Kill Me Softly
by Sarah Cross
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Release date: April 10, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, fairy tales
"Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.
In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.
But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns."
I received this as an ebook from NetGalley.
I love fairy tale retellings, so I was really excited to get my hands on Kill Me Softly. It sounded like it was going to be a blend of a few different fairy tales, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was so much more than that.
Cross has created a world in Beau Rivage where everyone has a fairy tale that is their destiny, their curse. The fairy tales take on a dark edge where not everyone finds their one true love and not everything ends happily ever after. As Mira starts learning more about Beau Rivage and the fairy tales that are played out there, she slowly begins to learn what her role in it all will be.
Beau Rivage was a spectacular world to get lost in. Each time a character is introduced, I was trying to pay attention to the clues and figure out which fairy tale they were a part of. Some of them were from the original Grimm's fairy tales which I'm not very familiar with, but they definitely piqued my interest (and now I have Grimm's at the top of my to-read list). Meeting the other teens in Beau Rivage kept the story moving quickly, and each of her new friends had fantastic personalities and fairy tales that made me eager to keep reading to learn more about them. Although Mira sometimes made choices that made me roll my eyes, I thought she acted appropriate to her own personality based on how she was raised (a little sheltered, and thus some of her decisions were a little naive).
I loved Cross's style. Her writing is a blend of smart, witty, humorous, elegant, descriptive, and lyrical, coming together to form a beautifully crafted story with a YA edge that is sarcastic and snarky at all the right moments. The flashbacks of Blue's story that she inserted between chapters were absolutely beautiful and made it clear that fairy tales in Beau Rivage can be dark and deadly.
Kill Me Softly wraps up in an ending that could stand on its own, but I hope there will be other books to continue the stories in Beau Rivage, maybe focusing on other characters' fairy tales. There were some aspects of the ending that left it feeling a little rushed and a little too convenient. (SPOILER - highlight to read: Mira's curse playing out in Felix's secret room was wonderfully done and it kept me riveted, but then it was over and Felix pretty much disappeared. And yet it's made clear that he will come back for Mira since she knows his secret. I guess this is maybe just setting up for a sequel, since everyone seems to forget all about Felix once Mira is free? And then Mira's fairy godmothers very conveniently debut powers that do exactly what she and Blue need them to do. To the point where they can reverse time in order to make things turn out just so. I don't know, that just made the wrap-up too neat for me.). But overall, Kill Me Softly was an amazing book, one that I would not hesitate to read again. I would definitely pick up another book by Cross, especially if it's a Kill Me Softly sequel continuing another character's story!
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars