This is my far too long review (I've warned you, now it's fair game, my dears!). Embark on this journey, and you will emerge enlightened and probably...more This is my far too long review (I've warned you, now it's fair game, my dears!). Embark on this journey, and you will emerge enlightened and probably more than a little weirded out by me. Shhh, that’s okay, that’s a pretty baby.
Since I ramble, let’s narrow it down to three pros, and three cons.
1. “Funny.” You hilarious, bantering fiend, you. I love witty banter almost as much as I love PUPPY VERSES THE VACUUM CLEANER (if you haven’t seen this, I demand you walk away from your computer, putting down the Pringles as you do so, and find a puppy immediately). The point is, without some rapid-fire dialogue like “City of Bones” offers, a book drags you down with it into the long, drawn-out dredges of the crappy, I-published-this-myself-and-I-even-drew-the-cover zone of no return.
2. “Likeable characters.” I don’t know if I’m just a weirdo (don’t answer that), a hipster when it comes to book characters, or if ya’ll are simply nuts, but I like the main characters. That’s right, I’ll say it again: I LIKE THE MAIN CHARACTERS! You know I’m serious, because I bolded it, and as any amateur author would know, you should always blatantly bold, caps, and use exclamation marks to express how you feel. Oh, it’s also good if you include the word “really” in front of everything, so that people really know you mean it. Anyway: TANGENT. Notice I said “main characters”. That being said, other reviewers who are not fans of the characters have a valid point (see below), but for example- Jace? Simon? Even Clary? I felt they were all pretty well fleshed out, and they kept me entertained – which is the point, after all. I didn’t hate the main characters, which is nice, because that’s always immensely exhausting. You know why I didn't hate them? Because they weren't perfect. A lot of reviewers disliked Clary for certain behaviors, or Jace for being a narcissist. But what if they weren't this way? I'd cry because if I liked them for every single moment of every bloody line, I'd set the book on fire. I love imperfect characters. Yes, Bob, occasionally I like when they annoy me. I liked them all, in their own special way. Don’t worry, Simon: You’re still my super special little guy.
3. “Plot development – on with the show!” Books that go nowhere nearly kill me. There was one in particular that I've read that was dreadful (Sounds like: New Duds). You know what type I’m talking about: “Judy nibbled on the end of her fry nervously. She stared at Michael across from her in the faded booth. The small, rickety hand on the clock ticked to three.” And you’re like, “Okay, yeah. Cool, she’s eating fries, man. The clock is ticking. I’m listening.” And then, it goes: “She nibbled another fry. The sound of clock reverberated in her ears. Sweat poured down her cheeks. Michael continued to stare at her, saying nothing, like a painted mime. She pushed her fries around on the plate, before drizzling them with ketchup. The clock ticked-“ Holy cow. MOVE ON. I’m about to take that fork she’s not using on the table there and stab myself in the eyeball with it. Stop ticking, clock! Stop it. Do you not understand the writing concept of “passage of time”? Next scene, please. That’s what I am referring to. I think Clare (the author! I guess she likes to name characters after herself?) did a splendid job at moving the story forward. I never had those fork-in-the-eyeball moments, and that was refreshing. The book is fast-paced but not disorientingly (new word) so. I got just the right of action mixed with descriptor for my liking.
1. “Unlikeable and flat characters.” “Sacrebleu!” You cry, wearing your French beret and stick-on mustache that you purchased online last week – free shipping. Coincidentally, you also shouted this phrase and hocked a loogie when you noticed the tag reading “made in China”. TANGENT. So, how can I list characters as both a positive and a con? (Because I have to give it to the little guy). Actually, because I liked the main characters, yet I vocalized a “meh” whenever Alec or Isabelle were thrown a line. They were flat, which is a little understandable, because they weren’t central to the book. Even still, flat characters of any significance are a big, fat, guilt-ridden whopper sandwich of a no-no. I haven’t read the rest of the books in the series yet, so I’ll have to see how the author handles supporting characters then, now that she’s got one hit-seller under her belt. All I’m trying to say, peanut gallery, is your voice has not gone unheeded. I feel you, I feel you. (I just don’t really care).
2. “The usual plot holes and contradicting physical descriptors in YA novels.” I don’t know why this is, but Young Adult novels are specifically notorious for this. Maybe the editors just don’t give YA readers enough credit and realize that they really are going to notice if someone’s hand is described as “pale” in one scene, and then “brown” in another. So it’s a….pale brown? …What is she trying to say? – name that movie (Rhymes with: Shane Boston). Look, there were issues. I could see them, you could see them, future readers are going to see them. I wasn’t really deterred by it, because nothing in my mind about the little error here or there was central to the plot. They were little things that undoubtedly happen to every author at some point, so if you’re worried you’re going to read this and go “LIAR! LIAR LIAR LIAR!” While jumping up and down in hysterical rage because the author changed your daughter of a wealthy merchant princess-type into a street beggar orphan with a smart mouth half-way through the book, you can rest easy. The small errors in this book are really no big deal.
3. “Please don’t foreshadow me to death.” You maybe-sort-of gave some things away before you were ready for them to be revealed. Oops.
So yes, a long story made obnoxiously longer by moi, I liked the book very (“very” is as effective as the word “really”) much, and I plan on reading the others in the series. I would recommend if you like interesting plot lines and other YA novels, to give it a try.
….Did you seriously read this entire review? “Inconceivable!” (less)
I didn't like it. I know I have a few friends who would string me up by my toenails for this but I had to say it. The musical far surpasses the novel...moreI didn't like it. I know I have a few friends who would string me up by my toenails for this but I had to say it. The musical far surpasses the novel (GASP).(less)
Annnnnd my one word description for this novel is: Cute. I was not disappointed because the title, the synopsis and please let us this time not ignore...moreAnnnnnd my one word description for this novel is: Cute. I was not disappointed because the title, the synopsis and please let us this time not ignore the glorious cover, all hinted that it was a light, fluffy read. Things got rather interesting and the pace sped up in the second half of the novel, and I enjoyed that the author not only made the princesses a far cry from your standard princesses, but that the concept of the book was, at least to my knowledge, very original (I know it is a retelling of another story but it changes it). It is a good young adult novel with a heroine you will like and cheer for. Did I mention the cover has a gorgeous dress?
I suppose I ought to share the "ugly" as I rated it with three stars as opposed to five. I actually did not like the first half of the book very much and almost didn't read the rest of it. It felt like the author struggled to get to know a few of her characters and subsequently, some of the dialogue didn't really "fit" them. The king seemed to be the most challenging subject. The characters were a bit flat to me really, and given the unusual personalities of the princesses, I was disappointed with the way a few of them seemed to conform to the fairy tale version near the end. Lastly, I couldn't help but be bothered by the "quirks" that each character had. Not because they had these traits, but that it was constantly being pointed out. We are not forgetful enough that we need to be reminded the main character digs her fingers into her palm every other paragraph.(less)
If you are not well versed on the mythology of Cupid and Psyche, which, to a a mythologist would no doubt be a hideous and unforgivable crime (insert...moreIf you are not well versed on the mythology of Cupid and Psyche, which, to a a mythologist would no doubt be a hideous and unforgivable crime (insert wink here), then I strongly suggest reading the basics of the story before you read "Till We Have Faces." My reason for this is because the entire time I read the book, maybe because I'm dense or perhaps I was just really really tired whenever I read it, I kept asking myself: "When in the world is Cupid going to show up in this book?" You don't understand what I mean by that now, but when you read it you will. Let's just give my poor, overworked brain a benefit of a doubt and go with....I was tired.
I enjoyed the book. It wasn't a difficult read and it kept me interested from one chapter to the next. I don't, however, agree with C.S. Lewis himself (blasphemy?) with the idea that it is his greatest work. I prefer the popular Chronicals of Narnia Books. Why? This book is not a happy tale, and even though you go in knowing that it won't be rainbows and butterflies, you still expect C.S. Lewis to have a more obvious "light at the end of the tunnel" message. I mean, he was pretty blatant with the character Aslan in Narnia. We didn't have a hopeful character quite like him in this novel to help readers recuperate.
As always, Lewis knows how to write and tell a story, and that is what it comes down to. You can't be horribly disappointed with this book, even if you did expect a more "meaty" conclusion. Ultimately, I think that C.S. Lewis's trademark for religious connotation and inspirational lines painted him into somewhat of a corner if you will, and left me as a reader surprised and therefore confused when he veered from what was "normal" writing for him. Thus, I am totally biased.(less)