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.
I usually love Brenna Yovanoff’s novels. Really love them. They’re all so beautifully haunted and almost lyrical in their poetry. I love them.
This novel, though. I don’t know what to say. I’ve been letting it mull around in my brain for the last few days, trying to come up with something to say about it. I still don’t know. So I’ll just start rambling:
Our protagonist, Daphne, is the misunderstood daughter of Satan and Lilith. She wants to be good, even though she’s a demon. Everyone around her thinks that it’s the job of the Lilim (Lilith’s daughters) to seduce human men and take away their pain and suffering. There are just a couple things I don’t get about this. 1) Why is taking away the pain and suffering of human men such an evil thing to do? But, I get Yovanoff’s point that pain and suffering along with happiness are what makes us human; You need to feel it all or you won’t be alive. 2) If Daphne was raised in hell with lots of other demons who all do the same things and lots of half-sister Lilim girls who go around earth taking men’s pain, how would Daphne come to know that it is wrong to do these things? The only reason I would think that she would know something like that would be because of Beelzebub teaching her about morality and human stuffs. But it never says in the book. And I’m friggin’ curious.
So Daphne, in general, felt like a big misunderstood contradiction. I didn’t really get her to begin with.
Truman, like the book said, was a walking tragedy. Everything about him was depressing. And it was made so much worse because it felt so real. The things Truman did and said were things that real people do and say. And the whole super-depressed, self-destructive angle Yovanoff was working on him felt so accurate that it was painful to read. After reading a few of her novels I’m not particularly surprised that Brenna Yovanoff chose a difficult human issue to address in her book. I actually applaud her for writing books that deal with suicide and eating disorders and whatever else she chooses to address. The way she handles issues like these feels so completely natural; It’s just a part of the story, it doesn’t feel like she just wrote the story to talk about these issues. And they’re handled well. The problem I kept running into in this book was that it was so real. It made me feel really depressed just reading it. Although I will say that someone who is going through something like this might feel understood and supported after reading this book. But I’m not. So I just thought it was depressing.
And what was up with the way they treated the baby? Clearly Yovanoff knows nothing of babies. Even bizarre, indestructible, grown-up sounding demon babies.
Another thing that bothered me was that the angels and demons could die in bloody, horrible deaths. Which made me wonder about the way time works in heaven and hell, according to Brenna Yovanoff. If a demon spent their whole life in hell would they never age or die? Is it like a stationary spot on the timeline and you can pick and choose where you want to go in time? But if that were true time wouldn’t pass at all in the human world when you were in hell; You could come out whenever you wanted. So does that mean demons never age? Then why wouldn’t they die naturally? Yovanoff has this habit of not explaining things that happen in her novels. No reason for anything, that’s just the way it is. I kind of respect that attitude. But mostly I just want to know the reasons and the inner workings of this fictional world.
I did enjoy the style of this novel, as with all Brenna Yovanoff novels. This one felt especially steampunk, which was a bit different. I like how Yovanoff’s characters always dress in interesting and unusual ways. I wish I could see them the way she sees them, you know?
That’s all I really have to say. Well written. Super depressing. Weird. Creepy. Possibly sacrilegious. Deep.
I don’t know if you’ll want to read it.
Sexual Content: Moderate (I think some characters had sex…?)