Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: Fiendish

By Brenna Yovanoff
Expected publication August 14, 2014 by Razorbill

Clementine spent ten years of her life trapped in a root cellar. The world she emerges into is not the one she left, and it seems as if no one remembers who she is. In addition, she feels drawn to the boy who rescued her, even though her cousin tells her he is no good. When strange magic starts popping up around town, Clementine can't help but wonder if it's because she's out in the world again.

Yovanoff is an author who has intrigued me for a number of years - I've seen her books come out and have definitely been interested but have never found the time to pick one up. I spotted this on Edelweiss and requested, figuring it was long past time to give her a shot. And, of course, I'm always looking for more horror novels.

It must be me. I think maybe I just need to stop expecting books to creep me out. Every book I've read lately that I've hoped would do the trick just hasn't, so I'm starting to think that maybe I'm just not creeped out by books. Certainly, Yovanoff has got some creepy stuff here - I mean, for starters, her heroine is locked in a root cellar for ten years and is surrounded by a magic that makes everyone forget she ever existed. There are different characters with different kinds of humors - that means they can affect different elements. There are fiends - a kind of creature that I really knew nothing about before reading this book. There is plenty here to creep out your average reader.

In addition, Yovanoff's writing style works exceptionally well for this kind of horror story. She really takes her time to create an unsettling atmosphere, one in which neighbors no longer trust neighbors and enlisting the help of fiends suddenly seems like your most viable option. I loved her descriptions - it's easy to see why she and Maggie Stiefvater probably work well together as critique partners.

The characters are quite interesting as well, though I wished we had gotten to spend some more time with some of the secondary ones (Shiny, Rae, Davenport). I liked Clementine well enough and the romance that developed felt expected but not in a bad way. I think the book could have worked without it also, but so be it.

For me, it started to drag a bit towards the end, as it seemed quite obvious how everything was going to play out, but that may not be the case for most readers. I can definitely recommend this book for readers looking for something a bit strange and a bit creepy.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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