Author: Cameron Jace
Publisher: J A W I G I
Length: 286 pages
Source: Purchased Book
What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?
Sixteen year old Loki Blackstar is no Prince Charming. His mother is a ghost. His only friend is a red Cadillac that sings to him through the radio. He looks like an Angel but acts like jerk. No wonder he has been banned from Heaven, which is the least of his troubles. Loki needs a job to pay for school and support himself.
Still, Loki has a rare gift: He is a Dreamhunter. One of the few in the world who can hunt and kill immortal demons in their dreams so they never wake up again.
When Loki is sent to kill a sixteen-year-old vampire girl the locals call Snow White Sorrow, he is pulled into a magical but dangerous world. The locals believe the monster to be Snow White.
The real Snow White... living in the ruins of an ancient castle in a small town. She is described as horribly beautiful, terrifyingly enchanting, and wickedly lovely.
What he finds instead is a beautiful monster girl filled with rage and hurt, who has an epic untold story to tell of things such like why the Brothers Grimm altered the fairy tale, who the Evil Queen really is, where the mirror came from, and who possessed it.
Snow White has killed every person who has dared come near the castle where she once lived with the queen. Mysteriously, she lets Loki live, and whispers two words in his ears; two words that will change his life forever.
Protagonist: Loki Blackstar is a kid with no past. The earliest thing he remembers is the past year. He's told he has one year to kill ninety-nine vampires in order to restore his place in Heaven and his status as a Half-Angel Dreamhunter. So at first I wasn't sure what I thought of Loki. I mean he's a fairly likable character, but his insistence on getting back to Heaven, a place he has never seen and only heard of felt a bit off. However as the book progresses his view of the world is changed and he begins to focus on who his future rather than his past.
Romance: So I'm very on the fence about how I feel about the romance. It starts off with a slow burn, I guess, but it's more like Loki's interest is piqued by Snow White, and then in just a few hours they fall in love. Now these few hours are very intense and part of me can really see them believing they've fallen for each other, but no matter how intense the time is I don't truly believe they could actually fall in love in just a few hours. Since this is a fairy-tale story I figured I wouldn't let it bother me and just bask is the quick romance.
World-Building: So like I said this is a fairy-tale book, but for about half the book I wasn't getting the fairy-tale vibe I was hoping for. Maybe the prequel novellas kind of ruined it for me. I mean going into it I knew it wasn't going to take place in a fairy-tale-esque medieval world and that it would take place in a more modern day setting, but still I think I expected a more fantasy or urban fantasy touch to is that wasn't fulfilled with vampires, witches, and werewolves. However once we reach the second half, there's a lot of fairy tale wonder to explore. I won't say much but it sort of makes up for the lack of a magical fairy-tale presence in the beginning. It's about time to hear the real Snow White tale. P.S. Sorry for the awkward transition but I wasn't sure where to put this or how to get there, but there is a plot hole of sort, well actually there are a few things that didn't make sense and not in a "We'll find out later" way, but this specifically didn't make sense. We meet Loki in the second prequel Ashes to Ashes, Cinder to Cinder and well let's just say something don't really add up.
Writing: So, my biggest bone to pick with this book is the writing. This is a Young Adult novel, however it has this Middle Grade cheesy quality to it that really bothered me, I mean it was so cheesy that even if this was a Middle Grade novel I would have gotten annoyed with it. I felt like the author was trying to tone down the book where he should have embraced it. I mean in certain scenes where things are getting dark there's usually some sort of moment of humor or levity that completely undercuts the darkness of this tale. I mean embrace the darkness especially when writing a dark fairy tale. Sometimes the writing felt a bit awkward too, like things just didn't click like they should have. Now the grammatical errors, miscapitalizations, and formatting errors I can get past, but I decided to mention it for those who can't.
Predictability: I wouldn't say this book is overly predictable, mainly because like I said for about the first half of this book not all that much happened. However, after this book takes off there's a lot more that happens and a lot of twists. Some things that surprised me just sort of happened.without explanation and no real build up to it, just sort of Deus Ex Machina style. When things are foreshadowed and make sense though things are really cool. There were a few twists that I was able to catch onto, but the biggest twists, the things that I could never quite predict didn't happen until the very end.
Ending: So when the final climax started I didn't know what to expect. It didn't go down like I thought it would, but the scene was actually rather badass, though there was that weird level of humor to the darkness that annoyed me. When things started to cool down there were quite a few twists, these are game changing, crazy, and revealing twists. Everything culminates in a rather heart shattering cliffhanger.
So this book was a bit of a disappointment, or rather a large portion of it was. I was hoping for something more fantastical and fairy-tale-esque, and while the story picked up toward the end and became very compelling, with the weird writing style and the damage already done, there was still a lot that just really disappointed me. The silver lining though is that the next book holds a lot of promise.