Book Review: Towering by Alex Flinn

Title – Author: Towering – Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Series/Standalone: Standalone (Goodreads says Beastly #4)
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via Edelweiss

Rachel has spent her life locked in a tower, visited only by a woman she calls Mama. She doesn’t even know what year it is, and only sees the outside world through her window. Her hair oddly grows rapidly. Wyatt moves to the Adirondacks after his best friend dies, hoping to forget the past. He moves in with Mrs. Greenwood, an old lady who’s daughter disappeared years ago. Wyatt discovers a journal Dani left behind with possible clues as to why she disappeared. He also hears a girl singing in the woods at night. Mysteries surround this small town, and Wyatt wants to get to the bottom of it.

A retelling of Rapunzel? Count me in! I thought this one was a sure bet for me since I love fairytale retellings. I’ve never read an Alex Flinn book (nor seen the movie Beastly), but I read some mixed reviews about her previous works. I decided to give it a chance, anyway, because I hadn’t read a Rapunzel retelling before. I ended up putting it down at Chapter 22 (44% on Kindle).

I can see the potential in this book. There are a lot of mysteries that keep the pace going, like why Rachel is in the tower and what happened to Mrs. Greenwood’s daughter, Dani. That’s why I kept reading for as long as I did; I wanted to know what was happening in this small town.

Unfortunately, I stopped because of two things: the characters and the writing. The characters are really dull and boring. Neither Rachel nor Wyatt has any appeal whatsoever as narrators. Rachel, who has been raised to fear the outside world because of her mother’s murder, instantly decides to trust Wyatt because he’s attractive. Wyatt too focuses only on Rachel’s attractiveness (because of course she’s stunning and perfect in appearance). There’s just no depth to these characters and nothing to make the reader connect with them in any way.

The writing is also pretty weak. At times it sounds stunted with awkward sentences. The dialogue is awkward too. It’s just not a really well written book.

Overall impression:
Towering had a lot of potential with its mysterious plot, but I decided I couldn’t finish because I didn’t like any of the characters and the writing wasn’t strong. If you want a good fairytale retelling, I recommend trying Robin McKinley’s work.

DNF – not worth my time – Dolores Umbridge



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