Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Space Between Book Review

Author: Brenna Yovanoff. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  Razorbill. ISBN: 9781595143396.
Annotation: Daphne, the daughter of demoness, Lilith, and fallen angel, Lucifer, ventures out of the hot and steely world of Hell to rescue her brother, Obie, Lilith’s child with the biblical Adam, after he goes missing on Earth. To help find her brother, Daphne turns to Truman, the last person she saw Obie with who is also the son of a fallen angel.  
Personal thoughts:  Amongst the swarm of young adult literature, this novel really sticks out as something truly unique. I love the author’s writing style and creativity, especially her clever recreation of Biblical characters in the story. I found her descriptions of Hell fascinating and wish that she would write a companion novel that would feature exactly how Lilith and Lucifer fell in love (what an interesting read that would be!) Overall, The Space Between is something truly different that readers who are okay with the subject matter will happily sink their teeth into. I’m looking forward to picking up Brenna Yovanoff’s next novel!
Plot summary: In the beginning, God made Adam and Lilith, companions who would bring about the beginning of the human race. Adam loved Lilith with all of his heart, but Lilith did not love him back. Before being cast from the Garden of Eden and replaced by Eve, Lilith gave birth to Adam’s son, Obie. Mother and son travelled to Hell where Lilith met Lucifer, a fallen angel, who immediately fell in love with her. Daphne, the daughter of Lilith and Lucifer, now lives with her mother and hundreds of brothers and sisters, the result of Lilith’s affairs with other demons, in the steely city that makes up Hell. Daphne has never been to Earth, but is fascinated by the trinkets that other residents of Hell return with after venturing above to torment and feed-off the human race. Daphne is close with her brother, Obie, who is kind-hearted and spends his time trying to help Lost Ones, the half-human, half-angel children living on Earth. One day, Obie informs Daphne and Lilith that he has fallen in love with a mortal woman and will be leaving Hell forever to live a normal life. Before he goes, Obie helps bring Truman, a Lost One on the brink of death, who’s attempted suicide has brought him to Hell, back to Earth. Months later, Obie suddenly disappears, leaving Daphne and Lilith confused and worried. Daphne decides to venture to the surface, leaving the safety of Hell, to rescue her brother. Seeking the help of Truman, the last person to see Obie, Daphne must face the threat of Azrael, an angel who has made it his mission to destroy all demons who spend too much time on Earth.
Review:  Fascinating, well-written and utterly original, the latest novel from veteran author Brenna Yovanoff is a strangely enjoyable story for readers who are willing to plunge head first into a world filled with demons, fallen angels, betrayal, and redemption. Arguably the strongest part of The Space Between is the author’s description of life in Hell. The first few pages of the novel, which read like pages of the Bible, immediately inform the reader that they are in for something different. One strong word for parents or teachers: this book is not for teens who are offended by demonology, taking liberties with religious history or lore, or who are squeamish about violence, torture and gore. Those who can handle these elements, however, will relish Yovanoff’s descriptions of the steely buildings and streets of Hell, the beauty and horror that are its residents, and the strangely intriguing love between fallen angels and demons. Daphne’s efforts to save her brother and her blossoming feelings for the tragically broken Truman almost play second fiddle to the more minor characters of Daphne’s alluring mother Lilith, her kind mentor, Beelzebub, and her seductive sisters, Myra and Deidre. That is not to say, however, that the primary plot of the novel is anything but entertaining and unique. The author has crafted a detailed and engrossing story that many teens are certain to enjoy immensely. The Space Between is a stand-alone novel as well, so readers will find the lives of Daphne and Truman neatly wrapped up, for better or for worse, in the closing pages.
Genre: Fiction/Horror
Reading level: Grade 8+
Similar titles: The Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, Misfit by Jon Skovron, Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey.      
Themes:  Hell, demons, fallen angels, redemption, betrayal, the Bible.  
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from Booklist and Kirkus. Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.  
Series Information: N/A     
Discussion questions: 
- Name some of the Biblical characters featured in this novel. What role did they play in the story?
- Do you think that Daphne was happy with her life in Hell? Why or why not?
-   Describe Daphne’s relationship with her mother, Lilith. How was it different from a normal mother-daughter relationship? How was it the same?
-   Why do you think Truman was so self-destructive? How and why did he change during the novel?
-   Why do you think Beezlebub did what he did? Was it the right thing to do?

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