Ahoy there me mateys! So a recent theme for “Top Ten Tuesday” was “Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads.” I don’t tend to do memes here in me log but I love readin’ the posts by me crew. Especially when they be fun topics which lead me to unexpected treasures. One such gem was this delightful book recommended by Breanna @ paws&paperbacks. In her post she says:
Okay, so this was just released . . . but I’m still including it because doesn’t even have five hundred ratings and it’s so freaking good. There was also hardly any hype over this book and it took me so long to find an ARC, that I really thought there were none out there. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for an amazing fairytale retelling.
This is a retelling where the author drew inspiration from elements of Robin McKinley’s beauty, Edith Pattou’s east, and Diana Wynne Jones’ fire and hemlock. I have read McKinley’s retelling of the beauty and the beast tale and Pattou’s retelling of east of the sun, west of the moon. I remember loving both of them back in the day even if the details have grown fuzzy in noggin over time. And of course I love DWJ’s work even if I haven’t read that specific work or the tam lin story.
Side note: I quickly went and read a couple of versions of tam lin due to curiosity. It is odd but I love it.
I have to say that I thought this work was enchanting. Who wouldn’t want a young girl with an unusual and perhaps dangerous bond to a wolf, a magic house with hundreds of mysterious doors, a library with mirror books, spells, curses, and love-conquers-all? This is a slow burn fairy tale where it takes a while to settle in to the main thread of the story. Some plot points the reader guesses before the heroine. But the majority of the book is a lovely blend of several tales and I enjoyed watching it unfold.
Like some of the older versions of the fairy tales, there are negative consequences and old hurts that can’t be erased. Not everything is all sunshine and gaiety. I thought the mix of sad elements and hopefulness was well done. I especially loved the protagonist, Echo, and watching her grow into her own self. I loved the positive family relationships between Echo, her father, and her brother. And the ending was just unexpected and fantastic.
This novel only has about 800 ratings and 255 reviews on Goodreads. I am certainly glad to add another good review. I will be interested to see what other things the author will create. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: If she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.
In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear, and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up, otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.
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