Between the Spark and the Burn (Between #2)
by April Genevieve Tucholke
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Previous Installment: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for the first book in this series.
The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.
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….
I am the first to admit that the first book in this series, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, left me feeling exceptionally conflicted. I didn’t like the description of one of the characters, and didn’t enjoy reading about one of the plot twists, but in the end decided the good outweighed the bad. Between the Spark and the Burn is much the same as its predecessor. I enjoyed parts of it, and it was a very fast read. But the ending left a bit to be desired (or rather, a lot), and I once again had a hard time with the characters’ actions. That being said, just like with the first one, there were lots of things to enjoy, mostly the way the author writes atmosphere and weaves so much tension into the narrative. For me, that’s the draw of both of these books, although fans of the horror genre would probably find even more to love.
My biggest issue with these books is the main character, Violet, who tells the story. She is extremely unreliable, which makes for lots of twists and turns, but makes it hard to trust anything she says or thinks. She – once again – makes some extremely poor choices that had me yelling at my Kindle while I was reading, and the weird love triangle thing that was added in this go ’round was likewise unnecessary and irritating, at least to me. All three of the West siblings again rear their heads, and while two of them leave plenty to be desired, I liked the twist regarding Neely and can definitely say I didn’t see it coming. River continues to leave me torn in my feelings because I can’t help but like him even though I don’t necessarily want to.
Once again it’s the amazingly gothic atmosphere and time out of place feeling that makes this book an ultimate winner for me. The descriptions of the small towns they all travel through were eerily perfect and left you questioning pretty much everything. Is River involved? Is it something else? You’re never actually quite sure what’s happening, mostly because – as I mentioned above – Violet is your classic unreliable narrator. Violet and company also manage to pick up a couple of strays, full of their own twists and turns, and it definitely left me wondering what the heck was going on. It was the uncertainty in the narration that kept me eagerly reading, even when I didn’t like (or agree) with the characters’ choices.
If you enjoyed Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, you will likewise like the sequel. Be prepared for more haunting descriptions and lots of questions, though, because this book takes a while to finally come to the point. An ambiguous ending is also awaiting you, leaving you wanting more but knowing you’re not going to get it. In the end, just like with the first one, I liked this one more than not, although I can definitely see why others wouldn’t feel the same. Just like with any book, though, you’re mileage may vary!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.