Book Review: Quite Contrary

Posted April 19th, 2013 by in book review / 0 comments


Title: Quite Contrary
Author: Richard Roberts
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Version Read: ebook galley
Publication Date: March 20th, 2013
Categories: faeries, fantasy, magic

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way reflects my feelings towards the book or the book’s review.

Summary (Netgalley): The secret of having an adventure is getting lost. Who ever visited an enchanted kingdom or fell into a fairy tale without wandering into the woods first?
Well, Mary is lost. Mary is lost in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and that is a cruel and murderous story. She’s put on the red hood and met the Wolf. When she gives in to her Wolf’s temptations, she will die. That’s how the story goes, after all.
Unfortunately for the story and unfortunately for the Wolf, this Little Red Riding Hood is Mary Stuart, and she is the most stubborn and contrary twelve year old the world has ever known.
Forget the Wolf’s temptations, forget the advice of the talking rat trying to save her – she will kick her way through every myth and fairy tale ever told until she finds a way to get out of this alive. Her own way, and no one else’s.

I didn’t particularly like Quite Contrary. In part due to my having expectations about the book that weren’t met (because they were pretty opposite to where the author was going) and in part because it was an uncomfortable read.

Mary is one heck of a brat and this did not endear me to her. In fact, I kind of wanted the Big Bad Wolf to eat her for the first half of the book. Later on in the book (too late, in my opinion) we find out why Mary is so bratty and mean, and that made me like her a little better, because I could understand her attitude. Previously there had been no explanation or even a hint of one as to why her personality was so negative.

Quite Contrary kind of jumped around all over the place, often without any real rhyme or reason, or so it felt to me anyway. I really had to force myself to read past the first 100 pages because I kept thinking ‘I have to put up with 200 more pages of this nonsense’ but I did want to see what fairytale land Mary would smash/crash/batter her way into next. I think this was about the only reason I didn’t DNF the book.

Some of the later ‘fairytales’ were definitely of the darker variety, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend a younger teen reading this for that reason. Also, the Wolf, seriously creepy. In a ‘I don’t care that you are twelve’ sort of way. Even the voodoo witch that popped up thought that was gross. I was definitely happy to see Mary end her Riding Hood story the way she did.

I did like the originality in many of the fairy tales that Mary travelled through (or broke). They all had elements of existing fairy tales, and each one got a bit more sinister as the story went along which gave the book a whole extra star really. The author didn’t rely completely on existing fairy tales to pad out the story, but used flashs of existing fables, myths and legends to build his own.

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