I’m so sorry for this review being so late compared to other ones, but I forgot how long it takes me to read Jackson Pearce novels. They just have so much content in them and I have a need to take in all of it and analyze it, so it takes me forever to read them. But I’ve finished now, so on with the review!
Started: February 2, 2016
Finished: February 17, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): As a child, Gretchen’s twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch’s forest threatening to make them disappear, too. Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They’re invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion. Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past — until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn’t gone — it’s lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak’s infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is. Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
I was so excited to read this book. I loved Sisters Red, and I knew I would love this one as well. And it didn’t disappoint.
I will say, however, that at first I was kind of bored. I love Jackson Pearce’s writing, but the story seemed to drag with details and content and over-characterization.
When I got to the end, though, I was proven wrong. All of those things that I thought were unnecessary and tedious were actually some of the most important things in the novel. I was reading this book for two weeks and I read over 200 pages in one day because I became so engrossed in this book.
The story was phenomenal. It had me on the edge of my seat once I got invested in it and I didn’t want it to end. Every plot point was resolved, everything had a resolution, and everything was so well developed that I can’t have any complaints about it.
The characters were just beautifully developed. Gretchen and Ansel’s relationship developed over the course of the book and gave me so many feelings. Sophia made my heart hurt several times out of sympathy for her, and Samuel made me almost giddy with happiness because I liked him so much.
The only thing I didn’t really like (and I don’t say this very often) was the romantic relationship. I really enjoyed Samuel and Gretchen as a platonic relationship, and I could definitely see it advancing into a romantic relationship further along in their timeline, but it just seemed so quick and a little forced. I didn’t mind it as much toward the end of the novel, but it seemed so quick to me that it just didn’t sit right.
The relationship didn’t change the quality of this book though. I loved it, and the Fairytale Retellings series is one that I’m going to keep reading, and one that I will keep recommending for a long time.
NEXT READ: The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty