Monday, July 16, 2012

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

It was interesting picking up Kill Me Softly almost immediately after Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, because while both have fairy-tale retellings with a twist in common, they could not be more different. Unlike the sweetness of princes and princesses in Enchanted, Kill Me Softly is just as dark and twisted as the title and book cover would imply. My gut instinct is to describe it as if Dexter wrote a fairytale– but maybe Mary Poppins stopped by to make a few changes.

In Kill Me Softly, Mira runs away from the home where she lives with her two godmothers a week before her sixteenth birthday. Her parents died when she was a baby, and she has never visited their grave or her home town, Beau Rivage. However, when Mira gets there she discovers exactly what her godmothers had been hiding– it's a place where Grimm's fairy tales come to life, and Mira cannot avoid her fate.

I loved almost everything about Kill Me Softly, by which I mean, I loved it at its core but I have certain complaints with the execution (pun fully intended). One issue was that, for all that the reader is told that Mira has certain gifts, that she is beautiful and graceful and lovely, it wasn't really shown– which made the posse of boys she had chasing after her seem unrealistic, even for a fairytale. As a person though, I could definitely find myself relating to Mira, and I loved the elaborate plan she had for running away, but somehow her specialness didn't come through.

Unfortunately, Kill Me Softly was also one of those stories, like Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien, where I felt there were too many love interests. Only, in this case, it was especially obvious from the beginning who was Mr. Right, which made all the fluttering around Mira did annoying. In particular, her actions near the end made her come across as flimsy and frustrating. There's just too much insta-love, even for a fairytale. I just wanted a little more from Mira.

What I adored about Kill Me Softly was the dark, creepiness it has. It is when that darkness is at the center of the story that Cross is at her best, those Dexter-esque moments. Occasionally, it veers too much into the Disney happy endings– that's what I mean about Mary Poppins stopping by– and I wish it hadn't. The ending itself has me a bit conflicted because I didn't think it was as terrible or dramatic as it was intended to be, but I did appreciate that not everything got tied up perfectly.

Cross' writing is wonderful, she really brings Beau Rivage to life, especially the casino. There is also a large cast of secondary characters, but I felt like I could picture every one, and that each of them was unique and interesting, which I loved. The story itself was also incredibly original, and I loved the twist on the traditional fairytale. Cross has a definite talent at storytelling, and even if there were a few missteps for me I'd definitely pick up other books by her. There were a few moments in Kill Me Softly where I wanted things to be darker, or Mira to be stronger, but despite that Cross has written a rich and layered story filled with intriguing characters that surprised and delighted me.

Release Date: April 10th 2012  Pages: 336  Format: Hardcover
Source: Random House Canada  Publisher: EgmontUSA  Buy It: Book Depository

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting read that I need to check out. Thanks for the great info you give in your review.


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