book review
4 Stars, Book Reviews

{REVIEW} Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

(Click the book cover to see on Goodreads)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Title: Fiendish
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Length: 341 pages
Publication: August 14th 2014 by Razorbill


synopsisClementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

point of view
‘Fiendish’ is written in first person past tense and is narrated by Clementine DeVore, a seventeen-year-old girl who was trapped in a cellar for ten years. Even so, she speaks with the voice of an adult. She views the world with clarity, but also a bit of innocence, adding a light tone to her narration.

Pacing: Fiendish is a fast read. It takes off quickly and adds in new details to the story fast enough to keep the reader interested without overloading them with information. There is also very little sense of how much time is passing during the course of novel, which helps to keep the pace at the back of the reader’s mind and allow them to simply enjoy the story.

World: The world is quite unique with the Hollow being a place swarming with magic, which sometimes manifests in people. Most importantly, these people don’t always hide who they are from the normal folk in town. Thus there is no need for secrecy, which offers plenty of room for exploration of the world and interactions among characters without needing to be two-faced.

Writing: The writing style is crisp and detailed, offering enough description to imagine the world and adding a sense of cryptic voice to the narration. It also holds enough of the main character’s personality to understand her and how she sees the world. Though, some of the action-packed scenes got bogged down in the descriptions and could have been better described by using less description.

Non-Spoilered Plot: When Eric Fisher drags Clemetine DeVore from the cellar of a burned down house he doesn’t know what to expect, but it becomes all too clear that Clementine was put away for a reason. Now with magic leaking out from the Hollow and corrupting the natural world, history looks to be repeating itself. But is Clementine’s reappearance the real reason behind the chaos? And if so, is putting her back in the ground the only answer?

Character: Clementine DeVore is a seventeen-year-old girl who was trapped in a cellar for ten years. Yet, during that time she continued to age and grow both physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, she still possesses a childish naivety and innocence, which offers her as the hopeful protagonist of the story while the rest of the characters have lost their blissful ignorance years before.


Plot: The main plot of this novel is along the lines of ‘overcoming the monster’, where the monster is the magic leaking out of the Hallow when Clemetine DeVore is dragged from the cellar by Eric Fisher. Yet, that only seems to be the monster. In reality, the monster turns out to be a combination of the powers controlled by the five teenagers with powers: Eric, Rae, Shiny, Davenport, and Clementine. It’s because of their combined existence in the world that they the magic is leaking out of the Hallow and corrupting the natural world. And it’s only in taking out one of the group members that the Hallow will return to normal.

Yet, the best twist is that the destructive force of the five elements is water, controlled by Davenport. Her craft is reckless and stronger than the others, no doubt because her mother was an actual fiend from the Hallows and it’s because of her tortured past that she is fine with manipulating people around her to get what she wants: freedom. Still, it would seem the craft within her has taken over and rather than freedom, she seeks destruction whether of herself or the people around her. Either way, she’s fine taking out everyone and everything with her to get what she wants.

Of course, she would seem like the natural choice for the destructor of the natural world because she is the one seen least in the book and she’s the embodiment of ‘pure’ and ‘damaged’. Meanwhile, Rae is too calm and cautious with her tricks to be of any real danger. Shiny could be the suspect, but would never risk what little she has in life to get revenge. After all, she’s adapted to being hated and, as a result, fiery. And Clementine is far too innocent and lacking historical details to want revenge or destruction of any kind, especially since she sees the good in anyone. Yet, the story leads us to thinking that she or Fisher, creator of wild plants, are the reason the Reckoning began in the first place.

What was never made clear in the novel, however, was why Clementine was the one put away. Why did her mother offer her up? Because the townsfolk were burning down houses and it was the only way to save her? That’s the only reason that makes sense since otherwise Fisher would be the obvious choice given that no one knew he was there and his grandmother didn’t know what to do with him. Locking him up seems like the obvious choice, but who can really say when it’s not fully explained.

Additionally, there was very little information about Isola Fisher. Yes, she’s the one that locked Clementine away in the end, but how? She said she only has a smidge of the old-blood in her. So does that make her weak and she doesn’t have active powers like the rest or does she just have knowledge of the craft and therefore can work simple tricks and spell bags? A lot isn’t explained in the book, leaving me with too many questions and an unquenched thirst for more.

Still, the book was rather exciting to read and unique in the way the craft worked and the people interacted and how the magic was spilling out of the Hallow. But with the lack of answers to my questions, I leave my rating of this novel, ‘Fiendish’, at four stars.four

Have you read ‘Fiendish’ by Brenna Yovanoff? What did you think of it?
Let me know in the comments below!

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