Bre is a fashion and lifestyle blogger at The Queen Bre. She is a girl from the North with a heart for Lilly Pulitzer, shopping, and anything pink. She is also my twin sister.
Once upon a time, I read one of the worst books that I’ve ever read.
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross follows 15-year-old Mirabelle, who runs away from home to her birthplace, Beau Rivage, one week before her sixteenth birthday. Years ago, her parents died in a fire at her christening, and Mirabelle feels determined to find their graves, so that she can get closure. However, in Beau Rivage, Mirabelle enters a new world hidden from the public eye, where everyone receives a fairytale curse that they will eventually re-enact in real life. Mirabelle struggles between following her destiny, or defying her fate, as a Sleeping Beauty curse in a world where not every story gets a happily-ever-after.
Although the plot on the inside cover of the novel peaked my interest, the actual story fell short and disappointed me. I absolutely love fairy tale retellings, and Kill Me Softly promised a mixture of my favorite fairy tales with a delightful twist. However, the plot dragged at times, and many aspects of the plot felt unrealistic, even in a book about fairy tales! For example, Mirabelle waltzes around a casino at her leisure, even though she is underage.
Additionally, some parts of the novel just felt a little silly, like the author consciously tried to make the novel more ‘PG-13 rated’ and scandalous, but ultimately failed, and it just came across as cringe-worthy. For instance, the characters play strip poker…but they wear crazy costumes and none of their clothes actually come off. The game just came across as awkward and not funny, especially since it served no actual purpose in the novel, except to make it feel more ‘scandalous’ for its intended audience of teenage girls.
I also highly disliked Mirabelle’s character. Considering that she is only fifteen-years-old, I could, under normal circumstances, forgive her for being selfish and stupid in love. However, her godmothers reveal that she had gifts bestowed on her at her christening, which include kindness and intellect. Mirabelle exhibits neither throughout the novel. She treats the ‘prince’ that will eventually save her life so terribly that he falls into a depression, lashes out at those who try to warn her about the villian, and stays with the said villan even after she knows that his curse could kill her.
Unfortunately, Mirabelle’s love interests aren’t much better.
First, Mirabelle falls in insta-love with Felix, who is a 21-year-old casino owner. Let me reiterate that. She is 15-years-old, and he is 21-years-old. The age difference alone disturbs me, but the author takes the inappropriateness even further. The characters sleep in the same bed, and even almost hook up. Mirabelle even buys lingerie to wear for him. Though Felix eventually turns into the villian of the novel, I hated how the novel made a relationship between a 15-year-old and a 21-year-old seem appropriate, and even exhilarating and fun. Considering the intended audience of the novel, I felt disappointed that the author chose to encourage a relationship like this.
I didn’t really like Mirabelle’s other love interest, Blue, much either. He just acted as the run-of-the-mill bad boy love interest to contrast with his brother, Felix. Sarcastic, not traditionally good looking, and somewhat annoying, I felt like I read his character a million times before in other young adult novels. Yawn.
I, however, felt most disappointed in the message that the novel sent to young readers. (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
The end of the novel reveals that Felix and Blue possess the Bluebeard curse, so if anyone enters their sacred room in the casino, then that person must die. When Mirabelle enters Felix’s room, he must kill her by kissing her. If the author stopped her, then maybe I could try to understand the author’s perspective, despite the age difference in the characters. However, the author takes the curse too far. Felix forcibly throws Mirabelle onto a bed, and she starts to lose consciousness. As he forcibly kisses her in her unconscious state, Mirabelle thinks, “It’s okay because he’s not touching me anywhere else” (not verbatim, but the general idea of the line). That thought took the curse too far for me, as it tells young, impressionable readers that it is okay for someone to forcefully kiss you when you’re unconscious, especially if he (or she) isn’t touching you anywhere else. What an incredibly disappointing way to discuss consent.
Overall, I would give Kill Me Softly 2 out of 5 stars. Although I liked the basic premise of the novel, the author executes it poorly.