Top critical review
Main Character is a little too simple. Potential fell flat for me
Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2021
I love this author's books overall, and I'm a huge fan of fairy-tale retellings so I really wanted to love this, and I was intrigued by the "ugly duckling" spinoff. I enjoy a good fairy tale retelling that fleshes out the background and gives it life. Sadly, over and over again it was a bit more cringe-worthy at how simple the main character was. She had no true depth. She was a very sweet but lacking in common sense type. She was also very caught up in her own affliction and didn't really listen to anyone else's backstory much.
Possible small spoiler alert below--
She felt like because she wasn't beautiful she wasn't worth anything, and while that rings true with many today, the fact that she was indeed beautiful and had a small scar that she could easily hide gave her this excuse but then it rings back to... but she was actually beautiful, there wasn't really the ugly duckling thing to deal with, just the fact that her abuse had caused her to be insecure in her value? And if she was actually ugly, would that make her thoughts true? Why did she not like a certain guy? Not because of his worth. Not because she tried getting to know him. I was honestly disappointed in the fact that the first guy getting such a rude rejection didn't elicit anything with his mentee - who looked up to and respected him for years. I mean, I'd think twice honestly if that happened, no matter if I had a crush or not. Why did she like another guy at first? Not because of his worth at first. But because of his looks. She weighed others purely based on their looks and then fleshed it out later. It was hard to find a deeper message. And towards the ending, while trying not to give any spoilers, it drove me crazy how they were close to finding the "bad guys" over and over, but then they give up, leave it to others and go waltzing off into the sunset then another threat emerges, then they have to go track them down again... like, I don't know, but personally, I wouldn't feel like making out when there's someone trying to kill me and hurting others in the woods running amok, but that's just me. It just felt all very superficial which was the opposite of what I expected especially in an ugly duckling retelling. :/ And they use God as a "which way to go" prayer, not to find their deeper meaning in life. It's just a "tug" this way a "tug" that way, point me in the right direction right now - and while acknowledging God doesn't always save every Christian from demise, He seems to at every turn here even though there's not really a huge enemy to deal with or religious persecution, they just can't really keep track of one person who keeps causing trouble and needs serious help. It was a struggle to get through. I would have returned it but it didn't feel honest as I had already read it so I'll sell it with other used books, but I'm just saddened that with such a wonderful gift of writing and such potential, it fell far short. I'm not a big successful author though, so I say all this with a grain of salt. She wrote a book I was able to get through easily in a couple of days, so it definitely was well written in the fact that it pulled you in and made you want more, but the story itself was what lacked substance. I guess that's why I took the trouble to write. Because she is such an amazing author and I know she does so well in most of her books. I hope that's helpful. That's my 2 cents worth at least.