ballads, book reviews, curses, fantasy, Impossible, modern fantasy, mystery, Nancy Werlin, quests, Scarborough Fair, YA, YA fantasy, YA fiction, YA mystery, young adult, young adult fantasy, young adult fiction
On the evening of Lucy Scarborough’s seventh birthday, after the biggest party the neighborhood had seen since, well, Lucy’s sixth birthday, Lucy got one last unexpected gift.
“Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil? A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin. Inspired by the classic folk ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this is a wonderfully riveting and haunting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy.”
Impossible wasn’t great, and it had an odd balance of fantasy and realistic elements, but I did enjoy some parts of the book, and the story did keep me reading. Perhaps one of the main problems with the book is that the reader knows way too much about the plot from the very beginning, whereas Lucy doesn’t find out about the curse and all of that until after page 150. There probably could have been a lot of things cut out of the book, or maybe the plot just could have been changed a bit in terms of sequence. In any case, I’m too lazy to rewrite the summary. 😉 And obviously the author intended for the reader to know about a lot of things before Lucy does.
In any case, the plot itself was pretty creative, and I loved the use of the song “Scarborough Fair”. There’s also something about completing three tasks that’s really appealing, which is probably why some variant of completing tasks shows up in a lot of fantasy novels. Although the reader knows much of the mystery in Impossible already, there are still some puzzling elements, and the way the story is woven is very interesting. My main problem, I guess, was the book’s somewhat slow pace and the way that the realistic and fantastical elements were portrayed. *****SPOILER ALERT****** For example, the characters are living in the modern age, yet when Lucy gets pregnant (at the age of seventeen), the idea of abortion is briefly considered and then completely dropped, even though there’s a good chance that she’ll go mad when she gives birth. The same thing happened in The Language of Flowers, a realistic fiction novel, and it really annoyed me there too. I mean, I totally understand if someone doesn’t make that choice, but the point is that in a book set in the 21st century, it’s bound to be considered a little more in-depth. What about those “modern resources” in the plot summary? Hmm? There were also some other odd happenings, such as the marriage, considering the time period and Lucy and Zach’s age. That aspect was really awful; I hated it, even if it was practical. It just felt so out of place. *END SPOILER*
Still, the story was super compelling, and once I got into the novel, I just kept reading. I didn’t particularly enjoy the romance, but I did love the fantasy element of the book, and how it actually melded with reality pretty well. There were also some deliciously eerie parts and characters, such as the strange, charismatic, magnetic, new social worker at Lucy’s (step)mother’s organization. He clearly had something to do with the curse, and I immediately suspected that he was the elfin knight himself. That said, it was weird that Lucy and her family didn’t catch on that there was something very odd about him, and that he was probably related to the curse.
Once the novel got going, it was pretty suspenseful; however, the beginning sections were a bit dull and overdrawn. Impossible did have a compelling mystery element to it, despite the reader’s foreknowledge of a lot of the plot. I have to say, I got the song stuck in my head for a long time after reading the book, so it was certainly effective in that respect. There is a sequel, but I’m not sure if I’ll read it considering that the book wrapped up pretty nicely.
Impossible was certainly very absorbing, and it was a fast, fairly easy read.
Rating: 3.5 stars.