Published: 3rd June 2013 by Random House AU
Format: Paperback, 432 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
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‘He's gone the same way as those little birds that bothered me with their awful songs! And you will too, you and your horrible heart-music, because you won't stay out of my woods!'
There's a dead girl in a birdcage in the woods. That's not unusual. Isola Wilde sees a lot of things other people don't. But when the girl appears at Isola's window, her every word a threat, Isola needs help.
Her real-life friends – Grape, James and new boy Edgar – make her forget for a while. And her brother-princes – the mermaids, faeries and magical creatures seemingly lifted from the pages of the French fairytales Isola idolises – will protect her with all the fierce love they possess.
It may not be enough.
Isola needs to uncover the truth behind the dead girl's demise and appease her enraged spirit, before the ghost steals Isola's last breath.
I had to stop reading this book 30 pages in to process. This is what I wrote on Goodreads: “I’m on page 32 of 432 of Fairytales for Wilde : So far: Deliciously creepy. Haunting. Clever. Witty. Impeccably imaged. Brilliant. Perfect.“
That basically sums it up, you don’t need to know anything else, except that you should grab yourself a copy of this novel as soon as it’s possible for you to do so.
My favourite thing about Fairytales for Wilde Girls is the imagery, the dreamlike quality Near instills in the book, the vivid, raw, chilling atmosphere that permeates the world. It’s easy to lose oneself in Isola’s world of faeries and wild woods and ghosts. This is definitely a fantasy world I would happily escape to in my spare time. The author’s realisation of this world goes hand-in-hand with the creativity – it’s brought to life with a level of mastery rarely seen in début authors, and all I can say is, if this is Near’s début, I can’t wait for what she delivers next.
Fairytales for Wilde Girls is populated with clever, dimensional, believable characters. I liked every character I met in this book, from Isola’s weird parents and her bubbly friend Grape (awesome, awesome name!) to Edgar’s family and Isola’s ethereal princes. I have to admit that I love the main character, Isola, even though I have absolutely nothing in common with her and never imagine myself in a similar situation. There’s something about her, a fragility that Edgar envisions as glass, that endeared me to her almost instantly. Edgar is another breath of fresh air – genuinely supportive, sweet, and all-round great guy.
This book is a wonderful example of beautiful storytelling. I haven’t been this enthralled by a book in a long time, and I strongly encourage anyone looking for a book with a gothic feel, a dark fantasy, to give it a go. I don’t think Fairytales for Wilde Girls will disappoint.