Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Towering - Alex Flinn

Towering by Alex Flinn
Genre: YA, fairytale retelling
Published on May 14, 2013
Published by HarperTeen
Pages: 293
Read From: 8.9.13 - 8.9.13

High in my tower I sit. I watch the birds fly below, the clouds float above, and the tall, green forest stretch to places I might never see. 
Mama, who isn't my mother, has kept me hidden away for many years. My only companions, besides Mama, are my books - great adventures, mysteries, and romances that I long to make my reality. But I know that no one will come to save me - my life is not a fairy tale after all. 
Well, at least no one has come so far. Recently, my hair has started to grow rapidly and it's now long enough to read the bottom of the tower from my window. I've also had the strangest dreams of a beautiful, green-eyed man. 
When Mama isn't around, I plan my escape, even if it's just for a little while. There's something - or someone - waiting for me out there and it won't find me if I'm trapped here towering above it all.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Despite the character impersonator, I actually really like this cover. Something about the snow and the tower and the white dress all combined totally captures my attention, and tells my bookworm senses that this is going to be one great book. Well, it didn't like - completely.

Characters: Wyatt, the true protagonist of the story (not Rapunzel), presented problems for me. On the one hand, he was a nice enough guy who didn't drink and helped out whenever he could. But he was just a little too guy for me, and there was something about him that prevented me to from becoming attached. Now, I am sure there are plenty of Readers out there who will get attached; I'm just not one of them, and I'm not entirely sure why. I just . . . didn't really care. Rachel - AKA Rapunzel, - on the other hand, I really liked. She was innocent and classy and curious, and also brave. She did what needed to be done when it needed to be done with very little hesitation.

The Romance: This is what didn't meld very well with me. Wyatt and Rachel's attachment to one another is very sudden. It is, in fact, one of the most sudden romances in written history. Maybe because I wasn't attached to Wyatt, the rapidity of the attachment bothered me more than it might have if I had liked him better. But I've been a fan of fast romances; they aren't realistic. And this one is no exception. Not to mention that Wyatt is the first male Rachel has ever met, so she doesn't know anyone beyond him.

Plot: When Wyatt comes to live with Mrs. Greenwood - the mother of Wyatt's mom's childhood friend, who mysteriously disappeared, - he doesn't expect anything exciting to happen. Mrs. Greenwood lives in the middle of nowhere, in a town where everyone knows each other and internet is a thing of myth. But when Wyatt arrives at Mrs. Greenwood's house, he's greeted by the ghost of Danielle Greenwood - Mrs. Greenwood's daughter, who went missing several years back and was never seen again. Wyatt isn't sure what he sees is real or a figment of his imagination, but the discovery of Danielle's diary makes him wonder just what happened to Danielle - and whether she could, in fact, still be alive. Okay, sounds relatively exciting, right? It, in fact, sounds like a mystery, right? Towering actually did take on a Gothic mystery feel that I wasn't expecting, but don't get too excited. While I enjoyed the overall concept - [Spoiler] a magical drugring selling a plant called rhapsody [End spoiler] - the story fell down in areas, mostly in pacing. As I have said earlier, Wyatt and Rachel's romantic attachment is way too quick. It's no exaggeration when I say that they are passionately kissing and saying, "I love you" after two minutes of meeting one another. Yes, they share this special telepathic link because Rachel is Danielle's daughter, and Wyatt is part of some prophecy that doesn't even get mentioned until the book is well past halfway done. I'm still not buying it. The only thing that keeps the first half of the book from dragging is the Gothic feel to it, as Wyatt reads Danielle's diary, is followed by a stranger, and keeps hearing a girl's singing when no one else can (hint, it's Rachel). But then a bunch of stuff is sprung on the Reader: an ancient prophecy, a special brush that holds a key Wyatt and Rachel will need, and Rachel's special healing powers that is strangely, and dangerously, similar to Disney's Tangled (only without the chameleon). There are some great ideas in the plot! But it's too rushed.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: First person, past tense. There are two narrators: Wyatt and Rachel. Wyatt is the principle narrator, and he's all right. I enjoyed Rachel's more; she had a better narration voice due to her havng only read classic literature all her life.

Content: 2 s-words.

Conclusion: Now that the prophecy is sprung on us Readers, it's also time to reveal this ages-old curse the whole town is under! And all of those people who mysteriously disappeared over the years? That has a magical explanation as well, and the villains . . . Well, it's just a tidy, and ultimately rather disappointing, end for everyone. I liked the concept of Towering, and it had great potential. But it was rushed and sprung too many things all at once at the very end. And I didn't care about Wyatt.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, ages fifteen-and-up, good for fans of modern fairytale retellings.

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