14) Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness

Book One of Tales of Beauty and Madness

By: Lili St. Crow

Date Finished: 04.28.14

by Lili St. Crow

She was found in the snow, battered and unable to speak, and adopted by one of the most powerful men in the city.  He named her after his dead wife, Camille, and raised her alongside his own son, Nico.  She finds safety with her adoptive family, but though her past is forgotten, it still terrorizes her.  Whatever had abused Cami as a child hovers in the shadows of her memory, calling out for her blood, until she is driven to find out the truth.

This book jumped out to me at the store.  Gorgeous cover.  Magnificent title.  I had to pick it up.  I read enough of the cover to see that it was a Snow White adaptation and I was completely hooked.  You may have noticed that I adore a good fairy tale adaptation, yet I’ve never read a full-length Snow White tale.  It took me a while to get my hands on a copy, so I was quite excited the night I settled in and started reading.  Then, the first line opens with, “Of all the cars in New Haven –” Sorry, what?  New Haven?  A fairy tale in New Haven?  And that’s when I realized that I had never actually read the description, rather I picked it up for the title and cover alone.

You see, I lived in New Haven, CT for nine months and it is definitely a city with character.  I understand why it would make a good backdrop for a book, I just didn’t expect it to be a “magic-ridden” place.  As I got further in the book, I began to suspect that she just liked the name and wasn’t alluding to the actual Connecticut city.  Even so, it remained a personal distraction throughout.

So ignoring my own connotations of New Haven, we’re left with a present-day, post-apocalyptic-esque, magic-is-everywhere-but-unstable, fairy tale featuring the mafia who are essentially vampires, but not exactly, other less defined creatures who are almost recognizable as traditional paranormal beings, and a child-sacrificing cannibalistic cult.  Yes, it is a tad confusing.  Also, a bit dark.

The vampires, known only as the Family, make up the Seven who more or less run the city.  Cami was adopted by the head of one of these Seven, so she basically has the full force of the mafia on her side.  She also has her best friends, Ellie (Cinderella) and Ruby (Red Riding Hood).  I knew there was a sequel for the Cinderella story, but I didn’t expect her to be so featured in this one.  I didn’t mind having her around, except that the Cinderella fairy tale was set up better than the Snow White one.  It’s all good and well to take liberties with a fairy tale adaptation, but elements of Cami’s story simply didn’t make sense while Ellie’s secondary story was painfully obvious.  Still, there were some fascinating dynamics at play among the characters.  And Cami has a stutter!  A fairy tale princess who isn’t perfect!  How cool is that?

It’s funny, I couldn’t put this book down, but even as I was reading I suspected it’s not that great writing.  I appreciated her attempts to build a new structure for her world and supernaturals, but not enough context clues were in place.  There was simply too much unrecognizable slang that wasn’t integrated into the plot.  She also included a lot of unnecessary words that made the book feel muddy.  Even so, I was captivated and couldn’t put it down until I knew where it was all heading.  Unfortunately, the last couple of chapters were kind of a let down.  It was set up pretty well, but we didn’t get the payoff.

So this book is either not terrible despite its strangeness or its strangeness masks the fact that its terrible — whatever the case, I’m glad I fulfilled my curiosity by reading it.

At the end of the day: Erm…a one time read, probably

Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: