Mar 14, 2016

Review--Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

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 . . .

April Genevieve Tucholke really knows how to write a twisted story! Between the Spark and the Burn was far more twisted than Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and this can be a good thing…and a bad thing. The bad part was that it got just a little too twisted and there just wasn’t enough answers for me towards the end, but all in all, still a dark and enjoyable read!

It’s been a few months since the events of the first book, we’re in Winter now, Christmastime to be precise. Violet is missing River terribly. Neely has been listening to a late night radio show that talks of weird and mysterious happenings across the country and a few of the events have him curious. He think it might be River, or Brodie and he’s determined to find out. Naturally, so is Violet and then Luke and Sunshine tag along as well, leaving Jack behind at Citizen Kane with Violet’s parents.

Soon the quartet begins a cross country road-trip going to all sorts of places that have rumors of “Devil” appearances and most of them turn out to be a bust, naturally, for they keep going further and further out west until they hit Colorado.

I really enjoyed this one for awhile, the road-trip part was pretty fun because when they going looking into these appearances, they are usually in small towns or completely secluded villages. And you never know if they will run into Brodie or River first! It was suspenseful in that sense.

We meet some new characters who tag along on this journey, Finch and Canto. Finch was a boy they rescued from a village set on burning him alive or some other such fate. He was a very thoughtful sort of guy and Canto was a mystery as well. She took the group in when they needed a place to stay, she’s a very brave and determined kind of girl! I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of her, she’s the kind of heroine one can get behind. Though she was a heroine in a way that a side character can be!

When we finally get to River, he’s changed quite a bit. He’s not at all the same River we first met and I found this saddening. He becomes an unreliable character because you just don’t really understand what’s he thinking or what he went through in the time he left the Citizen. It was odd, and very sad in a way.

What I didn’t really see coming though was the relationship between Neely and Violet. True, River was gone for months and Neely was the one who there most of the time and suddenly we start to see these little moments between him and Violet. After the initial shock and eye roll over a possible love triangle, I did begin to enjoy all the little moments between Violet and Neely. They have quite a bit in common, even when it came to River (in a sense) for they both cared for him and wanted to find him.

There was a lot of mystery in this one, there’s soooo much we don’t really know or understand fully of what’s going on. I enjoyed it in some part, but I was really hoping for some more answers or conclusions in the end. And while we got that a little bit, it wasn’t quite enough. There is still a handful of unknown factors. And while they may not all be immediately pressing, there’s still that sense of unknown. And I don’t really care for that at the end of a series. When a series ends I pretty much want to be left knowing where all the characters are at. And basically feel confident in the knowledge of their (hopefully) happy ending. Or if not happy, whatever ending! But it was really only a few lingering questions, there just wasn’t a concrete ending to where everyone was at. And that’s likely intentional on the author’s part. If only we could have another book or novella, or novelette…just something a little more to give us that firmer ground to stand on. But oh well.

I still really enjoyed this duology despite the ending. It was quite nice. The language is rather beautiful too. At times I might not have fully enjoyed it, but it was only a moment or two when it felt out of place or overdone. It’s been quite the read, it’s beautiful and so unique. I kinda wish this wasn’t the end, but it seems like it is, sadly. If you’re looking for a read that’s mysterious and very different, filled with characters who may or may not be 100% reliable, then this is definitely the read for you!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars


  1. Lovely review! Despite the more uncertain/concrete ending, and the somewhat love triangle, I'm glad you enjoyed this one. The first book was such a fun read, so I really need to pick this one up. I want to know what is going on!

  2. I'm dying to read this one. I loved the first book.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading

  3. I felt the same way, there weren't enough answers for me! I'm still hoping a third book appears someday haha. I did like Neely too, and the added sinister mystery throughout the book.

  4. YAY! I'm glad you liked this book, Jessica! I admit, I loved book one more, but I felt (for the most part) satisfied with this book. I wouldn't mind another addition to this duo though. ;) I'll read just about anything Tucholke writes! She is so creative and talented.

    Anyway! Fabulous review, Jessica. :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


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