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Radiant Shadows

The Space Between

The Space Between - Brenna Yovanoff With strikingly haunting prose and vivid imagery of nightmarish scenes, The Space Between easily captured my attention from start to finish. Having my notions of "good" and "evil" manipulated until the line separating the two thinned and almost disappeared left my head spinning and the hopelessness that seemed to ooze from the pages was heartbreaking. But too many questions without answers has me feeling like I missed something.Yovanoff is a master when it comes to the concept of evil. She manipulated the concepts we would generally diagnose as evil into something unrecognizable. The shades of grey were so plentiful that they became blurred, and it was hard to pick out who was supposed to be evil and who was supposed to be good. Her version of Hell was also fascinating. A city completely fabricated out of steel and chrome so that when the gates to the furnace opened, it wouldn't burn to the ground. Naturally, this means that anything that couldn't withstand the heat was reduced to ash. Time means nothing as there is no concept of time; it just doesn't exist. And ever-present is the Pit, the never-ending Hoard of souls, who "come into the city thrashing and shrieking" but after being visited by the pain demons, are left "blank and silent." Terrifying as it is, this is Daphne's home. Growing up in a city of perpetual evil, you would think Daphne would be a little rough around the edges, but somehow she escapes unscathed, full of innocence and the fear of her inner demon.This was one of the things I had the hardest time believing. As the daughter of fallen angel Lilith, who has been banished from Heaven and Earth, and the devil himself, Lucifer, I found it hard to believe Daphne could be as good and naive as Yovanoff showed her to be. Even though it's all she's ever really known, she's desperate to be nothing like her sisters, the Lilim, who live to feed on the misery and desire of mortals. She seemed almost repulsed at the idea of being like the Lilim, yet her disgust at their enjoyment of feeding on the feelings of mortals was never really explained. Was it that she saw it as an addiction? Or that she found it to be morally repulsive? As an immortal being, would she even believe in the mortal concept of morality? Was she worried she would end up cold and distant like her mother? It just wasn't touched on, and so I couldn't understand her aversion to it.I also couldn't get a clear image of Daphne. She was seemingly mocked by her sisters, leading me to believe she was younger then them, and her inexperience with Earth also suggested that, but her age was never really touched on. I found it hard to picture her metal teeth, and spent a lot of time wondering why they had been made metal in the first place. At times they seemed awkwardly distracting - like when Daphne's first looking for Truman and a girl at a party asks her if she's wearing metal caps - and at other times they seemed glaringly absent - like when Truman first meets Daphne on Earth and he doesn't comment on her having them. I just didn't see a point to pointing out that she had metal teeth, if they weren't meant to serve a purpose.I enjoyed the supporting characters, but wasn't overly attached to any of them. Truman's self-destructive behaviour was hard to pity, as I didn't understand the depth of his pain. He was never forced to come to terms with his grief over losing his mother, or his guilt at his attempted suicide, and I really disliked that he was able to find redemption (and that he was only able to see the value of his life) because of another person. Raymie should have been shocking, but Daphne's calm reaction to finding her in a storage locker (and subsequent calmness in her interactions with Raymie) had me feeling quite nonchalant. I feel like she could have played a much larger, more interesting role, but the reasons for Azrael's interest in her was never explained. Beelzebub's admission at the end, while shocking, was underplayed by how little attention it was given. His reasons, and the consequences, were glazed over and I was left with more questions then answers. On an unrelated note: thoughts on Yovanoff's choice to name two different characters (Lucifer and Beelzebub) names which the Old Testament both accredit to Satan? I admit, I assumed Beelzebub would admit to being Daphne's father, Lucifer, and was almost shocked to learn they were in fact two completely different characters.Funny enough, one of my biggest issues was something I didn't figure out until about half way through the book. I kept having the feeling like I was reading about someone while simultaneously feeling like I was experiencing their thoughts first hand. Then realization hit and after flipping back through several chapters I realized what had been bugging me for so long: Daphne speaks through an oddly-stylized first-person narrative, while Truman speaks from a third-person narrative. Once I figured out what was happening, it became much easier to read, and I imagine on a re-read I would be able to enjoy the story from the beginning without the nagging feeling like something was wrong.I'm not going to get in to the ending. It was rushed and confusing and I think I'm pretty angry with it (but I'm still hoping that it's just confusion and what really happen will sort itself out. But if what I think happened is what in fact happened, then I'm pretty pissed.) It most definitely left me with too many questions, and a dementedly twisted happily ever after that I'm not sure I could explain even if I wanted to.Even with it's faults, I still really enjoyed The Space Between. Yovanoff has a way with words that's almost poetic and her world-building, if haunting, is beautiful. It was easy to get caught up in Daphne's world, and I had a hard time putting the book down.Originally published on my blog, Radiant Shadows