Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Book:  Kill Me Softly
Author:  Sarah Cross
Publisher:  Egmont
Date:  April 10, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  Solid A

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.

My Review

This is not your childhood's fairy tale!  Although the author occasionally tips her hat to the Disney versions that we all know and love, she’s sticking to the original Grimm Brothers versions here.  The blurb on the cover should say something like:  “Welcome to Fairy Tale Town:  Where All Your Dreams, and Nightmares, Come True!”

Wow!  This book became a real page turner for me, somewhere around 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through it.  Make no mistake about it; there is definitely some kitsch in this book.  After all, how else can you do a fairy tale story in a modern day setting?  But it didn’t take long before I totally ignored that and got sucked into the story.  And what a story!

One of the fun things for me in this book was trying to figure out who was part of which fairy tale.  Some of them were easy to spot (Snow White and Beauty and the Beast), but others were much more obscure.  I’m ready to go sit down with the original Grimm tales now and see what I’m missing.  I’m not going to tell you about the more obscure ones because I don’t want to provide any spoilers, but the reveal of the original tale blew me away!!!

I loved the characters in this book.  They were not flat, one-dimensional fairy tale cardboard stand-ups.  And they easily could have been written that way.  There were a few that were close to that (Freddie, for example) but it was interesting to watch these teens, and adults, try to navigate their lives and have some choice even though their fairy tale curse would eventually make decisions for them.

I think this would be an excellent book to read in an English class.  The debate here on how much of life is your destiny and how much you have control over yourself could last a whole semester.  Not to mention trying to figure out the fairy tales.  This could be a great book to end a unit on the original Grimm tales.  But it's not for elementary school kids!

The other thing that I liked about this book is that, like the original tales, the author was not afraid to be gruesome.  And there was definitely gruesomeness and crudeness and evil here!  This book reminds us just how much Disney cleaned up these tales in order to provide the saccharine sweet versions we know today.

The book wrapped up rather nicely, but it still left some questions hanging around.  I’m not sure if a sequel is planned, but there is definitely an opening for one.  I hope there is one because I’m really interested to see what happens to a couple of the other characters, or what has happened to them already that we just didn’t get to see.  But, if she doesn’t write another one, this one still left me with a satisfied feeling at the end.  It also left me with a feeling that just perhaps, some parts of life could be chosen, not pre-destined.

This book gets a solid A for me.  I love fairy tale retellings and this one was great!  The author blended together many fairy tales and made it work and has given me a lot of food for thought.  As well as an urge to sit down and read gruesome fairy tales.  I’m not sure if I’ll be wishing on a star any time soon now!


  1. I have had this on my TBR list for a while now. I think I'll push it up. Thanks for your thoughts. Your blog is beautiful. Come by mine if you get a chance.

  2. Thanks for the the review! I'm looking forward to reading this!