Review: Between the Spark and the Burn

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 . . .

My Review

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Pages: 320
Publication Date: April 14 2014
Source: Library ecopy

You know that line about ending with a bang rather than a whimper? This was a whimper.

I suppose that's an extremely harsh way to start a review, but I'm extremely disappointed in Between the Spark and the Burn. I was excited for this one. I really was. I loved Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and to be honest, I didn't think it needed a sequel, so the fact that it got one was randomly delightful. And yet, the best qualities of the first did not shine through in Spark and Burn.

The real problem is that the plot was absolutely terrible. Violet is reckless, and she's driving her family into more danger too. There is some sort of weird subplot about her grandmother that seriously adds nothing to the story. I was so sure a big secret was going to be revealed, and it wasn't. It didn't even add to the poetry of the story because it was so incredibly irrelevant to the storyline. Violet embarks on a roadtrip with Neely and Luke and Sunshine, and this trip, although with the potential to be exciting, is the opposite. It takes very little time to find River, and once they found River, I couldn't help but wish he were lost.

I think that could have been even more romantic; never finding River. Imagine an endless search, and Violet's constant yearning for him, only to know that River is lost to her forever. The years would pass, and maybe they'd see each other once and wonder about the life they could have lived together. Or maybe Violet would one day read about River's death, and it would be terribly heartbreaking and sad because the "what ifs" would overwhelm her. I'm mourning these potential futures because what actually occurred disappoints me, so much. River has lost control, and the author never really cares to explain why, and she never really cares to focus much on River ever getting better, or giving his storyline any kind of conclusion. And the plotline has no ending.

Okay, there is an ending, but it's so weak that I am still somewhat convinced that something was wrong with my ebook because there has to be more than that. There is no real plot, the book focuses on finding River, and then random stuff happen, and somehow there is an ending in the middle of that. Whyyyyyyyyy.

I'm sad because Tucholke's writing is so freakin' evocative. It weaves emotions into the prose and despite the meagre plot, it's still gorgeous, still haunting, still spellbinding. And I am so sad that it lacks actual substance.

I wish there was less of a focus on Frankie. I wish there was more of a focus on Luke and Sunshine, and Violet's relationship with them. I wish Violet made even the slightest bit more sense, and I wish Neely's storyline got more time. I wish there was more of a story.


1 comment:

  1. i have heard a lot of people were disappointed with this book! I am still planning to read it (soon I hope) but it’s really too bad because I loved the first book :(

    Great review!
    Diamond @ Dee’s Reads


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