This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.
Although I was enjoying this book I can do none other than rate it poorly because of the truly poor reading experience I had with it.
The book interested me because in some ways it's similar to one I am currently engaged in writing - variations on fairy tales. It perhaps doesn't need to be remarked to serious readers that there are too many reboots of fairy tale stories such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast on the market right now. I blame Disney and YA writers. The genre has become flooded with cheap knock-offs, and this means that if you have an idea for such a book, then you have to write something truly different to make a splash.
That's my plan and that was obviously also this author's plan. What I had feared was that she had beaten me to it, but our ideas are very different thankfully, and mine is aimed at grown-ups whereas her is aimed at a younger audience, so I am continuing with mine!
The thing is that you can't copyright an idea for a novel! You have to turn that idea into a book before you can consider it finished and this book truly is a well-finished work. It consists of several short stories based on traditional folk tales and commendably it goes back to the original roots of the stories, but then it amends them in diverse and inclusive ways. It's a great idea. There's no Disney all cis-gendered, all white-washed tales here thank goodness (at least based on what I managed to read)! The first three were Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and The Snow Queen.
Amusingly if annoyingly enough, the Snow Queen was where I was frozen out. Quite literally. I read the first two stories, but ran into increasing problems with the book ”sticking” such that I could not swipe pages nor enlarge or reduce them (the text is quite small even on my iPad so I had to enlarge each page for a better reading experience, not having falcon eyes!). I was reading it in Bluefire Reader on my iPad - an app I recommend highly.
Normally I have zero issues in Bluefire Reader, but it was becoming increasingly unresponsive with this book open, and it eventually locked up the app entirely. I closed and restarted only to run into the same problem. On a second restart, the novel wouldn't even open. I tried a reboot of the iPad, but this changed nothing, so I deleted the book from Bluefire and went back to Net Galley for a fresh copy only to find I could no longer download it - it's archived! I hope this isn’t indicative of the experience a regular reader will have.
I have to allow that I was irritated, to put it politely, at being frozen out like this, especially since I'd only downloaded this a few days ago. To me there's a contract when I agree to review a book: I will post a review, guaranteed. It would be nice to feel the publisher felt the same way and made the book available until the review was published, but I'm just an amateur reviewer and although I'm just as dedicated to this craft as professional reviewers (perhaps more so since I don't get paid for this!), I don't merit such considerations. That's just the way it is - and an argument in favor of print books, huh?! LOL!
It occurred to me that perhaps the book began misbehaving on my pad because it had been closed on Net Galley? I don't know, but they understandably have so many protections on these things these days that it would not surprise me if that happened. Usually when that happens, there is a note in Bluefire telling me the book has expired (in a non-fatal way!). So all I can conclude is that this was a poor or corrupted download copy. it would have been nice to have been able to fix that and finish reading it.
As I said, I was enjoying the book prior to this, but I cannot rate a book positively that gives such a poor reader experience, so this is why I rate this negatively.