Novel: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke | Goodreads
Release Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
*may contain spoilers to the first book*
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 . . .
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was one of those rare books that I loved even more the second time around. The lazy Gothic atmosphere was compelling, with electrifying relationships and a dark plot that kept me loving every page I turned. After finishing the first book, I immediately raced to Barnes & Noble and rewarded myself for surviving a week of junior year with a copy of Between the Spark and the Burn.
It’s one of those books that excited me so thoroughly while I was reading and made me miss the paranormal genre beyond belief. While there are still lovely magical reads out there, I’m so drawn to these types of books that I constantly want more of them. In any case, Between the Spark and the Burn retained the same thrill I found in the first book, heightening the magnitude of all my favorite elements.
The book itself picks up after River left, around Christmastime. Now that Luke and Violet’s parents are back in the Citizen Kane, things have settled down. They have two boarders, Jack and Neely, who have mostly recovered from Brody’s wreaking havoc earlier in the summer. It’s all salt spray and old diaries and the smell of turpentine. But when Violet stumbles upon a midnight radio show highlighting strange occurrences up and down the country, she knows it’s River. Or Brody. Whatever it is, it’s bad.
So they pile in the car, say goodbye to the parents, who are content painting their way into oblivion. They head down the coast, into a small town where they pour blood on the tombstones as a prayer, to where they attack boys in the woods for sneaking into dreams. After that, a mountain town with rumors stirring in the wind. A beach shack where villagers worship a sea king.
All the while, hunting for River and Brody, and the spark and the burn. But Violet’s started to notice something wrong with the people around her, something that leads her to realize it all goes much deeper than she thought. And while they’ve been hunting Brody, something’s been hunting them.
The languid, soft depiction of disturbing events is one of the most distinct features of the series, a quality that carries over well into the second book. Even in a different setting, even with different characters, April Genevieve Tucholke manages to convey everything with the same captivating voice. It’s so vivid, going into great detail about foods and sounds and moments, and the juxtaposition of all the little things create an atmosphere beyond compare. The language itself is poetic but always clear, with a focus on plot and characters that makes all elements of the book of an extremely high caliber.
Violet didn’t strike me as extremely memorable in the first book but really grew into herself by the time this one rolled around. Her fondness for her grandmother’s clothes wasn’t the only hint that she was an old soul; her surety and thoughtfulness lent itself to a wise air that was a joy to read. She pondered most everything, almost thriving on the dark events surrounding her, but was contented by the smallest of things. Violet was a character who I would love to stumble upon in real life.
Meanwhile, the ever-ambiguous River and Neely – who dominated the first book with their effortless charm and twisted past – play even more of a role. Neely’s attributes and complexity were highlighted in the sequel, although we do get to see a good amount of River by the end. The romance in the duet series is stunning, absorbing. It’s shadowy and likable all at once, with a mixture of good and bad that makes a truly irresistible pull.
I feel as though, if there were a third book, the dips and embellishments in each relationship could have been better smoothed out. Unfortunately because this is the last book, there were a few lingering threads I would have liked to see covered. To be entirely honest, because I never read finale books, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up if I realized it was the ending. I was so beyond heartbroken.
My thoughts are rather scattered about this series because I’m wildly emotionally attached to the characters and story, and I relished every moment I spent reading Between the Spark and the Burn. I am PASSIONATE about this series – it makes you feel alive and visceral. Every jolting twist and alluring description is adept, immediately placing April Genevieve Tucholke on my auto-buy list. Its ethereal nature is gorgeous and eerie; it’s a book as aloof as the characters inside. It’s a book with flair and drama, intensity and ache. It’s one of my favorites of the year, perhaps of all time.