Reviewing the Pages: Gretel

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There is an ancient evil in the Back Country, dormant for centuries but now hungry and lurking. When it sets its sights on an unsuspecting mother one routine morning along an isolated stretch of highway, a quiet farming family is suddenly thrust into a world of unspeakable terror, and a young girl must learn to be a hero.

A vastly different take on the story of Hansel and Gretel, where Christopher Coleman creates a world where magic does exist, and expands out the whole family dynamic of the main family. Gretel grows tremendously as a character, even in the face of death. If you’re like me, your heart will start racing at the end as the story stampedes into its eventful conclusion. If you like retellings, or suspenseful reads, then this is the tale for you. I’m looking forward to diving into the second book in this world.

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Starting out, I want to point out a negative here, and that was some of the confusion at the end.  In the cannery, Annika says “Mother”.  Shouldn’t that be Gretel? Or is Annika talking to her long gone mother? Or is our mysterious witch (which I don’t think was ever named), actually Annika’s mother? I don’t know.  It was just a little confusing to me, but didn’t affect the enjoyment of the story.

Now, on with the raving.  I love the retelling of the tale, in which the mother gets captured by the evil witch instead of the children.  The little reveals throughout the story keeps adding to the ever expanding tale.  Now, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, and I have a feeling that our author has done that in the second book.

I do want to know a bit more about the history of the world though.  We get all of these mentions of “the State” and “the System”, but we don’t get a lot of explanation about them.  Yes, I know that we are in a rural part of the world, and that the System doesn’t get out there often, but at the same time, it would be nice to see/understand just how the State and System were created.  Or even more of them for that matter.  We just see the one System officer, and he’s corrupted by the mere thought of extended life.

Speaking of extended life, I like that there are consequences and drawbacks to the entire process of prolonging life.  We see the process of almost dying, to getting sort of revitalized, to becoming this strong being and then the devolution of the person’s health afterwards.  The story makes it well known that you can’t live forever.  I would compare it to the effects of being a drug addict…just a little bit will get you hooked, but it takes more and more to keep getting back to that initial high.

As I said in my Goodreads review, if you are a fan of retellings, darker fantasy or suspenseful reads, then I certainly recommend this to you.

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