Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tiny Reviews: East & Beauty

East by Edith Pattou

Absolutely awful.

For me.

I need to say "for me" because I'm starting to think I just might not like the original story. East of the Sun, West of the Moon, The Snow Queen, I don't know, there's something about all that trekking through cold, bleak tundras that turns me off. So maybe it's me.

Or maybe it's the book. It's so incredibly long and not much happens at all. The characters are bland, the plot drags, the flashbacks fell short, the side plot did nothing for me, the romance was unemotional, and the villain wasn't that interesting.

It's like everything was blanketed in muffling, dulling heaps of snow. There was just so much book here and so little substance.

The chapters are super short though, so it was easy to speed through East despite the mammoth size. I think that's the only reason I didn't DNF.

Library book
Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Beauty by Nancy Ohlin

Snow White was never my favorite fairy tale either, but it's a princess story, so I'm always at least partially predisposed to liking it. And, overall, I did like this one. With some reservations.

Nancy Ohlin's version was definitely unique, twisting the traditional focus on Snow White's beauty into a story about body image and disordered thinking. This was a much deeper, sadder story than I usually associate with the original tale.

Nancy Ohlin did an excellent job exploring the relationship between the Snow White character and her mother and the disordered thinking and emotional pain between the two. These women are both damaged and ill and while it was very well done, it was also very uncomfortable to read.

Which is my main problem with the book. I don't like issues books, and this is definitely an issues book. Sure it's fantasy and takes place in a fantasy world with magic and potions, but it's really an issues book.

Check it out if you're looking for a short, unique fairy tale retelling like the Once Upon a Time series (particularly the The Rose Bride). Just be prepared for something much weightier and darker.

Rating: 3 out of 5


  1. Ok I haven't read East yet, even though it's been sitting on my shelf for 4 years. I am not sure what I'll think about it, honestly, after what you said. However, I think it may have bumped it up my list because now I'm curious. I loooooved Jessica Day George's version, and ACOTAR, which was partially inspired by it, so there's a chance....

    And I've never heard of Beauty but I will check it out! I am intrigued...

    Great reviews <3

    1. I haven't read the JDG version, but I tend to like her books a lot. East just seemed so slow. Hopefully you like it more than I did since you own a copy. It is a very quick read because of those short chapters.

  2. Wow. That's an interesting viewpoint on East. I read it in elementary school, and I loved it. I agree that the plot went by a bit slow, but I didn't mind it at the time. This review makes me want to go back and reread it to see if I have the same opinion as you as a "sort of" older person.

    1. Well, I usually have very little patience with slower books, so this really wasn't a good fit for me personally. You might still like it!

  3. Huh, I always assumed Beauty was based off of Beauty and the Beast instead of Snow White... I guess I never actually read the synopsis for it, but you can understand my confusion what with the rose and the title and all.

    I vaguely remember a friend liking East back in elementary school. But meh, it definitely doesn't draw my interest now.

  4. I'm kind of tempted to check out Beauty because I like issues books. But, at the same time, I usually prefer those books to be contemporaries and not fantasies. Hmm ... *will have to think about this*


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