Title: Nameless (Tales of Beauty and Madness #1)
Author: Lili St. Crow
Genre: fairytale retelling, fantasy, paranormal romance
Publication Date: 20 March 2013
Pages: 336 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.
Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.
New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has crafted an evocative update of Snow White, set in a vividly imagined world and populated by unforgettable new characters.
Camille Vultusino should want for nothing. Her papa, Enrico Vultusino, is one of the living Seven Families and gives her nothing but the best. Enrico’s son, Nico, would give his life to protect Cami from anything that tried to harm her. But Cami doesn’t know who she is. Found bloody and abandoned in the middle of the snow when she was six years old, Cami has no recollection of her parents, her home or anything in her life before Papa found her. Now ten years on, Cami has two best friends (Ruby and Ellie), loyal fey maid and servants to cater to her every whim.
But Papa’s mortality is leaving him and Nico is unstable and getting in fights left and right. Girls are going missing by the dozens all over the city and Cami is scared. One of the garden boys, Torin Beale, comes into her life and offers her comfort when her emotional security is fading away. But not everything is as it seems. Mirrors hide their secrets and when is an apple more than just fruit? Cami’s past is coming to haunt her and her only hope is remembering who she was before it is too late.
Growing up I only knew the Disney version of fairy tales. My mother was traumatized by the Grimm Brother’s versions as a child and forbid us to read them. It’s only now, as an adult, that I’ve read the morbid tale in its original state.
Lili St. Crow had done an incredible job at weaving the traditional story in with a new dystopian version of Snow White. She has used so many of the elements found in the Grimm tale in Nameless whilst creating a unique dystopian world for her retelling to be set. Blood-sucking families representing the dwarfs? Somewhat ingenious.
Whilst the character of Snow White has never been one of my favourites I thought that St. Crow captured her vulnerability and naivety perfectly in Cami. Victim to the core with good intentions never quite being thought through, Cami was the epitome of Snow White to me. Ellie and Ruby as Cinderella and Red Riding Hood respectively are equally representable of their classic fairy tale counterparts. Ruby captivated me – Her feisty and take charge attitude contrasted well with Cami’s passiveness and I can’t wait to see what happens next for the trio.
For me, one of the best parts of a fairy tale is the romance and I found it somewhat lacking in Nameless. The roles of Nico and Tor in Cami’s life felt somewhat confused and I have to admit the ending didn’t satisfy the romantic in me.
Family, abuse, blood-ties and self-worth are all issues faced in this novel and dealt with in interesting ways. This is not the Snow White story you would be familiar with however I thought it was a great addition to the genre.
This is a dark and twisted fairytale retelling that would appeal to people who don’t mind a scary rendition of a childhood classic.
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