Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quite Contrary by Richard Roberts

Quite ContraryQuite Contrary by Richard Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Warning the following review contains spoilers, proceed with caution*

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.


Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was not sweet....
Mary Stuart, is twelve years old, she is quite contrary, she is not a very likable child, her attitude is horrid.

Quite Contrary starts out with Mary going to a Halloween party in an old abandoned house. It is there that the hostess shows her party goers a crawl space she had discovered. And it is Mary's venture into said crawl space that we get to journey into this bizarrely dark and twisted tale.

On her way through the crawl space she meets a rat, a rat who can speak. His name is Rat-in-boots even though he doesn't own any boots. At the end of the crawl space they end up in some kind of industrial part of town, Mary get's covered in some kind of liquid/goo and is need of water to clean up. Rat offering to help they go off into "The Woods" and Mary discovers clothing hanging on a line, a Red Riding costume. The moment she changes, out steps a wolf, the wolf.

He tells her of the two paths she could take, the happy sunshiny path with flowers that took her to "Grandmas" and her end. The other was a darker one, the one with the wolf at her side. The wolf then going off to let her decide which path to chose. Mary picks none and goes off the beaten path leading her farther into the woods and on to many adventures in different story worlds. There she meets fairies, a princess, lost children, a talking flower, a wooden talking doll who wants to be alive and many many more interesting and disturbing people. From fairy-tales to horror stories. Each step and turn brings a new a tale but no matter what, the wolf always finds her.

Rat had warned her,she could have had a happy ending, but she had to put on those Red Ridding Hood clothes. Her story has now started it has to be played out until the end. The wolf will find her.

"Will he follow me?"
"Yes" Rat in boots answered....
"It might be awhile, but the story has started. It has to find its end, and that means he will find you."


There were times that I actually thought about not finishing, and it had nothing to do with the story. Why then? Mary! She's a brat. a twelve year old brat with a mouth on her that sailor would be shocked at. But despite my dislike for Mary I still journeyed on, because I was hooked at this point, I wanted to know how this story, her tale of Red Riding hood ended.

The rat is right, there've been a thousand years of Red Riding Hoods, but not like you.

This book was like a dream, a very strange strange little dream. At the end I kind of thought that's what was going to happen. I thought I would read the lines: "And then Mary woke up with her little wooden doll and her stuffed rat next to her pillow. The End."

Pro: Quite Contrary is written well. The author has done a great job of making me visualize each place/story Mary wound up in.
Con: Besides Mary's attitude, the last chapter felt to recapish for me. I liked how the chapter started but I think rather then tell it all again, it should have been shortened, a fade to black until the present moment in time.

Overall:
A very dark dark tale, and underneath all the bizarre story jumping we have a tale about little girl who feels all alone and afraid, acting mean even to those she knew were being nice to her, knowing she shouldn't. The wolf representing all the things she is afraid of. As I read on I kept on thinking, "there is nothing redeeming about her, she is a such a brat." When I finished I didn't dislike her quite so much.

A very unique and twisted retelling of Red Riding Hood.
"You're telling the story differently, but it still fits. Instead of being a victim or an easy seduction, you're making the Wolf purse you. He has to preserver and chase after a prize he wants badly, but the end is the same. However you tell the story, it ends with giving into temptation, and death."

I will be looking out for more works by Richard Roberts.

*Copy provided by Curiosity Quills Press via NetGalley for honest review*

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