Thursday, May 16, 2013

[Review: Towering by Alex Flinn]

Author: Alex Flinn
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fairytale retellings
Date Published: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

My Thoughts:

Where do I start with Towering?  I have to admit that I did really enjoy this one.  There was a great mystery, there were some cool characters and there was a wonderful modern twist to a fairytale that most of us know and love.  I remember being obsessed with Rapunzel when I was younger, so I was so excited that I was going to be able to revisit this tale that I've loved for years.  This book was a lot of fun and yet it left me with some questions and with a few frustrations.  

The setting and background for this retelling were well thought out.  A mystery about a girl who went missing 18 years ago.  A boy trying to get away from his guilt over the death of a friend and a girl who is clueless about how the world works.  I'm not going to tell you that this book is believable, or that it's not predictable, but it's a fairytale.  And as with all good fairy tales you just have to jump in and get drug along for the ride, leaving your sense of reality at home.  

Flinn has a way of writing that pulls you in and engages you with the story.  Towering is dark and whimsical all at the same time.  Giving us bits of a tale that we know, while not drowning her folklore in the story.  She gives it room to breath, giving it a new setting and she twists some of the things that we know in such a way that it doesn't feel like we are reading the same old story, in fact at times you don't even feel like Rapunzel (the story) is even in the story at all, and I loved that about this book!

Rachel (our Rapunzel) was such a joy to read.  She's clueless about life and the only things that she has to go off of are the things that her "Moma" tells her and the things that she reads in books.  But she's not reading modern YA novels, she's reading the classics.  So her knowledge of the world is limited to the things from around 100 years ago.  It makes her someone who stands out and I enjoyed her quirks.

Wyatt was amazing.  I loved that a large part of the story was told from behind his eyes.  I personally loved watching his character deal with the really dark things about his past.  For such a young guy he had gone through some pretty hefty stuff and it was interesting and heartbreaking to learn his secret.  He was just trying to cope with his youth and nativity being taken away from him.  The contrast between him and Rachel wasn't lost on me and I liked seeing the differences.

Now while the characters, including Dani, were awesome and the writing was cool, I did have some issues.  This book has a bad case of the insta-love.  One of the worst cases that I have seen.  Rachel and Wyatt meet for an afternoon and the next day they are uttering those three little words to each other.  The three words are "I love you" in case you're wondering.  Now I get that their love story actually wasn't the main focus of the book, but I think it would have been cool to see a friendship bloom into a relationship with these two.  I think it would have fit with the flow of things a lot better.  So many awesome things were happening in the book that when it got to the lovey-dovey stuff I just wanted to skip it.  I wanted the romance to have the foreboding feel the rest of the book had, but it didn't.  At least it didn't for me.

Spoilers Ahead!!!!
I also had a big question that didn't get answered.  That was the mystery of who Wyatt's dad was and why his mom was pregnant with him during the same time as Dani was pregnant with Rachel?  Were they actually brother and sister?  I mean I don't think they were, but that question never got answered.  And what I thought was going to be a cool twist in the story ended up getting dropped in the narrative somewhere. 
Spoilers Over!!!

Over all I liked this one.  I just wish that I could have had all my answers and a little less romance in this otherwise interesting Rapunzel retelling!  If you like retellings as much as I do, you should give this one a shot.

    3 Unicorns = I liked it a lot but it had it's issues!


Sapir V said...

I am really looking forward to reading this book! I always enjoy retellings. I like how authors make dark twists on the fairy tales I knew and loved as a little girl. I want to write a book like that one day... :)
I understand your issues with this one - ista-love is one of my worst pet peeves, but if the rest of the book will be as awesome as you describe, than I'm sure that it's worth reading!!

Thanks for sharing this awesome review!!

Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

I've read a few reviews on this one and they all mention the insta-love. Yuck! Too bad they couldn't find a way for the romance to not be so abrupt. I do like how it sounds like it stays true to the story but also has it's fair share of updated twists and turns. Great review!

Jessica R said...

Hmm. I like the idea of this one because I think the Rapunzel story has promise, and some of what you described does sound good, but insta-love that is THAT bad? I'm not entirely sure if I'd enjoy that so much. Definitely good to know, so thank you!

Giselle said...

Rapunzel is one of my fav fairy tales so I really want to read this one. I did hear about the more fairy-talish (insta-love) vibe of the romance especially but I think it would bother me less in this type of book than any other. I already know it's a little unrealistic I guess. Though I've come to hate insta love so much I'd probably hate it regardless haha. I guess it depends how Flinn does it. I did enjoy Beastly that I read a while back. Glad you enjoyed it even if it wasn't the next prize winner. Great review, muffin!

Ashley said...

I skimmed your review because I am about to start the book, but I am happy to hear you enjoyed it :)

Ashley @ The Quiet Concert