Mirabelle’s parents died when she was a baby, and she has grown up with half-truths, courtesy of her two godmothers. But a week before her sixteenth birthday, Mira is sick of the secrecy and lies and runs away to Beau Rivage, the place where her parents died and the one place her godmothers have forbidden her to visit.
But things aren’t exactly what they seem in Beau Rivage, which Mira discovers as she treks the uncanny city alone. Here, curses blossom before her eyes and fairy tale friends make her acquaintance.
Before she knows it, Mira is the star in her own fairy tale, trapped in a curse that’s older than she is. As the heroine of a fairy tale, Mira is caught between two brothers, Felix and Blue, who both vie for her heart, as she follows a story that seems to have been written with an (unhappy) ending already.
Given the fact that Kill me Softly is a mash-up/rewriting of fairytales, it was pretty much a given that I would love it. And love it, I did. 😀
Cross’ language is simple and clear, yet still managed to evoke the poetry and prose of flowing fairytales. Her writing was graceful, which fit the subject perfectly.
The best part of the story was that it wasn’t predictable. Mira’s story is not based on one single fairytale, but a mash-up of many. Characters flit in and out of her story, and you get a hint of the stories their lives follow. What’s even more interesting is that their stories, and the curses they’ve been given, don’t just follow the sunshine and roses trajectory of Disney movies, but instead follow the grotesque and violent versions of Grimm and Perault.
The villain of the tale is also a surprise, and his tale is one that a lot of people don’t know about, but one that I loved studying when I was in university. I won’t give it away, but just know that it is quite gruesome and grotesque.
The romance was also played out nicely, while sort of obvious. Like the requisite brothers-who-are-rivals, Felix and Blue couldn’t be more different than day and night. But still, they share a dark and violent secret, one that Mira unfortunately discovers.
Mira’s friends, the other characters, also round out the story well, and they all have their own curses, or stories, that they’re following. The battle between fate and choice features strongly here, as each character tries to, unsuccessfully, break away from their curses and their stories.
The only thing that bugged me about this story was Mira herself. She was a bit too quick to fall in love with Felix, a little too naive and trusting. Her quick adjustment into the life of Beau Rivage was unrealistic, as she fell into an easy pattern within her one day of being there. Realistically, I’d like to think that a young girl, only fifteen, would be a bit more cautious, a bit more wary, but Mira was like an overeager puppy.
Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed Cross’ story of violence and betrayal, of fate and choice. Like any good fairytale, there’s a kiss, a villain, a hero, and a wish. If you love fairytales, you’ll definitely enjoy this!
Thanks for reading,