Wow, okay, corny to the max, I know. Can we just forget I ever said that?
But seriously. I’m sorry. I know I’ve been MIA for the past … well … long time … but it’s for good reason! The holidays had me slammed, I’m working on the screenplay project I’ve been at with a veteran writer (and freaking famous actor) that I can’t name but all will be revealed in time! I’m also extremely, extremely close to releasing the first book in The Afterlight Chronicles, Crown of Crimson! Am I the only one a little excited? Yes? Okay.
But, putting the excitement aside for a minute, I’d just like to give a quick, quick review of Once Upon a [Stolen] Time just because I haven’t had a free second since the moment I picked it up and wanted to get some word out there. So below is a very brief review of the novel by Samreen Ahsan. I’ll write a lengthier review sometime in the near future but just thought I should go ahead and get a few bullet points out there.
Once Upon a [Stolen] Time by Samreen Ahsan
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles—and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. Now, wealthy videogame designer Steve Bernard wants her to model for a princess character in his new game. Myra can’t resist his offer, especially when she learns that Steve plans to film inside the mysterious Hue Castle—a cursed, barren, colorless place forbidden to visitors for centuries. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. When she enters its doors, she awakens dark powers that will reach through time—stealing her past, torturing her present, and rewriting her future.
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman who haunts his dreams—who will either break his curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly.
For Myra and Edward, past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.
So, when I picked this book up, the title alone had me going, “UMM CAN I PLEASE READ THIS RIGHT NOW.” because what a clever name! Then, I read the concept, and was even more intrigued by this author.
Then I started reading.
Unfortunately, the first chapter was … I hate to use the word boring so I’ll say they were dull. And then it took a turn for the worst.
If you’ve been reading my blog a while, then you can answer this before I even finish my statement. One of my least favorite things to find in a book is immaturity in the characters. I cannot stand to be reading a book and slap myself on the forehead because the character is just so, so, painfully naïve. Take Tiger’s Curse as an example. What did I gripe about in that book? Oh, that’s right. Friggin’ immaturity.
In Once Upon a [Stolen] Time, you almost didn’t notice the immaturity. Myra isn’t childish or giddy or anything. In fact, you don’t notice anything about her until about midway through Chapter 1. Then it smacks you over the head.
I don’t think I’m revealing anything when I say that Myra is offered a job. This job would allow her to tour the beautiful, enigmatic Hue Castle. Now, that’s not the smack-you-over-the-head part. The smack-you-over-the-head part is how she gets that job.
Myra is being presented to this other wealthy family’s son in hopes that they’ll make a good match, start dating, and hopefully get married. That’s not what either of them has in mind, though. In fact, Myra’s would-be boyfriend admits he’s gay! (**Retch… sorry guys … you know I just can’t do the gay thing.**) So, they agree to just be friends and pretend they’re enjoying themselves. Then Steve (her would-be boyfriend) mentions that he’s a game designer, and they’re about to go film at Hue Castle, and “I know we just met, but would you want to come film with me without auditioning for the part or knowing anything about me?”
Yes, Amy Poehler, really.
So, Myra accepts, and how does she accept? By leaping into his arms and screaming, “YES! YES, I ACCEPT! OF COURSE I DO!” And naturally the parents eavesdropping think that good ole Steve has just proposed!
Because who doesn’t propose five minutes after meeting someone? Makes perfect sense, right?
Okay, maybe I’m being a little cruel with the first chapter. It was supposed to be an arranged marriage … kind of.
So, I know I’ve bashed the book a good bit, but if you think about it, it’s just the first chapter! It was just so …. painful to get through! The actual storyline was very, very interesting and I’ve never read anything like it. Like Myra, the male lead (not her would-be boyfriend) Edward got on my nerves occasionally but for the most part he was a good character. I liked him better than Myra. And the story behind the Hue Castle was very intriguing.
Wow, so much for my short review, huh? I’m going to stop blabbing there and just post a long review in the coming days/weeks (you know how it is with us writers!).
Well, someone’s knocking on the door now so I’ve gotta run but as always, it’s a pleasure talking to you! I won’t be such a stranger next time 😉
What’s on your bookshelf?