DNF : Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Title : Strands of Bronze and Gold
Author : Jane Nickerson
Genre : Fantasy
Published Date : 
March 12th 2013
Publisher : Random House Children's Books
Pages : 352
Source : Bought
Rating : ✿✿✿✿

From Goodreads :
The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale.



When I saw in Goodreads and read that this book had many glowing 4 and 5 stars review, automatically I had a high expectation for this one. It's actually kinda weird to rate this 1 in the sea of 4 and 5, but honestly, that's just how much love (or the nonexistence of it) that I felt toward this book.

So, first of all, beware for all of you who loves or adore—or whatever—this book, because then you would most likely be offended by this review. But for those who haven't read this one yet and would like to get a precautionary, fell free to read on

Bluebeard was actually one of my favorite fairy tale that I grew up reading. Despite its gory story about how Bluebeard killed and collected the corpse of all of his previous wife, I always wondered how if the tale ended up differently? If his wife didn't become curious and opened the forbidden door? 
But most modern retelling out there were either about Snow White, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, or something equally popular. So when I saw that Strands of Bronze and Gold was a retelling of Bluebeard, you could pretty much imagine how excited I was.

And truth be told, I'm actually quite a tolerant reader when it comes to book. The plot might have a super-obvious plot, or bitchy main character, or anything, and I could still read on although I didn't like it. But Strands of Bronze and Gold? It truly pissed me off. And not to mention, I never DNF-ed a book at just 25% percent's reading. And never gave a one star rating before (and the one star might just be for its pretty title and pretty cover. I honestly didn't found anything good in the content, at all).

Want to know why?

The writing of this book was choppy and wasn't really great to be read. It's also too much telling not showing, and there is waayy too many details being given that I just want to scream "Who cares??!". What the staff in the house wore was described, what kind of cakes served to Sophie was described, every inch of her bedroom was described in one paragraph, just to tell us how friggin amazing her bedroom are. And I am so not friggin interested, thank you.
Oh, and not too mention that Sophie's narration was honestly exaggerated. Like :

"Even the meal was magical. Cakes, so light and airy it seemed they might float away; cubes of pale, creamy cheeses that melted in my mouth; vegetables dipped in spicy sauce; pastel fruit that tasted of sunlight in far lands."

"In a flash my godfather made a quick move and tossed me a lustrous green, heart-shaped fruit from an immense silver compote."

"One afternoon, more phantom-like than ever, since I flitted about in an overskirt of pale, silvery, shimmering gauze, looking insubstantial as mist, ..."

The description of this book was also way too over (and by over, I mean so so SO OVERLY DONE), completed with strings of WTF words like 'engageantes, trepidation,  resplendent, balustraded, trompe l’œil' and so on and so on. And I'm not even reading ten page yet and already feel the urge to roll my eyes at the vocabulary. Duh, like, consummately behemothic and supererogatory (Read : Totally huge and unnecessary). I mean, I get it that this novel is historical. But please, just don't threw in a what-the-hell-does-that-even-mean word at every single sentence.

The sentence was also amateurish and sometimes annoying. The perfect example would be:

"Mr. Ling was a Chinese man, the first I had ever met, wrinkled like a walnut shell and with a long gray beard, wearing a high-collared black brocade tunic and skirt. Something to tell my siblings. His eyes were incredibly weary. He bowed."

No, of course he's an American or French or something like that. Like his name wasn't obvious enough. And blah, blah, blah, I could care less about what he wore. And why should you tell your siblings? And who are they, anyway? Hurrah, not mentioned. 
And oh, let's not forget the tell-not-show, and the choppy short and godawful sentence.

In addition, the dialogues between the characters was also charmingly awkward and sagged with no real purpose behind them.

The book also had a glaring plot hole all over it, like how come the Monsieur took Sophie as his goddaughter and not anyone else? And why would he even took in a goddaughter? No, cross that. It's his maniacal hobby or something. But how come did Sophie never questioned this thing, ever?
It seems like this book's main concern was just to get us to stare in awe as they dished out the detailed description of the cake, bedroom, interior, and basically every single freaking amazing thing about the Monsieur's mansion, but not the real story, apparently.

Then, it also threw in character's name carelessly without ever explaining who's who. Like "...until Madame Duclos can supply you..." or "Now, Sir Tater Bug and Sir Reuben, ..." Like, who the hell were they, anyway? It seems like this book was too fond of naming every single characters they have, no matter how minor the role they played.

And oh my God, had I mentioned that our main heroine Sophie was such an annoying little girl? She just couldn't help but to compliment the Monsieur every time she could, was struck by how good-looking he was again and again (Like, seriously? I'm a girl too. I know what our species feels when we look at a handsome guy. But please, not every single freaking time).

She was also overestimating and so full of herself, and doing basically everything with no reason at all. Yeah, all so lovely. 
And really, I don't get it that she 'could go insane over the sounds of cicadas'. Weren't you a poor girl just like, hours ago? So, pray tell, how come could the sound of a mere cicada annoys you?

And then, the always changing way of addressing the Monsieur got in my nerves as well. Sometimes they would call him Master Bernard, and then Monsieur, and then my godfather, and then, really, what else? Can't you just settle to just one, please?

So, all in all, there's only one advice from me for you : Just stay far far away from this book. I know I can't reviewed the book's story line or whatever because I DNF-ed it at 25% percent. But just by reading twenty-five percent of it, I could already tell that the characters had no depth and good quality at all, the writing was uber-annoying, the vocab was eye-rolls-inducer, and the detailing was all too much.
So so NOT recommended.

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  1. OUCH NO WONDER YOU DNF'ED THIS. I think I wouldn't bear the writing too :/ I used to think Cassie Clare's writing was too descriptive but then I realized that it's descriptive in A GOOD WAY. Unlike this... And the last book I DNFed was also overly described but it doesn't use complicated and difficult vocab like this *facepalms*

    Oh and pastel fruits that tastes like sunlight?? That's so cheesy and has she ever eaten sunlight or something that she knows the taste xP

    1. Ahaha true! Like, how come could you taste 'sunlight'??

  2. I know what you mean when you dislike a book that everyone hates, that is exactly what happened to me with the 5th Wave. I got this from the library but didn't read it in time and now I am sort of glad-it sounds pretty bad.

    Alise @ Readers in Wonderland


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