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Coiled Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Coiled, releasing in just a few short weeks, is another amazing tale from an awesome writer.
This book is a retelling of Eros and Psyche wrapped in coils upon coils of Burke's own special touches. Laidra is a princess cursed with ugliness--Calen is a prince cursed to become a snake if he is gazed upon. Together, they might find a happiness neither thought possible.
I loved watching Laidra's and Calen's relationship develop and was rooting for them from the start--and rooting for their tormentors to get their just desserts. Though I would have liked a little more at the end with them and their families, ultimately this story is about two hurt souls finding a way to heal together, and in that respect, Coiled is as shiny as the scales on a freshly bathed snake.
I highly recommend this to readers who love retellings of myths, romance, and snakes. Even if you don't like snakes, give Calen a chance--he's a big softy at heart, I swear.
I received an ARC copy of this book and chose to review it because I enjoyed it so much!
I believe this story gave us some thought-provoking questions to consider. For example, could you continue to love even if things did not change? What does real love look like? Are hatred and revenge acceptable when you have been hurt? Can our actions determine our children's fate?
"Coiled" had lots of substance, but it was also fun to read. It is definitely one of those "get your chores done before you read this book" type of stories.
Well, it wasn't quite what I was hoping, but it was still fun. I absolutely loved the first 40% of it.
Where to start? Curses. I loved the ideas of the two mirror curses. Laidra gets uglier every time she heals someone magically, but she can't help herself. So, she's crone/hag/wart-fully ugly. Her twin, Ellea, gets prettier every time she cruelly breaks someone's heart. Calen is a giant serpent any time anyone looks at him. His twin, Volen, is a giant serpent any time someone isn't looking at him. So fascinating.
The royal families hide Laidra and Calen, determining that no one should see them or meet them (except to kill them, eventually). Laidra is ugly enough that people run away screaming. Calen is dangerous in his serpent form and has probably killed people. Then Laidra and Calen meet eat other under the cover of darkness, and, of course, they're both very kind-hearted despite their childhood trials and abusive parents.
I loved this. Both are cursed so that no one should look at them, and they spend their days playing music together in the dark. They fall in love without seeing each other. It's great! But then they jump to getting married after knowing each other for only a couple weeks. Granted, they decide this because their lives are in danger, but still.
I had some issues with the book. First, I wanted the book to be more PG-rated. It had sparkles on the cover, and it is a fairytale retelling. The characters are only 16.
How shall the curse be broken? True love's kiss? Nope. It's "consummation of a royal marriage." Yep. Get married, have sex once, and the curse will be broken! Then you can get a divorce (and this was contemplated and even discussed). What happened to true love's kiss? Why can't kisses still be magical?
Along with that, the bad prince and his bad father (yes, I think of characters as "good" and "bad") spent one scene fondling the same slave girl. Um, ew? Sex slaves are bad enough in the real world. I don't want to meet them in a book.
Then we have the way that I didn't feel like the MCs actually solved their own problems. The gods solved their problems. At about 75% of the way into the book, three gods manifest in a castle courtyard to argue over Calen and Laidra and their curses. Their solution? Go on a quest, and we'll help you.
It was handled well. I mean, the quest had a purpose (unlike in Ever), but it still felt like an odd shift for the plot. I wanted a book that had people helping each other and solving problems, not just a "well, this curse is impossible for mortals, and we deserve better" approach. I'm still not sure how that convinced the gods to cure them, but whatever.
I was disappointed in the end, partly because it was predictable, and I had a happier ending in mind.
Something left me unsettled about this book. Why?
Mostly, I think it's the literal deus ex machina happening all over the last third of the book. Having gods step in and solve conflicts for the human characters is unsatisfying. I wanted the humans to break the curse on their own. It's like the book changed the rules on me. It felt like cheating.
The story did have some aspects I wasn't completely sold on. There are scenes where the narrative, writing, and ideas push forward without fully developing, leaving the story brisk but a little dry (then there are scenes that are quite good). The leads, while engaging and likeable, are at times repetitive. I would have also liked to see some of the supporting characters more involved and drawn out. These aspects simplify things more than my liking, but not too much. My rating rounds up to a 4. Those looking for a fun, simple, and original spin on an old Greek mythology tale will probably be thrilled.
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