Book: Brenna Yovanoff – Smoulder. If a book is on fire does the author feel it?

This was an impulse purchase in a charity shop – I am resolved to stop doing this for two reasons a) the books are rarely as good as I hope and b) I want to move house in the mid-future so need to declutter.

The cover looked a little bit too Young Adult for my tastes as did the title. However I have a soft spot for Lilith so a book with the main protagonist being the daughter of Lilith and Lucifer sounded interesting.


I liked the description of Hell as being a huge city made of entirely of metal, I liked a lot of the descriptions in the book, for example “the floor of the museum is already growing hot, burning my feet through my slippers. The tears melt and sizzle where they fall.”

It felt very vivid and Brenna can certainly string together a description of a place or of a monstrous being.

Unfortunately the level of good writing in ‘Smoulder’ didn’t extend to the main characters dialogue or personalities. Daphne lives in Hell and loves her half-brother Obie, in fact he is the only member of her family who she likes at all. Obie then vanishes from the face of the Earth, forcing Daphne to leave Hell to try to find him.

metal flower

(Photo from some TArt)

She is somewhat helped by Truman, who sort of knows Obie – I could explain but it really isn’t that important or interesting.

The main trouble with ‘Smoulder’ is that Daphne is as emotionally accessible as a pile of house bricks, so she isn’t terribly likeable. She actually gets worse when she gains some vague emotional-depth towards the end of the book and makes a really dubious decision to (spoiler spoiler SPOILER!) take Truman out of Heaven where he is blissfully (and ignorantly happy) because she loves him and wants to be miserable together with him on Earth.

newcastle werewolf

(A friend posted this photo the other day and it was more memorable than this book)

What a happy ending for a Young Adult book, I am going to have to find a remote charity shop to return this one too because we really don’t need more emo kids in my current geographical location.

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