Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross
ebook, 384 pages (according to Goodreads)
Published by EgmontUSA
Synopsis: If you want to live happily ever after, first you have to stay alive.
Viv knows there’s no escaping her fairy-tale curse. One day her beautiful stepmother will feed her a poison apple or convince her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Henley, to hunt her down and cut out her heart before she breaks his. In the city of Beau Rivage, some princesses are destined to be prey.
But then Viv receives an invitation to the exclusive club where the Twelve Dancing Princesses twirl away their nights. There she meets Jasper, an underworld prince who seems to have everything—but what he really wants is her. He vows to save her from her dark fate if she’ll join him and be his queen.
All Viv has to do is tear herself away from the huntsman boy who still holds her heart. Then she might live to see if happily ever after is a promise the prince can keep. But is life as an underworld queen worth sacrificing the true love that might kill her?
If you like Once Upon a Time but prefer something darker, read this book. It was a good book. The plot is very interesting and the writing style is great. The world that Sarah Cross has created is outstanding. So, what stops me from falling in love with this book? The toxic relationship of the main couple. Vivian is so nasty to Henley for no good reason, and he's violent tendencies, although he never physically harms Viv, makes him hard to fall in love with. I think Cross tries to explain away their nastiness with their cursed situation that makes them act crazy, but sorry no dice. It was painful. Usually, I can read a book of this size in half a day (sometimes in a few hours) but I had to keep walking away from this one. Reading about the couple, especially in the first half, was brutal. It made me sick. Otherwise the world is very interesting, the plot is very detailed and well-developed, but the main couple is so toxic that it drags my rating of it down. I would be interested in reading Cross' other books in this realm but only if the main characters were not this nauseating to read about.
1) I love the basic world and plot of the book. It's a whole new twist on fairy tale retellings. Instead of reading about Snow White herself, Snow White's story is now a curse placed on our heroine. Effectively turning the original fairy tales away from their counterparts. It was brilliant.
2) The writing is great, it's engaging and sucks you right into the story. It's the main reason I haven't given this book an even lower rating.
3) I'm curious if Cross has seen Once Upon a Time because similarly to the show, in this book Vivian (Snow White) once had a happy relationship with her stepmother. Nevertheless, I like this. Usually in these types of stories and fairy tales when the villain is revealed to be the a loved one of the protagonist, all of sudden he/she doesn't have any feelings for that villain. It just never seemed realistic to me. In this book, Vivian has lingering, heartbreaking, feelings towards her stepmother that I think are so beautiful and tragic.
1) Maybe the whole "the world is trying to keep us apart but we're going to fight for our happily ever after anyway" is becoming too cliché for people. Maybe someone out there wants more books about dysfunctional relationships because they are more common in real life, but that someone isn't me. Viv and Henley's relationship is so nasty that even when they have nice scenes I still find my mind circling back to those repulsive scenes.
So here's the gist, Viv has a Snow White curse, meaning that a Huntsman (who was cursed to do this) will either cut out her heart to give to her stepmother or will help her escape to marry her prince charming. Well, unfortunately for Viv, the love of her life who's she's known forever has been cursed to be her Huntsman. What does she do about it? Punish him for it. Treat him like it's his fault that their happily ever after was ruined. Even though Henley exhibits no signs that he will kill her, she treats him as if he will. It's disgusting.
Henley is not completely sympathetic either. Although I feel bad for him because in his entire life all he ever wanted to do was protect and be with Viv, it doesn't enable me to overlook his extremely violent tendencies. He never physically abuses Viv but whenever he's angry he feels that it's his prerogative to destroy things. I don't mean just throw things across a room, I mean dismantling a car with a shovel. According to the history of the book, for as long as Viv has known Henley he's been like this. Of course, he has positive qualities that Cross tries to use to cover this, it doesn't work.
2) Although I love all the mentions of different fairy tale curses, there are too many minor characters to keep track. Viv has a lot of friends and although they are mentioned frequently they don't effect the plot very much. Even though they are present often they don't stick out enough to be important. Therefore, they all seem completely unnecessary.
3) There were a few inconsistencies in the plot. The one blaring one is the wife of the troll king is known to be mentally unstable but there is a part at near the end where she is completely lucid and talking and acting normal. There are a few others but this is the one that sticks out the most.
1) "I wish she wasn't here."
"Don't you always with that?" His half smile was cute. It made her wish, even more, that it was just the two of them on this road, with the whole night stretching out, unfinished.
"Maybe if I whistle, a friendly hungry bear will come out and maul her. As a favor to me."
"I'd probably get mauled first."
"That's a risk I'm willing to take." She grinned; he treated her to that same smile again.
"Yeah, I bet."
2) "Be nice to me or I won't let you hang out with us," Garnet told her brother. "I'll order you out the door with my imperious princess voice."
"And I'd have no choice but to go."
3) "What do we do?" he said finally.
"We try, anyway. And if we fail, we fail together. I'm not leaving you again."
"No. If you have a chance--"
"Henley." She pulled his face down to hers. Kissed him once, hard. "I am never leaving you again."
4) "A brown mouse climbed onto Viv's knee. It held a wilted daisy in its mouth and made sure that she saw the present before dropping it onto her leg. Viv took the tiny, bitten-off flower in one hand and stroked the mouse's back with the other.
"Thanks," she murmured. "Although if you really loved me, you would have given Regina a disease by now."
Thank you Netgalley and EgmontUSA for my ebook copy of this book.