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.
It seems like re-tellings, re-boots, and re-imagingings are all the rage this days. At first I was kind of a fuddy-duddy curmudgeon about these, grumbling about no new ideas and such. I’ve since had a change of heart. Now I can enjoy a good re-telling, including those of fairy tales. Especially when they are of the Grimm variety as opposed to the Disney variety, and Kill Me Softly falls into that category.
Overall I liked the book a lot. It was an interesting spin on a bunch of old stories and the various fairy tales were weaved into the main story really well. The characters were well fleshed-out for the most part, and those who started with secrets to hide had them revealed as the book went on.
That said, there were a couple of things that I didn’t like. First of all, it did skeeve me out a little that a 21 year old guy (Felix) was trying to hook up with a 15 year old girl. Granted she was almost 16, but frankly that’s not a whole lot better. That may have been the norm back in the olden days – my grandparents were those exact ages when they started dating in 1950 – but in modern times we have a name for that kind of thing, and that name is “statutory rape.” Maybe I’m more of a fuddy-duddy than I thought, I don’t know, but ew. And I also found it kind of annoying how obsessed Maura was with Felix in a very insta-love kind of way, but I guess maybe that was part of his curse. Why else would she be so in love with this guy she met so quickly? The thing was, she was just SO STUPID when it came to him. I get that she was naive and maybe his charming personality won her over (for the record, it’s never charming for a 21 year old to pursue a 15 year old), but come on. And again, ew.
Blue, on the other hand, starts off extremely prickly and grows on you as the book goes on and more and more about him is revealed. What are his real motivations for trying to help Maura? There was a bit of mystery to him and I liked that a lot.
Other than that, I liked the book quite a bit. I thought that the characters were interesting and their, um, afflictions were quite unique and well imagined.The supporting cast of characters is charming (pardon the pun, ha!) and funny. The world building is also pretty cool. It actually could have been a little more over the top since they were basically living out fairy tales, but at the same time I like that the author didn’t go completely batshit and create a town that couldn’t possibly exist in this reality.
If you’re really familiar with fairy tales you might have an inkling what’s up with Felix but I was gleeful, since it’s one of my favorite creepy old stories. And if you’ve never read the particular tale that applies to him, you will definitely want to as soon as you finish Kill Me Softly.
Overall a really good debut and worth a read.