When: August 23rd, 2011
Where: Little Brown
Why: Author Love
How: For Review
Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.
Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.
Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
I felt a lot of the same things I did during Sister's Red that I did for Sweetly (in many ways, they are quite similar) so let's get started!
I really liked Gretchen. I liked that she was a nice girl with a bit of an attitude and I love how brave and determined she was! In the face of danger, she doesn't back down, she goes up to Samuel and tells him to teach her how aim a gun and fight the Fenris and I definitely give her a round of applause there! She felt a lot more genuine to me than Rosie did (but you know, I didn't like Rosie so) and reminded me a little bit of Scarlett just with a more subtle badassery. One thing that disappointed me was the fact that there wasn't a lot of sibling love going on in the story! Sister's Red was about sibling love and separation and identity and I was expecting that from the beginning of the novel. Instead, Ansel was pretty one-dimensional and like Rosie, fell flat the minute he fell in love.
Sophie, on the other hand, was fascinating. She was complex and scary and wonderful and like Gretchen, I wanted to trust her so much! But because it's a Hansel and Gretel retelling, I was suspicious of everyone. But her plot line was amazing and her desperation and love that eventually turned her to madness was so sad and I wish I had had more time with her to discover the depths of her character. Samuel, I liked! I thought he was a total sweetheart hidden under that whole "macho" guy exterior and he totally grew on me throughout the novel. I also love how he is Sila's (the love interest from Sister's Red) brother and that whole "kick ass" mentality was present even in him! But I definitely liked Samuel more than Silas since I vaguely remember wanting to kick Silas in the shins at one point in that novel.
Jackson brings back the Fenris and I love it! The Fenris, these werewolf monsters, are not to be taken lightly and will kill you anytime you let your guard down (especially if you're pretty). I really liked how we got a lot more detail into the inner workings of their work as well as character development from the animals themselves in this book and I cannot wait until Fathomless because there's all these little clues sprinkled throughout Sweetly that find towards what exactly it's going to be about!
I recommend if you like Fairy Tales and if you loved Sister's Red! A good addiction to the companion trilogy.