Wow, what a wordy title. It is however the perfect description for the three books I want to talk about in this post because they do leave me with conflicted feelings. They are books I read in June that I hoped would be fast-paced, and deliver on hype surrounding them.
First off, we’ve got A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer.
This Beauty and the Beast retelling promised to be dark, twisted, and a wild ride from beginning to end. It’s definitely twisted and dark where the character of Lillith is concerned, but it wasn’t wild, or wild enough for me to read this in one sitting like most Beauty and the Beast retellings. For me, that came down to its haphazard pacing. It was instantaneous at the beginning when Harper was whisked off to Emberfall, but then the rest of it felt sluggish until about 80% of the way through when it quickened up again. Honestly, I found it a bit off-putting.
It also didn’t help that I couldn’t connect with the world building and where Emberfall is in relation to Washington DC. I know it might not be the detail to focus on, but I like knowing the precise details of the veil, how the two are connected and how Emberfall came to exist, and I didn’t get any of that. Yes, we know who can cross over the veil but that’s it!
When it comes to the story as a whole, the plot was okay and I like how it developed, but Harper is its saving grace. She is determined, strong-willed and her cerebral palsy was well-represented to the extent I could switch her out with a friend of mine who has CP and there wouldn’t be much of a difference. Of course, it is one of those conditions of which there is a vast and varied spectrum so the rep won’t be the same for everyone, but it did feel well-researched and part of Harper’s character. As the rest of the characters go, Lillith lives up to her namesake, and Rhen and Grey are the Beast and Beast’s closest ally that I always enjoy reading about. The only aspect I didn’t like about the overarching story apart from Harper’s brother (insufferable idiot) is the love-triangle. Nine times out of ten, it’s unnecessary and does nothing for me. I thought we’d be past needing them by now, but obviously not.
With all that in mind, it’s definitely my least favourite Beauty and the Beast retelling. I know I can’t expect to like every retelling of my favourite fairytale, but at the same time I didn’t anticipate it having a few of those tropes and details that do bug me nowadays.
Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin
Sometimes weird is good. Sometimes it gets you so enthralled that everything going on around you is a blur. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I felt that way with this. For me it was too out there to ever feel connected to the characters and get lost in the story. Instead the story lost me. I can’t even tell you most of what I read, and all I do know is that I didn’t particularly like the obsession Mae and Rossa individually had for Bevan, (their Aunt’s ward). However, I did appreciate the message that love hurts and doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
I think this is just one book that isn’t for me.
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
First off, I love the concept of this book. I love the world created in space and the fact there is a rag-tag team of characters, including one who is 200 years out of her own time. It is a space opera that reminds me a little bit of Star Trek or Firefly and I’m quite partial to that every now and then. However, I was a little underwhelmed with this book I and became annoyed with it as a whole for a few reasons:
1# all the characters seemed to mould together and I’d forget which POV I was reading – not ideal for a multi-POV book.
2# the incessant declaration that Tyler is the “Golden Boy.” I think I got it after the first 20 times, thank you.
#3 the semi-predictable ending and not really feeling anything at all when a certain something happened.
The thing is, I had a very similar experience with Illuminae the first time I read it and it was only until I listened to the audiobook that I really loved it. I have an inkling the same could be said for Aurora Rising when I’m finally able to get that on audio too. For now I’ll sit on the fence with it. I can see why people love it, but it was’t the crazy ride I expected it to be.
As we might be able to establish, all three books ended up being 3★ reads. In that sense, I don’t know what I’m more annoyed with, the fact that all three books contained tropes I don’t particularly like, or that I should have known better in being blinded by the hype that I don’t take my reading tastes and experience into account.
Oh well, I live and learn!
Have you read any of these books?
If so, what are your thoughts?
As always, thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!