Mini Review: Kill Me Softy by Sarah Cross

Kill Me Softly
Sarah Cross

Released April 10, 2012
336 pages
YA / Faerie Tale Retelling / Fantasy

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Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

This book is problematic. Mira is a highly problematic (or highly naive) protagonist who, can’t see obvious if it beat her in the face. The romance in Kill Me Softly is cringe-worthy at best, and the book should probably have trigger warnings all over it.

And yet I still enjoyed it enough to finish. I partly blame Sarah Cross’s very easy to digest writing style and interesting take on faerie tale mythology. It also helps that the characters surrounding Mira are far more interesting and fun to spend time with than Mira herself.

Kill Me Softly is a weird take on the Sleeping Beauty mythos. Mira grew up far away from Beau Rivage with her God Mothers, who were over protective and kept stories of her parents and birth place close to the vest. So of course, Mira decides to run away to celebrate her 16th birthday searching for her parents’ graves in Beau Rivage. When an older 20-something hotel magnate swoops in to help her then promptly starts putting moves on her, this is obviously a dream come true. When she faints and finds herself unconscious for several hours after making out with said way-too-old-for-her 20-something Romeo, she brushes it off as a weird coincidence. Turns out faerie tales in Beau Rivage are real in a weird sort of way and she’s caught in between two potentially deadly ones.

Mira, as I said, is incredibly dumb. Her relationship with Felix is creepy from moment one, full of near-statutory rape scenarios that also might potentially end in her death. No words of warning or acknowledgement of Felix’s utter creep factor sways her from being instantly in love with him and thinking he is the nicest, most generous person in the world. It’s beyond creepy and I can’t very well understand how I still liked this book despite it.

And yet I did. The world building, more age appropriate characters like Blue, Viv, and Freddie, and the conclusion made me look over the horribly problematic elements of this book to the point that I read the sequel (which was much, much better). I can’t forgive the problematic elements enough to recommend this book though, so skip it and go straight to Tear You Apart. You won’t miss much other than an overwhelming need to take hot showers and scrub the ick factor off of your brain.


Anybody else read a book that was clearly problematic and yet still enjoyed it? How did you process the disconnect? Help me out in the comments!