Friday 30 March 2012

Reviewed by Jen: Smoulder by Brenna Yovanoff.

Product details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release date: January 5th 2012.
Paperback, 368 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Ages: 13+
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Jen

Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanoff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.

Brenna Yovanoff’s novel Smoulder, titled The Space Between in the U.S., is a book that has found a home at the top of my favorites list for 2012.  I absolutely loved this book! The imagery Yovanoff creates is stunning and the characters are endearing.  I found myself completely unable to put this book down and saddened to leave the characters behind when I finished.  I suppose that is the problem with rushing through a great book; it eventually has to end. 

I don’t even know where to start because there were so many aspects to this book that I loved.  The visual imagery was stunning.  Hell is portrayed as a city, named Pandemonium, where demons live and work.  The business of taking souls is a serious one and it is the livelihood of almost everyone who resides in Pandemonium.  The entire city burns an angry red when the furnace, where the damned souls are sent, is running.  Everything there is made of steel because it is the only material that won’t melt.  This is the only world that Daphne has ever known.  Being the daughter of Lilith, a demon, and Lucifer, the fallen-angel and ruler of Pandemonium, has had its advantages.  Daphne has spent her centuries in Pandemonium doing essentially nothing.  Daphne has always been fascinated by Earth and collects trinkets that her brother brings back for her, yet she has never had a reason to travel there herself.  That is until her brother Obie goes missing. 
The contrast between Pandemonium and Earth is stark.  Daphne chooses to look for Obie in Cicero, Illinois, a working class suburb of Chicago.  Being from Chicago I thought that Yovanoff got the flavor of the city and surrounding suburbs perfectly.  I always try to catch any mistakes authors may make in their descriptions of my favorite city, but Yovanoff even had the El lines exact.  I was impressed!  The reason Daphne chooses Cicero is because she knows that Obie had once helped a boy named Truman who lives there.  She hopes he can help her find her brother.  Unfortunately, when Daphne reaches Truman he is in the process of slowly killing himself in a multitude of ways.  Truman is about as tragic a character as they come, which was his ultimate appeal. 
As the relationship between Daphne and Truman unfolds Daphne comes to the realization that there may be more to her life than just sitting around Pandemonium doing nothing.  It takes her awhile, but she finally understands that being a demon doesn’t have to mean that she is completely devoid of emotion.  Smoulder is an enthralling story that has a little bit of everything; mystery, fantasy, action, and romance.  The plot is bolstered by Brenna Yovanoff’s unique writing style, which she has obviously worked on perfecting.  Fans of her debut novel, The Replacement, will not want to miss Smoulder.


  1. I haven't read anything by Brenna yet, but I have a copy of THE SPACE BETWEEN sitting on my shelf and after reading your review, I desperately want to pick it up as soon as possible. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much and I really hope that I'll do so, too. :)

    Fictional Distraction

  2. It has a whole different title in the UK? That's nice and confusing, here I thought this was the second in the series already! I don't see you give too many 5/5's Leanna, so that means this one is a must read for sure!

  3. Amazing review! I loved The Space Between, or Smoulder as well!

  4. I can't believe I still haven't read this dude!! AAAH it sounds SO awesome!! Amazing review Leanna!

  5. Five out of five?? Oh my gosh, I can't believe I haven't started this one yet!! I have it on my shelf from the library because I've heard some pretty mixed things about it in the past, and I never really marked it as a priority read -- but now I really think I should! The world sounds hauntingly beautiful, and the romance? Sounds like beautiful self-discovery and sweetness rolled into one! x)

    Amazing review, Leanna! <3 I'm definitely bumping this one up on my TBR pile! ;)

  6. I haven't read this yet but I love the sound of it and from your review it sounds even better! Love the thought of Daphne slowly discovering her 'humanity' and Truman sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review!

    The Cait Files

  7. I thought it was interesting how Yovanoff has the guy be the broken one of the pair, rather than the girl.  I totally agree with you on the writing style - she paints amazing pictures with her words!

  8. daisychainbooks31 March 2012 at 13:55

     I'm don't give many five stars, it's true, but this is from Jen, not me! :)

  9. daisychainbooks31 March 2012 at 13:56

    Glad you enjoyed this one so much, Jen. I didn't enjoy Yovanoff's debut when I read it last year, so I'm glad you liked her style and the storyline here! :)

  10. I really badly want to read this- but I'm determined that I'm not going to order any more books until at least May!
    Great review- this is now at the top of my wishlist.

  11. Linny Milliron2 April 2012 at 00:21

    I wonder why this book has a different title for the U.S., definitely confused me at first!

    The storyline sounds very original and exciting. After reading your review, I went straight to GoodReads and added it to my wishlist haha. Can't wait to read! I haven't read The Replacement either, so I'll have to check that out as well.

  12. Even reading about this review is magical! I never really thought about reading this book but I want to now. It sounds completely wonderful and the world building sounds fantastic, I love how detailed the author is. :)

  13. Screenplaydiva6 April 2012 at 21:26

    At first I was like I didn't know she wrote another book called Smoulder! lol Why did they change the name? Her first book, The Replacement, was super creepy and I didn't care for it, but this sounds really good! I like the concept and world. Do you mean you are from Chicago (originally)? I'm from Chicago so I'll have to see how it fairs in that regard. I thought Divergent stood out as a great book featuring a futuristic Chicago. I'll add it to my list, but I'm a little hesitant because I thought TR was too gory for me.


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