Less Than Charming by Rebecca A. Demarest
Once upon a time, I found this book in a Goodreads giveaway binge. It was back in the day when I was entering anything and everything, because I mean, free books? And I somehow stumbled upon this amazing sounding book. Fairytale and every character ever being brought to life? Um, sign me up. And when I didn’t win, I was so sad…only to be supremely excited when my bookish best friend did and I could happily borrow it from her when she was done. It took me far longer than normal to steal…I mean, borrow, it from her, but I’m so glad I did because this was such a good story.
Once Upon a Time…
A second novel, LESS THAN CHARMING tells the story of a world beyond a veil in which all of the characters writers have ever created are alive and living in their own society. As writers in the other—human world—constantly write new characters into existence, those characters emerge into this mirror world. A hierarchy evolves as every retelling of existing characters is layered onto the original, adding to and changing their personality, knowledge base, and sometimes their emotional stability. Prince Charming conspires to rule the society of characters, which includes every protagonist and foil you’ve ever found in a story or a book, and the prince is not as charming as you first imagine.
One character sands in the Prince’s way—Princess Sophia from Grimm’s lesser known “12 Dancing Princesses.” She’s stable—mostly—but Prince Charming is most definitely not. The good Storyteller and the First Character have tasked Sophia with stopping the Prince from destroying their world, and, by extension, ours.
Okay, first off, I have to give sooooo many props to Demarest. The concept was amazingggggg, and there totally needs to be more stories in this series because I’m hooked on the concept. I loved everything about the world she created, and she literally could do so much more with it. *forever crossing fingers there is more books coming*
The world really was amazing. Every character ever created is alive in this world, and it’s sectioned off with more contemporary places or the old school fairytales. Demarest sets it up easily and accessibly and I was never sitting there, going, but wait, I’m confused. Help! No, she created a world that was easy, fun, and just SO COOL. It’s definitely worth the read just for that. And she would bring up the coolest characters and quirks to them. Sleeping Beauty was there – although, she was made fun of a bit 😦 😉 – and even Edward Cullen. She got a few good quips in there. Even the Big Bad Wolf, Rumple, and the Evil Queen made fantastic appearances…and even a certain Hogwarts professor…or is he the principal? I don’t know. I’m so bad on my Harry Potter knowledge.
Sophia was a fantastic main character. She wasn’t the average princess, and she knew it. She was kickbutt, and I enjoyed her so much as a heroine. I thought it was epic that she was this princess reporter, off to find a story. And her romance with Jack was epic. I could used a bit more of the romance and feels for her, but I had to admire her for having that redemption arc that was in her past. I loved how layered she was.
The side characters were fun as well. As I said, I loved Jack, and he was a fantastic companion to Sophia. The rest of the characters provided a cool feel to the book, and each new character brought new life to the story. But Jackkkkkk. 😉
The plot was interesting as well. There were a few times that I felt the real plot got a bit muddled and it became a bit slow, but the plot really was interesting and I was quite interested what was going to happen until the end. I wanted to find out what was happening and what the big finale would be. She definitely had a few twists and turns, which was good as well.
Also, kind of a weird sidenote, but this book was actually a lot spicier than first thought? Here I was, thinking it might border on middle grade, be all cutesy, but it totally got a little spicy at times with the jokes and (I’m looking at you, Mr. Big Bad Wolf especially), much more than I was expecting. Not a complaint, but I just found it hilarious. 😄
Overall, this book was a lot of fun! I loved Sophia as a heroine, and the rest of the epic characters were great as well. Demarest reimagined quite a few in different ways, and the world that she created was stunning. She came up with the most interesting concept and fleshed it out wonderfully. At times, it did flounder a bit since some of the plot took a while to set up, but overall, it was a great read.
Four stars and an Ariel rating since Sleeping Beauty refused to be a part of this since she’s still offended by what Sophia did to her! Also, please let there be more books in the series. *still forever crossing my fingers…which is, you know, implied by the forever part)*
Check it out:
What do you think? Doesn’t that premise sound amazing?! Do you think Sleeping Beauty will ever forgive poor Rebecca Demarest (spoiler: probably yes since she’s not a real person)? Let’s discuss in the comments below!