Review: ‘Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairy Tale’ by Liz Jasper

Crimson is about to turn sixteen, so she really tries to keep her comments in check around her mom until the big day. She is dying to get her driver’s license so she and her friends, Todd and Hayley, can stop riding on the bus. Her mom is already pretty organic already as the owner of her own yoga studio. But when she goes overboard with the crystals – literally hundreds around the house and on Crimson, Crimson has to work very hard to appease her mother and let her have her way.

Super tall, pale and with coal-black hair, Crimson stands out in any crowd. But what she wants is the exact opposite: to be invisible. Though she can completely forget that once her sixteenth birthday happens: her mother goes into full panic mode when two huge men in suits appear on their doorstep and try to take Crimson. Though her mother, Miranda, fights them off successfully (and much to Crimson’s surprise), Miranda is no match for the next person who strolls through the door: Dirk. Crimson’s dad. The guy who supposedly died in a house fire when Crimson was a baby.

Forcibly removed from her house to some sort of castle somewhere, Crimson finds out that what she knows of herself is very far from the truth. Miranda is not her real mom? Miranda kidnapped Crimson as a child and spirited her away? Crimson herself is 22nd in line to the devil’s throne…since her father’s the King and she is Crimson the Sixth, Princess of Darkness. And she has powers.

Not knowing who or what she is any more, Crimson alternates between missing the woman she thought was her mother to becoming more like her father. Is she trying to get his approval? Encouraging her friends to break in at a rival school and shoplifting designer clothes on Rodeo Drive. Should she just be “herself” or believe Miranda’s mantra: “It is the choices you make that determine who you are.”

Starting with something trivial, I found the book’s title to be a mouthful and misleading. This book was no fairy-type tale. The title makes the book sound frothy and silly, and it’s not. And the photo on the cover? Who is the red-haired girl? Certainly not Crimson who we know (from several descriptions) to have long, thick coal-black hair. Usually, I don’t comment on the cover because what’s inside is infinitely more important, and covers can be changed. For some reason, I felt the need to say something about this one. Done.

I don’t know if I am getting tired of the paranormal genre, or maybe it’s more that I am tired of the same old paranormal themes. Here is a girl who doesn’t know where she comes from, has no idea that she has powers, has an evil dad and is in hiding. All great ideas for a book, but not if nothing new is done with them. And Crimson’s acceptance of this life was a little too fast, as well. I realize that some of her “acceptance” was a put on as she tried to get a handle on what was going on around her, but proof of that was pretty  lackluster. The characters were one-dimensional and uninteresting. I didn’t really care about anyone, even though I knew who I was supposed to care about.

It seems like Crimson should have been a little more proactive in finding out more about what happened to Miranda, where she was (when in the kingdom), what was expected of her, and what she could do (power-wise). The fact that she only told one of her best friends what was going on seemed a little strange, too. There was no plausible explanation as to why she would tell one and not the other. Decisions seemed to be made to further the plot and not because they necessarily made sense.

The evil family (aunt, uncle and cousin) were a bit cartoonish and projected their intent from space. I would have preferred to have felt their evilness by the pricking of the hairs on my neck as opposed to reading about it on the page in my face. There was no subtlety in their performances. And how they acted in the “real world” was not believable.

While grateful that the grammatical errors very very minor, I wish there had been more substance and surprise to the story. I found it to be very average.

2.5 of 5 Stars (Based on Ink and Page’s Rating System)

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy Paranormal
Ages: 12 and up
You might want to know: There’s some violence, it is very minor in its description.

Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairy Tale by Liz Jasper was published July 31, 2012 by CreateSpace. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
Mandy at The Reading Diaries
Andrea at Andrea Heltsley Books

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Buy the Book:
Abe Books
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