Jason's Reviews > Jasmyn

Jasmyn by Alex Bell
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's review
Jan 28, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2012
Read from January 24 to 28, 2012

4 Stars

This is a dark adult fairy tale that itself is based around a fairy tale. You have a deeply depressed widow, Jasmyn as the main protagonist. She is a broken woman of 27 years of age that loses her husband after only a year of marriage. She quickly finds things to be “Off” and not quite right. First she is plagued by weird and strange feelings, like being followed. Then the dead black swans, black roses, mysterious men, and piles of bones all turn up and her life heads into the unknown and bizarre. With “help” from her dead husband’s brother Ben, Jasmyn goes on a journey to discover the mystery behind the secrets of her husband.

This is a fast read and fans of Catherynne M. Valente and even Neil Gaiman will find a lot to like in this fairy tale. The plot is very intriguing and filled with several cool twists and turns, and even though the ending becomes a bit apparent, it is still satisfying.

Alex Bell writes well and her prose is competent and descriptive:

“Suddenly, the idea of swan princesses and lonely kings and enchanted voices and aggressive knights did not seem quite as preposterous as they had by the light of day . . . I tore my eyes from the castle and glanced around at the surrounding trees, picking them out in the darkness. When a branch rustled somewhere close I turned my head sharply, for a moment genuinely expecting to see a huge, ornate sleigh come around the corner, complete with black horses and swans . . . But there was nothing there and, in another moment, everything was still.”

Bell makes the story interesting by giving us a really cool old world German setting, where the landscape becomes a character too. The castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are right out of most fairy tales and makes this one that much more interesting and real.

I enjoyed the twists and found the ending to be better than I thought that it would be. The line between the real and the fairytale for Jasmyn made this book a lot of fun to read. I would have never thought that Swan Knights would be cool, but they were. I recommend this book to both adults and the YA crowd and look forward to reading more from Alex Bell.
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