Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Towering by Alex Flinn

Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Library Copy
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Facebook

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.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

I blame the cover.
Look at the beautiful freaking cover! How could I resist it?
Besides, fairytale retellings are my kryptonite. Unfortunately, I end up sifting through massive amounts of crap in order to find a good one. Towering is a prime example of Crap.
I have to admit that I had fair warning about this one, though.
There are literally hundreds of scathing reviews on Goodreads that beg other readers to stay away from this book.
But did I listen?
No. No, I did not.
Well, I had just finished another retelling that quite a few people hated. All of the problems those readers had with the story were the exact same things that I found interesting and entertaining. You know, to each his own...and that kind of thing.
Look at that cover! There had to be something beautiful inside of it!

Towering is modern retelling of Rapunzel.
Which is why I really wasn't expecting her to be locked in an actual tower.
Because it would be hard to find a plausible reason to lock a girl with magical hair in a tower in this day and age.
Just finding a tower would be hard enough...
But if you're going to go that route, you need to have an ironclad reason why there was no other option. You also need to give some sort of backstory on the damn tower.
Was it a grain silo in a previous life, or what? I mean, it's not like we have an overabundance of random towers sitting around here in the states.
Ok. Let's forget the tower. I was willing to give that one a pass, because...
Well, just because.

Wyatt is the 'prince' in this story, and his POV was by far the least annoying. And I guess Rachel wasn't so much annoying as she was...weird. Although, I suppose anyone would be a bit odd if they had been locked in a tower, and fed nothing but classic literature until they were 17 years old.
Again, why?
Why did 'Mamma' insist on keeping Rachel stuck in the Olden Days. Why was the kid reading Jane Austen instead of Judy Blume? There was no real reason to make the poor girl any more socially dysfunctional than necessary. And for that matter why was she sitting around in dresses instead of sweat pants and a tank top? Wouldn't that make more sense?
Anyway, the story opens with Wyatt on his way to move in with a crazy old lady, who lives out in the middle of nowhere. We eventually find out that he's recently lost his best friend to some 'mysterious circumstance' that he feels like he could have prevented.
Once the mystery behind his guilt is revealed, I felt sort of let down. It's not something that was in any way his fault, and (while tragic) I can't imagine that it would drive a normal teenage boy to agree to such a move. 
M'kay. Next up is the ghost story.
Danielle was the daughter of the old lady that Wyatt now lives with. On his first night in the house, he meets up with an apparition trying to claw it's way into the bedroom window. And after finding Danielle's diary, he realizes that the spirit was probably Dani. Of course, since he's part of Mystery Inc., he decides to investigate her disappearance Scooby-Doo style.
Meanwhile, he hears a voice in the distance...singing. Naturally, no one else hears the voice.
So, yeah, he's gotta investigate that too.
Enter the girl in the tower.
Hello, Insta-Love! I was wondering when you'd show up!
Wyatt and Rachel sittin' in a tree...
Except it's not that cute. Because within moments of meeting each other, the googly eyes start. And ya know what? I would have been ok with that. But could we at least pretend that they got to know each other just a little bit, before they declare their love for each other?
I'm going to have to start keeping a garbage can next to me when I read stuff like this, so that I can spit out that little bit of vomit that comes up in my mouth. I've heard that it's bad for your esophagus to keep swallowing bile...

At this point, the story is crisscrossing between Ghost-Dani's diary, Rachel remembering the past, Wyatt remembering the past, Rachel's weird observations on life in a tower, and Wyatt's ongoing investigation into everything.

I should probably mention that Rachel has magical hair that grows 'when she needs it'. It's not there just for looks, though. It gives her Samson.
It also makes a great rope for repelling down towers!
But wait! There's more!
She has magical healing tears.
Oh, and she was prophesied to bringanendtoamagicaldrugring.
Excuse me? Could you please repeat that?
I said, she was prophesied to bring an end to a magical drug ring.
'Cause, she got magical hair and tears.
Right. Well, honestly, reading it for yourself in the book doesn't really clarify it much.

Bottom line? The story was weird, and the plot holes in this were wide enough to drive a herd of elephants through.

Towering got 2 stars from me instead of 1, because it is readable.
I've been disappointed by Flinn before, but I continue to read her stuff, because I do think that the majority of her books are (mostly) enjoyable.
Just not this one.


Jenese L said...

Magical hair and tears?!?! LOL

Addicted2Heroines said...

I tried reading this last year and was about 25% in when I set it aside to read something else and never bothered to pick it back up again. I wanted to read Finn's Beastly until I read Towering. Not as interested in it anymore.


Beastly wasn't bad, and I loved Bewitching. Like I said...hit or miss. Her retelling of Sleeping Beauty was a stinker too, though.

Alyn Yang said...

I liked Beastly, maybe I'll still give this a try. That cover!!


I would tell you not to, but I know the what the 'pull of a cover' feels like. It is an AMAZING cover! What's inside, though? Oh! The humanity!

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