**** (4 out of 5)
I won this book in a GoodReads giveaway. If you have never been to GoodReads its an awesome website where you can keep track of all the books you have read, and the ones you want to read. Its also great for getting info about books, series and authors. In other words I am a huge fan. They also have this section for giveaways where you can enter to win free books (Yay!!). In return they ask that, if you win, you write a review. (easy peasy). So checkout the giveaways page, and remember to only enter for books you are actually willing to read!
Anyway, back to my story. I won this book in a giveaway. Usually when you win a book they send just the book, but Carolyn Swanson went way above and beyond. In addition to signing the book, she also wrote me a nice little note and gave me a $15 gift card to Starbucks. (Yum!) Nothing is better than curling up in a snuggley blanket and drinking hot chocolate while reading a good book. Or, in this case, the second best thing is reading sprawled out on the back porch, enjoying a slight breeze and drinking some passion fruit tea (cuz 90 degrees is too hot for a blanket and hot chocolate). It was super nice of Carolyn to include that, and I hope her book does really well because, she seems like the kind of person that deserves it.
I debated giving this a 3 instead of a 4 so really its like a 3.5 and I rounded up (I promise it has nothing to do with the gift card and everything to do with the goods outweighing the bads.) Overall I really liked the story but there were a couple things that bugged me.
Lets start with the good:
I LOVE fairy tales!!
And this book nailed it! It has all the components needed for a fairly tale; princes, princesses, villains, love, friendship, curses, jewelry, and fights. But Carolyn did not just retell the same old fairy tale, she created a brand new one! She found a way to incorporate all the classics (with her own twist of course) while creating a completely unique tale. I could not put the book down, I got hooked! I just had to find out what happened next! (I read waaay past my bedtime)
I love Aylan and Garrick, they felt so real. Their relationship was super believable even in the midst of a fairy tale (however, like all fairy tales, they fall in love very quickly, though that is not a negative against the book). All the other characters were great too. Gala’s internal struggles made her particularly relatable. The fight between doing the right thing and doing the thing you feel compelled to do is a very real issue that people deal with an a daily basis.
Overall I would definitely recommend this book to everyone (children, young adults, adults, old adults, etc.) who needs an easy read with a feel-good story.
Now for the bad
The beginning was slow and confusing. I had to re-read a couple sections to figure out what was going on. If you are going to read this book PLEASE stick with it past the beginning! Its worth it, I promise.
And the ending left too many questions. Specifically: WHAT HAPPENED TO GALA?!?!?! Cliffhangers are fine, but this is not really a cliffhanger. (I am trying really hard to not include any spoilers so I can’t express exactly what I am feeling. ) But the last time you see her its unclear what happened and then she is kind of forgotten for the rest of the book. I would have also like some more details on the ship. For starters, who was on the ship? Was her brother there? How did they react? You know Gunner is there, but it sort of glosses over everything, and I would have liked to know what went down, and WHAT HAPPENED TO GALA?!?!?!
If you are thinking about reading this book, don’t let these negatives deter you!!! The story is worth it! I really really enjoyed this book! I can’t wait for the sequel.
P.S. I can’t figure out how to pronounce “Aylan” which really isn’t a big deal but I am still trying to recover from the whole “Hermione” debacle.