Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Brightness Out Of the Blue by Jill Atkins

Page Count: 200
Published on: 2016
Published by: Raven Books (Ransom UK)
Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Retelling, Fantasy?
Source: Sent from publisher
Age Rating: MG/YA
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

My Rating: 2 stars
Overall Opinion: Entertaining, but not that great

Goodreads synopsis: 

When you're at rock bottom ... life can't get any worse ... you don't see the point of carrying on ... someone walks into your world and makes all the difference. 

Ella is mourning her dead mother and suffering the cruelty of a new step-mother. But when Martha, an old lady, falls in the street and Ella helps her get home, she feels Martha's strange magical power. Soon her life begins to change for the better. 

A Brightness out of the Blue is a beautiful modern-day fairytale with a twist in the tale.

Hey, guys!

I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

      I was actually looking forward to this book. It was one of the books that Raven Books had offered to send me, along with a batch of their upcoming releases.I'm always intrigued by a good retelling, and the fact that it was a Cinderella retelling made me even more interested. Unfortunately, this book fell short and I wasn't too impressed.

      After the death of her beloved mother, Ella's father begins anew with a new and cruel woman. Ella runs away and tries to begin her life again, independently. When Martha, an older and mysterious lady, falls into Ella's life she knows it will never be the same. Her life begins to turn around and Ella's life becomes much more interesting. 

      This book was unfortunately really disappointingly predictable. It followed the Cinderella template religiously and there weren't any moments that really screamed to me "THIS BOOK" or wow'd me. It was just very cliche and boring for the majority. The characters were very two-dimensional and lacked substance or personality. The relationships between the various characters were lacking any kind of real feelings towards each other. Overall, the characters and the relationships between them needed to be fleshed out much more to make me feel for any of them. The main character Ella, especially, was very whine-y and I could not feel any kind of sympathy for her. She need a good whack with the strong protagonist stick. 

     This book read like a contemporary or realistic fiction book, but when the author added the touch of ambiguous magic without any kind of explanation, I got pretty annoyed. Magic is magic for a reason, but in this book it was just there without a reason. I'm not sure if the character is a witch or what, but I wanted answers at the end of the book. I'm still not sure if the book was supposed to be a modern day fantasy, a paranormal fantasy, or just an awkward take on magical realism. Either way, I'm not a fan of the execution of the book. 

     Overall, this book was fairly entertaining, but lacked the qualities that make a great retelling. When writing a retelling it is important (to me) to stick to the original story but totally make it your own through original characters, settings, and new plot points that are totally off the wall. There was a decent plot but it needed to be fleshed out and consistently written throughout. This would be a good novel for younger readers (ages 11-15) to start out with when being introduced to fairy tale retellings. It wouldn't be the best but it would be a good introduction to what can be done with the genre. I think that I would have enjoyed it much more when I was age 11 to 13. 

Other Retellings You Would Love:
  • A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas (ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SERIES)
    • Beauty & the Beast + Fae
    • My Rating: ALL OF THE STARS
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    • Cinderella + assassins and political intrigue (loosely based)
    • My Rating 4.75 stars
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
    • dystopian after Oz - Dorothy is evil
    • My Rating: 5 stars
  • East by Edith Pattou
    • Norwegian Beauty & the Beast retelling
    • My Rating: 5 stars 
  • The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm #1) by Michael Buckley
    • Descendants of the Brothers Grimm. Solving mysteries in a town full of fairy tale characters 
    • My Rating: 5 stars
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    • Dystopian fantasy retelling with moon people, cyborgs, political intrigue, and a fantastic cast of characters.
    • My Rating: 5 stars

Happy reading!

@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino