I’ve had this book on my shelves for a while because a few years ago I wanted to read a few retellings and for me, a retelling of Rapunzel seemed like a good start. It was a bit of an impulse decision to read this because I wanted something relatively short to read and for some reason, Towering jumped out at me…
‘High in my tower I sit.
I watched the birds fly below, the clouds float above, and the tall, green forest stretch to places I might never see.
Mama, who isn’t my mother, has kept me hidden away for many long years. My only companions, besides Mama, are my books – great adventures, mysteries and romances that I long to make my reality. But I know that no one will come to save me – my life is not a fairy tale after all.
Well, at least, no one had come so far. Recently, my hair had started to grow rapidly and it’s now long enough to reach the bottoms of the tower from my window. I’ve also had the strangest dreams of a beautiful, green-eyed man.
When Mama isn’t around, I plan my escape, even if it’s just for a little while. There’s something – maybe someone – waiting for me out there, and it won’t find me if I’m trapped here towering above it all.’
As I said, I picked this book up on a bit of a whim and thankfully I wasn’t in a state of mind in which I found the whole premise a little bit cringe. From the outset, I feel like a reader would expect this to be a love story but honestly, it’s not just that. This book isn’t exactly life-changing, nor is it awful – generally speaking it’s a good all-rounder but lets take one thing at once.
There are two main characters in this book, who throughout the book both act as narrators. There’s Rachel, the girl stuck in the tower with very limited knowledge of the outside world. Honestly throughout the book, I did not find Rachel particularly disagreeable yet I didn’t really feel like there was much to her. She was very two-dimensional and a little forgettable. Though I expected the story to be told from her perspective, a lot of it was told from Wyatt’s point of view. Again, I didn’t find Wyatt particularly disagreeable, just a little dull. The other minor characters in this book were largely forgettable but as this was a retelling I wasn’t particularly bothered by this.
The plot in this book was okay. It was interesting in the sense that it was definitely not what I expected. Within the first few chapters, it is clearly established that this is a story with an essence of mystery within it and there’s some questions which need to be answered. I generally enjoyed this aspect to the book, with Wyatt going around trying to find out the truth as I don’t ususally read books with a mystery at the core. Whilst the mystery could be firgured out pretty quickly into the book, I didn’t mind, however, I can see this bothering some readers. Overall, this was a very different and unexpected retelling of Rapunzel which, to an extent, impressed me. Of course, there was a love story intertwined into it, with the two protagonists falling in love at the drop of a hat but I feel as though it’s a given with stories like these.
When Rachel and Wyatt meet I expected there to be a typical ‘boy saves girl’ scenario but I can assure you this definitely isn’t the case. Without giving too much away, I was so happy to see that Rachel didn’t necessarily need saving but Wyatt did and I’m going to away a bonus point to Flinn for avoiding the typical trope found in fairytales.
This was the first one of Flinn’s books I have read and the writing style was easy to get along with. If you’re looking for something which is quite simply easy to read, I would say this is a good one to go with. The language used is simple and not challenging and the book is therefore quite a quick read but also a little dull depending on the reader. I definitely want to try and pick up another one of Flinn’s retellings in the future to see what they’re like.
Overall, although this book is not particularly memorable, it is a good read. It’s a very different way of looking at a fairytale in a way which I wasn’t expecting. As my first retelling, it’s definitely made me want to try some more at some point in the future.
Rated: 3 stars.