Nameless (Tales of Beauty & Madness, #1)

First Lines: Of all the cars in New Haven to fall before, I chose Enrico Vultusino’s long black limousine.

I’ve never read anything by Lili St. Crow before this, but I was really excited because this is a fresh, kinda dystopian take on Snow White.  While I normally fall toward close retellings of fairy tales, I was definitely game for this.

Enrico Vultusino found six-year-old Camille in the snow on Christmas.  Since then, Camille has lived with Papa Vultusino and his son, Nico.  As part of the Seven, the ruling class Families of New Haven, Papa Vultusino can give the mute, scarred girl the care she needs.  Now sixteen, Cami is no longer mute, though she still has the physical scars of her childhood.  Cami knows she’s not truly part of the Families, that she’s a mortal with a dark past.  When Cami meets Tor, a poor boy with the same scars as her, Cami begins to unravel her memories and her childhood. She attempts to discover what really happened to her…and why she may still be a threat to them…

I really liked the clever way the story is woven.  All the time, I would find certain things that would suddenly click into place that related to the original fairy tale.  For example, I really don’t think I’m spoiling anything by pointing out that the ruling Families are called “the Seven”.  Figure out how that one fits yet?

But overall, I just didn’t think the story was all that good.  It was confusing.  It immediately drops you into the story with no explanations.  I still don’t have answers to some things, little things like why they’re called the Families with a capital F.  There are some bigger things I don’t understand either, but I can’t say them for fear of spoiling it.  Bigger plot points.  I just couldn’t relate what I was reading to my own life to make sense of the story.

I also had a hard time liking Cami.  I didn’t think she was a bad character, necessarily, but there was something about her I just didn’t really like.  I think I probably pitied her more than I cheered for her.  And that doesn’t make for a very good connection.  I never really found that one character that I wanted to root for.

It was a valiant attempt at retelling Snow White, but I think it could have been done in a way that makes it easier for the reader to follow along and understand.


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