[The Tower Must Fall] S.E. Bennett

 

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The Tower Must Fall is the story of what happens when fairy tales end. When humans are the majority and those who are Cryptid–the witches, faeries, the creatures of myth–live in fear. Marek Tobar dreams of the day when humans and Cryptid can live in harmony and no longer fear death at the hands of the Animus, a group of people who believe that Cryptids are the scourge of the earth. Tension has been growing for centuries, and Marek finds that he may be more important to the war than he originally thought. Along with Enyo, a reformed Animus, Marek must try to create a place in the world where coexistence is possible–but it may come at a cost too great to bear.

I wanted to like this book. The premise pulled me in and initial reviews praised it highly. And I did enjoy the first part of it. The writing and dialogue was intelligent and interesting, and I wanted to continue reading about this world. It seemed really unique. But at some point, that all dropped off. I needed to push myself through sections of text more and more. It dragged. Many times I questioned if I wanted to continue this book. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed the ending. At the same time, however, I’m not sure it was worth struggling through the huge middle section when I only truly enjoyed the first part and the end of the novel. I think the cause of this was the plotting. It was very odd. It was  almost like reading a book that had half of its pages torn out, because it jumps from moment to moment and doesn’t give us all the information for something that has just happened. In one chapter, we’re in one place and in the next it seems like months have passed.

Of course, there were things that really worked for this novel. As mentioned before, the writing style was really clever. I enjoyed S.E. Bennett’s descriptions of places and characters. The author took traditional fairy tales and twisted them. In this world, fairy tales as we know them are stories that are not remembered correctly. I liked that the author took the idea that history is told by the victors and made it work for fairy tales. Those that have been cast as the villains in the story are not happy about their roles. While humans view them as monsters, they view themselves as people. Sure, there have always been quarrels between different Cryptid tribes, but they only want the things that humans want: freedom and the ability to live in peace. Instead, they’ve been cast as second-class citizens, sometimes even being hunted down. They’re not recognized as anything but monsters, and some have decided to make that true. Others still hope for a future, and thus the rebellion was born. The opening of each chapter deals with how the sparks of this rebellion have resonated and continued to the present day of the novel. The stories were steadily shown to be all connected.

Unfortunately, I think that the writing style is also what caused the novel to drag in the middle. I marked at around 45% in my ebook that it was dragging, and I know that it had been happening for a while before I decided to mark it. This continued until around the 80% mark, which in my opinion is too much. I got the sense while reading it that the action was slowed in order to make the book longer. By doing that, there wasn’t enough action to keep me engaged with the story. Another thing that didn’t work was the characters. Individually, I was really interested in them. I liked them. But because of the way the plot jumped around, when growing friendships and relationships were revealed they fell flat.

I’m disappointed that this book didn’t really turn out to be what was promised. I expected so much more. Going into this novel, I would have given it high marks. But now at the end, I find that it was only okay. I kept reading when the story dragged because I kept expecting something major to happen. I can’t really say I recommend it, but if you enjoy twisted fairy tales and the idea that the creatures in them want peace just as much as the humans, you may like it.

2 stars.

I received a copy of The Tower Must Fall from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book was released on April 25th, 2016.

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