The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.
Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.
And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can. (from GoodReads)
I really didn't know what to expect when I started reading All Our Pretty Songs and I certainly didn't expect it to be a retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus. I'm not a big mythology person, so that probably contributed to my dislike of this book.
The weirdest part about All Our Pretty Songs is that the narrator is never given a name, and surprisingly it's possible to get through the book without knowing that seemingly important fact. I really want to know why the name is withheld - there must be a reason. Our narrator has a close sisterly bond with her best friend, Aurora, and she spends a lot of time looking after her. Aurora is beautiful, wild, fun and a little flighty. The narrator, on the other hand, is described as introverted and homely compared to her friend. This is the usual YA friendship dynamic it appears. However, the change comes when a mysterious musician named Jack falls for the narrator instead of Aurora. That doesn't prevent the narrator from thinking that he's going to leave her for Aurora, though.
I liked the relationship between Aurora and the narrator, especially how close they were and I thought it was written well. The romance between the narrator and Jack is a different story and feels forced. It doesn't help that they fall madly in love instantly and little to no development occurs. I think the point was their love was supposed to be whirlwind, but to me it falls flat.
The one positive of All Our Pretty Songs is that the writing is beautiful and reads like poetry. Unfortunately there is a lot of narration for 200 page book and the flowery prose was at times excessive. I was able to skim long passages and not miss any pertinent information.
At the end, I realized I just didn't really care about what happened to the characters. I don't think the book is necessarily bad, either, just not really my style. I don't like mythology for the most part, I don't like unrealistic romance and I'm not a fan of a lot of narration. I could see some people really enjoying All Our Pretty Songs and I invite them to give it a chance. The book ends oddly which makes more sense once I realized this is going to be a trilogy. So if that sounds like it's up your alley, go for it!
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 10.
FTC: reviewed through LitPick
2013/St. Martin's Griffin/224 pages.