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.
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by EgmontUSA
Four stars: A fun retelling of a fairy tale that exposes the darker side of happily ever after.
Mirabelle's sweet sixteen birthday is one week away. Instead of joining her two godmothers in the exciting planning, she instead tucks her head down and pretends to read. She is about to embark upon a daring adventure. Mirabelle can no longer stand it. She has to find out the truth about her parent's deaths and see their graves in person. She has no intention of being here for her birthday. Mirabelle plans to leave tonight to visit the one place she was forbidden to go, Beau Rivage. This was the place of her birth and her parent's demise. Mira feels that she can't live completely happy until she has her answers. After dark, she sneaks away and soon she is in Beau Rivage. Of course, things aren't simple and easy and Mira is soon discouraged. At fifteen, she can't rent a hotel room, and she has found no traces of her parents. She seeks refuge in a flashy casino called Dream. She hopes to hide away in the shadows and perhaps catch a few winks. A blue haired, pierced boy approaches her and quite rudely urges her to go, before his brother decides to take pity on her. Mira has no intention of being bullied by this blue haired punk. Luckily, a bit later the handsome casino owner, Felix, finds her and offers her a room for the night. Unbeknownst to Mira, she has entered into a place where fairy tales are much more than printed stories with happily ever after endings. Here in Beau Rivage, many if the inhabitants are the reincarnations of many of these storied characters. Unfortunately, as a marked fairy tale character it is your destiny to fulfill your story, good bad or ugly. It is a place where a first soft kiss can be deadly. Where roses indeed have sharp thorns and a happy ending is not guaranteed. Can Mira find her parents or will she succumb to her fairy tale fate?
What I Liked:
- I loved the town of Beau Rivage. It is a place where fairy tale characters live alongside normal people. I particularly enjoyed the various characters who kept popping up and guessing their fairy tale identity. Some where very familiar like Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and others were new to me. It was fun to see how the author reinvented everyone.
- I liked that she based her fairy tale characters on the darker Grimm's fairy tale versions. Throughout the story fairy tale characters are revealed and then their Grimm version of the story is told. I was fascinated by the more sinister tellings of my favorite fairy tales.
- I enjoyed the tragic character of Blue. He strides on scene as the rude bad boy, but he is so much more. He is a tortured soul, haunted by his fairy tale destiny, willing to die if necessary to escape his cruel fate. I liked the way the author incorporated flashbacks of Blue's past so I could see into his soul. The more I got to know this bad boy, the more I loved him. I was cheering for him the entire time.
- I admired the author's writing style. She is engaging and descriptive and writes some wonderful passages.
And The Not So Much:
- I struggled with Mira continually going back to Felix despite the repeated warnings from Blue and others that she was in danger. Even when she uncovers the dark curse that plagues Blue and Felix, she is able to pull away from Blue, even though she is developing feelings because she knows the danger, yet she still runs back to Felix after she witnesses first hand the harmful consequences. I found this a little hard to believe.
- This novel presents a love square. You have Mira conflicted over the bad boy Blue and his handsome brother, Felix and then the weaker role goes to the would be prince charming to Mira's fairy tale character. I will refrain from mentioning his name to avoid spoilers. This prince guy is obviously taken with Mira and in fact part of her destiny. In the end you have a girl pulled between three boys. I guess this was slightly better than the triangle since it was different but the basis of the story revolves around Mira choosing her love interest.
- The book follows as one of the main story lines, Mira finding what happened to her parents. Again I can't discuss this at length without revealing spoilers. Mira does find out some intriguing information about her parents but the story ends without her ever following up on it. I was a bit disappointed in this aspect since this was one of the main story lines.
- The ending felt a bit abrupt. There is no cliffhanger and it draws to a satisfactory conclusion for the most part but there were three nagging unanswered questions, the parent issue, what happened to Felix? He just seems to disappear. What were the intentions of the fairy? Why did she drive Mira to open that room? I am not sure there is going to be a sequel because the book seems to conclude. I can see the infinite possibilities for the author to continue this story while expanding on the fates of many of the other characters in the book.
Kill Me Softly was an entertaining read that follows fairy tale characters in the modern world. This book exposes the more ominous versions of our favorite fairy tales, making it clear that kisses can be deadly and thorns can prick and love can kill. If you are a big fan of fairy tale retellings then grab a copy of this book. I personally enjoyed seeing many of my favorite characters brought to life in a modern world. Make no mistake, being a fairy tale character does not mean you are guaranteed happily ever after!
"Girls became victims and heroines. Boys became lovers and murderers. And sometimes...they became both."
"Bliss and Elsa were big on birthdays. They said every year wad a gift, not a guarantee, and ought to be celebrated accordingly."
"His eyes hovered around Mira, like a bee distracted by a flower."
"He leaned in then, and his lips brushed her cheek; and for a moment he was all she could see. Her world was reduced to the warmth of his lips, the hint of smoke on his clothes, and the tang of his cologne."
"Her skin was chalk white, her lips were red-pink like pomegranate seeds, and her nair was black as a stroke of Chinese calligraphy."
"There was a crack in him, in the person he wanted to be. It was a crack she recognized, because it was in her, too."
"It was the kind of kiss you vanished into. Everything disappeared except the sound of her breathing. The smell of her red hair: passion fruit and raspberries."
"Love destroys you."
"He needed love so badly he felt like he would die without it. And he hoped he would."
An Advanced copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, EgmontUSA, in exchange for an honest review.