Arc Provided by Berkley Publishing Group through Netgalley
Book Status: Already Released ( October 18th)
Here's the thing: I've never been a Sherlock Holmes fan. I would see some "Poirot" episodes, "Miss Marple", "Murder She Wrote", but I never had the patience for Sherlock. serialization with Cumberbatch didn't improve matters, because I really dislike Cumberbatch's weasel... face. -_-
Tony Stark, I mean Downey Jr, was able to make me sit quietly for a couple of minutes in front of the screen, but not enough to make me want to finish watching it...or maybe it was that Watson dude. *cough*
I do however love House and Wilson! So maybe not all is lost? ;)
But I digress. This story, well by now it must be painfully obvious that I didn't request this because of the character...
I requested this because of the author! Sherry Thomas would probably make me read a book about Hannibal Lecter! *okay, maybe not*
I've read the author's historical romances. Her _until now_ only contemporary (please, give me more!). Even two of her YA trilogy, so of course I had to read this one. A female Sherlock? Yes, please! Surely she wouldn't be as annoying as Cumberbatch's performance.
I'm afraid that after having read this, I'm no longer sure. Reading this was very strange. And uncomfortable, because I couldn't understand her. But maybe that was to be expected?
Charlotte, future Sherlock Holmes to be, left me wondering in those first pages if she had some level of autism, because if so, that would explain some things.
But then she started talking, and I was left wondering if she was trying to impersonate Dr. House's aloofness. But later on, the girl has the beginning of a panic attack... so I guess in the end she's more like Wilson. But we do end up having a Watson in the book, so that was a little redundant: that overflow of emotions.
By now you're probably saying that none of this makes sense... well that was what I felt at the beginning of this story, so join the club! ;)
Back and forth without actually seeing the events taking place! Hello? This had so much telling, it became absurd. This was supposed to be about the beginning of Sherlock's career, and we don't get to see it!
And what about Charlotte's decisions... are you kidding me? Where is their logic? So, Charlotte Holmes, our main character... how can I say this?
She became a little tiresome. A little like Sheldon, but less funny...
Then there's the other characters: there's Liv, one of Charlotte's sisters. Then two other sisters. I can't remember their names. Then there's the mother (who is an abusive bastard), and the father, who is a lying bastard. Lord Ingram, who ends up being the most interesting character in the book, but he's married, and that makes him a fool. Although not as ridiculous as Charlotte, because Charlotte wins first prize.
There's a Scotland Yard Inspector to whom it is given way too much time in this book, with countless (hours and hours of my life were wasted forever) interrogations that suck the life out of us.
That means that a lot of people die during this story: don't worry, you won't care about any of them. In fact, if you're anything like me, you'll probably end up mixing the whole gang!
In the end, the thing improves a little with all those deaths being perfectly resolved and all that, but it really is impossible for me to forget the fact that for probably three quarters of the story, I was extremely bored by it.
However, I have to give credit where it is due: even with a boring story, Sherry Thomas's writing style is still two hundred percent better than that of other writers.
This was a cute Cinderella's retelling, with an unexpected main character: Prince Char of the Northern Realm... who happens to be a rat. A royal rat. lol
Now Char is an industrious, fast on his little feet, smart prince, who happens to have a soft spot for poor Lady Rose, who has been nicknamed Cinderella by her wicked stepmother... Char is well aware that the well being of his kingdom depends on getting rid of Cinderella's stepmother: the women is dead serious on poisoning all of Char's people. And that, simply cannot be. That is when Char devises a plan. He will help Cinderella get to the ball so that she can meet the prince and hopefully getting him smitten with her. With Cinderella as Queen, Char hopes to at last have some peace at his home. Good plan, right? Now if only Char and Cinderella would understand one another... With the help of a recovered family heirloom, Char and Cinderella end up getting much more that what they were expecting. Like I said this was a cute retelling. Fast paced, well written, I think younger readers will probably have a blast with this. For me the only downside, is that I can't help wishing that the romance had taken longer to develop, and that in the dialogues between the love birds hadn't relied so much on "cheese"... if you know what I mean. Sometimes, less is more. And this is destined for a younger audience so...
I am not going to forget that I wasn't crazy about this story's beginning.
I am however going to say that it does improve in a spectacular way: the sort that leaves you wondering what is going to happen next, when you finally have to go to sleep.
Yes, I had a hard time with the beginning. I actually went back and start re-reading it once I noticed that a certain word _kit _ kept being repeated by the male character. Over and over.
I think I counted it being used thirty times in just a few pages. And I kept wondering, why not call her "sister" or "my sister"?
And the answer finally came to me towards the end due to the character's personality. So, there, a thing that I wasn't "getting" actually had a purpose that I was missing.
The other thing that I wasn't crazy about had to do with the changing pov's. Well, not the pov's per se, but the way they were told: For the guy, we have first person, for Princess Will we have third person. I don't know if I was being picky, but the thing got annoying... until I stopped paying attention to it and I started gobbling up pages as fast as I could.
Because I honestly cannot pin down the page in which I got hooked by this story.
Once the characters started to grow on me, I probably was a goner...
Will is not your typical fairy tale princess. She has felt inadequate her whole life by comparison with her older sister. The perfect one. The one with the classical beauty, and the petit measurements. Her relationship with her mother _ the former Sleeping Beauty _ isn't perfect, but she has her father to lean on.
She knows she's not perfect. She longs for someone she can't have, but she doesn't let that define her.
She's rational and resourceful, and she knows that in the end she will do whatever her kingdom needs: even if it means abandoning her studies on magic.
You may not like her in the beginning, but I bet that you will come to respect her in the end.
I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, or too much on the characters, because that's half the fun, so I'll just say that Will and the one that will not be named ;) are wonderful characters, and that I loved reading their story.
Let me tell you that this book starts in an amazing way: Have you ever wondered what happens after a supposedly "happy ever after"?
Well look no further, this story's beginning definitely focus on that part of Agatha and Tedros story.
Is it all flowers and fluffy kittens?
After all Agatha does live in a cemetery and her cat that bald and wrinkly thing has very specific tastes: He's not a fan of princesses and princes -_-
So once again the author picks up in a bunch of stereotypes and gives them a swift kick in the head.
It's great! ;)
By now you're probably wondering if I found this part so great, why did I gave it only a three star rating...
Well,... THE STORY IS BLOODY LONG!
And it gets being long, by constantly undermining all that is happening. It got frustrating. It got tiresome.
By the middle of the thing I was ranting with the book: there was a couple of dozens of pages... strike that, make that two/ three hundred pages that should have been cut!
Longer isn't better, when you start getting annoyed by the constant back and forward sentimental activity messing with your feelings that the author introduced here. There were times I felt I was reading a New Adult novel with a very twisted love triangle. Argh.
The introduction of the "old" fairy tale characters was a good point: the interaction between our new heroes and the others provided some comic realief... exception made to the moments that were heartbreaking.
I liked that once again the author made sure to spread a lot of positive messages throughout the whole story:
_ No to body shaming.
_Yes to friendship.
The biggest problem for me and the reason why this gets only a three star, is that despite all the positive messages that this has, I cannot help ignore, that the main subject of the book, the relationship between Agatha, Sophie and Tedros ended up being a big mess. Especially when it comes to Sophie's part. After all that she had been through, I was expecting more from her: More growth, less idiocy.
What she does to her "friends" is not something a friend would do. And if that could be explained by where she ends up by the end of the story, I was never fully convinced of what ends up happening.
As for other positives, there was this twist, that I never saw coming, and that I loved.
Really well done, that.