This isn’t really a review, and it’s not really a discussion. I don’t have any specific plans for what I’m going to say or how I’m going to say it, I’m just going to write, and we’ll see where it goes. Obviously, this will be edited, and you’re not just going to get five pages of rambling stream of consciousness, I’m just saying that I can’t promise anything with this piece of writing.
I read this book for the first time when I was thirteen. At that time, I had just finished trying to be preppy and happy, and whatever else I thought people wanted me to be. I was really angry about most things, as many thirteen year olds are, and my way of expressing my rage was to become emo. It probably looked ridiculous with my ginger hair, but everyone makes weird fashion choices at some point in their life.
Anyway, at thirteen I hated most things. (I considered saying that I disliked most things, but I think it’s more accurate to say hated. I’m still cynical and pessimistic, I was just far more vocal about it back then.) The only thing I didn’t hate-other than My Chemical Romance and my long suffering cat-were Holly Black’s books.
These characters were everything I wanted to be. None of them liked their parents, or their town, or most of the people they hung out with, either. They were all dark, rebellious, and snarky. I could relate to them more than I could relate to most of my friends, at the time, and I would have rather hung out with these fictional characters than with anyone I knew. Which, thinking back on it, is pretty unfair to all of my friends. Sure, some of the people I liked when I was younger were horrible, but most of them were fine, I guess that’s thirteen for you.
I’m going to move on before this becomes several pages of me cringing at younger me.
To say that I loved this book would have been an understatement. This book was everything to me. I used to not even put it on my bookshelf-instead keeping it beside my bed, so I could reread parts of it whenever I felt like it. If I had reviewed this book back then, it would have had five stars, and the review would have been twelve pages of fangirling.
But not anymore.
Now, even though I’m not cheerful and preppy, I’m not nearly as horrible as I was back then. I’m still alternative, I’m just grunge instead of emo. I also don’t listen to emo music unless I’m feeling particularly nostalgic. The books that live beside my bed aren’t by Holly Black, they’re by Ray Bradbury and Douglas Adams. As I’m writing this, I’m not listening to Fall Out Boy, I’m listening to a playlist of Blur, Radiohead, Joy Division, and Placebo. Thirteen year old me would see me now as an insufferable hipster, and I’m not upset about that.
I’m a completely different person than I was when I was thirteen. But I didn’t think that it would change the way I thought about this book. This book obviously meant everything to me for a reason, why wouldn’t it mean everything to me now?
I regret rereading this book. I don’t think I can say that I regret reading any other book. I didn’t like reading Twilight, but I don’t regret it. A Clockwork Orange made me uncomfortable, and I don’t think I would have missed out on anything if I hadn’t read it, but I don’t know if I would use the word regret.
I, without a doubt, regret rereading this. If I hadn’t reread this, I would remember it forever as the book that I love, and a book that I read until it literally started falling apart. Now I remember it as being kind of disappointing.
It wasn’t too bad until I read the two stories that used to be my favorites. I had remembered the one as having beautiful, yet subtle, world building. In my mind, the story sounded like how I want my instagram to look. I remembered it as being a beautiful, dark, grungy world, but it wasn’t. I remember all of the stories having an atmosphere similar to this. It’s just this story in particular that I remembered having the most, or the best, worldbuilding. A lot of the reason I wanted to reread that story in particular was because I wanted to be immersed in that beautiful world building. I guess it’s appropriate that, in my mind, I described it as subtle, because there wasn’t any. I had a very active imagination, and apparently I had just imagined all the atmosphere. Now I realize that much of the reason I loved this story was because of what I made it and not what it really was.
The reason I liked the other short story was because I found the main character to be very relatable. Now, looking back at it, I see exactly why I related to that character, and exactly why I liked him, but now there’s only one way that I’m like him, and the rest of everything that he does irritates me. Not liking this story wasn’t as upsetting as not liking the other one, but it was still upsetting.
I honestly considered putting the book down after I reread my two old favorites. In the end, I decided to keep going because I had nothing left to ruin.
Even though while rereading this I didn’t like it, I can’t fairly say that it’s a bad book. If you’re the emo of your family, or you like dark urban fantasy, give this a try. They aren’t as bad as I’ve made them out to be. It’s just that I’ve stopped being so critical of the world around me, like the characters in the book are, so I don’t relate to them so much. Maybe this is about growing up. Maybe this is about changing points of view. Maybe this is about seeing my place in the world and my family more clearly. Maybe it’s about all of that.
Given the amount of times that I’ve read this book, I think I can say that it’s probably done at least a little bit to make me the person I am today. I still plan on keeping this book, I just won’t reread it ever again, and I probably won’t reread any of her other books that I loved.
I don’t know what I would give this as far as a star rating goes. I would have given it all the stars when I first read it, but now I would probably give it a low rating. I don’t know. It’s not bad if this is the kind of thing that you’re into, or if you’re the family emo, but if you’re more like me now, or if dark fantasy isn’t your thing, it’s probably not your cup of tea.