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BookRatMisty

BookRatMisty

Bound

Bound - Donna Jo Napoli 3.5This was the first thing I read by Napoli, and though it started strong and had a great sense of place, in some respects it was a letdown. Not completely, and I would still recommend it, but...I'll just get right into it. I thought it had a very strong start. The Cinderella aspects were clear and the sense of place was beautiful. It was reinforced with the language, too, so that it didn't seem like a Western character and sensibilities dropped in an Eastern setting. Everything matched and felt lovingly researched and crafted. I really enjoyed that. There was a beautiful gentleness to it all. Xing Xing and her journey were enjoyable and rootforable. It is a very different take on Cinderella than most of us are used to, but it hits the same notes and explores the well-known version in interesting ways.For example, I loved the use that Napoli made of some of the darker elements of the tale that have been largely lost to Disney time. The mutilation of the old tale -- where the Stepmother cuts off one daughters toes and the other's heels in an attempt to make the shoes fit -- is made use of in a genius way, really, tying it in with traditional foot-binding and the horror and desperation of the practice. And then, to add in the element of Xing Xing's belief about her "fish-mother" and the end result of that storyline...It was a very smart use of both the traditional tale and the history and culture of the setting. I loved, too, that even in spite of the Cinderella-ness and the element I mentioned up there in the spoiler, the stepmother and sister, and any "wickedness" that would generally be attached to their names was really understandable. The "wicked" stepmother isn't really wicked -- she's just human, and dealing with things in what she thinks is the best way. They are human and relatable, even when they are doing repugnant things. What knocked it back for me considerably in the end was the end, but it was so very rushed and almost cheesy with the prince, and I really wanted more development to the ending. Almost felt like a brush-off. It's a short book. There was really no reason that it couldn't have gone on a bit longer and given me some reason to hope that Xing Xing is going to have some kind of a chance at Happily Ever whatnot. It was abrupt, and it kept me from the satisfaction I was looking forward to, and because of that, I feel like any recommendation I give for this super quick read has to come with a large caveat...