Rebekah's Reviews > Sweetly

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
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's review
Aug 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, fantasy, contemporary-children-s-lit, fairy-tales
Read on August 25, 2012

I enjoyed this book. I read Sisters Red only a few days before, so I was excited and happy to find the cross-over elements that bound the two books together as part of a larger world, though I do believe you could read Sweetly on its own and not miss out on much. I am looking forward to reading the third one!

In some ways, the larger world for me echoes back to the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In every season, there would be new monsters, new super villains, new plots to uncover and foil, but when it all came down to it, she was there to fight vampires. In Pierce's world, there are people with questionable motives, terrible plots to uncover, secrets to suss out, but there is no need for Pierce to go inventing a new form of monster for each book: the Fenris are scary enough thank you, and have their own rules, mythology and back story (which you discover more about if you read Sisters Red.)

In terms of the plot, Pierce does a nice job of layering plot developments in with the romantic elements, though a careful reader will be able to note the pieces of the puzzle that she sprinkles throughout the book. I actually prefer books (or movies) that give you the clues you need to puzzle out the mystery (in the case of Sweetly, what exactly Sophia is hiding is the major question to be answered.) There is something nice about a book that trusts the reader to pick up on the clues, develop strong suspicions about the answers to some of the big questions, yet trust the reader to stick around to see the end because the characters, setting and story are so enthralling. Pierce has done a lovely job of creating a world that I wanted to inhabit.

Thematically, I really enjoy the way both Sweetly and Sisters Red deals with sibling relationships and with the losses that these siblings have faced. The grief of these characters is real, not sugar coated in anyway and is in now way fleeting. The minds of these characters are dark and grim, as is the tone of the original stories that Pierce draws upon. I have also been really struck by the depiction of poverty and rural, small town life. Both books center on young people who are struggling to become adults. Unlike many children's books, money is a present reality in these books and drives many of the plot points. Pierce's depiction of Ellison and Live Oak read much more nuanced and realistic than her portrayal of Atlanta.

Overall, I am glad I finally had the opportunity to read through this book: it has been sitting on my shelf since last Christmas! Well worth the wait.

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08/25/2012 page 99
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