Author: Alex Flinn
Genre: YA, Fairy Retellings, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 14, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.
Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.
Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.
☆: 1/5 stars – extremely convoluted take on “Rapunzel” – very disappointing.
Review: Okay, guys, I’ll admit: I really liked “Beastly”, and I’ve had the second of the Kendra books sitting in my TBR pile on Mr. Nook for months now, which I heard was pretty good. So to see another fairyretelling by Flinn coming out made me pretty exciting, especially since “Beastly” put some very creative twists on the original “La Belle et Le Bete” tale. However, it was not to be. “Towering” was disappointing in all technical areas. I can’t even claim it as a guilty pleasure read – that’s how bad it was. Which was incredibly saddening to me, since I haven’t found a really good “Rapunzel” retelling as of yet in YA. Maybe Jackson Pierce will tackle it in her second set of the “Fairy Retelling” trilogies? God I hope so.
Where to start? This had a really promising set of two opening chapters – with Rachel, a girl kidnapped and forced into a tower “for her protection” from the outside by a figure known as Mama, not her real mother, and had some interesting undertones of Stockholm Syndrome to it that really could have been explored, but weren’t. Then we get our male protagonist, Wyatt, and things kind of go downhill from there.
He’s come to stay with friends, and things start getting convoluted. Somehow he stumbles on Rachel (Rapunzel) in her tower, and it’s never really made clear with the house in terms of sensory language and imagery whether Wyatt’s already seen the tower when he shows up. So it’s just kind of nowhere after “hearing singing” does he find Rachel. Uh. Singing, especially as it’s described here as “soft singing”, especially with a reinforced tower and walls, is incredibly hard to follow unless you have canine-grade hearing. Which, apparently, Wyatt does not.
Then there’s insta-love. Cringe.
Add to that ancient prophecies, severe abuse of “The Chosen One” trope, and I was 500% done. I just couldn’t even finish the book. While the ghostly bits were awesome, the rest of the technical areas just weren’t developed. At all. I mean, we’re talking 1D cardboard world and characters bad in terms of development. Even at the ARC stage of things, I was really dismayed at the lack of development in every single technical area. How did this get past the editors? I just..yeah. I rarely go off on books like this, guys, but I just can’t even with this book. I’m not even sure if I can continue to read Flinn’s work if this is the effort she’s going to put into it.
But that’s just how I feel – and yeah, it’s pretty harsh. However! “Towering” is out tomorrow from HarperTeen in North America, so be sure to check it out and come to your own conclusions on the book. I’m eager to hear other opinions and welcome discussion in the comment section below. Give the book a try – it may be your thing. It just sadly wasn’t mine.