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Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness (Tales of Beauty and Madness) (edition 2013)

by Lili St. Crow

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131491,855 (3.75)1
Member:titania86
Title:Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness (Tales of Beauty and Madness)
Authors:Lili St. Crow
Info:Razorbill (2013), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Read :), Reviewed, ARC, Owned, LR Books
Rating:*****
Tags:fairy tale, retelling, fantasy, teen

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Nameless by Lili St. Crow

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If a person were to ask a child to name their top favorite princesses, one of those princesses might be Snow White. A princess that was known for her purity and innocence. A girl that was hated by her evil queen step mother, but saved by her seven unique friends. Touched by nature and gifted by the fair folk, Snow White was meant to be a legend. This story is a touch of that traditional legend with a new twist in its theme. The, ‘Snow White’ character is not the perfect girl that is portrayed in the past, but rather a girl with a dark history. Her name is Cami and she is the adopted daughter of prominent vampire family. A family so powerful that most fear to cross paths with them. Found at the tender age of six, Cami is given the name of Camille and is the most beloved child to the godfather of the Seven. Although she is considered the ‘little princess’ of the vampire family, Cami cannot help but feel lost. At night she lays awake and ponders on who she used to be and why she was discovered by the godfather of the Seven. As her days progress as usual an unexpected visitor shows up and takes interest in Camille. Looking the same as her and hinting that he knows of her past, she leans toward discovering his identity. Can making friends with this new person help Cami find out who she really is? Why was she abandoned on the side of the road in the middle of winter? Will the discovery of her true identity make her stronger or crush her?

I found myself finishing this book in a couple of days. I really enjoyed the different spin on the fairy tale story. I have never been a huge fan of Snow White and to be honest I could not stand her. In this book I really liked her and found myself rooting for her time and time again. I would rather have this version of Snow White than the other version that would have us ‘whistle while we work’. Nope that is not going to happen over here! I like a heroine that is going to kick some butt occasionally when the time calls for it. I found that Camille also enjoyed nature, but did not saturate herself in it to the point where I wanted to puke. I loved the idea of having her be the daughter of a vampire gang leader. I found that to be interesting and new. She was a princess, but not the traditional sense of royalty that we normally think of today. I also enjoyed that and found the author to be very creative. I highly recommend this book and also the series. I really think she did a great job and am looking forward to the next book. ( )
  Jennifer35k | Aug 14, 2014 |
Nameless is a darker re-imagining of Snow White, in which the heroine, Camille, is a foundling picked up by Enrico Vultusino, the head of the Seven, a group of the most powerful families in New Haven. She lives like a princess in his house alongside his son, Nico, as she struggles to find her real identity. Meanwhile, a beautiful but menacing White Queen haunts her dreams.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book, though I don't know if style-wise it would appeal to everyone. The setting has concepts parallel to ours (Halloween, vampires, Internet) but with different terms to refer to them. Because the story never really stops to explain what each thing means, there were parts that were harder to understand, but I felt more fully immersed in the world that way. I also loved the sort of Snow White-meets-the-Godfather feel of the first part of the book.

It feels like the author was trying to shoehorn in a love triangle, but it kindof fizzled out before it even started. Both the guys in the story had their good scenes and their not-as-good scenes with Cami, and honestly I don't know how I feel about the choices she made in the end. I think I might get more out of it on a re-read

This book definitely has flaws, especially concerning the characters and their motivations, but I enjoyed the ride enough to re-read/read the others in the series. While I still have questions about the main characters in this book, I'm also glad the next one apparently focuses on someone else, which should help keep everything fresh. ( )
  DeweyEver | Mar 4, 2014 |
Quit this one after the first quarter, because NOTHING WAS HAPPENING. Too much time spent setting up sequels, and not enough spent making me care about THIS book's protagonist and storyline. The world-building was dense, and may have been well-done except for the utter lack of explanation -- made it hard to follow some lines of thought. Also, though most of the narration is in third-person past tense, the flashbacks/dreams are in first-person present? Extremely counter-intuitive. ( )
  NeitherNora | Sep 7, 2013 |
Camille is part of one of seven the most powerful and wealthy Families that rule over New Haven. It wasn't always that way. She was found when she was 6 years old, cold, mute, abused, scarred, and injured in the snow. The Vultisino, the leader of this particular Family, adopted her as his own daughter. Cami is now sixteen and no longer mute, although she still has a stutter that makes it difficult for her to speak. She goes to school, has two friends: Ruby and Ellie, and grew up a pampered heiress. Her life is enviable, but she knows she doesn't really belong there. She has no idea who she was before age 6, what her real name is, or when her real birthday is. She doesn't really belong with her Family or with her friends. The plot thickens when Tor, a mysterious boy who works in the garden, has the same scars as her. He is the first clue she's had to unlocking the secrets of her past, but maybe some secrets are best left alone.

Nameless is a very unique fairy tale retelling that has its own alternate version of our world. Lili St. Crow just throws us into the deep end of her world, with offhand mentions of bizarre things such as Twists, minotaurs, Family, charmers, and mere-humans. It's quite disorienting and confusing at first, but as the book goes on, things are subtly explained and the picture becomes clear. This world is a magical alternative universe that broke away from our world just after World War I, which is widely known as the Reeve or magic revolution. In 1920, the Deprescence hit. The country and farm land turned into the Waste and money couldn't save people from mutating into jacks or Twists or eaten by some nasty creature. I love the alternative reality and history of the world and how it shares similarities with our own world, but manages to be so different. I also loved the small fairy tale references, like how Ruby lives on Perrault Street, named after Charles Perrault, the French author who wrote his own versions of folk tales. I haven't seen a world that integrated many fairy tales and magic into it work so well since Bill Willingham's Fables.

The characters are just as strong as the world building. Cami, although timid and soft spoken, is a strong, smart character. She has been through a lot in her life and has the scars to prove it. Unlike a lot of other YA protagonists, Cami isn't self pitying or annoying, although the potential to be so was there. She just wants to know where she truly belongs, where she came from, and who her real family is. It's completely understandable to want to know those things and feel like an outsider if these questions aren't answered. She ventures into danger sometimes, but with a real decision to do so instead of stumbling into it obliviously. I think her self awareness and strength to make decisions like that, even if I disagree with it, make Cami one of my favorite YA protagonists. Nico is the other character that really surprised me. For much of the book, he's the stereotypical vampire badboy that are pretty popular in fiction recently. He leaves Cami often to party with his friends and holds a lot of anger at the world. Underneath it all, he truly cares for Cami and uses that anger as a shield. I was relieved to see a real, complex character rather than the abusive, annoying shells that are usually written about.

Nameless is one of the best Snow White retellings I've ever read. It has it all: twists and turns, mystery, alternative reality and history, magic, love, and self discovery. I highly recommend this to fans of fairy tale reimaginings and dark fantasy. ( )
1 vote titania86 | Dec 16, 2012 |
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Raised in luxury as the pampered, adopted heiress of Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven -- the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven -- Camille knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. Then she meets the mysterious Tor and begins to uncover the secrets of her birth ... to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.… (more)

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