This is one of those books that I've been wanting, no - DYING, to read. The title, the cover, the summary, it all sounded so juicy and amazing and I just needed to read it.
At the same time it also ended up falling into another category - books that ended up disappointing me and confusing the heck out of me as well. Already about a quarter of the way in I could feel that this book and I weren't working the way I thought we would and I kept asking "WHY?"
The one plus side of this one was its cast of characters, namely Cami, Ruby, and Ellie. I loved their personalities and the plot that surrounded Cami - at least, I loved it until the "big reveal", which wasn't as big as I anticipated it to be. Ruby and Ellie were also rewritten versions of two fairy tale characters and their personalities were spot on, I think, compared to the original ones, and it's so pleasant to see an author breath a breath of fresh air into some well loved and familiar characters. Nico I was somewhat iffy about, and most of the other characters I didn't develop much of an opinion of, while some like the Seven I didn't understand even when I finished reading, which brings me to the one big downfall of this book:
THE WORLD-BUILDING. It wouldn't be fair to say it was non-existent, but it was rather limited. I barely got my head around the concepts of Twists, Charmers, and jacks, after they came up several times throughout the story. Other terms, like The Kiss, or Borrowing, or what exactly happened to leaders of the Family when they passed on and became Elders/the Seven, or even what the heck was this "whiskey and calf" that kept appearing several times as a small detail. The geography of this dystopian world was the one thing I'd say was non-existent. Yes, you have the rich areas and the Twisted areas where the poor layer lived, but beyond that I had no understanding of the concept the author was pushing forward. The same goes with the history of this world and what was known as "The Reeve" that occurred, from what I understood, after the First World War and was sparked by Tesla. I'm not surprised though if what I understood was, in fact, wrong, but that just goes to show how poorly these concepts were laid out for the reader's understanding.
Another thing though that I enjoyed was the twist that was put on the original story and that, in fact, this was a dystopian version of THE ORIGINAL tale, where there was also the hairpin and the satin ribbon/choker, both of which are commonly omitted from retellings of Snow White. The concept was by far the most original and interesting one that I've seen, and it saddens me that the world building and high level of confusion I felt while reading prevented me from enjoying this book as much as I thought I would. I mean you have an emotional ending, a main character that has a dark past and pains and does break down at times but at the same time also has a backbone and strength of will and the heart.
I will be reading the next book in the series - "Wayfarer" - to see if (hopefully) the level of confusion will decrease and if the wonderful personalities of the characters will be preserved. I also want to find out more about Ellie and Ruby as characters and for that I will persevere. This one, however, ended up to be much duller than the gem I hoped to find.