Author: Brenna Yovanoff
New South Bend is home to two kinds of people: those who acknowledge the deep roots of the town which can be traced back to the fiends rumored to still exist in the hollow and those who like to pretend this isn’t true. Clementine has been trapped in her cellar for years by a strong craft. Outside the world has moved on, forgotten about Clementine, until a boy named Fisher finds her and pulls her out. Ten years have passed and no one except for her cousin Shiny remembers who Clementine is. Years ago when the strange magic that runs through the town got out of hand, the ordinary folk took it upon themselves to purge the town, burning houses in warning to those who practice the craft. As Clementine tries to understand how she ended up in the cellar, strange occurrences begin to happen again and as much as Clementine doesn’t want to believe it, she may be the cause.
“When the first dark creature came slinking out into the sunlight, I knew that I should run–my head knew it and my feet knew it, but something in my chest said stay, and it was stronger than anything else.”
I have some mixed feeling about Brenna Yovanoff’s Fiendish. There’s this really interesting dynamic between the people in the town. Those untouched by the supernatural are prone to look down on those they deem “crooked.” Despite this, there are those who have no problem seeking out specific kinds of crafts like trickbags, just as long as no one knows they are seeking it. I loved the atmosphere in Fiendish, where the old families in town could be traced back to the strange and terrifying creatures known as fiends. These fiends are not just myths, but real beings still lingering about, all sharp teeth and infuriatingly insightful. They were by far the most eerie and interesting aspects of this book.
Fiendish was at its weakest in how it dealt with Clementine’s return to the living. She was locked away for ten years but the ease at which she falls back into the world gave me pause. There was no real transitional period and I’m still baffled by this. Clementine doesn’t seem tramatized by her ordeal, simply curious about who could have put her in the cellar. Most people don’t remember her and don’t know that she was locked up, but those who do didn’t seem to bat an eyelash at her return, at least not for long. I wish Yovanoff would have had this story take place over several months rather than just a handful of days because it was difficult for me to buy into her relationship with Fisher when she had spent the last ten years trapped underground.
I loved Clementine’s cousin Shiny. I thought she stole the show on more than one occasion in this book. She’s all sharp edges with a fiery temper to boot. She’s trying to survive in a town that doesn’t think well of her kind and she can’t rely on her mother who’s been broken ever since the burnings occurred ten years prior. Her cousin Clementine has just come back from the dead and doesn’t seem to understand how life in town really works. In the end, I think I would have enjoyed Fiendish a lot more if Shiny was the protagonist.