Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I first picked up Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much. Yes, the blurb piqued my interest, and of course, the cover was pretty—but with the growing number of novels cropping up in the YA department, it’s hard to separate the novels that you think you might fall in love with, or to buy a book that makes a big hole in your wallet that you don’t quite enjoy. So I was quite surprised when I read this book, and liked it.
The plot centers on a girl named Mira who is running away to her birthplace, Beau Rivage, before her sixteenth birthday to find out the reason behind her guardians’ secrecy and veiled words about that town. However, things start to fall apart when she finds out that it’s almost like a different world—a world where fairytales roam, and where stories awaken from black letters and white pages. And Mira is connected to that world, with a curse to her own—Sleeping Beauty, in fact. As romances bloom and with a mission to find out her trigger, the thing that’ll send her to an endless sleep, along the way, she starts the learn that every rose literally has its thorn.
World-wise, I have to admit that the world created in Kill Me Softly is one of the most interesting places I’ve read in YA fiction. The concept is original, yet I was able to follow it without any trouble. I have to admit that I haven’t read an actual fairy tale, save the Greek mythology phase I went back a couple of years ago. But I was quite surprised to learn about the darkness behind fairy tales, and the way it was presented blended smoothly into the story. I liked how Ms. Cross gave people their own different quirks, although she could’ve given more personality to the secondary characters.
Speaking of that, I think the characters are the weakest part of this novel. First of all, the main character, Mira, was a bit annoying to read, especially during the romance department, which I’ll be talking about later. Her decisions caused a mixture of the following emotions: the ‘WHHHYYYYYYY???’ and my personal favorite, ‘WTH!
That’s not it. Okay, there’s this unwritten, but well-known fact about writing: although you can make your characters evil and whatnot just as long as they’re readable. The thing is though, there needs to be some sort of reasoning behind the character’s motives AND make it understandable. You can’t just expect me to love that character when she lets her boyfriend boss her around because she just loves that kid too much, and it gets to the point he treats her like a slave. In that example, you know that she loves him. But what exactly makes her love him so much?
Those were the same questions I encountered throughout the book. Mira becomes one of those heroines to fall under what I like to call ‘InstantLuv Microwave Meals’, where she literally goes out and buy some sexy lingerie on, I don’t know—on the first day after she met the guy. The FIRST day.
Dude, even if you think you love the guy and you’re going to be together forevah, be logical. Even if this is your first time, listen to the clear side of your brain first. The romance for me was the weakest part of the story, since I just couldn’t tap into Mira’s emotions. If there had been a bit more explanation and parts that would make me go, “Oh, I get it now!” then I probably would’ve enjoyed the story more.
Between the two love interests in the story, my ninja senses kicked in and voila—I knew instantly which would be the sleaze and which one would get the girl. Maybe it’s because of the numerous YA plots and formulas that have been drilled in my head for years, but the love triangle was predictable. Blue and Felix both had their own issues, so they weren’t on the scale on full-on horrible. Although I enjoyed reading more about Blue, both of them were okay.
Speaking of the other characters, the way the myths were blended into their personalities was really cool. They could’ve been more fleshed out though. I really like Jewel, but we didn’t see much of her. Layla and Henley’s relationship was also one thing that kept me hooked, and again, although some details were given, not much was given. If a sequel appears for this book, I would like to know more about the other characters. Or, what the heck, focus on the side characters entirely! Their sides of their own stories could be a good read.
I was actually expecting the ending. Actually, that isn’t quite the right word. The perfect phrase would be ‘I-kind-of-knew-that-this-was-going-to-happen-but-I-wished-it-didn’t’. The ending does tie up those loose strings, and holds promise for a sequel—which I may end up reading. Despite the negativity one might think from reading this review, I did enjoy this book. The writing style was interesting and easy to get into, and the idea behind this was bloody brilliant. If some more things were straightened up, this would be an easy five-starred review for me.
In a Nutshell
For romantic YA book lovers who’re interested in living dark fairy tales, this is one book that you won’t want to miss out on. This is definitely a book with untapped potential. 3.5 stars.
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