“The words tickled at the fringes of my memory, not quite making their way to my lips.”
My first review of 2019 is here, hurrah! I’m kicking off the New Year with my second review for A Quintillion Reads – a book that not only surprised me with its excellence, but one that I found incredibly easy to fall into.
Owl Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Molly Lazer held my attention from start to finish. The story follows Nora, a servant who lives with her adopted family, who just happen to be royalty. She’s searching for the identity of her birth father, someone who she believed to be dead. The story continues to lead her to the answers she so desperately needs, even though they’re not necessarily the ones she’s hoping for. There’s the possibility of losing some of the most precious things to her – the story really is a captivating ride.
I knew from Maria’s review of the book that Owl Eyes was a retelling of a classic fairy tale, but I wasn’t quite sure which at the time. I soon learnt that Nora was made to work hard, had two ‘siblings’ who were mean to her and that she wanted a little bit of freedom – yep, Cinderella. What a fantastic recreation of the classic it is, too!
Molly has a very unique tone of voice when writing her novel. It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel written in first person. In fact, I think my first ever novel I (attempted) to write was written that way. When it’s done right, (and you don’t forget and change tense halfway through) then it can be such a pleasant reading experience. Molly has perfected this, and it sure does show!
You instantly get that ‘fairy tale’ vibe when reading Owl Eyes; everything from the language used by each individual character, to every minor event that Nora experiences – you just know. It’s clear you’re going for an emotional ride, and you’ll come out the other side feeling extremely attached to Nora’s character.
A few scenes at the beginning of the book are a little heart-wrenching, but not in a way that makes you want to switch off from the story. The way Nora feels confident she’s found her birth father, only to find out that the search is, in fact, still on is particularly saddening. You find yourself imagining you’re in her shoes, and how you’d feel if something like that was ripped from you. It cements the idea of hope in your head – a hope that Nora does eventually find out who her father really is.
“I never knew to miss my parents before. They were figments, stories that I never really felt the need to hear.”
Nora soon meets a boy. Despite her feeling a pang of jealousy towards him at first, the relationship between the pair blossoms – and, well, you can kind of guess where this is headed once they grow up a little. It wouldn’t be a fairy tale without it, right?!
I really liked the introduction of various relationships in the beginning of the book, each one so different from the next. The love she has for some characters and the scared feelings she encounters from others really make the story line stand out from others of its kind.
The way the beginning of the book blends into the middle really impressed me. We see the end of Nora’s childhood emerge into her young adult life, and it’s really exciting to see how things have changed within this time frame.
In the middle of the story, we’re faced with a teenage Nora. The unpleasant conversations and teasing from one of her siblings gets worse, but her relationship with Jack becomes even stronger than ever. We even get the first mention of the ball! Will there be a glass slipper? Will Nora have to be home by midnight? I wonder…
Nora and Jack travel together on a long journey to the Market, to get the items Nora’s siblings have requested for the ball. Molly’s description of the Market itself really stood out for me – the way she talks about the different foods on the stalls, the way they taste and how they felt as Nora ate them made me hungry! The right description really makes a scene memorable, which is why this particular part stood out for me so much.
It’s clear how Nora feels about Jack as he meets Bess, an old friend. She takes up a lot of his time and jealousy soon consumes Nora. However, the pair soon need each other again as they run into a little bit of trouble on their way home from the Market – just when you think their little adventure is over!
“I didn’t have a name for the heaviness in my limbs, the knot in my chest or the lump in my throat. But it felt like once again I had lost something essential.”
The danger they encounter has you on the edge of your seat and you only hope they get out of it easily without a scratch. This scene was one of my favourites – without being in danger, Nora would never have found out the information she most desperately craved from an unlikely source.
The adventure transitions from Nora finding out who her birth father is, to finding out more information about her mother and her own identity – a huge step for her. But, in the life of a true fairy tale, when one good thing happens, something bad needs to happen to counteract it. Prepare for another heart-wrenching moment. Aaaand then another heart-warming one!
I had a lot of hopes through reading the book and the ending confirmed a few of them. However, that’s as far as I’m going to go with that – no spoilers! The Harvest Moon Ball had finally approached – the part of the book that I was most curious about.
So many thoughts ran through my mind at this part of the story; anticipation, hope, worry, – in fact, is there anything you don’t feel at this point?! Molly has done an incredible job of keeping you hooked until the very final moments.
The story ends in true, magical fairy tale fashion, but with a slight unexpected twist. I was so close to crossing my fingers to get the ending I wanted! You find yourself holding your breath as things go south for Nora, and sharing her happiness when things work out. She’s one lovable character alright.
Even though there is no need for a sequel here, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if there was a book two. Would the story continue Nora’s adventure? Would she get the life she’s always dreamt of? Either way, I’m really happy with the story’s ending as it is! 😀
Owl Eyes: A Fairy Tale is an incredible journey of love, loss and magic, combining together to create an unforgettable adventure. Each character Molly has created shines bright, and even the most minor characters have a certain charm about them. They really come alive in each scene.
Nora’s character is perfect and incredibly likeable. She’s kind, hardworking and all she really wants is to find out some answers about her life. However, I really liked Lady Portia’s character. How mean is this woman?! Her vocabulary is so belittling and I’ve never loved a ‘bad’ character so much!
I’m really looking forward to seeing any future work from Molly. Her writing style is totally unique and it would be interesting to see another classic fairy tale retold in her style. I’m so happy to put this one in my read pile. I really enjoyed the read! 😀
A big thank you to Molly for giving me the chance to read and review Owl Eyes: A Fairy Tale. You can find the book on Amazon here, available on Kindle or paperback. 📚 Follow Molly on Twitter to keep up to date!
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