Thursday, June 6, 2013

Towering by Alex Flinn

Release date: May 14, 2013
Author info: Website | Facebook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 293
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.

Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.
I've read a lot of fairy tale retellings, but I'm not sure if any have disappointed me as much as Towering. I have read all of Alex Flinn's previous retellings and generally enjoyed them--though not Cloaked all that much--but I just don't know. There was a lot of promise at the beginning, but Towering suffered from too little plot and, frankly, not enough imagination.

Rachel has been locked away in a tower for half of her life. The only person she's ever met is "Mama", who isn't even her real mother. She spends her days reading and singing, imagining the world outside her small tower. She knows she is destined to great things, but she doesn't know what they are. When Wyatt comes to town, he starts to hear a girl's voice, one that no one else can hear. At first he thinks he's crazy, but soon he learns of weird disappearances in the town and starts to draw conclusions. When his and Rachel's worlds collide, the two begin to pull the pieces together and unravel a mystery that's been plaguing the town for thirty years.

Towering has such a promising start. It's got a great eerie, gothicy feel, which works perfectly for Wyatt's arrival and his first night in town. I loved the Wuthering Heights references and knew his experience in Danielle's room was pulled from it before it was mentioned. Sadly, the tone is not sustained.

The book quickly loses the feel that pulled me in originally and never gains it back. It becomes sloggish (which is a word I just made up) and ordinary, with Wyatt going into town and asking too many questions of suspicious people and Rachel moping about in her tower. Once it lost that hook, I was really uninterested and had to force myself to finish the book. I honestly didn't pick it up for days, and I considered just not finishing it

Another problem I had was that certain aspects just reminded me too much of Disney's movie Tangled. The description of Rachel, her personality, how she spends her time, and her "magical powers" were just all too similar. I kept wishing that I was watching the movie, rather than reading the book.

I hate writing reviews like this, but I found it hard to like much of anything in Towering. At times I liked Rachel and her way of speaking, but I also thought she never appropriately reacted to anything. I liked Wyatt when he told Rachel about his best friend Tyler, but aside from that he's uninteresting. And HOLY INSTALOVE. If you don't like instalove, absolutely steer clear of this one. I wish I had better things to say, but if you're looking for a fairy tale retelling, look to almost any of Alex Flinn's others, Juliet Marillier's excellent Daughter of the Forest (adult, based on the not-so-well-known Seven Swans story), or Marissa Meyer's Cinder.

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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