“He came to them in the heart of winter, asking for his Cobweb Bride. He arrived everywhere, all at once. In one singular moment, he was seen, heard, felt, remembered. Some inhaled his decaying scent. Others bitterly tasted him. And everyone recognized Death in one way or another, just before the world was suspended.” ~ Cobweb Bride, Chapter 1
Isn’t that one of the most beautifully written openings ever? As soon as I read it, I was enchanted. I hoped then, that I might be in the hands of a master storyteller…
A retelling of the myth of Persephone, Cobweb Bride is set in an alternate, mildly magical Renaissance Europe — I read about some site considering it “steampunk,” but it doesn’t quite give off that steampunk vibe for me. IT feels like dark fantasy, bare to the bloodless bone. Wild and imaginative and different.
The setup is this: Death ceases to exist. Yes, people stop dying! In the deathly cold of winter, everyone and everything can no longer die (until Death receives his Cobweb Bride). Beheaded knights rise up and continue to battle. The murdered Infanta, heir to the throne survives her assassination. And Percy’s grandmother lies on her deathbed, suspended in a torturous and painful state. Of course, there are terrible implications…What if one particular Duke desires immortality, for instance?
Middle daughter Percy, whose real name is Persephone, comes off as an immediately likable character. Sandwiched between “her mother’s two favorites,” Percy believes she can never be as good as her beautiful older sister and lively younger sister. She’s clumsy, homely and can’t seen to say or do the right things. I felt so much empathy for Percy; her character development is the main highlight of the book.
The kingdom proclaims that one daughter of marriageable age from each family must journey North to become a potential Cobweb Bride. No one is really sure what Death wants, but girls start pouring into the Northern forests. Being the least loved in her family, Percy, of course, decides it must be her.
- Percy’s character and development
- the Infanta’s character (she’s truly kind, even after death…in fact, one might say she starts living after death)
- other characters
- it’s a retelling!
- dark fantasy
- beautiful, poetic writing
- wonderful world-building
- the mystery surrounding Death
- romantic lines are not annoying — they’re very different, actually, since both lines involve death
- some may think the beginning feels slow (this is for character development room)
- balance of plot feels skewed (probably since it’s a trilogy. I’m becoming less fond of trilogies and more admiring of stand-alones)
- some of the storylines aren’t that interesting (there are many storylines), and I felt emotionally invested in only two: Percy’s and the Infanta’s
- the writing style, gorgeous as it is, becomes unedited and perhaps too gaudy towards the middle and end (obviously not a liberal editor there)
- the words “perfect” and “beautiful” were used too often
- we can’t judge till the end of the trilogy…
It’s not a perfect book, but 4.5 stars because I’m a sucker for dark fantasy and beautiful writing. I will definitely read the 2nd and 3rd books.
***eBook provided by Netgalley in exchange for my honest review