Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Kill Me Softly

Kill Me Softly

Title : Kill Me Softly
Author : Sarah Cross
Series : n/a
Publisher : EgmontUSA
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Source: BYU Library
Goodreads Summary: 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.
My Thoughts:
Style: Kill Me Softly is very well written, not only are the characters likeable, but they are also very dynamic. Sarah Cross also really knows her fairy tales. The way tales were incorporated in, and characters were shown as how they should be versus how they want to be, really gave a whole new perspective to everyday fairytales. A good story grows as it progresses, and becomes a work of art, I truly believe that Cross did this very well. By the end of the story the novel has progressed from a girl searching for her dead parents, to the same girl realizing the power of love and forgiveness.
Content: The story begins with Mirabelle running away just days before her sixteenth birthday in search of answers, and closure on the deaths of her parents sixteen years ago. However, the town of Beau Rivage is not what it seems. Upon arrival after searching unsuccessfully for her parents' graves Mira crashes in the café of the Dream Casino. Enter chivalrous Freddie Knight and down right rude Blue. After trying unsuccessfully to get Mira to leave the Casino, for her own good, they tell her they hope to see her in the morning, if she's still alive, and leave. Mira falls asleep in the Casino's fake forest only to be woken up by a very attractive and polite man, Felix, the owner of the hotel. He offers her shelter, rest and a shower. Mira willingly accepts the room he gives her only to be woken up at 7am by the boys from the previous night.
                 After breaking down her door and forcing her to come with them, Freddie and Blue take Mira to Vivian's house. There they meet a strange "evil" step-mother, a moody gardening boy, and a girl with a masochistic view on apples, pale skin, dark hair, and blood red lips. The day only gets stranger, at lunch Mira is introduced to Rafe a boy who acts like a beast, Lyla a girl who's beauty is only surpassed by her kindness, but who threatens Rafe with a hunting rifle. Later she meets Jewel a girl who coughs up flowers and diamonds, and Freddie's brother Caspian who is in love with a mermaid. People speak of curses and fairies as if they are everyday occurrences and yet refuse to tell Mira anything that makes sense.
                 Finally, Mira learns the truth, Beau Rivage is a town where fairytales come true. At birth, or later, children who have any amount of fairy blood in them are cursed. The people given these "gifts" may rebel as much as they want, but in the end they cannot stray from the path or put off the inevitable. Eventually Vivian's stepmother will crave her heart, at some point Lyla will have to teach Rafe the meaning of love, Caspian will find his mermaid, and Mira, Mira will fall into a sleep for a hundred years, or until Freddie finds her and kisses her awake. And yet not all curses end happily, Blue has done things he will not speak of, and Cinderella's step-sisters have cut off their heels and toes. And then there's Delilah the dark fairy who loves people who truly play their "roles" and who never gives anything out for free. Welcome to Beau Rivage.
                 At the base of the story is the tale of Bluebeard, one of the darkest fairytales, it's the story of a man who murders his wives for fun, and keeps their bodies in a closet upstairs. When he marries a new wife he tells her that she can go anywhere in the house except for the closet upstairs. Of course she opens it anyway and finds the countless bodies of the women who came before her. In her haste to the leave the bloody room she drops the key, and no amount of scrubbing will get the bloodstains out. So it is that when Bluebeard returns home he knows what she has done, but just as he is about to kill her, her brothers arrive and kill Bluebeard freeing their sister.
                  Because Kill Me Softly focuses on the darker aspects of fairytales, there are some parts that are pretty grim. There are also a few "bordering-on-inappropriate" moments between Mira and Felix, as well as Blue. There are also some swear words as well as a random kissing scene between two women, but as it happens in the back ground, it's nothing to worry about.
What did I think?
I really enjoyed Kill Me Softly, in fact I read most of it yesterday after my classes ended. I didn't even leave the couch until my body started to get hypothermia and I had to find a blanket. (It's really cold in Provo right now.) I LOVED the characters and the way that Cross portrayed them. I also loved the themes throughout the novel of roses, and what they can represent. I thought it was interesting how although Mira dreaded her curse throughout the whole novel thinking it would be her death, in the end it was her salvation. I think that a theme in this book was that everything is double sided. Curses can be good and bad, fairies can give and take away, appearances can be deceiving, and in the end, your death can save you.
              Okay, so just for a moment I really need to talk about the cover. I mean, wow. It's gorgeous. As a book cover designer I really appreciate well done covers that reflect the novel itself, and not just a moment in it, but a concept, or deeper meaning. The white rose dripping blood does this. It hints at the beauty of a rose, but also its' sharp thorns which cut and slash. However, it also represents that beauty can hide something as foul as murder. Felix literally uses roses to hide the scent of his crimes, but it can also be figurative too, everything has a double meaning, and nothing is what you think it is. I would recommend this book to lovers of YA with an affinity for the darker side of fairytales.

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