Friday, June 3, 2011

Svelte Sweet

*Read this ARC via Around The World ARC Tours

This sweet book gets a 3 gnomes and a gnome hat out of 5 gnomes.  This is a great re-imagining of the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel.  All the basic parts of the story are there and enhanced well to cover a longer story.

There is a fantastic beginning to this story with the prologue that shows what happens in the woods to Ansel and Gretchen when they are chased by something and end up losing their sister.  Their lives aren’t the same after that day because no one believes them and rumors abound that it was their fault.  The grief of losing their sister, Gretchen’s twin,  really tears the family apart.  These two only have each other to rely on.  The first chapter starts years later after they are in their late teens and on the road.

They get stuck in a small town but run into some magical and paranormal obstacles.  The automatic hatred of any outsiders in the town seems kind of clich√© at first.  All the small towns I’ve been to seemed overly friendly and not hostile at all.  

Then they're introduced to the chocolatier Sophia who is also seen as an outsider by many in the town.  She has troubles of her own and seems to, as Gretchen notices, have two very different sides to herself.  One side of Sophia is always happy but the other when she drops the whole happy mask is horribly sad.  Sophia is one of those characters that you're just not sure about, she seems nice but well I know I would never trust anyone who smelled like candy all the time.  

There is some romance in the book but nothing over the top or anything.  One couple in this book works a whole lot better than the other because you can tell that there is no chance that one of the pairings will work.  This has to do with the characters and their parts in the story because there are strong hints that things aren’t going to end well pretty early in the book for one character.  The other relationship in the book is more surprising, also it just feels more sincere than the other relationship.  

I was pleasantly surprised to see that some elements from Pearce’s Sisters Red book were important in this book too.  This was a surprise because I wasn't expecting anything of the previous book to be part of this one.

The villains in this book kind of work on one level but I wish it was harder to figure out who one of the bad guys is.  There was no question in my mind while reading that one of the characters had to be a bad guy, I usually like to not have guessed that/know that right away.  The mystery of figuring out what the witch that Gretchen is so scared of is and whether or not the witch existed to begin with is a great guessing game.

There is some sweetness along with some cool paranormal elements in this book.  Gretchen is a great character who slowly grows over the book and by the end you'll really want to know what happens to her next.  

Overall this is quite the retelling of Hansel and Gretel that has some good points but could also use some more mystery.

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