So, so, so good.
As I got towards the end I was planning on giving it 4 stars, but then at the very end it surprised me and it was like the book was about something completely other than what I'd been thinking it was about the whole time. It surprised me, and I love well-executed surprises. Thus 5 stars. Not that there was a surprise ending (I don't like those), just that there was a reframing that totally delighted me. I'll say more about it down below if you want, but I'll put them beneath spoiler alerts to come later.
Anyways. This is a retelling of a Grimm fairly tale. If you've read any of the original Grimm stories, you know they're fairly brutish and cold. Here, the author-- she doesn't reinvent the archetype, she stays very true to the genre, but she reshapes it and totally give it wings. Can I say "breathes new life into it" without sounding totally cheesy? Because that's pretty much what's happening here. For me she made the Grimm style of fairy tale wondrous and fun again, like they must have been when people first started hearing them, hundreds of years before Disney came along and ruined fairy tales for everyone, forever.
I was worried, on the first page, that this book would suffer from the nondescript/slightly awkward "person from foreign land" voice that afflicts a lot of books in this genre, but that was totally not the case. By about page 5 I was totally on board with no worries or qualms.
I don't know what else to say about it, except that I flew through it, and was totally stealing every moment I could to find out what happens next.
possible spoilers below
OK! It's not just about what happens when you get locked in a tower for 7 years, and what happens after, and the relationship between the servant and the maid. It's about books! And writing! And the power of writing! And even though it ends with a wedding to a prince/khan or whatever, which is so not my scene, it was all enchanting and amazing.