Published by Egmont USA on April 2012
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
You couldn’t hide from bad things and pretend they didn’t exist–that left you with a dream world, and dream worlds eventually crumbled. You had to face the truth. And then decide what you wanted.
I’ve always loved fairytales. I remember in high school reading Beauty by Sheri S Tepper and absolutely loving the way it mixed traditional fairytales with a good dose of science fiction. As soon as I read the premise for Kill Me Softly I knew I had to get my hands on it and see if it could live up to my expectations and be the young adult version of its adult sibling. The story centres around Mirabelle a 15 year old orphan who has lived her entire life with 2 very loving but strict godparents. Shortly before her 16th birthday Mirabelle decides to defy their number 1 rule and return to the place of her birth to search for her parents graves in order to get some closure.
The town of Beau Rivage where Mira was born is not your ordinary town. This is a town that blends modern day diners and casinos with fairytale mansions and fates. Being born in Beau Rivage means you could end up being the handsome prince destined to rescue your very own princess, or you could end up cursed and a villain, perhaps abuse your beautiful stepsister, or eat a young girls grandmother. Happily ever afters in this town normally come at a price and Mira soon discovers that fate pulled her home for a reason just in time for her 16th birthday, an auspicious and often scary time for the teens of Beau Rivage.
While this book had some flaws overall I really enjoyed reading it. It’s a fun read and you can’t help but try and guess which character comes our of which fairytale. I really enjoyed that these weren’t the disney versions of fairytales and insted err towards the Brothers Grimm versions being fairly morbid and nearly always gruesome. Happily ever after also has some fairly strange outcomes, like the prince who found his snow white princess yet upon waking her no longer felt the attraction because she was too chirpy and bright. Being so in love with the handsome prince who rescued her, this version of snow white instead chose to drug herself so she walks through life in a almost catatonic state just so they can stay together.
The character of Mira was probably one of the weaker parts of this story, yes she’s 15 so I understand that some level of self absorption is to be expected but seriously this girl could be downright dumb. She ignores all advice given to her for the most frivilous of reasons and does stupid things anyway. I found her whole infatuation with Felix completely unnatural and unrealistic. Yes I understand he is meant to draw and attract girls to him, but Blue has the same curse and she wasn’t the least bit tempted by him. She also spent the middle of this novel being a world class bitch to people who had been nothing but nice to her as far as I could see. She didn’t really do anything redeemable until the end of the novel and I still had a few issues with that, overall I just didn’t connect with her and at times simply wanted to slap silly.
The love triangle, or is it a love square, was quite pitiful. I understand that it needed to be there to further the plot but considering she was deeply in love with Felix she seemed to forget about him a lot and would just turn up in the early hours of the morning ready to crash and only at that point remember to spend time with him. Blue who she apparently “hates” however she spends her entire days with and her relationship with Freddie is pretty awkward, I would have loved to have seen that fleshed out a bit more.
Now that I got those issues off my chest I can move on to what worked. The secondary characters were wonderful – I loved their little group, Rafe and his bad attitude, Viv and her complicated and creepy relationship with Henley, Layla and her gambling addict of a father I really could go on. Even though they didn’t get much of a look in I was greatly entertained by the Knight brothers – Wills and Caspian provided such good comic relief. The scene where they go with Caspian to the beach so he can attempt to drown himself to find his mermaid was fantastic and hearing Wills talk about his hopes that his Cinderella can at least read and write gave me a giggle.
All the different storyline threads come together brilliantly and I couldn’t put the book down I was dying to find out how it all ended. I can’t say too much about the finale without spoiling it but I will be interested to see if this does stay a stand alone novel or if a sequel does eventuate. While Mirabelle’s story wraps up fairly well, there were so many other entertaining characters that a spin off story centering around a different fairytale could easily work.
Overall I found this book very satisfying and think anyone with a penchant for fairytales would enjoy this. I can’t wait for Channel 7 Australia to start airing Once Upon A Time now!
– Fun fairytale retelling.
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