Tuesday, October 29, 2013

[Review: Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke]

"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: Between #1
Pages: 360
Genre: YA, Horror, Mystery, Gothic
Date Published: August 15th, 2013
Publisher: Dial
Format Read: Bought Hardback


 You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

My Thoughts:

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, not only has one of the longest titles out there, it's also chalk full of everything I love when it comes to creepy reads.  Seriously, Tucholke wrote something truly unique when it comes to this book.  It's got a high death count, a decent amount of gore (that isn't overdone) and a halo of atmospheric fear that settles around it.  It also manages to feel like a modernized twist on a classic Gothic novel.  Mainly because of the setting and Violet's odd habit of wearing her dead Grandmother's clothes.  It's a blend of the modern and the old school, shaken together like a well made martini.  

Truly, this book is flat out spooky.  There are little children running around in cemeteries with stakes hunting for the devil.  Urban legends about a man in an old train tunnel who killed a bunch of kids.  Rich boys killing their girlfriends and more.  Somehow, Tucholke makes you feel the darkness creeping in with details like this.  She makes you doubt people's intentions and blurs the lines of reality.  It's almost like she has created a disturbingly detailed Gothic fairytale for us to enjoy.  Plus, it had one of the most messed up and also swoony romances that you're going to read this year.  

I really enjoyed the characters in this story.  Violet was a great main character.  You could tangibly feel the conflict that was building up inside of her as the novel progressed.  She knew something was never right about what she wanted, she just didn't know why.  Plus, she was one odd duck and I mean that in the nicest way possible.  River on the other hand is extremely...extreme.  He keeps you guessing and he's the perfect anti-villain.  Or is he?  You just can't tell.  Their relationship is a mess, but it also has it's sweet moments.  It'll make you feel as odd as it will just give you the plain old feels.

That's not the only relationship that Tucholke focuses on in the book.  Nope there is also the strained relationship between Violet and her brother Luke.  It's really honest.  Luke isn't my favorite guy, even though he gets more awesome the longer the book goes on.  And then there is Sunshine, who is Violet's best friend and Luke's sometimes girlfriend.  It's strange that they even hang out together, but Tucholke uses that to her advantage here.  And then little Jake and handsome Neely make an appearance as well, pulling things together.

The setting really ups the foreboding feeling in the pages as well.  The town is small and news travels fast.  So when something goes wrong, everyone knows about it, sooner rather than later.  Everyone walks, everyone knows everyone else and everyone is friendly.  Sometimes too friendly.  Tucholke takes a small town and instead of making normal details quaint she makes them terrifying.  It's just a little twist here and a little tweak there and this little hometown feels more than a little eery.  Not to mention the actual mansion by the sea that most of the action takes place in.  The house itself has so much character that it'll give you the shivers.

So, can you tell that I liked this one, because I really really did.  It hit all the right notes with me.  It gave me all the creepy feels and warped my mind and even played with my childlike sense of wonder.  I highly suggest this one for fans of Gothic novels, horror buffs and people who like to have their brains messed with.  

4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


Tammy Sparks said...

Can't wait to read this! I bought a copy when it came out, now I'm just looking for a hole in my reading schedule:)

Shelly said...

I've read a couple of book reviews about this but I've never once read about the side characters and the eerieness. I was a little hesitant to pick up this book because it seemed like it focused too much on the romance but it seems like this book is much more than that! Amazing review! :)

Giselle said...

Omg! The children in the cemetery! really any scene witch the kids were totally creepy! I really enjoyed this one and I'm glad you did too especially knowing apparently the reviews were mixed (it's what I was told though I've noticed mostly positive ones from those I follow). The setting was my favorite part I loved how atmospheric and eerie it was. And the small town feel made it all even better!

Unknown said...

Okay, "disturbingly detailed Gothic fairytale"? That sounds fantastic. I think the atmosphere is one of the most important aspects of a Gothic novel so I'm so glad to hear this delivers! Sounds like it was a perfect read for this time of year! :)

Nicole said...

Ooo I am definitely intrigued by this one. I'm glad you liked it. Ashley liked it too. I'm definitely going to read this it's just a matter of when. I hope I don't find it too scary though.