Goodreads: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Series: Between #1
Published: August 15, 2013
You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.
Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?
Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.
I had been looking forward to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea at the time of its release in 2013, due to its promise of a steamy romance combined with a Gothic horror plot. However, the less-than-thrilled reviews I saw at the time convinced me to put my reading plans on hold. Recently I’ve been on a mission to knock some books off my TBR list on Goodreads, so I decided to give it a chance anyway, armed with the knowledge that a lot of reviewers I trust noted that the book is heavy on the romance and light on the Gothic stuff. However, even expecting an emphasis on romance, I was disappointed with what I got.
The short story is that Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is instalove X1000. There’s attraction the second the two characters set eyes on each, and they’re taking naps cuddled together on the sofa the very same day, musing about how attracting they are to each other and don’t want to let each other day. Without any actual build-up to the relationship, I was not invested. At all.
Worse, love interest River is not exactly attractive, at least in my personal opinion. He’s apparently physically attractive, but his personality leaves a lot to be desired. The protagonist even frequently reflects on how he’s a jerk and a liar and possibly a sociopath…but she just can’t bring herself to stop making out with him or loving him. I just can’t bring myself to root for a romance where the girl is so clearly hooked on someone she shouldn’t be, someone who is big trouble, and not in a sexy “bad boy” kind of way. (Because, seriously, this guy has issues he needs to work out.)
As for the plot, which is supposed to be part mystery and have a Gothic horror vibe, it doesn’t start until over halfway through the novel, and once it does, it doesn’t make any sense. Sometime after page 100, I started asking myself when the main plot was going to start because, for all intents and purposes, it simply hadn’t yet. Our heroes were too busy mooning over each other. However, I wasn’t impressed once it started anyway. Things happen quite suddenly, and not many of them are logical. Certainly I wasn’t getting any deliciously creepy Gothic vibes.
Unfortunately, my general impression of this book was that it wasted my time. I didn’t care for the romance, the plot, the characters, or really anything about it. I suppose I can say the premise was good, enough that I gave it a shot even after reading a bunch of low-rated reviews, but I certainly won’t be recommending this to anyone.