Though Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast are Hollywood’s most popular fairy-tales, Sarah Cross’ second novel in the “Beau Rivage” series revamps the tale of Snow White. As any princess in the city of Beau Rivage knows, not all fairy-tales have happy endings. For protagonist, Viv, a fairy-tale is a curse. After all, one day her stepmother will feed her a poison apple and convince her on-again-off-again boyfriend/Huntsman, Henley, to hunt her down and cut her heart out. But in a twist of fate, Viv receives an invitation to an exclusive love, bringing her to meet Jasper, an underworld prince. He wants her to join him and be his queen. But if the true love that might kill her is at stake, how can Viv know that the choice she makes is the right one?
Like the caramel apple on the cover, Tear You Apart is slightly sour with an artificially sweet aftertaste. The plot especially demonstrates these qualities. Though the premise is intriguing, ultimately the numerous side-stories and weak characters bring down what could have been an excellent novel. Don’t get me wrong; some of the twists are truly brilliant and surprising. (The introduction of one villain in particular had me on the edge of my bed. How that conflict is resolved is an even cleverer twist!) But the romantic entanglements annoyed me greatly. Viv treats Henley like shit throughout much of the novel. I typically avoid swearing during reviews, but this situation truly calls for the bluntness of a swear word.
Speaking of Viv, I just don’t understand how someone so smart and observant can be oblivious to the fact that she treats her love interest like dirt. The inconsistency of Viv’s character had me seething. At times, she even admits to herself that she’s being selfish and cruel, yet she can’t seem to change a thing about herself. Her inability to change is infuriating. Though she’s clever at times, ultimately her lack of development strips away most of the charisma she had at the beginning of the book.
Yet, in spite of these shortcomings, I felt myself turning page after page. My motivation to continue reading is attributed to the author’s writing style. Sarah Cross can simply write. She has a knack for choosing the right details to emphasize, resulting in a compelling, intoxicating read.
Tear You Apart is a fun read, I cross my heart. (Yes, I just made a pun from the author’s name. No regrets.)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Publisher: EgmontUSA (January 27th, 2015)
Length: 384 pages (Hardcover)
ISBN #: 9781606845912