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Liz Jasper's first novel, Underdead, won the 2008 EPPIE Award for Best Mystery. The sequel, Underdead In Denial, was published the following year to critical acclaim. Since then she has written a YA novel and is currently back to work on her next Underdead book.
Liz lives in California near hiking trails and good public libraries, in a house where chocolate is welcome and the resident cat gets fatter and lazier every year. Why does Liz enjoy writing paranormals? With a career path that has gone from teaching middle school science to economics and finance, writing about blood-sucking demons was only natural.
on Sep. 03, 2012 :
Crimson Day is an awkward, unassuming wallflower-type who above all else, desires to fade into the background and not be noticed. Her mother is beautiful, light, calming - and absolutely nothing like Crimson herself. Right before Crimson’s 16th birthday, her mom starts acting weird…well, weirder than usual. In addition to wondering why in the world her mother is going off the deep end, Crimson wonders how she could possibly belong to this woman who she loves, but is well, TOTALLY not like herself. Well, maybe she really doesn’t. Belong with her mother, that is.
Enter long-lost daddy, who just happens to be a King in Hell. Come again?
Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairytale is a story about a girl who enters a fascinating, magical world…but one that just happens to reside ‘south of the border’. Told in a witty, cheeky fashion, Liz Jasper captures the snarkiness of high school cheerleaders, the buffoonery of demon minions, and the charm of a 16 year old girl who really just wants to fit in somewhere.
I thought the story was fast-paced and entertaining, and I really did enjoy it! Looking forward to the sequel!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Aug. 17, 2012 :
Rating: 4 stars
An e-copy of this book was provided for purpose of honest review by the author. I was not compensated for this review, and conclusions are honestly given and entirely my responsibility. Review for Lovers of Paranormal, a Goodreads Group.
“It's the choices you make that determine who you are."
Nature versus nurture, a debate for the ages. I applaud the author for taking on the debate in a direct attack, even if many of the references are peppered with Disney-esque characters. The promise that this book held was the real draw for me. I adore fairy tales, the moral tone, the direct repercussions, the integration of fantastical characters and scenarios. While the original tales are far darker and used mainly to teach or warn off children from dangerous acts, much of the “Disney Sanitation” and rewrites for sensibilities of today have removed that edge. Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairy Tale tries to restore some of that edge for the modern day, and is moderately successful in the attempt.
We meet Crimson Day, a soon to be 16 year old girl, who has spent the majority of her life trying to be “invisible”: no small feat for a girl who is tall, lean, ivory skinned and black haired. Afraid of standing out, not wanting to be bullied or noticed, she is a character that rails against her self-chosen ‘unpopularity’ while demeaning and degrading those she admires: even if she can’t bring herself to admit admiration. Her mother, Miranda, is very “new age hippy dippy”, a yoga instructor with an always joyful demeanor, as different in appearance and attitude from Crimson as possible, being tiny and blonde. Of course, there must be a twist: Crimson doesn’t remember her father. In fact, she has been told by her mother that her father died in a fire when she was just one year old.
As in all fairy tales, the main character is clueless with no idea that the day of reckoning is coming. And come it does: just shortly before the start of her sweet sixteen party, we meet Crimson’s father, Dirk Death, King of the Northern Deaths, 21st in line for the throne as the king of hell. Crimson Day is actually Crimson Death VI, Princess of Darkness, daughter of a demon.
And there the story begins to take shape – will Crimson go along to get along with this new dark side, or will the years of her mother’s calmness, niceness and parenting , as well as her own history of being a “good girl”, override the encouragement of her father’s family: to be bad? And here is where I stop in describing the story to avoid spoilers.
This story has some great potential – sadly just enough things were unsatisfactory to stop it short of achieving it fully.
Characters: the characters are fairly well defined, at least the main characters. Crimson is an overly whinging teen girl, prone to long periods of self-pity and overly critical impressions of others. Miranda is always lightness and sunshine - and while we are never told just ‘what’ she is, I suspect fairy – and think even fairies have ‘blue’ moments. We are introduced to two of Crimson’s friends: Todd and Hayley. Only Todd is flushed out as a character to any satisfying degree, Hayley is rather ‘hanging on’ in the plot – much like she is in life.
The other students are rather typically stereotypical, the jocks and cheerleaders are self-absorbed, self-important and selectively cruel. The “nerds” are often defined as needing a shower, or droning on and on. It is near the end of the book when Crimson sees that the “facades” are often just that – facades, yet the attitude in her interior dialogue barely registers that fact.
I don’t expect a 16 year old to have great powers of discernment, but after overhearing the displeasure of her discovery expressed by ALL of her newfound relations except her father, she is then apparently clueless as to their intentions: her uncle is “training” her to use her powers – and it is weeks before she realizes he may not be following his orders. She is traveling between the “human” and her father’s worlds, yet the transitions are relatively seamless between school life and her newfound powers. But, she is completely aware of the newfound interest in her stemming from the cheerleaders interest in her cousin and bodyguard/watcher.
Still – this was a fun read despite the issues. Written primarily for the YA market – I can see the emo rambles of Crimson being familiar and relatable to that market – and who hasn’t wanted to toss a fireball or two at someone particularly annoying? The story left enough holes open in the ending to open room for a sequel, Crimson has just started to integrate the two very conflicting approaches to life and problems, and hasn’t really mastered either approach. Will her mother’s continued recurrent voice continue to tell Crimson that she needs to listen to her heart and it is her choices that decide who she is, or will she allow the demonic side of her nature take control?
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 14, 2012 :
I got this book free as part of a Read to Review program in exchange for an honest review.
Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairy Tale is about a normal Cali girl turning 16. Unbeknownst to her, she's actually the daughter of the Demon King and was kidnapped by the woman she knew as her mother and hidden in the Real World, away from the her people. However, she came into her "powers" at 16 and was thus found by the Demon King.
Rating: 2 ~ 2.5 stars.
I thought this book had really good concept, idea, and foundation. The execution, however, was very poor. I hesitate in saying poor because a lot of the problems I saw while reading were rather simple problems that, if Jasper had done a second read through or, even better, had alpha/beta readers, would be very easily pointed out. This read like it was the first draft and the author decided not to work on the story, just the grammar and such.
So, as such, there's not much of a plot here. None of the main characters have any goals. Even the MC. The other problems, however, were just...
Well, for example of the "plotting" errors...
The first 10 ~ 13% of the book is pointless. It's just Crimson complaining. She wants a car. She complains about her mother's crystals. She complains about the school bus people crowding her (after saying she's completely unnoticeable...) She complains that her best friend didn't tell her the stones her mother gave her are making noise when she walks. She complains about her mothers aloofness. She complains and later argues with said best friend because he suddenly doesn't understand why she does whatever her mother tells her. Etc.
Then you have Miranda, her mother. She steals the child (for some reason never given) and takes her to Earth. Crimson is from hell (the "Princess of Darkness" -- I wish I was making that up.) Miranda is from Heaven (more or less.) So, Miranda is "hiding" this girl. How does she do it? Why, staying in one spot for all of Crimson's childhood. Not only that, but Miranda is a celebrity fitness trainer and Crimson has even been caught on TV by the news. For gods sake! They keep their same names too, with the exception that Crimson Death is changed to Crimson Day.
Miranda knows Crimson will come into power at 16 so what does she do to prepare her? Ah, she tells Crimson nothing of this and forces her to do Yoga and/or deep breathing. Besides the Yoga and breathing, the only other thing she does is give the girl crystals. What? No pepper spray at the least? No weird gift of a baseball bat? Some 15% in, after Crim turns 16, the Demon King comes back and Miranda does the whole "Crouching Tiger" cheesy flying kung-fu stuff. So, it's obvious that she knows how to fight... Knocked out by the King, Crim watches while Miranda is sucked into a big hole of light on the ground and disappears.
Crim gets taken to the Demon World, which seems just to be caves and lots of gold. We're told the Demon King is some 22 heir in line for Satan's position but there's no real evilness going on. One person gets killed in flames but that's about all for most of the book. No sex. No temptation. Not even nudie pictures on the wall. Some Hell.
Anyway, she's told she was kidnapped, that her real mother is dead, etc. Crimson believes everything and by day 1.5 stops even calling Miranda mom. She swallows it all without even a peep of protest. Tears, at a couple times, but she's so ready to believe everything these random strangers tell her. Never questions what she is told. Never tries to find out. Never tries to escape or even look around this new world. Her utter lack of any kind of response is baffling to me.
Wait, I miswrite. She has, for some reason, one thing that brings a response and some action out of her and it's food. God help you if you try to get her to eat what she doesn't want. The only time she went head to head with her new relatives was when her cousin tried to eat a piece of her birthday cake. Here's a bit of that (remember, this is only like a day or two after her birthday):
"I had dealt with the fact that I was a princess in a realm of demons, and that my loving mother was just a kidnapper. I'd dealt with having firepower, losing my best friends, and nearly getting killed in fireball training. But I'd be damned if I was going to let Warrior Boy eat my frosting roses!"
Priorities... this princess has them...
I suppose that doesn't matter because, for some reason, after searching for his daughter for 15 years, he sends her straight ... back to her house in the real world... For her safety, though absolutely nothing has been done to even attempt to harm her. I was waiting for the author to bring up the fact that her uncle and aunt would want her dead. That *finally* came up around 41% but, again, it was just thought and, naturally, she believed it whole stock and thus became paranoid. I'm not certain why but...
A couple other things that bugged me was how readily she was calling these strangers her family. By day 2, she'd stopped called Miranda mom. She was calling the Demon King Father/Dad, the same with her aunt and uncle. I'm a military brat and have lived everywhere around the USA. I didn't grow up with my extended family. I know their names and have visited them once or twice but even I don't think or call them 'my aunts' and 'uncles'. That's a relationship and I didn't have one with them.
Also, I'm not certain why, but she uses pretty much very adjective to describe walking and it became rather annoying. Her friends "scuttled". Her nurse "hobbled". Etc. Maybe it was just piling up.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)