Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

The Following Review Is Highly Disorganized As Instant Coffee Was In Short Supply And I Was Suffering From Caffeine Withdrawal At 1 A.M When This Was Written.
Read At Your Own Risk.
(Oh, read. Please, please read. Free sidenotes for you, I swear )


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.

If you've read my blog, you know I don't like angel books.
Hate 'em, hate 'em, can't stand 'em (I blame the Hush Hush and Fallen series) unless they're totally awesome and uber weird like The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. 

Brenna Yovanoff’s “The Space Between”, however, is a book that I will confess to having read more than once, if only for its strange, stark beauty more than anything. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read, and for once, the cover seems incredibly well suited for the book. And really, it isn't exactly an angel book.

I give The Space Between 4 Stars.

The Space Between is the story of Daphne (daughter of Lucifer and Lilith, go figure), and her brother Obie (son of Adam and Lilith; don’t go figure, just read the book) who goes missing from Earth.  He is the only one that has ever admitted to loving her, and to find him, Daphne comes down (or is it up? I don’t know) from Pandemonium, (a. k. a creepy-cool-version-of-hell) to Earth, and the only person who can help is a walking calamity of a boy named Truman Flynn.
In The Space Between, age-old characters and Christian mythology put on new suits and talk from new perspectives. Good and bad becomes confused and turns to shades of grey. The half-demon daughter of Lucifer and Lilith becomes a sweet and vulnerable narrator, while the angel Azrael and his Dark Dreadful becomes strange villains. Beelzebub is a man who collects possessions of the dead, and the hero- Truman Flynn- breaks all concepts of the traditional YA boy-man.
You can see why I’d like something like this.
The Space Between wouldn’t have been the book that it is if not for Daphne, main narrator, aforementioned daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. I loved the clarity of her voice and the starkness of it. It became somehow so easy to imagine Pandemonium through the eyes of a girl who loves earthly trinkets and finds beauty and nobility in someone as self destructive as Truman. Daphne on earth has to be one of the most poignant narrators I’ve read so far: everything seems so much more dark and dangerous on earth than in Pandemonium, which is strangely ironical, because Pandemonium seems kind of like hell. She manages to be unintentionally funny (doesn’t know what a hooker hotel is, considers making a playgroup for a talking baby with a full set of teeth) and yet incredibly touching at the same time.
Truman Flynn is an emo boy. Think of the emo-est emo boy you can dream up and then multiply that by ten. He’s self-destructive and pretty pathetic, but yet, sometimes the nobility in him shows through and he’s kind of REALLY likeable in a really weird, am-I-crazy-to-like-him way. I don’t normally like guys who fall apart all over the place AT ALL, and I do like emo-boys but NOT suicidal emo-boys, so how the hell does Brenna Yovanoff pull this off? Jeez, I really loved Truman. Really, really. This book has drugged me. (Freaks out.)
I suppose the meeting between Daphne and Truman is one of the best-written YA-pair meetings ever. Honestly, just that scene and the on-page chemistry between the lead pair was enough to get me through the whole book.
(Well, that, and the pubs and Moloch and the weird vibe I got from this book that if it were a TV show, it would be an early Supernatural episode, with all the character angst, myths and mirrors, and the black-eyed-demons-hanging-out-in-shady-pubs. Disturbingly, for most of the book, I pictured Daphne like one of the demons from the show: full black eyes, no whites!)
So, deviations aside, the story is strange, its characters are odd and most of the plot is pretty weird: because, honestly, the reason for everything that happens to Daphne and her missing brother is very convoluted, and doesn’t make much logical sense if you think about it, but I’m ready to suspend logic for a YA book and just enjoy one beautifully plotted scene after the other. Indeed, The Space Between seems more a collection of incredible scenes than the best-plotted book. Lucky I’m a sucker for awesome scenes.
So. Disorganized review and random side-notes, all aside, The Space Between is a lovable, well-written, superbly imagined book.
Will I read it again? Probably, when I feel like reading something emo-awesome.
Will I buy it if I see it somewhere? Most probably.
Do I like it better than The Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Yes. I do. (I know, I know. Now you’re all pissed off at me.)
Favorite quotes:  
1. Moloch, to Daphne, on Truman:
“I hate to break it to you, but his primary state is face-down on the floor, and he still couldn’t help you find gravity.”

2. D: “I was never happy before I came here”
T: “What were you then?”
D: “Lonely. Bored, maybe. It was a strange feeling. I think if I could see it, it would look like a tiny polished castle, full of poison flowers and silver spears.”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hunger Games Movie: My Reaction

Okay. So I totally went and commented on half a dozen blogs how unfair it is that this film isn't coming out in my city on 23rd, and boy, wasn't I surprised when it did release. Nearly screamed when I saw the posters had come up one day before the release. (So much for pre-release publicity.)
Anyway, I heart the Hunger Games books. I really do. They're totally awesome, and not since Neil Shusterman's "Unwind " has anything affected me the way Mockingjay did. (Forgive chronological errors, if any.)
So was The Hunger Games movie as good as the book? You bet.
I went expecting what we usually get out of the Harry Potter movies- a good show, lots of missing pieces, slightly deviant storylines. In a rare minute of panic, I even wondered if it would turn out like the Twilight movies    . (No offense, but I don't dig the movies at all. No, you are not allowed to set evil hellhounds on me for saying that. Sidenote for the HG fans: The Muttations are awesome in a creepy way.)
And what did I get? I got a solid, intelligently made movie that most fans of HG will love. Because it is amazingly true to the original book, not to mention incredibly better in a lot of ways.
Let's sum up: I LOVED IT.
Not giving away too many spoilers at the moment, I can probably say that what you must really look forward to is the following:
1) Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. My Katniss finally has the perfect face. She was awesome.
2) The Hunger Games: dude, what the hell. It was PERFECT. Not just the arena but the stuff leading to it- the interviews etcetera.
3) The Capitol. Gary Ross deserves a lot of plaudits for creating the look of excess and vanity so well.
4) The Game- Makers. This bit is not in the original book (i.e the technical running of the Games) as the book is from Katniss's POV, and it was brilliant to put it in the movie.
5) Seneca Crane. Hullo? This guy was hot for someone with a beard. I love your beard, dude. Is that weird?

7)THE COSTUMES and MAKEUP. Oh, shit, do I need to say more?
The dress goes on fire. EEp!!! How awesome. ~Cries.~

Basically, the film stuck to the adaptation of the book. The background score is pretty terrific, the cast is well-chosen and the costumes are astounding.
The not-up-to-par stuff?  I don't think a non-HG reader would understand most of it- especially the flashbacks. Without reading the book, the Tributes would be impossible to recognize from each other as we see only bits of them from interviews etc, and they all look confoundingly the same for someone who hasn't read the book. The reason for the games isn't clear, and I felt Peeta's interview with Caesar Flickerman should have had more of an impact. Haymitch was way too sober. Katniss ACTUALLY seemed to be in love with Peeta and not pretending for the sponsors. The feel of the book- the need to rebel, the utter unfairness- couldn't properly be captured but then, that might just be impossible. 
But that said, all these little things are totally forgivable in the face of the fact that for once, the movie adaptation of a book has actually satisfied me. When is Catching Fire coming out? Aargh, can't wait.

Remember: The only team to pick is TEAM KATNISS
Happy Hunger Games. May the odds ever be in your favor.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quick Tales 2: The Rocking Horse

Quick Tales is basically flash fiction, tiny short stories. Mostly inspired by pictures. Mostly less than thousand, sometimes even less than five hundred words. The Rocking Horse was written in less than half an hour on the back of a notebook in a boring class. I like to think of it in tones of black, white and red.
Any theories on what the girl could be? Leave me a comment to let me know:)

The inspiration for this story. Of course, I
 the appearance
The sculpture is by:
Samantha Mckeown
Sculpture I
Santa Fe College
Found objects, paint

The Rocking Horse
The rocking horse is a gift.
It comes to the Care Well Orphanage for Girls packed in a large cardboard box. It bears the name of the little blind girl, arriving exactly at midnight on her birthday, and a note saying “a companion for your adventures,” in bright purple ink. There is no return address.
Similar gifts have made their way to the little blind girl on occasions. Last Christmas, she received a bunch of flowers no one really recognized. They were the purest black, just the shade of her sightless dark eyes. Last birthday, a nondescript grey box arrived, containing a single hand mirror, embellished with jewels and made of oxidized metal.
The nuns who run the orphanage always hand the gifts to the girl immediately, never coveting them, although they wonder if the sender doesn’t realize that he’s sending gifts to a blind person. They’ve thought of writing to him, only he had never provided a return address. And now the rocking horse sits in the playroom, dark as ebony, ruby-eyed, the wood at his base carved to resemble playful curly white clouds. It is stunning; something out of a beautiful dark dream.
The nuns lead the little blind girl to the rocking horse, describing it to her in detail, down to the white tip of his wooden tail. The little blind girl is allowed to sit on it for as long as she wishes, and sit on it she does, rocking silently, little head pressed against the top of the horse’s head as a princess might caress her beloved stallion.
The nuns smile watching her, sighing that some sunshine exists for the child born into darkness, and leave her to play.
Alone in the playroom, the little blind girl looks into the ruby eyes of the black horse, and smiles a secret smile.
As the horse rocks, she is flying through jewel-colored forests, deserts desiccated by years of sun, her feet skimming the crest of white waves close to a golden beach. She rises above the clouds, dodging lightning as it zaps close to her, purple and fiery and elemental. She laughs as an endless field of stars opens above her, the moon shining down in its white-silk glow. She shivers as rain and hail soak her as she flies above a city with colored spires rising to the sky.
She rocks and rocks and rocks, and with each movement, she is in a new place, a new dream, not all of them her own.
It is her favorite birthday gift ever, even better than the mirror that lets her see herself in a different getup every time she stares at it, even better than the flowers that she’d hidden under her bed, the black flowers that never wilt and smells exactly of home and winter and caramel.
She breathes a thank you to the horse, and then calls for a nun to lead her into the darkness of the mortal world, a world that is not for her eyes, which can behold only wonder.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bookish Gifts for a Cause!

I honestly didn't know about Brad Wirz or Gone Reading until he contacted me by e-mail, seeking a mention of their products on the blog, and then I realized what I'd been missing out on!

Gone Reading International LLC is a philanthropic initiative that combines donating 100 % of their after tax profits to charities such as funding for libraries, donating to projects such as Read Global and Ethiopia Reads and seeks to "spread the magic of reading". They have an amazing array of book-related products to satisfy your book-loving soul, so that you're treating yourself on amazing stuff while at the same time doing something for a greater cause.

Gone Reading doesn't sell the books, they sell the idea of reading.
They have a great range of products ranging from book lights to bookmarks to bookplates to T-shirts and journals- everything especially catering to your bookish needs.
To show you what I'm talking about, here's a few of their products you can buy from the site Gone Reading




and there's a lot more! 
I know I'm going to go get stuff from Gone Reading as soon as I can afford some bookish goodness- what about you?!
YOU can read about their philanthropic mission HERE
YOU can read the Gone Reading blog HERE
YOU can check out their products HERE


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Images used in this blog are either digital art created by the author or free photographs. Reviews and views expressed on this site are strictly personal. Text by Varsha Dinesh is copyrighted under Creative Commons.