Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff is not your typical young adult fantasy tale. It is dark, brooding, and within its prose lies a deep and sad understanding of society at large. That is probably why I love these stories so much.
Clementine DeVore is a young girl, trapped in a cellar, tied up by roots as the years have passed. She has been down in the cellar of her abandoned home for ten years. Forgotten and deserted. But now she has been found by the only one who can feel her. Fisher can hear the soft heartbeat in the old vacant home. The one that was burned down so many years ago. He hears the heartbeat and it calls to him. He frees Clementine, but he knows her appearance will only tear at the fragile threads that hold his small town together. New South Bend is a small town with many secrets. The peace between the people of the town and the people of the Willows has been broken by a murderous violence before. Fear and prejudice drives the townspeople, and the magic of the few remaining people of the Willows, the few who are called the fiendish are what separate them. Clementine was hidden long ago and now that she has returned strange happenings are beginning again. Is it Clementine? Is it the creatures who live just beyond? Or is it the past returning to repeat itself. Why was Clementine, as a small child, buried deep in the cellar and by who? Clementine must find out just what happened all those years ago during the time known as the reckoning. Before it happens again.
Fiendish is clever and powerful writing. The setting is a small town on the cusp of another world, where dangerous and magical creatures exist. But when terrible things begin to happen, the townspeople turn on those that are different with deadly and bloody results. We have seen this played out through history as the one who is different, is always blamed for what is happening by a populace who just doesn’t understand what is happening around them.
Brenna Yovanoff does not write cutesy happily ever after stories of fairies and elves and lucky charms. Her creatures are a throwback to the original tales of the Brother’s Grimm and we should all be thankful of that.
The main character of Clementine DeVore is original and well rounded. A young girl who returns after a decade of being buried in her family home. A home that was burned down and her mother murdered. You can even forgive the obvious teen romance aspect of the book as Clementine and Fisher are pre-ordained to be drawn to one another by the spells of another.
What is so terrific in this novel is the intricately woven back story to the reckoning and why Clementine was buried by her own family and what really drives this second reckoning that threatens her and what remains of her kind. I won’t tell you about that, it is a plot that has to be read to be enjoyed. And that is what separates Fiendish from so many young adult fantasy books, it actually has a plot. Not the standard, cookie cutter, YA book about a young girl who saves everyone and gets a boyfriend too because he is just so cute!
A very good read!