Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Beau Rivage #1

Kill Me Softly

Rate this book
Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sarah Cross

39 books411 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,989 (30%)
4 stars
1,869 (29%)
3 stars
1,592 (24%)
2 stars
656 (10%)
1 star
328 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,137 reviews
February 26, 2014
None of the girls was asleep, drugged, playing, waiting.
They were dead.
They had been killed here.
She wanted to be horrified. It seemed sick to be jealous, too, but she was. It hurt to know he’d loved so many other girls; that she was not special, not unique.

Mira Lively is 15 years old. Upon the occasion of her birth, the evil fairy cursed her to be doomed by incomprehensible stupidity.

I'm just partially kidding.

This book exemplifies almost everything that is wrong with YA literature.

1. A love square. What's better than a love square? One in which all three brothers are in love with you, of course, silly!

2. Insta-love

3. The acceptance of abuse and stalking as a something that is not to be rejected

4. The acceptance that sexual abuse is really the girl's fault because she's uncomfortable with it (between a 15-year old and a 21-year old, no less)

5. A too-stupid-to-be-true heroine, or as I like to call them...Luce-Bella Syndrome

6. The complete absence of parents, and further than that, the absence of parental figures

7. A piss poor, completely unexplained setting

8. An important, dangerous heritage that is kept secret, AKA: lol-i-ain't-telling-u-nothin-bitch-itis (see here for definition)

9. A beautiful girl whose milkshakes brings all the boys to her yard, who doesn't know it

10. The disparagement of all the girls in the book in order to flatter the main character

The Summary: Mira Lively is 15 years old.

Her parents are long dead. She is being raised by two kindly ladies, her godmothers (hmmm...). They have spared her from the foster system. They having been kindly, loving to Mira for her entire life. Her godmothers love her, adore her.

Mira is about to break their heart by running away.

Why? They won't tell her anything about the town in which she was raised. Her godmothers are overprotective (hmmm...). How?
“I’m not allowed to ride in my friends’ cars. I’m not allowed to get my license until I’m eighteen. I’m not allowed to date. Not allowed to watch R-rated movies. Not allowed to go for walks after dark. Not allowed to play with sharp objects. The list goes on and on.”
In other news: WELCOME TO MY CHILDHOOD. Mira, you seriously just described the typical high school years of an Asian teenager with overprotective parents. You just described MY teenaged years. Did I ever fucking run away from home because of this? Fucking no. Because my parents would have beaten my ass. You are a fucking ungrateful little bitch.

Mira is 15 years old.

She runs away from home to the town of her birth. Why? Because she needs some motherfucking "closure." She will get that closure if she saw her parents' grave. I don't fucking know how that works. It just makes sense to Mira.

Mira is 15 years old.

So she runs away from home, with no plans other than to sit, moaning and crying, at her parents grave. For closure.

She gets to the Magical Town. Beau Rivage. It doesn't exactly work out like Mira planned. Mainly because SHE HAD NO FUCKING PLANS IN THE FIRST PLACE BESIDES FINDING HER PARENTS GRAVE.
It was one in the morning and she was alone in a strange city, with her duffel bag next to her, a play cracked open in front of her—and she had nowhere to go.
This was not the triumphant homecoming she’d imagined.
Mira is 15 years old.

She is too young to actually rent a room at a hotel. Naturally, the place where she would blend in just fine as a 15 year old would be a casino, it makes perfect bloody sense to me. Oh, wait, that's not going to work?
Casinos were open all night. She’d figured she could sit in the café, maybe doze off with her head on the table, and no one would care. But now that she’d been there three hours, Mira was starting to think her predicament was obvious. That some gambler would see a “helpless” girl in a frilly blouse and shorts and hit on her. Or some slot-playing grandma would spot a “runaway” and call the police. Or both.
Once upon a time, obvious fact is obvious.

Mira is 15 years old.

She is harrassed by a handsome stranger with blue hair. She is rescued by another handsome stranger, a kind one, his brother. They offer to get her a room in the hotel. She turns them down, because they're harassing her!

Good for you!

But wait.

A handsome stranger, a 20-21 year old man, starts talking to her. He offers her a room in his hotel. She accepts, because it's not harassment if it's a HANDSOME stranger. Handsome is MUST BE handsome does, right?

Mira is 15 years old.

Strange shit is happening. Birds and shit are flocking around a really pale girl (hmmm....), a girl speaks to a mirror, which answers back (hmmm...). Another girl is talking while flowers are spilling out of her mouth.
She pressed the handkerchief to her mouth, and when she pulled it away, Mira saw that the cloth was full of sodden flowers: shiny-wet violets, tiny daisies, delicate pink bleeding hearts. All fresh and flecked with blood.

By this time, I would be freaking the fuck out! Mira...she's not exactly panicking in terror.
Mira’s forehead wrinkled with confusion. Sometimes this place was just too weird.
Oh, my goodness goshness. Weird! That must be how you describe a place where fairy tale tropes come to life, right? Magic exists! Fairy tales exist! Is it fantastic?! Is it extraordinary?! Is it incredulous? Wild beyond all boundaries of imagination?

No, it's just...weird. Way to be fucking anticlimactic.

Mira is 15 years old.

The boys just won't leave her alone! One is so nice, so utterly nice! Like a little puppy following her around. Actually, animals do follow him around. His name is Freddie. Such a nice, ordinary name for a nice, ordinary guy designed to be friendzoned into the fires of Mount Doom.

The other is an asshat. A jerk. He insults her, he treats her badly. His name is Blue. He has blue hair.

The other is a handsome 21-year old. Felix Valentine, now there's a name! He's interested in her, her! He makes her heart go pitter patter. She can't stop thinking about him. There's just something about him. He makes her breathless. He makes her mind spin in bliss. Her eyes roll backwards in passion! Talk about insta-love, man!
Her cheek burned like she’d been lying in the sun too long, and she stood perfectly still, not wanting to break the spell.
After a few days of knowing each other, they share a bed in his hotel room. He gropes her boobs.
His hand grazed her breast, and her breath caught in her throat.

Mira is 15 years old.

Why, however will Mira choose between the three brothers?

Oh, and there's some shit about a curse too, whatever. Lol.

Acceptance of Stalking: Guys keep following Mira around. She yells at them, but doesn't really do anything about it! They show up in her hotel room in the middle of the night!
...the bolt on the door had been breached, and the door had been flung open and slammed hard against the wall. A slender, dark figure moved swiftly through the room—
And pounced on the bed.
Appropriate reaction:

Mira's reaction:
Mira settled back and did her best to calm down. Maybe Felix would punch Blue for her later.
Why do something yourself when there's a big, strong man who can take care of it for you!!!!!!

Acceptance of Sexual Advances: MIRA. IS. 15. YEARS OLD. Felix is 20, 21!!!!! They should not be in the same bed together after a short time of making each others' acquaintance! He should not be groping a 15-year old girl's boobs! That is a minor sexual offense!!!!!!

And Mira...she shouldn't be feeling forced into it.
She wanted to do something, to show him she could be natural at this, but—she couldn’t. Her body had gone rigid with apprehension.
She shouldn't be feeling guilty for rejecting his advances.
She wandered out into the empty suite, trying hard not to cry. Her embarrassment from last night came flooding back.
Are you fucking serious?! MOTHERFUCKER! Oh my god, this is so wrong!

It's a Mira-cle She's Still Alive!

Let's see if we've named all the stupid shit Mira's pulled. She runs away from home without a clear plan of what to do. She gets there and doesn't know what to do...surprise, surprise. She allows herself to be groped, to be stalked, she sees crazy shit and is like...huh...what's going on? ;_;

She's the naivest, dumbest little shit in the whole world. The fact that she's 15 doesn't really excuse her inane idiocy. She acts all of 5-going-on-15.
Mira pouted at him. It was obvious there was something he wasn’t telling her.
NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. Oh, and she has plans for this town. You know how Rick in The Walking Dead has...stuff...things...to do? Mira is much of the same mindset.
There are things I need to do here, and I intend to do them.”

The Setting: The story is not exactly like Once Upon a Time. Here, the characters are born into a trope, like literally born into a fairy tale trope. They are Romantics, Honor-Bound, etc. And they are forced to live out their destiny depending on which trope they get.

The thing is that the town's inhabitants are surprisingly nonchalant about that shit. It's like there is no big secret at all. Within hours of meeting Mira, an outsider, they allow her to see all the weird and crazy shit happening, like flowers falling out of a girl's mouth. Like a talking mirror. Like animals flocking to a certain guy.
“Um, little animals flock to him like he’s made of candy.”
They don't keep any of this shit back. They talk about curses, they talk about spells.
“What’s all this curse talk?” Mira murmured to Freddie.
“Just a joke,” Freddie said, flashing an unconvincing smile.
How the fuck is it that this town is so hidden away from everyone in the outside world when the inhabitants don't bother to keep it a secret?

The Romance: Every fucking trope in the book. We have the classic Bad Boy.

The one who constantly makes fun of her, who calls her stupid, who hates her.
“You know, you are the most...despicable person I’ve ever met.” Mira’s fingers tightened around the Cinderella’s Secret bag. “You don’t even know me, but you insist on being a jerk to me every chance you get.”
The Bad Boy who secretly likes her.
“I didn’t say he wants to like you. Just that he does. Maybe because you act like you don’t like him, so he feels a little safer."
The Nice Guy who is eager to do anything for Mira.
“Would you like me to carry your bag?” Freddie asked. He looked a little guilty—but hopeful, too.
“But I’d like to do you favors.”
And the handsome, Mysterious Guy, too-beautiful-to-be-real man she can't stop thinking about. Who's a statutory-rapist-to-be.
She threw her arms around his neck, swayed toward him, off balance, and kissed him violently, possessively. Come back, she thought. Stay with me.
“I bought—a sexy nightgown,” she said. “Do you want to see it?”
Mira is 15 years old.

Which one of them will provide her with a killer (ha!) love?! I'm just partially kidding about that killer part.
But the one thing she hadn’t expected to find was a kiss that could destroy her. A kiss that—if it hadn’t ended in time—could have been her last.
She shivered all over at the memory. Both terrified and wanting it to happen again.
Profile Image for Mimi.
265 reviews359 followers
September 24, 2013
Warning: This will not be your average review. I loved it too much for that.

Kill Me Softly is Brilliant with a capital B, Adorable with a capital A, and PERFECTION in all caps! It's easily my favourite book of the entire year. I loved it so much that, when I went back to skim a few passages to write this review, I ended up re-reading the entire book! Let me just show you what my copy looks like right now:

Kill Me Softly

I never, ever put sticky notes in a book — I just never have the time! (Being a blogger and all.) That's how you know that I have to love a book to EPIC proportions to want to take the time to go back, re-read it, and mark up my copy like this. ♥

So instead of attempting to be professional about this (in which I would fail), I'm going to list Five Epic Reasons why Kill Me Softly deserves to be read by everyone! :)

1. The World

This is not your average fairytale re-telling, and it doesn't deal with your average Disney fairytales either. It's based on the original Grimm fairytales, where Cinderella's stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to fit into the glass slipper, and happily ever afters are uncommon things.

In Beau Rivage, the people are cursed with a fairytale. They know their fate before it happens. Some are meant to fall into an enchanted sleep; some are cursed to cough up jewels; others are forced to do unspeakable fairytale things. It's addicting and enchanting and utterly enthralling. It's the most original portrayal of fairytales that this fairytale-loving girl has read in a long time! :)

2. The Breathtaking Storyline

Kill Me Softly starts with Mira running away from the home of her godmothers to find her parents's grave in Beau Rivage. All on her own, she meets two brothers: One snarky bad boy who all but harasses her into leaving (Blue), and one kind and sweet boy who offers her a place to stay (Felix). Of course she's going to trust the nicer one.

But first impressions mean nothing in Beau Rivage.

Everything is unbelievable and believable at the exact same time. Unbelievable because some things are so bizarre, so out-of-this-world, so how-did-she-come-up-with-this worthy that it blows your mind... yet believable because Sarah Cross writes it in a way that makes you think, "Oh yeah. Having a kiss that kills? It happens every day in Beau Rivage!"

There are so many things I didn't expect... and so many things to love! ♥

3. Mirabelle Lively & Co.

Mirabelle — also known as Mira and fantastic girl extraordinaire — is not your average fairytale heroine. She's stubborn and determined and can hold her own in a game of knee-slapping snark. Mira brought smiles to my face and an ache to my heart. I loved her so much!

I know some people were having problems with some decisions she makes, but I thought it was all in her character that made her real. With all the circumstances surrounding her sheltered past and everyone around her unable to tell her what was going on, her frustration was completely justified and her aching was palpable.

"At home," she began haltingly, "when my godmothers were gone, I used to pretend that my parents were there. I'd imagine them doing normal things, like cooking, or watching old movies with me, or asking what I did at school. I guess because... I felt less lonely that way. I could pretend there wasn't a hole in me. But when I'm with you, I don't need them. I want what's real." (page 143)

And I love love LOVED all of the other cursed characters too! They argue like crazy, but their banter is hilarious and their friendship is genuine. Freddie was a personal favourite. Even though his fairytale role was to be Mira's awakening prince, he was never really a love interest. But he was too adorable and sweet and innocent to not be loved! Birds followed him around for a reason, you know. ;)

4. The Writing

Reading Sarah Cross's writing is like a dream. It's beautiful; it's fluent; it's picturesque; it's, quite honestly, like finding my home all over again! Just when I thought that first person narratives were starting to become my favourite, she pulls me back with this gorgeous third person prose that steals my breath away. I've never read a book with so many quote-worthy passages in my life.

Beautiful P-E-R-F-E-C-T-I-O-N, that's what it is!

5. Blue Valentine ♥
Yes, Blue deserves his own whole point!

My mom thinks I'm crazy for wanting a house with a blue garage and purple shingles, so I can't imagine what she'd say if I wanted to marry a boy with blue HAIR. (But I do, I absolutely do!)

Cursed with a horrible fate, Blue Valentine uses his snarkiness and attitude to keep people at an arm's length. He seems like your average I'm-a-jackass-to-protect-you sort of guy, but he's not. He's so much MORE, and there are certain times when you see how vulnerable he is, how much he loves Mira, how much his curse is killing him, and it just about rips your heart out.

He has so many hilarious one-liners or quotes that show off how sweet a bad boy he is, but I want to show you a quote that reveals his other side, his heartbreaking side:

"You know, I don't usually know the girls he likes. Not like this. I look the other way most of the time. But I met you first. I knew you first. I wanted you first." (Blue to Mira about his brother Felix, page 208)

With Kill Me Softly being my favourite book of the year, Blue is easily my favourite book boy! ♥

In Conclusion...

Maybe this is my weakness for fairytales talking; maybe it's my soft spot for gorgeous writing, brilliant ideas, breathtaking romances, and boys who rip my heart out. Or maybe this is Sarah Cross's brilliance shoving itself in my face that makes me declare this one of my favourite books of all time!

Read-worthy, buy-worthy, and totally swoon-worthy, Kill Me Softly is a bundle of creativity that surpasses authors like Cassandra Clare for me! It's hilarious, and brilliant, and adorable, and heartbreaking, and totally and completely beautiful in a way that hardly exists in YA. It's exactly the kind of book I've been looking for my whole life!

In case you can't tell, I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH — and until Sarah Cross writes a sequel, I don't think another book will be topping it anytime soon!

BUY or BORROW?: This entire review was basically an answer to this question: BUY THIS BOOK. It's not breaking my semi-coherent-book-review streak for nothing! ;)

(Original review at my blog HERE .)
Profile Image for Jillian -always aspiring-.
1,816 reviews197 followers
October 23, 2015
Nearly sixteen and sheltered for much of her life by two overprotective guardians, Mirabelle Lively decides to take destiny into her own hands by running away from home and to Beau Rivage, the site of her parents' deaths...and the place she has been strictly forbidden never to go. When Mirabelle arrives in Beau Rivage, she catches the attention of two brothers -- one prickly and hostile, the other kind and welcoming -- and finds herself caught up in the strange workings of a place she believes to be ordinary when it's anything but.

Honestly, I don't know how someone who's not familiar with the deeper themes of fairy tales (beyond the glossy veneer of Disney movie retellings and to the heart and bone of the original darker tales) will react to Sarah Cross's sophomore novel, Kill Me Softly. I could see many people becoming bored or disinterested in the story because they believe it's the "same old, same old" thing: untried and naive heroine who finds herself with a strange new destiny, check; the jerky boy who warns her to stay the hell away and who's not afraid to use force to do it, check; the understanding guy who swoops in and acts as the hero to the heroine's damsel-in-distress, check; the stirrings of romantic feelings in the span of hours and days instead of weeks and months, check; and a seeming love triangle in the making to stir up a lot of angst and drama among the characters, check. You want to believe that's all it is, don't you?

Well, I'm here to say, "Not so fast."

The preface alone promises that you shouldn't trust everything on the surface level:
Birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage. The clocks struck midnight, and presents gave way to magic.

Curses bloomed. [...]

Girls became victims and heroines.

Boys became lovers and murderers.

And sometimes . . . they became both.
Just like a true fairy tale, Kill Me Softly is so much more than what the surface would have you expect, and it is as much a mish-mash of fairy tale characters and themes as it is an examination and sometimes a deconstruction of many common fairy tale elements. What if you're locked into a fate you can't control? What if you try to fight against it, only to be forced into playing out your destiny by outside forces? What would that do to a person? Would you dread the inevitable, would you embrace your role wholeheartedly...or would you try to forge your own fate even though doing so might end up being pointless and fruitless?

I'm not going to lie: some readers are going to moan and groan as they follow Mirabelle, the protagonist. Why? One word: insta!love. (Cue groans all around.) I get it, really, since I'm usually the first on the "SAY NO TO INSTA!LOVE" train. But you know what? Even though Mira herself isn't aware of all the dangers of her insta!love journey, Sarah Cross as the writer obviously is. All the clues are there that Mira is thinking with the rose-colored glasses of infatuation for much of the story as she naively falls under the illusion of a "relationship." No reader is meant to believe that the "love" she finds is desirable. Instead, we're all meant to shake our heads in concern and pity as Mira ultimately stumbles into territory she isn't prepared to face. In truth, I couldn't help but be reminded of some of Angela Carter's fairy tale retellings as I read Mira's (sometimes upsetting, sometimes heartbreaking) story.

To focus merely on Mira and the insta!love, however, slightly takes away from the messages and themes of the story itself. I love that Cross questions the workings of fate and "true love" in the wrappings of fairy tale destinies. You have a Snow White who looks in the mirror every day and hates being told, "You're beautiful," because her growing beauty spells the quickening pace of her story becoming reality; you have a Beauty who knows who her Beast will be and loathes the very idea of saving him from himself; and you have a prince who has waited for his princess all his life even though he seems more interested in "playing the hero" than in hearing whether or not his princess wants him the same way. Through Mira's narrative, Cross explores all these stories and more and shows them in their good lights -- and their bad.

Aside from how much food-for-thought this novel gave me (since I love fairy tales and exploring their themes), I thoroughly enjoyed Kill Me Softly. I smiled as I read and imagined certain scenes; I laughed at the witty banter and interplay among the characters; I groaned as scenes developed in ways I hadn't quite anticipated or wanted; and I choked up during a few scenes, especially towards the end when -- just like in a real fairy tale -- all hope seemed to have been lost and heartbreak assured. It was the kind of reading experience that embraced me and wouldn't let me go until I had finished.

Overall, my verdict is, quite simply, that I loved Kill Me Softly, flaws and all. I don't know how other readers will fare with it, but I would recommend it to fairy-tale enthusiasts (probably the same ones who are enjoying ABC's Once Upon a Time at the moment). And I can only hope that Sarah Cross will revisit Beau Rivage in subsequent novels and follow other characters in their attempts to change their fairy-tale fates.

(Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.)
Profile Image for Kat (Lost in Neverland).
445 reviews698 followers
June 25, 2014

I'm still laughing over how goddamn cheesy that ending was, holy shit.

Mira has always been very sheltered. Her godmothers want to protect her so they keep her from doing things most teenagers are used to such as going to sleepovers and learning how to drive. She can't even handle scissors or matches on her own.
Mira is sick of secrets. Since she was little, her godmothers have been telling her of her parents' deaths but never allowing her to go to their hometown where they are buried.
So one week before her sixteenth birthday, Mira sets off without telling anyone, to where her parents are buried to find closure.
What she finds is a town with more secrets than anywhere else, where most of the citizens are cursed to be fairytale characters.
And, as Mira soon finds out, so is she.

The book sounded so cool. The morbidly beautiful cover, the enticingly creepy title, the interesting description...
I thought it was perfect for a person like me.
Lovers that double as murderers?
Fairytales rewritten into eerie, modern tales of woe?
Can I say, hell yes?

Unfortunately, it turned into a pretty stereotypical YA romance novel.

Main Character

Mira started off as a decent heroine. She was bold, snarky, and didn't take shit from anyone.
As the story progressed, she dissolved into a lovesick, blushy nincompoop. Yes, I just said nincompoop. It's fitting.
She was far too quick to throw around the 'love' word, condemning herself to one person for basically the rest of her life, like she would never love anyone else even though she was only fifteen fucking years old.


Felix was obviously too old for her, at 21, and turned me off immediately when he warned her not to go into his 'other suite', no matter what. He could have been hiding a sex chamber or a torture room where he hid his previous victims for all Mira knew. After knowing him for a day and a half, she already trusted him completely.

This isn't exactly a good message to be sending teenage girls.
Sure, trust the guy who's six years older than you that you met at 2 A.M., only because he told you a sob story about his dead mother (which made her feel 'connected' to him in his grief), and lets you stay in his 'personal room' at the hotel his father owns.


Although Mira had a part in that as well. The day after they met, he was going to offer her her own room free of charge but she was all; "Oh, I can just stay here and sleep in your bed."

Basically, this is how the scene went down;









Other Characters

I didn't feel much for the co-characters.

Blue was your typical 'bad boy with a soft side' and the third side to a shaky love triangle. Viv and Jewel seemed to just be there for the unoriginal 'she's so beautiful, look at her perfect features, I wish I had that kind of body' female characters. There was another girl character but I can't even remember her. That's how memorable these characters were, I guess.
Freddie was pretty cute. He was a real life prince who gave kindness away freely and was always nice and sweet. He annoyed me a few times, like when Mira swore and he said; "Ladies shouldn't talk like that."
Or when Viv wanted a drink, he didn't want her to because ladies shouldn't drink alcohol, apparently.

Look, Freddie! A drunk princess!

Mira had a habit of being unnecessarily mean to the poor guy a lot, which he didn't deserve. He was a genuinely sweet person, unlike a lot of 'nice guys' who pretend to be nice and then get angry when they're treated badly in return. When she turned her verbal abuse on him, he'd simply be hurt and confused, but continued to be kind to her.



There was a plot?

A small one, very very small. It was excruciatingly slow paced; I couldn't get into it no matter what I did.
The beginning was fine but the middle and end needed much more action.


I was expecting murders and blood and scenes full of creepy fairytale characters with tragic endings but all I got was shitty not to mention fucking illegal romance and horrible characters with an eye-rolling-worthy happy ending.

Profile Image for Julianna Helms.
277 reviews140 followers
April 11, 2012
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)

It's always terribly depressing when you have to write a negative review for a book you have been so viciously anticipating, but candidly, in the case of Kill Me Softly, what started out as an intriguing and deliciously creepy dark tale quickly sunk below the level of no-return.

The focal point of my irritation for Kill Me Softly is its main character; when readers say a character can make or break a story, it's true. Mirabelle is blessed with kindness and intelligence--neither of which she turns out to possess. She started out interesting, and she was even acting like how I would've acted in her situation, which made me instantly like her. But though the beginning and end of the novel were strong peaks in a typical genre, the middle was as frustrating as trying to split cement with chopsticks. (Bad example, I know. But hopefully you know what I mean.) She was constantly furious and acted extremely selfish, and was again and again endowed in insta-lust. No, not love, though she repeated the ILY enough times to make me headdesk just twice as much, but she was truly blind to the fact that it was lust she was trapped in. I mean, if you're buying a sexy nightgown the day after you meet a hot guy you don't even know, and then when some... really bad stuff happen, and you discover terrible secrets, you run back to him anyway and scream "I LOVE YOU!", do you call that love? Intelligence? Or perhaps lust and the incredibly narcissistic need to claim someone, even someone infuriatingly evil and insane, as her own?

Speaking of which, here's the other thing that contributed to the trickle-turned-waterfall of my unprecedented distaste: a ferocious passion for possessions that are so obviously dangerous, fatal, and frankly, completely unnecessary. For example: There's a pair of brothers in this book. When Mira falls in "love" with one of them, and then she sees the other one, she literally thinks that he's hers. Which begs the question: is the gift of loyalty truly misplaced in such a conundrum soul as Mira's? And another thing: "kindness." There's an incredibly chivalrous guy in the book, and Mira is a complete... to put it mildly, jerk, to him. And when she insults him in a way that makes me want to punch her, she feels sorry... for herself, because now whatever chivalrous act the boy was going to do for Mira, she's afraid he won't do it anymore. Ah, see, now I'm sick of talking about Mira the Beewitch, so I'll quickly address the last major problem I had with this novel before I go on to explain the one and only redeeming point that let me finish the book. This book glorifies death. Not a few pages go by does it not mention the beauty of death, and here's a direct quote:

"She'd never looked more beautiful, more perfect, than she did when she was dead"
-The very first page.

The problem with this is quite simple and moral: the glorification of death is often indirectly influencing the minds of unaware youth--that no, don't worry about death, it will make you beautiful and perfect. Such aggravatingly insinuating thinking just leads me onto one road: the road of not-wistful despise.

Yet through it all, there was one reason that I continued, and it's not my friend's vow that the ending will be worth all the suffering. In truth, I literally stopped and DNFed this book while I was 3/4 of the way through. But my friend urged me and I read on, and I discovered how I held on for so long when the book frustrated and angered me distressingly: the way the story is told. It's a dark fairy tale that rings as true and frightening as the ancient, authentic versions of Cinderella, where the sisters cut off their toes and heels to fit in the shoe, and Sleeping Beauty, who... well, don't read on if you're easily disturbed, but she was raped by the prince.

Yeah. I know. Glorious.

But that's what's truly innovating and solely successful about this book: that it's unapologetically messed up. And so, it's a book I definitely will not recommend for everyone, because not only is the main character a complete pain to force through, but the story is creepy and deadly and gory and brutal.

Yet that's what many seem to appreciate about this book, putting me in the minority. Who knows? You might like it where I failed to see its brilliance, and saw instead its disturbing and potential influence.
Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews1,982 followers
July 5, 2012
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

I should preface this review by saying that SPOILERS ARE AHEAD. I don't like to dole out spoilers in reviews, but Kill Me Softly is so very bad that I need to divulge and discuss the story in all its ludicrous glory. (As Ana would say, CAPS LOCKING OF RAGE, ahoy.)

Mirabelle is on the verge of her sixteenth birthday, and finally decides that it is time to fill the major, gaping hole in her life - by seeking out her past. See, when she was just a child, on the eve of her Christening, Mira's parents died in a violent fire leaving Mira an orphan. Raised by her two loving godmothers, Mira's first fifteen years of life pass without event - Mira's godmothers are incredibly overprotective and impose many rules on their teenage ward, prohibiting her from dating, or staying out late, or touching sharp objects. Most infuriatingly, Mira's godmothers flat-out refuse to give Mira any sense of her parents or past and forbid her from ever returning to her hometown of Beau Rivage. So, on the eve of her birthday, Mira decides to run away to finally get some answers. Leaving a fake trail for her godmothers to follow (pretending to be a lovestruck teenager with an impressive backlog of emails to a fictional boyfriend in California), Mira carefully concocts her plan to run away to her hometown to find her parents' graves and hopefully receive some closure.

When Mira gets to Beau Rivage, however, she quickly learns that things in the small town are a little...strange. There's a pale slip of a girl with hair of blackest night and lips red as blood (with a pathological fear of apples). There's the charmingly handsome boy, whom woodland creatures seem to follow around everywhere he goes. And, most infuriatingly, there are the two brothers with blue hair - the elder a suave gentleman in a suit that offers Mira his help and a room at his casino, the younger a surly teenager that goes out of his way to be rude to Mira and scare her away. Mira learns that almost everyone in Beau Rivage is part of some kind of fairy tale curse or blessing - and Mira herself is involved, too. Cursed to touch an object that will put her to sleep for a hundred years or until her prince finds her and awakens her with a kiss, Mira is playing the part of Sleeping Beauty in Beau Rivage's pageant of fairy tales come to life. Mira also finds a way to lose her heart to a boy whose kiss means death, and is determined to figure out why her godmothers lied to her and how she might escape her fate.

To say that I was underwhelmed by Kill Me Softly is a gross understatement. I was repelled by the imbecilic heroine, flummoxed by the completely idiotic and nonsensical character motivations, and utterly bored by the lack of actual cohesive story. So yeah. Kill Me Softly was kind of terrible for me from start to finish.

But before I dive into my rant, let's start with the very few good things about the book. I like the idea of Beau Rivage, where fairy tales have come to life, sort of (though the novelty of this type of story is kind of lackluster, given the rise of ABC's Once Upon a Time and given the many other fairy tales among us stories, like Bill Willingham's Fables). I like the idea of "cursed" or "blessed" humans that have to follow a fatalistic script, but also have the ability to change their destinies and make their own choices along the way. I like the idea of different classifications of curses and fairy gifts, and the strange birthmarks that those touched by said curses and gifts bear. These are cool ideas and I like the creativity of Ms. Cross's universe.

That said, there's a whole lotta bad that buries all of that promise. First, there's the problem of the moronic heroine, Mira. It's hard to connect with a book whose protagonist is as willfully idiotic as Mira, who lacks any actual clear judgment, decision-making skills, and common sense. She runs away from home on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, and has planned out months of backstory by carefully crafting fake emails from herself to a fictional boyfriend (which seems pretty smart). She figures out her escape route, even oiling rusty hinges and paying off a classmate from school to get her to the bus station (also, pretty smart). But that is the extent of Mira's planning skillz - she, apparently, has completely forgotten that in running away, she actually needs to find some kind of shelter, find a way to get food, and, oh yeah, actually find her parents (really not smart at all). But it's ok, because once Mira arrives in Beau Rivage, she sets up camp in the town casino, where she is immediately noticed by not one, but TWO hot, rich brothers (separately). Blue, the teenager, is an immediate surly jerk and tries to get her to go away. Then she catches the eye of 22 year old Felix, who sees the innocent little 15 year old sleeping in one of the hotel displays, and immediately offers her a private suite, to which she can charge room service, go shopping, whatever her heart desires - and because that's not creepy at all, Mira accepts and immediately falls in love with Felix (in fact, after less than 24 hours together, she is telling Felix she wants to sleep in the same room as him and buying sexy lingerie). GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.

This is to say nothing of the fact that Felix, the guy she has supposedly FALLEN IN LOVE WITH after about a day (because he's so handsome and has bought her off with a free room in his casino), is also a cursed character that will suck the life out of her after any kiss or romantic interaction. Of course, Felix hasn't uttered a peep about his curse to Mira or warned her about his true nature, but that's ok because everyone else in Beau Rivage tells Mira to Stay Away. Of course, everyone only says STAY AWAY without giving her ANY FURTHER INFORMATION, purportedly because of the nature of Blue and Felix's curse prevents anyone from speaking to the specifics. And yet, some 100 pages later, these same characters can reveal the broad strokes about "Romantics" like these two brothers, and what their curse entails. Meanwhile, Mira is supposedly in love with Felix, but spends ALL her free time with Blue in a painfully, headdeskingly obvious love triangle. (And the extent of this romantic development is Blue snarling at Mira, Mira threatening to hit him all the while thinking about how frustratingly good looking he is. Insert copious eye rolling here.)

And honestly, it is painfully obvious that Felix and Blue are playing parts in the Bluebeard fairytale curse. (Hello, they both have blue hair, are super rich, super creepy, and seem to stockpile women. Did I mention the blue hair? GIVE ME A BREAK.)

But that's not all!!! All of this asinine and recursive story is happening against the backdrop of Mira's screwy, ridiculous reactions and half-assed character motivations. First, she ignores everyone else's warnings and advice (though to be fair, the warnings to "Stay Away but I CAN'T TELL YOU ANY MORE" are idiotic, as mentioned above); then, she snaps at everyone that tries to help her. When Mira learns about Felix's curse, what does she do? SHE RUNS RIGHT BACK INTO HIS ARMS. Never mind that he hasn't freaking told her about his curse (any warning flags there??)! Never mind that he's a 22 year old that runs a casino (*SNORT*) and she's an innocent, sheltered 15 year old. (On a side note, the fact that NO ONE seems to bring up this huge age gap as a deterrent - though everyone is vocal enough about Felix's curse - really, really bothers me.)

Also, Mira has supposedly left home and run away to Beau Rivage to find her parents, right? But as soon as she gets there seems to completely forget about the reason she left! Once she's in town, she turns over her half-assed search to Felix and contents herself with going to the beach and pool parties with the local teens. Awesome! When she finally has the information about her parents - thanks, again, to Felix and his off-camera investigations, and with no effort on Mira's part - does she complete her character arc by calling them up? Why, no! Instead she moons over Felix and Blue, and is preoccupied with her own ridiculous teenage love triangle hijinks.

Beyond the character motivation issues, there are also abundant plausibility problems - such as a 22 year old dude kids running a casino (right, because that is very believable), drinking alcohol willy nilly (I remember procuring alcohol as a much harder thing to do when underage, but then again, these are gorgeous rich fairy tale kids so who knows). The icing on the cake, however, happens in the book's later chapters where apparently, wishes are given out like candy and breaking/modifying a curse is a matter of making a wish of one's conveniently placed fairy godmothers. SO Blue's curse - his Bluebeard tendencies and his ability to suck life from his paramours - is fixed with a wave of the wand. SERIOUSLY. Just like that. (Oh yeah, and Mira ends up with Blue, not Felix, who tries to kill her. But it's all ok because she immediately realizes that she has actually been in love with Blue and not Felix. Right.)

I could go on, but I think I'll just leave it at that. Kill Me Softly is a huge waste of time. Save yourself and read something else.

Anything else.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,563 reviews5,863 followers
October 26, 2014
I love fairy tales..anything to do with them period. Always have and probably always will.

This book could have been so much more. It has a good base for the story. Characters who aren't perfect (except for the main character of course) a cool setting (that could have been explained better) some unDisney tales involved, and an interesting concept.

But then...the flipping main character is 15 years old. That distracted me from the book. I have a 15 year old daughter. I would NOT want her slipping off and taking up with some "hot guys" in a hotel.
There is not really an adult presence in this book well except for the "hot guy" that takes in the little 15 year old girl and gropes her...it's OK. She's in lllloooooovvvee with him. Yek.

I want more people!! Write something with some damn sense in your head. This could have been an awesome book. It had good ideas. Why did you screw it up?? I'm giving the book a 3 star just because some ideas did exist.

I think I'm going to start writing fairy tales (not) but mine would go more like this.
Profile Image for Anna.
59 reviews
September 12, 2012
Mira, Mira, on the wall, who's the smartest one of all? Well, honey, certainly not you. Good grief. I can't even... argh.

So, Mira is a sheltered 15 year old (pay attention to the age, it'll come in later) orphan girl (raised by godmothers.... wait, you don't suppose they could be fairy godmothers, do you?????) who decides to go off searching for her parents' graves. She goes about this rather cleverly, to be honest, but this is about as smart as she ever gets. Isn't it sad when children's brains plateau at 15? *shakes head*

Anyway, so she runs off to a casino (still not exactly sure how she got in there or why she went there in the first place. Last I checked, people typically aren't buried in casinos) and meets this rude, blue haired boy who tells her to leave (and this is where you should be thinking, "oh, but wait! This can't possibly be just some random rude boy, good golly, no! He must be some poor, heartbroken, damaged, only-a-girl-who's-dumber-than-rocks-can-possibly-fix-me hero who's really very sweet and caring on the inside! She's going to fall in love with him for sure!" It's such a shame when rude people can't just be rude anymore). So she does and then she meets his TWENTY ONE YEAR OLD BROTHER who gets her a room and whatnot.

Well, lo and behold, soon enough she's sharing a room with him (everyone though she secretly loves his brother, the rude one. it's okay, I don't quite understand it, either). Did I mention that she's 15 already? Yes, I think I did. Which is odd, because no one else seems to care about this teeny tiny little detail.

The twist here is that everyone has these fairytale curses, forcing them to reenact the fairytales, which is really fascinating concept. Too bad Ms. Cross couldn't quite back it up.

Plus, the ending was very unresolved. Sure, she and Blue got their fairytale ending, but what about Viv? Henley? Jewel? Freddie? The list goes on. And what about her parents??

Overall, rather yawn-worthy. Dumb heroine, rude hero, love triangle/square, heroine who is so sheltered but apparently feels perfectly comfortable sharing a room with a much older guy and flirting with everyone else under the sun. Been there, done that. Wish it could have been better
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,039 followers
May 2, 2015
This review is also available on my blog.


A thousand thanks to NetGalley and EgmontUSA! <3

4.5 stars!

I ended this book with a satisfied sigh.

First of all, the creativity is brilliant. Beau Rivage is a town where dozens of people have fairy tale curses of their own. I loved that Sarah Cross put so many different fairy tales in, and they all blend together perfectly.

The characters are awesome. Mirabelle, our protagonist and Sleeping Beauty, I really like her. The insta-love kind of made me dislike her a little, but I realize that the insta-love she had wasn't really true love. I think she was just infatuated.

Felix and Blue, the two brothers. God, Sarah Cross really made their fairy tales so interesting to read. I'm not gonna say more about it, though, because I don't want to spoil it for you. :p But seriously, these two were very complex characters. I've always leaned toward Blue from the start, though, because I enjoyed the witty banter he and Mira have.

The side characters are what I also loved. Vivian, the Snow White, Layla, the Beauty, and many more. I loved that they always poked fun about their curses! It was so much fun to read and I giggled a lot. There was one scene in Vivian's room where Mira saw that Viv's laptop's Apple logo had black tape over it. xD That particular scene made me giggle for a while.

And Freddie! Gah, I loved him so much! He was sweet and adorable and there were many scenes where I just wanted to hug him. <3

Overall, this book is beautifully written and unique, although I give it 4.5 because of my slight issues with the insta-love + love triangle. I desperately hope that this will be a series, because I want more Beau Rivage!
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews920 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
December 17, 2012
Expected Publication Date: April 10th 2012

‘Kill Me Softly’ was kindly provided to me by Netgalley.

Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

I've been extremely interested in finding more fairy-tale retellings after I picked up 'A Long, Long Sleep' by Anna Sheehan and enjoyed it immensely. When I heard this one was coming out I pounced. I had huge problems with the main character and it really affected the story and how much I enjoyed it. I understand she's only 16 and therefore immaturity is bound to happen but her immaturity was bordering ridiculous.

'He'd brought sunglasses, which she thought was unfair, since the bright white of the sun was making her squint; and at the restaurant, she swiped them and put them on, propped her chin on her hands, and dared him to steal them back with her best impassive diva face.'

First is it just me or does that sentence have far too many commas? And two... diva face? You've got to be kidding me. Then on yet the same page:

'She drank so many iced coffees and looked at him so long her blood buzzed.'

Enough with this insta-love. Is romance dead and no one knows how to write a credible build-up prior to when two people fall in love? Sorry, but, it's not enough for this guy to be drop-dead gorgeous. Still doesn't justify the unnecessary amount of swooning and really does nothing except make the main character appear shallow.

Finding out what happened to her parents was the central point of this entire storyline; it's the reason she ran away from home and traveled all the way to Beau Rivage. But when insta-love gets so bad that it completely consumes the point of the story? Bad news.

"I don't believe in coincidence, Mira. I think there's a reason you had to travel here alone. Something you were meant to find."
Maybe it's you, she thought and then had the immediate urge to unthink it. She didn't want to be overeager, immature.

*face palm* Too late honey.

Once I got down to the meat of the story and the reason for the fairy-tale curses I decided to stop because I just wasn't as into it as I had hoped and I didn't see that changing anytime soon. If I had continued it may have gotten better but I wasn't invested enough in this to spend any additional time trying to make this work.

I can see the appeal with this one but it was definitely not for me.
Profile Image for Kysha Coates.
21 reviews3 followers
July 26, 2012
Terrible. Mira was the worst and she was a total bitch. She was suppose to be blessed with kindness. HA! I hated hated hated this book! She was crazy and she was 15! Yes, her 16 birthday was coming up, but seriously. Not to mention she was blindly chasing after a 21 year old MAN who was running the casino she was staying at. What a skank! Oh and EVERYONE (including the person who was fated to save her sleeping ass) told her and told her to stay away from him. As if the, "Hey if you keep seeing him you're going to DIE" hints weren't enough to keep her away. Did I mention he's 21 and she's 15? What is wrong with this author!? Why would a man want someone so young!? Oh and they 'sleep' together the second night and he's ready to bang her! Good thing she's too pussy to go through with it. However, guess what this little slut does? She goes out and buys a sexy satin night gown so she's ready later. Da Crap, Sarah Cross. But instead of sexing Felix what does she do? Well in her Satin nightgown (she describes herself as being, "Sexy, dangerous, Free." by the way) she goes into the casino to chit chat with strangers! WHO WEARS A SEXY NIGHTGOWN AT A CASINO IN THE FIRST PLACE!?!? OH! And I CALL BULLSHIT! You have to be 21 to be in a casino with Table Games! I worked at a casino! I know my shit.

The biggest thing that bugged me was how she kept chasing Felix and from day one she put it in her head that her and him were an item. Which is why she tried to push her feelings for Blue away. Another thing that bothers me was how lucky she got. Other sleeping beauties had to wait for their prince to save them. And other sleeping beauties got SCREWED. But no. Miss Mira the spoiled runaway skank meets her hero the first day she's in town. Well what does she do? Tell him over and over how she doesn't like him. He's going to kiss her to bring her back from her coma. The LEAST she could do is NOT be a total and complete skanky ass whipe! TERRIBLE BOOK. TERRIBLE!

And shame on ANYONE who gives this book more then a 2! SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!!!!
Profile Image for Anne.
3,863 reviews69.2k followers
June 27, 2014
I'm glad I gave Kill Me Softly a chance, because it's not your typical fluffy YA fairytale stuff. Also, some of the main Curses (Fairytales) are not as well known as others. I'm going to assume that some of the younger readers won't be able to guess Blue's curse.
In other word's Disney hasn't made that one into a cartoon yet.

Even the ending (while quite satisfactory), had a little twist of darkness that made me simultaneously smile and shiver...

I really don't want to give anything away, but I think fans of retellings will enjoy this one.

Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews608 followers
November 4, 2015
Ladies, gentlemen and undecided, please welcome the book that have caused the birth of my "Burn-the-fucking-book" shelf.

My reason why this book didn't work for me.

1. All characters are idiots.

2. The heroine doesn't act like her age. Or she acts like her age but is still lacking the wisdom to do things that are not stupid.

3. Moronic scenes in the book that makes me want to slap someone.

4. The blurred lines between perversion and infatuation.

5. Insta-fucking-love.The characters act all lovey-dovey faster than you can say "Boo."

6. Plot and setting, if compared to a steak, is bloody raw.Who wants to eat their steaks raw other than cannibals?

Anyway, I'm not going to waste my energy writing a long negative review when my friend Khan can perfectly do it.Here's the perfect review for this book.

She can explain better why this book sucks more than a Youtube video of someone drowning kittens.
Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,694 reviews873 followers
December 19, 2014
Read This Review And More Like It On My Blog!

4.5 out of 5 stars. I loved this! It was unexpectedly charming and clever and just plain fun even when (especially?) at its most twisted. Kill Me Softly is a wholly engrossing and enjoyable read. This is one of those surprising books that went above and beyond my expectations; in fact, I passed this over a couple times on NetGalley because it seemed so been there, done that at first glance and I've been trying to control the amount of requests I make there. Then, pretty much the next week reviews on GoodReads started popping up - 4 stars, 4.5 stars, 5 stars - and who am I to fight the tide? I learned my lesson around December when the same sort of thing started happening with another book that I initially dismissed and which ended up becoming immensely popular (coughAngelfallcough). So with this I didn't hesitate; the day of reading those reviews, I downloaded and began my journey to Beau Rivage, Sarah Cross's imagination and quite possibly some of my favorite fairy tale retellings ever in Kill Me Softly.

To put it the most succinctly, Kill Me Softly is charming, clever and just plain fun. There's a lot to enjoy from this book - a fairly feisty heroine, a unique angle on fairytales in a modern-day scenario, and the clever allusions and asides to popular tales we know and love. I have to admit, the darker and more unsettling this novel became, the more and more I loved it. Kill Me Softly is most definitely at its best when it takes an unexpected, usually foreboding, turn, or reveals a truth very cleverly hidden behind the author's sleight of hand. Sarah Cross is quite adept, more than adept really, at setting the perfect scene and atmosphere for her cursed characters to populate and on occasion, I was really struck by the imagery in her words. I don't want to get spoilery since there's secrets and curses and mysteries aplenty to uncover and figure out, so I will just say that Sarah Cross finds a way to make both a love triangle between brothers and extreme instalove palatable.

Another aspect of this that I greatly appreciated was the author's tendency to show her fairy-tale world within a world and its rules, and instead let them evolve naturally rather than line them all out in an introductory info-dump. Sure, for a while the curses and Blue don't make a lot of sense, but given time and attention, the details emerge. Kill Me Softly is a very readable and quickly engrossing book - the kind you pick up for a chapter and somehow emerge 97 pages and several very interesting plot-twists later. There are double meanings and hints staring out at you from the page that slowly click and make a bigger picture - several times I wanted to hit my forehead and say "duh! Of course..." The author excels at providing the reader with clues and hints but not spelling out the answers desired. I won't go so far to say Kill Me Softly is perfect, but it is damn near close, and only a few slight quibbles keep it from making it to my best-of-2012 shelves.

I found the final (? temporary?) conflict with the main antagonist left me feeling rather underwhelmed. It takes Mira so long to clue in and then it's kind of... over in a flash and without much depth. There are sequels/companion novels confirmed to be written so I am sure the villain will reappear along the line but I wish the entire plotline of Kill Me Softly had been resolved in one novel. I vehemently support the idea of a sequel for another character from the fascinating world of Beau Rivage; I wouldn't be nearly as enthused for a return to Mira's plotline from the first/launching point of the series.
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 7 books1,199 followers
April 20, 2012
Oh, the writing in this is like silk. Or satin. Or something smooth that glides on to your skin and makes you feel all pretty. It just flows so prettily that I wanted to hold it in my arms and squeeze it tightly.

Okay, I’ll stop being creepy now.

Kill Me Softly builds a fantastic world. I love fairytales. I love them a lot so Cross’s portrayal of town inhabited by modern time fairytale creatures blew my mind. There are Snow Whites, Beauties, Beasts. It made me realize what fairytales would look like if taken out of their original context and placed in a contemporary situation. Imagine being a modern day Snow White, waiting to die/fall asleep for a hundred years. Gives a new spin to the story, doesn’t it? As you already know from the creepy beginning, I thought the writing of the novel was fantastic, the world building was just as amazing and the plot was clever.

I liked the characterizations and I hope, I really do, that this is a series because I would love to read about the rest of the people mentioned in the novel. All the other inhabitants of Beau Rivage. Kill Me Softly would have been a total winner with me except for some very essential (in my opinion) points:

1. The Parents. You will know what I mean so I won’t say any more about them.
2. The protagonist. If you stay with a guy whose very kiss is killing you slowly, you are a stupid head. No seriously, you really are. I understood the context and I understood the fairytale but it didn’t matter to me at all because I have a very strong survivor’s instinct no matter how dreamy the love interest.
3. The ambiguous feelings. I love him! No, I love HIM! No, no, I must love him. Yeah no.
4. I kinda liked the prince. Or the guy who is loved by squirrels. I really liked him. :\

Those are the only complaints I had with the novel but even if the main story didn’t gel with me all that much, it was a pleasure to read simply because the world Cross has created is so entrancing. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next. Recommended.
Profile Image for Nan.
842 reviews74 followers
May 2, 2012
A long time ago, in the year 2000, I graduated with a Master of Arts in English. Despite the fact that there was no formal path for this at my university, I focused my studies on fairy tales--specifically, the literary fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen, and others. My interest in fairy tales coincided with a boom in scholarship about them. Jack Zipes, Maria Tatar, Ruth Bottigheimer, Donald Haase, and more were establishing that fairy tales were an appropriate area to study and that the tales were far more complicated than we remembered. They also examined the ways in which fairy tales have been reused, revised, and repurposed by modern artists. Zipes, in particular, studied the cultural work of Disney and didn't like what he saw.

After having devoted about three years of my life to studying fairy tales, I decided to pursue a more standard path of study and did my doctoral work on nineteenth-century British literature. However, since I can't stand to be too mainstream, I at least focused on the Gothic as a subgenre.

In the years since then, I've kept my eyes out for fairy tale retellings. I'm still fascinated by the short tales and the hold they exercise over our cultural imagination. I was delighted to find Sarah Cross's Kill Me Softly, and even more excited when I received an advance reader's copy of the book from Netgalley.

After reading this book, I set down my nook and simply said "yes." Finally, here, an author has explored fairy tales in a way that gets to the darkness at their root while still creating a new and interesting mythology of her own. Finally. Yes.

The book opens with a startlingly apt quotation from Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. "I don't want realism. I want magic!" Blanche DuBois states, and that sentiment shapes this novel.

Mira has lived her entire life in the care of her godmothers. They're lovely, kind, and caring women, and they took in Mira as an infant after her parents died in a fire at her christening. Now that she's nearly sixteen, Mira is horrified to betray them, but she also feels that needs to do something that's been nagging at her for years. She needs to return to the town of her birth, Beau Rivage, and visit her parents' graves. Since this means running away from home, Mira is willing to do that. She's planned her escape well by creating a false trail leading to a make-believe online boyfriend. But she's never managed to plan what to do once she arrives in Beau Rivage, and that realization hits her shortly after her arrival in the city.

Mira finds herself alone in a casino cafe called Wish, and it's here that her plan starts going awry. She meets another teen, a young man with blue hair, who calls himself Blue. He tries to get her to leave the casino (which is called Dream), claiming to be the son of the owner. Blue wants her to leave before she can meet his brother . . . and he fails. Mira does meet his brother, Felix, and falls for him. Hard. Felix comps her a room at Dream, and he vows to help her find the graves.

Dismayed to find that she hasn't left, and horrified that she's met Felix, Blue attaches himself to Mira as well. The two brothers don't share their time with her; instead, she seems to drift between them a bit like a pinball. Quickly, Mira becomes aware that Blue's friends are odd. They share inside jokes that disturb Mira, and none of them are really happy. Viv has a wicked stepmother (sorry, normal stepmother, Freddie explains) and an obsessive gardener with a crush on her. The apple logo on her laptop is covered by tape. Small animals and birds cluster around Freddie, who is helpless to push them away. Still, Mira isn't freaked out too much until Viv's mirror tells the girl that she's gorgeous, which is something she clearly doesn't want to hear. They talk of curses, and stop when they realize Mira is listening.

As the cover copy makes clear, fairy tales are real in Beau Rivage. Mira is shocked to learn that, just like Blue and his friends, she too has a role to play. And fairy tales are not pleasant stories at all.

Cross is an elegant writer, and she deftly explores the menace and beauty that attracts readers to these tales. However, she's not content to let them rest with the "happy ever after" versions that we've come to know in the last 100 years of children's stories. Instead, she looks back to the tales when Cinderella's sisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit into the slipper (and the prince didn't notice until birds told him that blood was spurting out of the shoe!). She's clearly read the darkly wonderful collection of tales by Angela Carter called The Bloody Chamber. The first line of one of the stories in that book, "The Tyger's Bride," is wonderfully evocative of the entire book's tone: "My father lost me to the beast at cards."

Thrust by her own stubbornness and desire into a world that both confuses and attracts her, Mira must learn to navigate the rules in order to survive. She must decide which brother to trust, which tales are true, and she must learn how to shape her own fate. Otherwise, she may just become a character in someone else's story, and she won't like how that one ends at all.
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,271 reviews79 followers
March 18, 2022
I remember loving this book when I read it in my teens. I'm reading a Snow White retelling right now, which I guess made me think of this book (though of course I forgot what it was called).
Profile Image for Renna Mira (AKA Enna Isilee).
461 reviews123 followers
April 29, 2012
Things I liked about this book:

The idea of modern teenagers being cursed to live our fairy tales.

That's it. That's what got it those two stars.

Things I didn't like about this book:

The modern teenagers talked like modern teenagers. The profanity wasn't severe, but too frequent for my tastes. They also were drunk/drinking ALL THE TIME! Where are the adults here?! Some of these kids are 15!

Mira. Ugh. I don't know if I've ever had a main character annoy me so much! Here's how her though processes went "You're attractive, mysterious, and nice. I want to sleep with you. Oh... but your brother is attractive, mysterious, and a total jerk. I hate him. But give me some time and I think I'll make out with him too. What?! You're all cursed to relive fairy tales?! Okay. No big deal."

NONE of her thought processes seemed real. She fell in love with the two guys who seemed super-creepy, while ignoring the guy who actually was sweet to her because she didn't want to feel "forced" into that relationship. It took her all of two seconds to come to terms with the fairy-tale land, despite having never even read fairy tales as a child.


I should also mention that the guy she contemplates sleeping with is TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD. And she's not even sixteen. Now, don't correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that illegal? And CREEPY?!

And overall the story just fell flat. I felt like there was a lot going on, and not a lot to tie it together. The characters felt like hormones incarnate, and I couldn't relate to any of them. There were characters that I almost began to like, and then they would do something totally creepy or wrong. I ended up not liking anyone.

I feel bad because I had such high hopes for this book, but... it was a no go for me. *sigh*
Profile Image for Lindsey Lynn (thepagemistress).
373 reviews93 followers
December 9, 2015
4/5 Stars

Received this in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway!

Mira is about to turn 16 and has decided that she is going to look for her parents, who died in a fire almost 16 years ago. She runs away from her godparents and makes her way to Beau Rivage ready to get some answers. And after being kept in the dark so long she sees why her godparents moved away and never spoke of the place again. People in the town are cursed, as is Mira.

Dislikes: I feel like some of the parts were drawn out and could have been used to answer other questions and it did have a cliffhanger, not a bad thing but something that makes you need the next book. (Which I definitely do!)

Likes: I loved Mira and all of the other characters in the book. Even the smaller characters matter and play vital roles which I loved. I cared for each individual, okay maybe not one but let's ignore him, due to spoilers. This is very fairy tale and if any of you like Once Upon a Time, you will love this!!! I loved every small selfless act seemed to be so much greater. And I love the cover, yes sorry had to mention it.

Overall: This is a beginning to a wonderful series that I will most definitely be continuing. Plus seriously, this cover?! It is one of my all time favorite covers! I really suggest this if you like the Lunar Chronicles, or OUaT. Actually just any fairy tales.

Thanks for reading my review <3 ^.^
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,688 reviews1,266 followers
January 9, 2015
2.5 stars
Stupidly I was expecting something sweet, with a little bit of a bite, but unfortunately I was mostly bored.

I didn’t love any of the characters in this book, Blue was certainly the liveliest, but he was also pretty irritating, and Mira just didn’t make much sense to me at all.

The storyline in this was okay, but the pace was just so slow! I was so bored, and things just didn’t seem to be happening in a timely fashion. I did want to know what happened, but I also wanted to know a lot sooner than we did.
There was romance, but I wasn’t really interested.

The ending was pretty Disney, but I was just glad it was over.
5 out of 10
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,054 reviews910 followers
April 7, 2016
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

Mira lives with her two godmothers, they're kind and thoughtful but also very strict. They don't let her do much only because they're so protective. A week before her sixteenth birthday she runs away to Beau Rivage where she was born and where her parents have died. She's determined to find her parents graves. Instead she finds a town where people are different, they seem to be like characters from a fairy-tale. And when one of them reveals the same sort of strange birthmark on their backs, she realizes there's more to this story than she knows.

I basically read this and thought “Ooh it's just like Once Upon a Time the TV show.” It had the same elements where fairy-tale characters are brought to life and are living in modern times. Except it had its own plot. I love the darker tales that combined the fairies and humans which in return created these magical descendants. I like how each of the characters even had similar lives and even the same personalities. The pacing was good, and the writing was too.

What it truly lacked was the characters and their development. Now I know the main character is supposed to fall in love. It's a given right? But holy balls, it was so sudden. It's taking love at first sight quite literally. I just couldn't understand why. I had a theory and it was wrong but I wished it was right. Even though there was so many fairy tale characters and their store like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I still couldn't get over the lack of character development.

I wanted to love this one, but I just couldn't. I'd still give it a try for the wonderful fairy tale curse with a modern day twist.
Profile Image for Mery St. Clair.
288 reviews13 followers
April 18, 2012

Me ha encantado. Este año vienen muchos libros sobre cuentos de hadas, peter pan, alicia, etc. De hecho, me moleste que le den mala puntuación a este libro porque se está colgando de "Once upon a time", se me hace injusto, porque aunque ambos tengan el tema central "Cuentos de hada", eso no significa que sea una copia. No todos los libros de hombres lobos son iguales, ni de vampiros, etc. Odio que busquen comparaciones donde no las hay ¬¬
Hush Hush es una copia de Crepusculo porque comparten clases de biologia, Mara Dyer porque hay una escena saliendo del estacionamiento, etc. Me molesta esa gente que hace "reviews" y todas sus etiquetas dicen "Sin-terminar" "Desperdio-de-tiempo" "Perdida-de-dinero", etc. Son personas que disfrutan de la controversia ¬¬
Kill Me Softly debió de haberse terminado de escribir mucho antes de que la serie comenzara, ya que la escritora debió de tener el libro listo desde hace más de un año, y la serie apenas comenzo en otoño :S, obviamente muchos sabían el boom que vendría este año.

En fin, Kill Me Softly es un libro que disfrute de leer página tras página, tanto que ya ordene mi libro, espero que pronto me llegue. Los cuentos que todos conocemos tiene una trama retorcida, oscura y emocionante.
Poco a poco reconocía pasajes o acontecimientos de varios cuentos mezclandose, cambiando, con otras teorias o diferencias de la historia convencional.

¡Me ha encantado!

No puedo revelar mucho porque una cosa lleva a otra y sería arruinar la lectura, pero ha sido genial :D
Profile Image for Daron.
98 reviews7 followers
July 5, 2012
This is another YA book that has let me down recently. It had such promise, with the fairytale curses and third person style. Unfortunately, it lost its way in the dumb plot that ended up happening. The parents didn't do Mira any favors -- why on earth would you send your daughter away with two fairies and assume it would turn out any differently when you've set it up exactly the same way as always? They would have been much better served to simply tell her all about what was happening, introduce her to Freddie early on and let them hang out in a room with a razor blade on her 16th birthday -- that way she could just slice her finger, he could wake her up and they could go on their merry way -- curse broken. By the time I got to the end of the book, it felt like a lot of angst over nothing. She knew her prince, so what was the big deal? She didn't even end up fighting her fate or breaking her curse...she just, got it over with. The real struggle was with her creepy underage love for Felix, that lost me about halfway through the book. I did really enjoy Blue and his attempts to make her hate him. It just...didn't live up to the overall concept. Her godmothers just wished his curse basically away, but she is thinking about how she might sometime just get curious and go into his banned room...what? Why would she ever worry about that after she knows what's inside? It made no sense. Why didn't she just throw the key away and be done with that. And even though it was third person, it wasn't omniscient, so it might as well have been first. bummer.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Danielle..
258 reviews238 followers
August 6, 2016
I think this is becoming traditional. Every time I read a good book, the next is a godawful read, then the next is amazing, the next is awful and so on and so forth.

This book had so much potential, so much. A novel based on the fairy tales we all know and love with a dark twist? Come on, how awesome is that? I immediately thought of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland; I love the goth-like fairy tales. So what's not to like about this?

Well, after reading up to page 144, I found that answer: everything. The plot and the characters. I hate getting my hopes up.
Profile Image for Cecily Kyle.
1,771 reviews18 followers
August 29, 2017
I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up and I am glad for that. It leant a bit of surprise for me as I was reading. I love interpretations of fairy tales and especially if they are dark. This book had that in spades but the juvenile nature of the characters was a bit boring to me but expected as they are only like 16 years old. Love the cover art and I will probably continue the series. Didn't LOVE it but I thought it was a decent read.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,185 reviews15 followers
May 14, 2012
I wanted to like this book, but it just didn't click for me. I enjoyed how Sarah Cross isn't afraid of the darker side of fairy tales, bringing in much of the pain of the original stories. Cinderella's sisters are missing a toe and a bit of a heel, respectively. There are dark echoes of Bluebeard. Sarah Cross is clearly familiar with the older fairy tales, in a good way.

I liked how Mira, for all her similarities to Sleeping Beauty, isn't passive.

I wish the author had done more with Delilah. Mira is convinced that Delilah is

I didn't care for the book, though, for two reasons. First, I didn't care for the characters. My impression was that most of the characters (Blue, Jewel, etc.) spend their time doing nothing much in particular besides drinking, hanging out, and occasionally making out. I found them dull. Secondly, I found the book fatalistic. Those who are Cursed are forced to act along the lines of a fairy tale. They can fight against it, but only to a certain degree. The Romantics must kill anyone who enter their secret room. This is not true for everyone; there are stories of Cinderellas who have refused to marry their prince. Mira certainly isn't in love with her Hero. I find it troubling, though, that Blue and others are forced to act a certain way. Until his curse is mitigated by Mira's wish, he must murder. This goes beyond the traditional fairy tale, where the curse may only be external; death, sleep, or changing the physical self (and the curses are nearly always subverted).
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,137 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.