Published by Razorbill on September 13th 2012
A transcendent novel about a demon girl's search for love, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement
Everything burns in Pandemonium, a city in Hell made of chrome and steel, where there is no future and life is an expanse of frozen time. That's where Daphne--the daughter of Lilith and Lucifer--waits, wondering what lies in store for her. Will she become a soulless demon like her sisters? Or follow in the footsteps of her brother Obie, whose life is devoted to saving lost souls on Earth? But when Obie saves a troubled boy named Truman from the brink of death and then goes missing, Daphne is catapulted on a mission to Earth, with Truman as her guide. As Daphne and Truman search for Obie, they discover what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.
The Space Between is the second Brenna Yovanoff book I have had the pleasure of reading (the first being Paper Valentine which I also thoroughly enjoyed). It wasn’t the easiest read, but it was definitely one of the most rewarding. I was completely captivated from beginning to end.
It is the story of a girl called Daphne. Daphne is the daughter of Lucifer and Lilith and she lives in Pandemonium, a city in Hell, where time is frozen even though the fires burn constantly. Daphne has few joys in life – in fact she is quite an unemotional being. The only thing she really cares about is her older half-brother Obie, the son of Lilith and Adam (yes that Adam). She has many sisters (called the Lilim) but her sisters are all demons like her mother. Her parents despise each other so Obie is all she really has in the world apart from Lucifer’s close advisor Beelzebub who is something of a father figure for her.
One day Daphne has a chance encounter with a mortal boy called Truman (who has ended up in Hell after attempting to commit suicide). Through Daphne and Obie’s intervention, Truman is allowed to return to Earth. This small event will later shape the course of Daphne’s life.
When Obie announces to Daphne that he intends to leave Pandemonium for good to live on Earth, she understandably does not want her brother to go. Daphne’s only connection with Earth is through television and she fears that she will never see her brother again. Obie gives her very little choice however and when she sees how much this means to him, she gives him her blessing to go. However, it is not long before Obie goes missing. Fearing something nefarious has happened to her son, Lilith begs her daughter to go to Earth and find him.
Daphne has always been curious about the world above and she seeks out Beelzebub’s help to travel to the mortal realm. When he will not help her, Daphne sneaks away herself and travels to Earth by herself. She soon discovers that the key to finding out her brother’s fate lies with Truman, the boy she helped return to Earth. A year has passed for this boy and time has not been kind to him. He is even more dispirited and broken than before and it takes all of Daphne’s wits to keep him alive. With Daphne’s help, Truman begins to heal. As the two of them undertake the task to find Daphne’s brother, they uncover more and more secrets and slowly begin to fall in love…
The Space Between was a very dark, rich, sumptuous, disturbing yet also lyrical book. It captivated me from the very first page and I grew to care very much for the characters even though initially Daphne was a very cold, unemotional MC. The novel is narrated by both Daphne and Truman (Daphne in first person, Truman in third person) which initially seems a bit of an odd choice given how removed and remote Daphne is but as the story progressed her character opened up and I began to enjoy her chapters immensely. Her character becomes more and more human the more contact she has with the human world and (especially) Truman. I felt for Truman right away, he is such a broken character and his struggles were difficult to read about. His arc was ended up being every bit as satisfying as Daphne’s and I enjoyed seeing him flourish as the story progressed. The secondary characters such as Obie and Beelzebub were also very interesting and three dimensional.
I also really enjoyed the world-building in this novel. Pandemonium was fascinating to read about, both frightening and immense. I would have liked to have spent a bit more time there exploring the land and its inhabitants. I found myself getting totally swept up and could visualise the scenes – so effectively descriptive is Brenna Yovanoff’s writing.
The story was weaved around a blend of mythology and religion but was given its own interesting spin. I liked the fact that there was good and bad in both the angels and the demons. Nothing is straightforward in this world, and it is a lesson that both Daphne and Truman will need to face.
If you are looking for a book that can move you, The Space Between might just be the book for you. It is a dark, beautifully haunting tale of two souls coming together to find love even in the bleakest of times. It is a story of faith and redemption, sorrow and malice. The book is full of twists and turns and nothing is necessarily as it seems. It was a thoroughly engrossing read, one that I am sure I will be returning to again many times.