book review

Book Review: Once Upon a [Stolen] Time - by Samreen Ahsan

5:23 PM

Summary from goodreads: 2015…All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles—and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. Now, wealthy videogame designer Steve Bernard wants her to model for a princess character in his new game. Myra can’t resist his offer, especially when she learns that Steve plans to film inside the mysterious Hue Castle—a cursed, barren, colorless place forbidden to visitors for centuries. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. When she enters its doors, she awakens dark powers that will reach through time—stealing her past, torturing her present, and rewriting her future.
1415…Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman who haunts his dreams—who will either break his curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly.
For Myra and Edward, past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Once Upon a [Stolen] Time was a unique and interesting historical romance novel alternating between Myra's story in the twenty first century as well as Edward's story in the fifteenth century. While this book had a plot that was certainly imaginative, the main character was a typical damsel in distress who fell in love with a pity worthy fixer upper, making the novel (especially the second half) frustrating to read.

First and foremost, the author's creativity should be noted and commended in this novel. As a whole, the concept of Once Upon a [Stolen] Time is not one a reader will easily come across twice. The way the story progressed and the events that unfolded put the reader in a state of mind that constantly has them questioning how and why. In addition, the author's ability to shift between modern time and the fifteenth century without causing any confusion was truly a skill worthy of appreciation.

With that being said, there were definitely aspects to the story that would draw a reader away from it. For example, the characters were generally one dimensional and flat. The main character, Myra, was extremely dependent on the side characters and her emotional and mental stability was extremely questionable throughout the majority of the novel, although it was never explicitly mentioned. This would not have been as annoying of a trait as it was had the story not been written in first person point of view. But since it was, Once Upon a [Stolen] Time was a difficult read.

The novel was also quite redundant, repeating the same sentence but in different ways over and over again. This was also a trait that was less than appealing, especially while following Edward's narration. Furthermore and as mentioned previously, the events that unfolded were unique and kept the reader engaged. However, there were certain major scenes that were abrupt and arguably unnecessary.

If historical fantasy romances with all that was mentioned above sound like your cup of tea, you should give this book a try.

Fair warning: The book begins with a writing style that would seem appropriate for children/YA, but there were graphic scenes, language, and concepts throughout. 

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