Smoulder – Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher: Simone Pulse (S&S UK)
Release Date: 5th January 2012
Other Titles by this Author: The Replacement
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 realises 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 into 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 human is hardest to be...
I was so excited to read Smoulder; it promised to be fantastic. While I ended up enjoying it, my expectations weren’t at all met.
Brenna Yovanoff’s mythology was my favourite part of Smoulder. It’s pretty much what kept me reading past the first hundred pages or so. Her take on the story of Creation, her vision of Pandemonium (Hell) and Heaven and especially the idea of the Lost Ones are captivating. The Lost Ones are the half-human children of Fallen Angels who more often than not spend their lives in prison, institutions and self-destructing. I loved the idea that there was a myth behind damaged people. Not all of the religious references had the significance to me as it may do with other readers more familiar with the Bible stories so I feel I probably missed some more amazing things.
The things about Smoulder that jolted me out of the story were my disconnect with Daphne and the switching between first and third person narratives for Daphne and Truman’s chapters. It was a very clever idea and clearly distinguished the two characters, I just don't think the changing narrative style was necessary or really added anything that couldn’t have been achieved through ordinary dual narrative. Though I do guess that it could be the demonstration of the idea of pre-destiny ruling Truman’s life (can you see my English student coming out there?).
I’m glad that Daphne’s chapters were told through first person, however. I loved how alien Earth was to her; people’s motives, actions and the accepted way that our world work was completely new to her and she didn’t fit in at all. It was fascinating to see. The way she beautifully describes some of the things that we take for granted took me aback and made me think about how odd our lives really are. Daphne’s inexperience and vulnerability felt very authentic and helped me to coonect to her a little more.
Smoulder was a dark, interesting read and I’m curious to see how her debut, The Replacement, differs in my opinions.
Thank you to S&S for providing me with a review copy.