parts of my review that reference back to important events in this book.)

I have to express first and foremost that the cover of this book is breathtaking, beautiful and captures the essence of this story perfectly. Everything from the colors of the title text to the gorgeous snow-covered mountains in the background. I give mad props to whoever April Genevieve Tucholke chose to create the amazing covers on both Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea and Between The Spark and Burn. The covers of both books are incredible and are both included in my "Favorite Covers of 2013 & Favorite Covers of 2014."

So...the minute I saw the cover of Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea and read the synopsis I knew I had to read it. I became immedaitely obsessed after reading the first chapter of this creepy, magnificent book. When I turned to the last page of the story I just sat in awe...staring at the last page. I needed more...and I needed it immediately.

The sequel to Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea is called Between The Spark and Burn and it is everything that I wanted/expected and more. The story is so creepy, haunting, terrifying, and amazing all at the same time.

April Tucholke weaves an intricate story full of suspense, romance, and gothic horror. The imagery she uses in her words is just breathtaking. The way she describes the settings and places that Violet visits is so perfect and makes you feel as though you are right there with her....on the edge of a cliff standing in the window of a crumbling mansion in Maine and smelling the salty sea or in the Appalachian Mountains walking in the cold, wet snow.

"Epresso and olive oil and tomatoes and midnight and kids in cemeteries and sizzling, crackling fear and a blood-dripping neck and fire and smoke and the warm, happy feeling of the glow flowing through me and him, buzz and hum and purr and kissing in the guesthouse and the shack with the dirt and the nets and the seaweed and the salt under my fingernails and River's hands pulling at my clothes...."

Between The Spark and the Burn starts right where Between The Devil and The Deep Blue sea left off...Violet is reminiscing about her time with River and reliving all the pain that she went through before he left. River and his red-headed evil brother Brodie disappeared shortly after the events that occured in Echo. Violet has tried to move on but River is always there...haunting her in the back of her mind so she decides to go after him. She has been listening to a midnight radio show called Stranger Than Fiction that tells about supernatural events happening across the country.

Violet, Neely, Luke, and Sunshine decide to leave Echo and follow the strange happenings that they heard on the radio in hopes of finding Brodie and River and putting a stop to their evil ways. The first event leads them to a small, isolated town called Inn's End that claims to have "a boy with flames in his eyes and hooves instead of feet" who is sneaking into the towns adolescent girls rooms at night and stealing their dreams. The story says he has a flock of ravens that attack anyone who attempts to intervene.

"The first thing I noticed was the quiet . The deep, deep, middle-of-the-forest quiet. After the quiet, I noticed the lack of Christmas decorations. No lights on trees, no greenery around door frames, no cheery red tinsel hung between streetlights.All the towns we'd passed recently had put up their own slightly shabby holiday trimmings, making the streets seem more cheerful and sweet than usual. But not Inn's End.

And then I noticed the birds.

Black-feathered corpses. Everywhere. Piled up on steps, kicked into snow piles, dangling by their necks from lampposts and signs. There were eight nailed to the door of the dark, abandoned-looking Youngman's Inn, and five hanging from the feet from the iron church gate."

This is only the beginning of a wild, suspense-filled, horrific journey for Neely, Violet, Luke, and Sunshine. There is never a dull moment throughout the entire book. There is always something happening..someone who needs saving...and plenty of spooky, creepy occurrences along the way.

The love triangle of Violet, Neely, and River is perfectly weaved into the story. Violet is so torn and confused and heartbroken. Does she love Neely...the caring, strong, and honest Redding brother OR River..the evil, addictive, lying Redding brother. The way April Tucholke writes Violet's character is so perfect. Violet is so full of emotion. I love the way she refers back to her Grandmother Freddie throughout the book. The excerpt's of Freddie's diary is a perfect addition in this complicated story. The more of Freddie's diary that she reads the more she realizes how similar their lives are turning out to be.

I cannot express how obsessed I am with with this duology. I want more..I need more. I finished this book in two days. It was impossible to put down and even after I finished it I found myself opening it back up and re-reading parts of the book just so that I could stay in this incredible story. I cannot express the words to justify the how phenomenal this book truly is. From this moment on I have added April Genevieve Tucholke to the top of my "author watch" list. Her beautiful writing and descriptive story-telling will stay with me forever.

This duology will appeal to readers of young adult, Gothic, and horror genres. I highly recommend it and I do mean HIGHLY.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Natalya Bustamante.
241 reviews111 followers
December 14, 2017
Dentro de todo un muy buen final, muy emocionante y, como siempre digo, TURBIO es una palabra que define muy bien al argumento en su totalidad. No creo que haya superado al primer libro y puede que me haya quedado con "hambre", pero realmente es muy satisfactorio para un final de bilogía.

Próximamente reseña en el canal :D
Profile Image for Phoebe Jeziel.
659 reviews37 followers
September 18, 2014
-Rated a 4.5-


I'm not really sure where my feelings lie with this book... I remember thinking that Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea didn't really need a sequel and that I wasn't sure on how I would feel about a sequel.

Still not sure.

We're back with Vi wanting to go looking for River or Brodie- wanting to find one or both in order to finish this thing. This makes the gang go on a road trip (once Neeley gets back from doing his own searching) and we meet several new characters along the way and things get complicated.

It's been a long while since I've read the first book, and I don't remember if this is something that happened in the first book- but there were times when I was wondering what the hell was going on because I had no freaking clue. Vi would be thinking one thing and then she'd be in a completely different place and I know we're feeling this confusion along with Vi, but I can't say it was something I enjoyed.

We're also met with this vastly different River, once Vi finds him and actually remembers it. He's not the same River we've grown accustomed too and he's crazy from using so much glow. There's also a complicated relationship development between Neeley and Vi, and it's clear the guy has fallen in love with her and she with him. But there's also River and he needs Vi and she's got these feelings for River and Neeley and it's just... confusing. I have to admit that I miss the dark nature of Vi and River's previous relationship. I kind of always thought they were going to be endgame, but things definitely changed toward the end. There are so many twists with Brodie and the new character's we're introduced too and we don't see as much of Luke and Sunshine, which was alright I suppose. This was never a story in which I was super attached to the characters, the story was just so twisted and dark and haunting that I was totally addicted.

Anyway, the ending wasn't something I'd call satisfying. Things are kind of left in the air, I think- but that's life. Neeley went on to search for his maybe other siblings. River was half sane with a dash of his crazy sea god and he and Vi's relationship is nothing like it used to be. It's something that I find myself questioning in fact. We know that Vi is awaiting Neeley's return and their relationship is (I think) the most normal and healthy thing Vi could get from a Redding boy but at the same time does she still love River? She says she's always stay by his side- but what does that mean in terms of their relationship? Does she no longer love him? We see Vi kind of have a relationship with both Neeley and River when they finally find him- will things continue like that when Neeley gets back? Or will River's distance from Vi allow she and Neeley to have a full fledged relationship? Does River still love Vi? Is he stepping away for her own good? He still needs her- he still goes to her from time to time because of nightmares. Will we ever get the old River back? Will River ever want Vi back?

So many questions.

Despite this, I still feel like the book was haunting and unique and this duology is like nothing I've ever read and I could never help myself from being utterly addicted and entranced by this story, so entranced that I feel inclined to give it a 4.5.

But I'd still like my questions answered. If anyone HAS answers- let me know.
Profile Image for Karissa.
3,916 reviews192 followers
September 10, 2014

This book is the final book in the Between duology. It was a beautifully written book that is written in such a unique style. I really enjoyed it.

Violet is determined to find River despite to turmoil he caused in the last book. Her search leads her through sleepy towns, searching out clues on River’s whereabouts by listening to a late night occult radio show. Some of the towns they journey through are enslaved by Brodie's spark. One of them is rumored to harbor a God of the Sea. The hunt for River and Brodie leads Violet and Neely to a save a young boy named Finch and stay in an old seaside house on an island with a sweet stubborn girl named Canto.

This was a beautifully written sequel to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. The book is written in a lyrical style that is really unique. The whole thing comes off as a bit dreamy and ambiguous, but the scenes really come alive. You can taste and feel the atmosphere in the book.

Many of the chapters start with an except from Vi’s late grandmother Freddie. Through this we learn about the events in Freddie’s past and how they tie in with what Vi is experiencing.

Violet is a very unique heroine. She lives a carefree life that is rich with artistic things, but poor on money and stability. Still in contrast to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, in this book Violet is surrounded by friends who want to help her find River. Violet knows River and his family are bad news, she even admits this. However she also admits that she likes being part of the beautifully dark danger they represent.

Neely is in this book a ton and we really get to know and love him. He is supposedly the brother without any spark or burn, but in this book he finds his spark. He is steadfast and supportive of Violet in a way that Violet has never had in her life. It makes him an interesting traveling companion for Vi.

River isn’t in the book as much as I had hoped, but that makes sense considering they are searching for him. A new character is added that I really enjoyed, her name is Canto and they meet her in one of the small towns they journey through.

The whole journey is a bit surreal with gothic overtones to it and haunting scenes on lonely seashores. The ending is open and a big vague, which normally would bug me, but it totally fits with the tone of this story.

Overall I really loved this book and found it to be a unique and enchanting read. The writing is beautiful and the scenes really come alive. I love the whole “beauty in tragedy” type of theme to the story and the gothic feel to it. I really enjoy the characters and the somewhat ambiguous ending. I would recommend to those who enjoy gothic dreamy paranormal stories and don’t mind some ambiguity in their story.
Profile Image for Amy.
227 reviews59 followers
April 3, 2015
“People like you don’t go mad, Vi. They’re quiet on the outside and loud on the inside and sane as the day is long”

It's been several months since Brodie and River left Citizen Kane. It's Christmas time and Violet is enjoying the time she has with her unconventional family but she can't help but miss her devil boy. After hearing a piece of gossip on a radio station called Stranger Than Fiction Violet convinces her brother and friends that it's a sign that Brodie or River is up to no good and they go on a journey to find them.

I have such mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I loved Violet and her search for the Sea King but I can't help but think that this series and this book in particular was rushed. I didn't get a good feel of any new places they visited or of any of the new characters that were introduced.

Violet annoyed me a little, if I was her I'd want to stay well away from Brodie but she is adamant that he needs to be killed. Her relationship with Neely took a unexpected turn which I would have preferred to stay innocent.

Saying all this however I loved the gothic feel in this book and was glad Tucholke managed to maintain the feel in the books of this duology. I liked River and his madness, I thought it made him appear more human and he was definitely more likable because his barriers were destroyed after he faced Brodie.

The twist towards the end was really good and honestly I wasn't expecting it but it did leave me a little lost. I don't really understand the 'I crushed him from the inside out' thing and felt it was a cop out for getting rid of Brodie. The ending was abrupt and left way to open, this doesn't feel like a duology in my opinion. There needs to be another book or I'll just assume Brodie goes back to his old ways and slits all the Citizen Kane residents throats.
Profile Image for Remy.
438 reviews20 followers
August 28, 2021
This book begins with an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee and a Bible quote from Ecclesiastes, which goes:
What has happened before will happen again.
What has done before will be done again.
There is nothing new in this whole world.

Yes, that is quite beautiful, isn't it? It really is. I can't believe that Tucholke has already found the perfect way to describe this entire story to us before it even starts.

Look, it may have been nearly 3 years since Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea left a terrible salt taste in my mouth, but I have to admit that it was so chock full of beautiful imagery and promising premise that I have never actually quite forgotten it (which, of course, I will hand to Tucholke's brilliant tendencies for atmosphere). That being said: why not give this second book a try? It's also the first sequel in Tucholke's entire bibliography as far as I know.

I have to admit. I liked this better. But there are reasons for the rating it gets here, still, and I want to keep in mind that Tucholke was still very early in her career when she made this. The writing is no masterpiece, but the imagery is brilliant. I was engrossed with the descriptions of the sea-town of Carollie, the food they made, and truthfully? I've always been a sucker for a road trip story. Sometimes it really IS about the journey and the friends you meet along the way. Or so to speak.

SO. This whole bit takes place a year (?) after the events of protag Violet's magic-sexual-assault-ridden summer at her crumbling family mansion the Citizen Kane, in which she takes in a smooth-talking fuckboy named River who is the wielder of said magic. Things went to hell when River's two half-brothers Neely and Brodie showed up and , but now River and Brodie are gone and Violet feels unbearably empty. Neely, who has stayed behind, becomes a friend, and Christmas is all well and melancholy until Violet . And then there's a radio show they all listen to called Stranger Than Fiction, a late-night conspiracy show that leads these teenagers to go out seeking River and Brodie when they hear reports of weird boys doing Florida Man-esque shit in places that are not Florida. Okay, great! Nothing like a road trip in the dead of winter based off a barely-there source. But here's where I get into the unsavoury bits.

They head to the first town, a very Crucible-esque affair where kids pour pig's blood over their ancestors' graves to ward off evil. There are reports where a redhead boy has been climbing into girls' rooms and stealing their dreams with a flock of ravens in tow. The gang thinks might be their Texan cowboy devil brother Brodie, so they join in when the town captures said boy. However, they realise that this boy is an innocent forest orphan named Finch, and they rescue him before the townspeople strike. Luke and Sunshine (here they could still be removed from the story and the plot would barely be affected) head back to the Citizen in fear, and the group now consisting of Violet, Neely and Finch head to the sea town of Carollie, where Stranger Than Fiction reports people worshipping a sea king. There they meet a tough fish maid named Canto, who gives them room and board and takes a mutual liking to Finch. I have to admit that their camping out with Canto was my personal favourite bit in the whole book, up until the whole bit where . I think that's all you need to know before I dive in into why that Bible quote holds up:

At practically the last 40-ish pages of this book, the gang are up in the mountains and stranded by a snowstorm. Violet reads an entry in Freddie's diary where Will magically makes himself appear as someone else, feels something off about Finch, and when she and Neely go peep in on a sleeping Finch and Canto, they discover that . Uhm.

Honestly, I'm kinda lost for words. Not only is it the Polyjuice Potion trope again, it's not even done well. The only reason but with the reveal being this late and THIS illogical in the context of the story, WHAT'S THE POINT? Oh my God. And in that god damn climax struggle, . Wowee!

Okay. Here's the point where I contradict and defend my outlook and my review of The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Tucholke is damn good at atmosphere and purple prose, and she knows it. And in recent years, I've learnt to stop being a fuck snob and learnt to embrace every shade of Violet there is, and to say this: Tucholke LOVES aestheticism. There is not a single one of her stories that do not look like a Tumblr moodboard. And I think, sure we love to hate pretty things because we think they're shallow and belong on places like Tumblr, but now I want to argue: what is life worth living for without aestheticism? For us city people to experience the little sea town through these pages? For us to be presented with a group of people roasting potatoes while they go hunt the Devil together? For a girl to find her grandmother's diary and be consumed by idolatry and betrayal?

That being said. I think Tucholke has never written a boring book. Even if they have not always been very strong in terms of story, structure, or characters, I really must admit that still they are filled with darkness and beauty. And I love her for it.
Profile Image for Fer Bañuelos ✨.
725 reviews3,280 followers
January 29, 2018
Como me gustó este final, de verdad.

Esta secuela me gustó mucho más que el primer libro. Hubo algo en este libro que me cautivo desde el inicio y no me dejó hasta terminarlo. Creo que aunque a mucho pueda no gustarles el final, yo personalmente lo encontré perfecto para esta historia y los personajes.

Mi parte favorita de esta serie es la atmósfera que se crea. Cementerios, demonios, maldiciones, todo lo que conlleva este libro me deja bastante fascinado. Me agradó bastante lo que hizo la autora para contar la trama en este libro, agregando partes y pequeños pasajes del diario de un personaje muy misterioso que tiene esta serie. La trama de este segundo me pareció más adictiva y más entretenida, ya que vamos de un lugar a otro y no nos quedamos solamente en Eco.

Los personajes son lo que me tienen un poco conflictuado. A lo largo de los 2 libros tuve uno que otro problema con Violet, pero al final de este libro llegue a tenerle cariño. River por el otro lado no me gusta. Casi nada. Prefiero mil veces a Neely como interés amoroso y como protagonista. River me pareció alguien nada interesante y al igual que Violet tomaba decisiones que solamente hacia que pusiera los ojos en blanco.Brodie me pareció un villano muy bueno e interesante, me encanto como se desarrolló su personaje.

En fin, al final terminé disfrutando esta bilogía y definitivamente continuaré leyendo a la autora.

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