What a nice surprise (if one can use such a bland word for such a text)! This was quite good in a very dark and twisted kind of way (yes, i know it says so the cover...but covers can be misleading!)...
First of all, I should probably mention that I'm a huge fairy tale retelling's fan (you probably know this by now o_O)...
But, after a while, it does seem that I'm always reading the same old stuff. Well, with some exceptions, of course.
I admit, I wasn't expecting to read this book anytime soon, but I'm a sucker for pretty covers and, for no reason why, this one called my attention...
Expectations: Probably around a three star rating, with the heroes being the only likeable characters in the plot, and the supporting ones just there to fill the scenery... you know, the basics.
Let me tell you something about expectations... most of the time, they end up biting you... in the nose!
This was so the case! :)
The beginning should have given me some sort of "warning". Because not only was it interesting. It was different in a kind of dark, morbid, in the best tradition of the original fairy tales way!!(not so the original, but more in the Grimm's tradition..)
You see, our main character Cindy lives and apprentices with her father, who is the town mortician...
What is wrong with that, you may ask??? (resorting to a large number of exclamation points to indicate your outrage!)
But apparently in the time period in which the story takes place, _this activity was still very much in the beginning _ there was still a lot of... strange ideas.
We are introduced to the Charming line: Mr and Mrs Charming (not really in the pure sense of the word) had five boys, and it turned out to be a tradition, or a curse of sorts, for the boys to be married up until their twenty first anniversary.
Whether they wanted it, or not... (Mama being a tyrant and all that.)
Now, Christian is the last of the Charming's boys left unmarried. The younger of them all.
This is the part, where one could say: OH, Prince Charming! He's just like them all!!
Hum, (cough) not quite:
"He’d been anxious to have a look inside the Madison house for quite a while, but he hadn’t been fortunate enough to have anyone close to him die."
Christian couldn’t help but wonder what they’d do to her corpse. What would they stuff her body full of for preservation? What would they do with all the fluids they drained?
Would they gouge out the woman’s eyes or leave them within to settle as pools of mush?
As you can read, Christian couldn't be less interested in marrying. But give him a corpse to study and the guy would be more than happy! That's why, when he meets Cindy, he can't help falling in love. Even though he doesn't know it yet:
“Looks like one of the corpses is walking again,” she said flatly to herself.
A warm, admiring smile formed slowly on his lips, but she stood firm, unfazed by his actions of fondness.
“Who are you?” she asked. “You’re trespassing.”
“I’m just a curious fellow,” he informed her, taking a few steps closer.
“Well, Mr. Curious, I think you’ve wandered off in the wrong direction. Unless of course you have an appointment with the scalpel,” she said, holding up the shiny metal instrument that had been in her hand.
How could he resist falling in love?
He's so bored, he doesn't even care if the girl vaguely resembles a Reaper...
Now, all of this occurs in the very first pages.
But then one has the evil step sisters, who seemed a little too contemporary for me. Some introductions were done on a first names basis which sounded a little strange, and for a moment, i felt my expectations for this book going up in smoke.
But no! Although the action does take a little to pick up again _ but that's something that ends up happening in almost every story! _ when it does, you get whiplash!
It becomes really dark and twisted.
Christian starts sounding like an idiot, but that only makes him more real, and less of a static figure.
In fact, this is one of the author's greatest accomplishments. No character was written in the old "one dimension" tradition. In fact, there's a lot of grey in their making.
So, even when I was sure the introduction of some whimsical figure would make this story tumble like a house of cards, in the end, the author managed to make this all work out.
Another very positive point:
I had absolutely no idea where this was going! None!
Because when I though I could see where the author was going she would drop some kind of "plot bomb" and everything would go kaboom once again!!
IT WAS GREAT!!
So, the only reason I'm not giving this a five, is because I would have liked if the writing tone had been a little more consistent, you know?
I can't help feeling that this story, with it's Gothic environment, would have shone with a more formal language than the one it got.
But even so, it was pretty good, and the second part of it, I practically inhaled it...
In fact, I would very much like to see this title available in printed format, because this is one of those books that i really like (the favorite type!) to have in paper!
So, go and read this book!!