Friday, March 29, 2013

{Fairy Tale Fortnight} Book Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

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Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: April 10th 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: eBook via Library
Challenge(s): Fairy Tales Retold

Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own... brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

For the longest time I was afraid to read this book. When I initially found out about it, it was through raving reviews. It sounded unique and exciting, so I added it to my Goodreads TBR. But then all of a sudden so many of my favorite, most trusted bloggers were giving it 1 or 2 star reviews, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I was scared that I’d either hate it and feel like I wasted my time reading it, or worse love it and be the oddball out for loving what others thought was a piece of junk. I ended up falling into neither category, and making a new one for myself, an inbetweener.

Kill Me Softly had so much potential. Everything about it sounds to-die-for amazing! A girl discovering her fairy tale destiny in a world of teenagers living out the lives of fairy tale character? Yes! I will say that that aspect more than lived up to my expectations. Both the well known and lesser known tales were featured throughout the book. Stories like Snow White and Cinderella were there, in their full-blown Grimm glory (with a lot more blood than Disney ever spilled), as well as more obscure ones like Toads and Diamonds and The Red Shoes. This mix of fairy tales was fun, and my favorite part was probably picking out all the different elements.

I liked the minor characters for the most part, though they were drunk for the majority of the time. Seeing these classic characters reincarnated into modern teens was interesting. They were fresh and new, but still had their fairy tale essence intact.  

The biggest reason I just couldn’t fall in love with this book was Mira. From other reviews I’d read, and from my initial impression of her after the first few pages, I knew I’d have a difficult relationship with her. Even though she was gifted with both kindness and intelligence, she was pretty rude and selfish and not very logical most of the time. And when it’s revealed that everybody is a fairy tale character including her, she doesn’t freak out. It makes perfect sense in her head. She doesn’t question anything at all. If I were her, I’d probably pass out from disbelief and ask a zillion questions!

And there’s kind of a weird love triangle (square) thing going on. Mira, who’s 15; Blue, who’s 18ish (I don’t remember); Felix, Blue’s 21 year old brother; and Freddie, Mira’s “Prince Charming”. Already you can see how who wrong this sounds. Well, what if I told you that less that 24 hours after running away from home Mira (using her excellent judgment) sleeps with Felix (JUST sleep, but still). And neither of them sees any problem with the 6-year age gap, or the less-than-24-hours issue. In fact, they keep getting close to going a step further. In the mean time Blue, who can be a jerk but is nice deep down, is “just a friend” who Mira hangs out with during the day. He’s honest about his feelings with her, and she has feelings back, but she’d rather be with his sexy older brother. And then there’s Freddie, Blue’s friend who’s a super nice guy and is destined to be Mira’s Prince Charming and savior. But Mira doesn’t want to be with Freddie simply because that’s what she’s supposed to do. I can understand wanting to make your own choice, but she’s just plain awful to him!

Okay, that was a long mini-rant.

I enjoyed the mysterious aspects of the story. You were never quite sure exactly what was going on and who was who; never sure when Mira’s curse would begin. And the biggest mystery of all was who exactly Felix was. Some might’ve guessed it early on, but it took until the end for it to finally hit me, at which point it was so obvious I was almost embarrassed.

I really liked the writing and actual plot, aside from the fact that we were in Mira’s head for most of the story and have to deal with her…strange thought processes. The writing set the mood for the story. It was fast-paced and did a great job of keeping me interested in a book I might have otherwise set aside. In the end I enjoyed the book a lot, despite some big issues I had with it, and I definitely recommend that you at least give it a chance to wrap you up in it’s spell!

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Moderate Language, Sexual Content, and alcohol use by minors

[Multiple uses of S***, D***, G**, and more. Mira shares a bed with someone much older than her and wants to go further; she buys lingerie the next day; She kisses (or is kissed) by multiple boys, and most times the powers of the boys kissing her drains her physically, making her pass out (and in one case, nearly die). Near the end Mira is forcibly kissed (the intention being to kill her).

There are several parties over the course of the book, each one including excessive use of alcohol by nearly all teens. It’s also heavily suggested that certain characters are have sex with each other, though nothing ever gets explicit.]

2 comments:

  1. I was so disappointed by this book. It has such a great promise, but I just couldn't stand Mira! I did really like Blue though :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've heard good and bad about this as well, but not an inbetweener. I don't know if I'll ever read this. I'm a little scared of it as well. Thanks for your honest review!

    ReplyDelete

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