Author: Jackson Pearce
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Age Group: YA
Publisher: Little Brown
Sequel: Fathomless # 3 (Sisters Red # 1)
Page Count: 320
Source: Early Copy- Amazon
'As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.
Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past-- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone-- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen it's next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.
Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry. '
The Cover: The cover is really, rather genius. Not telling why, but once you have read the book and understand Ansel, Sophia and especially Gretchen . . . amazing. On top of having major meaning, it is creepy and beautiful. This cover gets a 5 out 5!
Teaser Quote: " . . . I'm left staring at a dead girl's open body. I gag, almost vomit, and turn away just in time . . . [they] have caught on to the guns - they're moving, running, darting behind girls who are desperately trying to run for their cars or who are curled up on the ground, screaming."
My Thoughts . . . .
This is not a retelling, but a genius reconstruction of Hansel and Gretel, that will leave you reading into the wee hours of the morning, heart racing, minding reeling and palms sweating. Thanks Amazon for the early copy, 'cus I devoured this captivating tale of brother and sister, and all the struggle that comes between them in no time!
Each character is their own. They have their own problems and faults and the author is not afraid to make that apparent. I love it, 'cus they are all real.
But lets start off with my least favorite character, Ansel. I didn't care for him, not really. Ansel, I believe is 19, a year older then his sister, Gretchen, and he is suppose to be her protector, her shield, but I didn't buy it. Not that Jackson doesn't construct him as that, because she does, gracefully, but the Ansel, Gretchen saw in her head and heart was not the Ansel I saw. He was childish, in a way. Gretchen always said that he was always trying to protect her and he does, but for me at least, everything he did was shelfish, a leg-up for him to gain something. I just wanted him to be as amazing and Gretchen thought he was, but in the end, he was OK. He was real. I mean really, he was one flawed and imperfect guy, even though he was suppose to be perfect . . .
Gretchen a.k.a Skittles, was a great character and in many ways reminded me of Rosie and Scarlett from Sisters Red, in the sense that she is a young girl just trying to find herself, to find any semblance of not only a normal life, but simply a life.
Samuel was dark, mysterious, broody. Typical. Only, he was much more. He has history. History that readers of Jackson's other books will scream over. History that is both sad and scary.
Sophia was . . . . well, she was unique. I mean, wow. That lady had some problems. She made great candy though. Jackson's descriptions of all the treats made me hungry! Chocolate dipped potato chips!?!? Wow, where can I get those?? Sophia and Ansel share a very nice romance that I thought was just subtle enough to be realistic, which brings be to the love . . .
The romance is def there, but once again Ms. Pearce crafts it into the story so seamlessly that you feel the emotion and aren't overwhelmed by what could have easily been a redic 'love you forever' romance. Ansel and Sophia's love was nice and dreamy. It was simple, yet fairytale-ish, while still be realistic. Gretchen and Samuels' love was the opposite of Ansel's and Sophia's in the sense that it wasn't love or need, at first sight. It blossomed, very honestly.
The action is brilliant, I really, really like the action, Jackson can def write an action scene. We've got guns and girls screaming and dying. People fighting, wrestling witches to the ground. It was fun!
The storyline was brilliant. Jackson has taken a classic fairytale and has reconstructed it in such an amazing way that it is now a bigger entity. This book is like a piece of a puzzle, that with each new fairytale book, will come together and create a stunning work of literature. Its hard to explain unless you read the book, but the way things are weaved together, it reminds me of Harry Potter, how everything has a conecction, a purpose, meaning. The story is not only original, but its only the begining to a much bigger story, a much bigger tale.
This is an ACTUAL companion to Sisters Red. I will not give any secrets away, but this is not just another fairy tale being retold, but Sisters Red and Sweetly AND Fathomless, which hasn't even been released yet and whatever Fairy Tale Retelling that comes next, is all intertwined, is all one, amazing, fantastical, beautiful and sometimes, frightening world! It is one seemless realm of the unreal and scary. You will be going insane over this book, especially if you have read Sisters Red and watch Jackson's YouTube vids and live stream with her, 'cus this is a true treat for fans, and frankly anyone who enjoys a great read.
This book was great! I recommend it for those who like ANY YA paranormal books like Wicked Lovely, Paranormacly, The Mortal Instruments, Firelight, Twilight and basically anything else. Its dark and romantic and very, very suspenseful!!
At end of the journey that is Sweetly, you will be left wanting. Wanting to know what comes next. Wanting to never find out. And wanting the story to suck you in, again and again!
Question: Should you read?
Answer: Without A Doubt!!
Sweetly is 4 and half Hearts out of 5!!
p.s.: Her next Fairy Tale Retelling is Fathomless (The Little Mermaid) due out next year and *maybe* Whitter (working title for the Snow Queen!!)!!