A friend of mine saw this book sitting in a little library trade-station in his suburb and thought of me. He was right to -- I gobble up re-tellings, and have read multiple Red retellings, so why not think of me? And I'm embarrassed to admit...I gobbled this one up too...even though once I closed it, all I could think was: What big flaws you have. So, this is a great throw-away page turner, perfect for a rainy night stranded without a book in a backpackers or when your flights are cancelled at an airport. It was surprisingly enjoyable when I didn't think about all of its problems, but does not hold up to any scrutiny. That is to say: it will return to the trade-station and will not take up residence on our bookshelves. More notes:
- The writing is competent enough, despite having been born from a screenplay and fleshed out.
- The romance and shameless whodunnit mystery both make it compelling, although neither are executed with excellence (the romance in particular, is disappointing, albeit still intriguing enough for a sucker like me).
- It portrays hysteria fairly well, but nowhere near as well as this book.
- The characters make some stup' choices.
- There is a steamy sensual scene but no sex scene. There is graphic violence. No swearing.
- I watched the start of the movie years ago. I turned it off. I don't regret it. The lines delivered by my imaginary cast while reading this book were ten thousand times better than those of the American-accented angsty modern hearthrobs of the medieval movie set. They made no sense to me and I found it painful to watch. My imagination lent much of the same (gone from my memory, but checked afterwards) dialogue so much more drama, class, tension and credibility. If you have also wasted some time seeing (or enjoyed, I'll be no judge!) the film, the novel is written from the original screenplay, not the script -- which are different -- and the endings differ...so if this book appeals to you, you can go in and still be uncertain of how it will play out in the end. Reading this book is a chance for you to cast and direct a better film of this particular retelling in your head. That was fun.
- [Spoiler:] Well, if you can call it an end. It isn't really. Consider yourself warned.
So it isn't brilliant but it was a fun time.
I will close by saying, Ooo, looky, this alt cover art is amazing: