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)!
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