Monday, December 16, 2013

[Review: Nameless by Lili St. Crow]

Author: Lili St. Crow
Series: Tales of Beauty and Madness #1
Pages: 328
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Date Published: April 4th, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Format Read: Hardback from the library


When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

My Thoughts:

Nameless was one of the most fresh and interesting retellings of a fairytale that I've read in a long time.  I'm a huge fan of the genre and so when I read a story that adds a sense of mystery to a story that I already know, forwards and backwards, I just wanna get my jazz hands out and do a little happy dance.  This book was like that for me.  

I think above all, my favorite thing about Nameless was Lili St. Crow's writing style.  She's very descriptive and also very loosely structured with her writing.  It makes for a very interesting and intriguing reading experience.  She pulls you into a world that is fully fleshed out and yet she keeps some of the details to herself.  Teasing you without giving you the whole picture, which she finally delivers while still staying true to her truly unique voice.  I know that I'll be picking up more of her books in the near future.

The world of New Haven is a well imagined one.  It's modern and yet without a question, it's riddled with magic.  Not the fluffy, sweet magic that many fairytales imply, but a darker, weirder magic that will leave you with an odd taste in your mouth.  Crow weaves vampire like creatures into the novel as well as creepy fairies and a large amount of other odd creatures.  Magic rules supreme in ways that I haven't seen it used.  It makes you pay attention to all the little things and I love that. 

Cami herself is a really interesting character.  I liked that she had strange personality traits.  She wasn't just the pretty, quite, docile Snow White archetype that we're all used to.  She had demons of her own.  Demons that were chasing her and not giving her any space.  Her stutter also made her stand out and her interactions with the other characters in the book gave her a lot of dimension.  To put it bluntly, I dug her as a character.

It was obvious that Ruby and Ellie were also created around other fairytale characters, which is awesome.  One is definitely Cinderella and the other Little Red.  (I'll let you figure out who is who...)  Sure there aren't any dwarfs and the seven are some old creepy dead dudes, but I liked that Nameless was a loose Snow White retelling.  It had it's nods to the old tale and yet the rest of the characters were new and creepy and dark.  We all know how much I love all things creepy and dark and this book rocked those things like they were nobodies business.  

I also thought that the love story had a lot going on.  Some people might be weirded out by the fact that Nico and Cami were technically raised as brother and sister, but there is no blood shared between them.  It made their dynamic fascinating to watch.  They had grown up together and grown into something more then just the siblings that they were raised as.  I know it probably sounds weird to anyone reading this review, but somehow Crow makes this work for the story.

And then she throws Tor into the mix.  I loved that Tor, Ellie and Ruby all had their large roles to play in the book.  They didn't have much focus on them, but when they did, all three of them really shone.  The other, smaller bit characters were also awesome to watch.  No detail or character was unneeded and in my book that's always a good thing!

So, if you're looking for a really dark and atmospheric Snow White retelling that gives you a new look into the classic tale, I highly suggest this one.  

 4 Unicorns = Close To Perfect!     


Skye said...

I really hadn't given this book much consideration, but after your review I'm definitely going to give it a try! And as for the "raised as brother and sister" couple, that can actually be really common in manga, which I love, and it rather cinched that I'll be picking up this book very soon. ;) Awesome review!

Nicole said...

Lovely review! This sounds pretty awesome in a it-might-give-me-nightmares kind of way. I love how other fairytale characters are brought into the story. I am always intrigued by retellings so I will have to keep this on my radar!