After 10 years after being sealed in the cellar of her home, Clementine DeVore is found and released by a boy named Fisher. Returned to her remaining family, she finds that most people in town have no recollection of her ever existing in the first place.
As she learns of the power that she and her friends are connected to, she also learns that they are inextricably linked to an event that threatened to bring destruction down on her home; and Clementine’s return brings with it signs that this threat could be returning.
If there is one convention that ruins a lot of the writing for me, it’s this idea that a romance between the lead character and some barely defined yet somehow immediately all-important love interest is somehow necessary. I’m not against romance in a general sense, and I think it’s great when it’s done right, but when it’s wedged into a story as if it’s just something that has to happen, because of course it does, it annoys the crap out of me.
So, yeah. Want to take a guess at what my main problem is with Fiendish?
I think what bugs me the most about it in this particular case is that, putting aside the ham-fisted “romance” (if you can call it that), there’s actually a pretty cool story here. There’s power, mystery, the potential for growth and self-exploration, and the hint of a dark history that could have spanned multiple books if it were handled correctly. There was so much potential. And, instead of any of that, we get a lot of time spent with Clementine chasing after a guy who’s broody, and not all that interesting if you take away his own abilities.
If more time had been spent on any of the numerous other aspects of the story that actually were interesting (like, I dunno, the fact that Clementine is first introduced as a girl who’s been essentially buried for ten years? That could’ve received a bit more attention), Fiendish could have been a great book. It could have been so much more.
But it wasn’t, because of course there had to be a silly romance.