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THE BOOK -Kill Me Softly
by Sarah Cross
Bk. #1 of Beau Rivage
First published in 2012 by Egmont USA
Genre: YA Retellings
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I WON -Hardcover, 336 pages
Published in 2012 by Egmont USA
My Rating: 4/5 stars
THE PLOT -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, fairytales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.
But fairytales 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 fairytale curses of their own... brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairytales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.
When it comes to fairytale retellings, I'm always a little wary. I've had a few bad experiences in the past, so to find out that Kill Me Softly doesn't just focus on one tale made me nervous. I wasn't sure how Cross was going to combine a dozen different stories into one and it was with some trepadition that I opened the first page. That feeling didn't last long, however, and I soon found myself lost in the world that Cross created, and loving every minute of it.
Nevertheless, Mirabelle was a character whom I had a hard time connecting with. Her stubborn nature quickly became less charming and more irritating than anything else and I found her attitude towards certain characters quite unreleastic. Mira has a habit of making bad decisions, and while I learned to ignore her flaws, it did make it a little hard to get into the story initially. Once I started focusing less on Mira's annoying nature, however, I found it much easier to enjoy the world that Cross created.
When it comes to the romance, this book hit another wrong note. Instalove and a love triangle? If it wasn't for this author's writing and world-building, I would have put this novel down as soon as the realization hit. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I stuck with it, and the fact that the two romantic interests were brothers made it a little more interesting than most triangles. Strangely enough, I found myself emotionally invested in both Blue and Felix, despite not particularly liking the latter - though in hindsight, my slight dislike of the older brother felt right, especially after the final conflict was brought to light. Blue, on the other hand, I loved. Despite his seemingly cold and uncaring nature at the beginning of the book, he quickly became one of my favourite characters. When his curse was revealed, I found myself utterly absorbed in the struggle he fights through every single day. I can't say too much more about either character for fear of spoilers, but believe me when I say that Cross's extraordinary writing makes both the instalove and the love triangle much easier to swallow.
Though the plot is interesting, it focuses more on the characters than the action, and it can feel a little slow in places because of this. If you find yourself struggling with this novel, I highly recommend you stick with it. Cross has a way with words that will make you forget everything and focus solely on the story at hand, and her ability to weave half a dozen fairytales together, as well as incorporate them into a world we can imagine, is talent in its purest form. Despite feeling slightly underwhelmed by the final conflict, I was happy to let this go in light of the enjoyable experience I had with this novel as plot twists were uncovered and fairytales came to light.
Overall, Kill Me Softly is a fantastic introduction to the world that Cross has created, but I'm definitely glad that the companion novel, Tear You Apart, focuses on a different character - I don't think I could stomach another Mira book, despite having learned to deal with her. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate her, I just think Cross could have written her a little more relatable. Nevertheless, I have to admit that this novel would have received a 3 star rating if not for the beautiful writing and intense plot twists. Despite that, however, I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in multiple fairytales being brought together in a modern world.