Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?
I'm not saying that I was expecting this book to be light and fluffy but WOW this one was gritty, but at the same time it was absolutely beautifully written and weaved a beautifully horrible plot. Yes, I just used an oxymoron in a review, that is how well this book is written.
I may have cried at this book, actually I will admit it, I bawled my eyes out. From beginning to middle to end I was immersed in it, it started out as a gritty, heartbreaking love story and slowly made it's way to be that plus a thriller, plus a murder mystery. I loved Abel and Anna at the beginning, but slowly I began to find myself falling for Abel, despite watching his character change and I honestly wanted things to turn out so much different to how they did. I won't say too much as I may give away spoilers, but this book is one that grabs you emotionally and refuses to let go.
This book isn't one that I'd recommend to younger readers, but it's one that I would thrust into the faces of any contemporary, mystery or fairytale fan ages 16 up. there are some violent elements and it's very real despite being told in a fairytale manner, the world created is so desperate, so difficult that it isn't hard to relate some aspects of your own life to it making it that bit more heartwrenching, but let me promise you that you will enjoy it, even if you don't think it's your thing. This is one beautifully woven fairy tale without the happily ever after that I don't think I will ever forget.
Overall Rating: A
Released January 2012 by Amulet Books.
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.