Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce is the second book in her Fairytale Retelling series.  This book takes a look at the classic fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel.  As young children Ansel and Gretchen mysteriously lose their sister, Gretchen's twin sister.  Their step-mother basically kicks them out when they turn 18, and the siblings take a trip across the country hoping to find a place where they fit in.  To their dismay, their car breaks down in a small little town, and in order to earn money to fix the car they take odd jobs at a chocolate maker.  One night, Gretchen decides to face her fears of the witch and comes face to face with the thing of her nightmare, only it is not a witch, but a werewolf.  Samuel helps her learn the things she needs to fight these monsters.  All the while she begins to learn that Sophia has been keeping secrets from her and Ansel.  What they discover could change the course of all four of their futures and cause them to face something they never imagined existed.

Sweetly was a good second novel to the series, it played on elements from Sister's Red with things like the wolves picking girls who wear red.  The plot build-up was well done with Gretchen finding different things showing that Sophia was hiding something.  Elements of Hansel and Gretel still remain such as the lore of the chocolate shop and the townspeople being weary of her, as well as the siblings' fear of a witch.  The twist of the witch actually being wolves was well presented and somewhat unpredictable.  I honestly wasn't aware that the two novels would be related, which makes me wonder if the rest of the series will be related as well.  I hope so.

Throughout the book readers don't know what Sophia's secret is and can only speculate.  When it is actually revealed readers are almost caught off guard.  The build-up to this reveal can be a little slow, but at the same time Pearce needed to develop a kinship with the characters and develop their personalities so that it would be a jarring ending.  Through this build-up we see Gretchen growing into her own strength, Ansel being torn between sister and the woman he loves, Sophia being torn apart by her love for the siblings and her secrets.  Pearce does a fantastic job engrossing his readers into a story that will keep them captivated.

I was weary about reading this book, but found it to be a great novel.  I would give it a rating of 4 out of 5 because it does take a while to get to the climax of the story, but when it does the rest of the story flies by.  I am anticipating reading Fathonless next, wonder what Pearce has in store for us now.

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