Faced with a possible loophole to her “Snow White” curse, Viv goes underground, literally, to find the prince who’s fated to rescue her. But is life safe in the Underworld worth the price of sacrificing the love that might kill her?
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & EgmontUSA
Please Note: I have not read Killing Me Softly, the first installment in this Beau Rivage world so all of my perceptions are based on the idea that this is the first and/or a stand alone.
Tear You Apart is a dark and gritty journey into authentic fairy tales. The kind that aren’t made of rainbows and butterflies but revenge, envy, murder, and twisted curses. In the style of The Brothers Grimm, Tear You Apart is gritty, sinister and full of danger. The tension is high and the future is bleak. Happily ever after is far from the horizon for these ill-fated teens.
- Beau Rivage is quirky and creative. The idea is that in this world, people are cursed with fairytale fates and not the Disney kind. From a prominent birthmark, citizens know their future and have to take matters in their own hands to achieve a happy ending. Full of giant slayers, fae, mischievous witches, and dark Princes, Tear You Apart is a magical wonderland of invention that plays on urban fantasy. The characters may look like Snow White or Sleeping Beauty but their personalities are their own and sometimes, it’s startling just how much they contrast with expectations.
- Characters are multidimensional, they’re both good and bad. There aren’t true villains because each person is governed by choice within the confines of their fairy tale. Secondary characters are packed with personality and charm. I adored the spoiled princess who survived the Goldilocks curse. She’s a constantly complaining nuisance. I appreciated that Sarah Cross included lots of diversity, from different races and cultures to LGBTQIA.
- The Underworld is wickedly cool. It’s made for illicit activities, partying, and like a giant costume party full of chic clothes and themes. The boats to the castle, the ferrymen, the 12 Princesses curse and the Underworld Princes, it’s enthralling, the sort of cleverly crafted scenery that sucks you in and makes you want more. The details are all there and vibrant.
- The King of the Underworld is vile, evil, and sadistic. When his sins come out it’s sickening how seriously he took his curse and the damage he’s done. The lack of care for human life is dreadful. The secrets hidden in the Underworld castle are a consistent addition to the plot and fuel for Viv’s hunger to escape her alternate fate.
- Henley is a chivalrous, lovable, loyal friend and love interest. He’s there for Viv even when she verbally attacks him and does everything in her power to make him think she doesn’t want him. He comes to her rescue consistently and gets her out of trouble at his own peril. Despite everything, he never gives up. His heart is pure and even if he wasn’t attractive, his personality is golden.
- The wedding scene. OMG. Rivals the “Red Wedding”. Horrifying.
- Bouts of genuine horror and helplessness resonate through the story. The tone is dark and made of anticipation of when the next ax will drop of their miniscule moments of happiness.
- Viv is antagonistic. She pushes people away and is kind of self-absorbed. She cares more about her own feelings than others until reality harshly slaps her in the face. Viv is so rude to Henley, her so-called best friend and Huntsman. She insults him, instigates fights, and then gets mad when he doesn’t fall at her feet and beg for forgiveness. Viv doesn’t know what she wants and is guided by crippling fear of her own mortality. She didn’t have many redeeming qualities but I did sympathize with her situation. She grew up dreaming of a happily ever after and was brutally hit with fate when her love interest became the hand that may or may not kill her. All Viv wants is to be loved and because of the curse, she had a sickly mother, an absent father, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing of a step-mother.
- There wasn’t enough of many characters. There are brief tidbits that have lots of promise to enhance the story but then disappear. Jasper, Minuet, the sisters, their emotions and personalities, how the feel towards their fates and father would have made it easier to get why they behaved the way they did.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: