Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

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Available January 27, 2015

An edgy fairy tale retelling of "Snow White" set in the world of Kill Me Softly for fans of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Faced with a possible loophole to her "Snow White" curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who's fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrificing the love that might kill her?

Tear You Apart is follow up to Kill Me Softly and is the second in the Beau Rivage series. Ever have it happen where you’re done with a book, thought it was good and don’t think about again until months later?  That’s my experience with Kill Me Softly. I thought it was such a creative but frightening spin on those age-old stories, wrote my review and that was it. Months later it popped into my head and I found myself wanting more from this crazy town of Beau Rivage where people live out their fairy tale curses. Some manage to break them. Some find loopholes. Others succumb to them.

It took me a few pages to get back into the rhythm of this bizarre town. It seems like any average modern town except here, everyone is looking over their shoulder for the inevitable to happen.  Viv has the unenviable Snow White curse and has known this forever. It wasn’t so bad at first especially since her boyfriend Henley, who's also been her best friend since childhood, had sworn to protect her from the huntsman who would eventually come for her. So guess who turned out to be that Huntsman? Yep. Talk about ill-fated. Each page seems like another punch to the gut as you see what Viv has to endure – fear of being killed and by whom, her wicked stepmother Regina, who’s had it in for her, her own father who’s about as affectionate as a rock.

It’s easy to get annoyed with Viv at times because she’s not the sweet, innocent Snow White we know from folklore. No, in this rendering she is paranoid, obstinate and confused. And I had to remind myself that I couldn’t blame her for being that way. Worst yet are her unresolved feelings for Henley. They’re so in love but neither can deny that the curse hangs over them. She’s in constant fear that any day now she’ll die at the hands of the huntsman and fate being as cruel as it has so been far, it’d be at the hands of Henley. It’s a tug of war between these two lovers throughout the story as they fight their feelings and one does what they think is right to protect the other.

Viv jumps at a possible solution head first without really thinking it through and you know how that goes. I won’t spoil the rest but she does her best to work out her curse to see if she can find any gaps in it that she can use to her advantage. What I did like to see was her change in attitude – from being victim to having a say in her own fate. 

When you analyze fairy tales closely, they’re freaking disturbing. We don’t see that as kids but as we get older, that realization becomes more apparent. Obviously we need to remember the context they were originally written in. Which is why I have to hand it to Sarah Cross for undertaking this task of reimagining folklore and giving it new life, especially when it comes to giving young girls voice and strength in a medium that has historically been undermining of the female gender. She achieved this in Kill Me Softly, and Tear You Apart is perfect for anyone who wants to experience an even more twisted side of these fairy tales and see how these characters rescue themselves. It's very dark and grim with plenty of dysfunctional relationships happening. But getting lost in this world of Beau Rivage and its people is absolutely magical!

~ Bel

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