Nameless, A Tale of Beauty and Madness, book 1
Lili St. Crow
Razor Bill, and imprint of Penguin Group, 2013
This is another retelling of the fairy tale, Snow White but without the dwarves and with a vampire twist. Now, I never read any books about vampires – the whole subject matter of drinking blood makes me nauseous and is repulsive to my very core. However, so subtle is the vampirism, so not the main theme of the book (in my opinion), when I read it the first time and realized there were vampires in it, I was completely hooked and unable to tear myself away – even if I wanted to.
New Haven, the city in which these events take place is both ancient and new, full of promises and dread; it is where fey, jacks and twists (malformed humans), vampires and mere-humans reside in close proximity. Magic both good and bad is abundant and the characters are caught up in the web the evil Queen weaves.
I have read this book four times and it is just as heart-clenching each time as it was the first time I read it. Actually if you count the number of times I have gone back and re-read the last 1/3 of the book each time, I’ve read it 8 times!
• Camille “Cami” Vultisino – as a 6 year-old, she stumbled out of the woods on to a snowy road late at night and was almost run over. Enrico Vultisino’s limosene stopped in time, and she was taken in by one of the Seven Families and raised as one of their own. When she was found she was covered in wounds, fresh and old, and nonverbal. She didn’t remember where she came from until 10 years later when her world is turned upside down and she ultimately returns to where she began so long ago.
• Nico Vultisino, son of Enrico and heir to Vultisino Family, is hot-headed, dangerous and wild; but he loves Cami unconditionally even if she is not sure of that love.
• Ellen “Ellie” Sinder, schoolmate and best friend, is a charmer with great skill but severely abused by her stepmother. Her story is told in the second book of the series, Wayfarer. I am reading that now.
• Ruby “Rube” de Varre, schoolmate and best friend, is the outgoing, wild and daredevil of the three. She lives with her grandmother, Gran, who is skillfully charmed herself in a cottage in Woodstowne. Ruby’s story is told in Kin, the third and final book of the series.
• Enrico “Papa” Vultisino, adopts the little girl found in the snow and names her Camille after his dead, mortal wife. He loves his “bambina” and arranges with Nico for her safety after he enters into the Unbreathing.
• Torin “Tor” Beale, a young man from the bad part of town, is hired on as a gardener and unwittingly at first, then unwillingly, brings Cami back to where her nightmares began
• Myra, housebound fey and housekeeper, sort of a governess to Cami, frets over her as if she were her own
Rating: 5 of 5 paws because of, well, everything – the story, the characters and their world, the writing – everything. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this book. It will be read again.