Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review: Bewitching - Alex Flinn

Bewitching by Alex Flinn
Genre: YA, fairy tale retelling
Published on February 14, 2012
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 336
Read From: 7.8.12 - 7.9.12

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't. 
I go to a new school now - one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I'm not still here because I'm stupid; I just don't age. You see, I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years - except for when to take my powers and butt out. 
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don't even want to think about it. 
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn't get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the right thing to fix that girl - and it isn't an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know that will happen when I start bewitching.


Cover Blurb: If I didn’t know this Author’s work already, I probably would not have picked the book up because of the cover. It screams dark romance, and I don’t do dark romances. And if that’s supposed to be Kendra, for some reason I just never pictured her looking like that. There’s also the obvious fact that this book leers at me, and I don’t like leering covers. That said, I do love the title’s font - I’m glad the Author keeps that font theme for her fairytale retellings.

What I Liked: Kendra is super funny. I never got much of a sense of what sort of humor she had in Beastly, but this one really revealed her true nature, and I really like her. I loved the retelling of Hansel and Gretel, as well as the other two fairy tales that Kendra ends up telling as a sort of “back story” to her decisions. The gingerbread children were definitely in keeping with the oddly entertaining gruesomeness of the Grimm fairy tales (sorry to break it to all the Disney lovers, but fairy tales aren’t fluffy little stories filled with charming talking animals; far from it). The interplay between Emma and Lisette is wonderfully well developed, and I loved the flip in their roles. The Cinderella character is actually the rotten one, while the stepsister is the girl who is really misunderstood. Loved it! Emma is a completely relateable protagonist, and I found her doubly so because of her bookishness. While I groaned over her continued efforts to dismiss Lisette’s frankly spoiled behavior (because we Readers just know where this is going), I couldn’t help but give Emma a little mental pat on the back for trying to think good thoughts. Lisette is great fun to hate, especially when the Reader finds out just how manipulative she really is. Emma was far kinder than I would have been.

What I Disliked: Quite honestly, I didn’t dislike any of it. I don’t normally go for such girly reads as this, but I just found this particular book so entertaining that I honestly cannot complain.

Believability: There’s gingerbread houses, children baked into gingerbread children, mermaids, a witch posing as a teen. Believability doesn’t really apply to this story.

Writing Style: It is very modern, but with a story like this, I can accept that. Modern-based stories need a modern feel, right? Just as Victorian-based stories need a Victorian feel, and Medieval-based stories been a medieval feel. The Author injects a lot of humor into her writing, especially with Kendra’s little comments in between Parts, but there is a certain amount of seriousness that balances the story well.

Content: None, other than a few wild parties referenced, but nothing indecent.

Conclusion: While things end on a “happily-ever-after” note, and Emma is far more forgiving than I ever would be, Lisette’s comeuppance was satisfying enough that I didn’t feel cheated out of a good showdown.

Recommended Audience: This is most certainly a girl read. I would never make a guy suffer through this, even though I liked it and I generally don’t like girl reads. Fans of fairy tale retellings that want something completely different from the usual will find this satisfying.

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