I really am a massive fan of fairytale retellings. Especially those marketed as dark or those that twist the stories around. Because of that, I’ve had my eye on All The Better To See You With for a while. I didn’t know that Gina Blaxill was coming out with a second book in this series. When I got the email about this one from Scholastic, I just had to ask for it.
This is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, a fairytale we all know but rarely see retellings of. The village of Westerleen has been losing young boys to a witch in a gingerbread cottage for years. When Hansel and Gretel return from the woods alive, the villagers assume that Hansel saved them. But it was actually Gretel. What will she do to actually get her freedom and be recognised?
I’m not really a fan of Hansel and Gretel as a fairytale. It’s never been one of the ones I’ve been drawn to, but it was super exciting to see a retelling of it. Especially a dark one. It’s already about a witch who kills and eats children? So how was Blaxill going to make it darker?
By involving the children, of course. Plus, y’know, some Sweeny Todd vibes with the witch cooking the boys into pies. That made me giggle a little, even as I was wrinkling my nose as ew.
I will say that as a protagonist…Gretel wasn’t that likeable. But I don’t think she was supposed to be. She’s a teenage girl who dreams of freedom and would do anything to get it. She still had morals and does the right thing eventually. But some of the stuff she did before the cottage, it was…yeah. She was an interesting character, and I was so intrigued by this book. I kept wanting to turn the pages, and Blaxill did a great job.
Throughout this entire book, I wasn’t sure what to think. One moment I’d be feeling for Gretel, the next, I’d be judging her decisions, and then I’d be questioning someone else. Every single character was some sort of shade of grey. Even the witch or the stepmother whose actions were reprehensible. You could still understand how life had led them to behave like that.
The writing of the book was pretty interesting. Each chapter jumped between different periods. The first chapter started with them returning home from the package, and then you go back in time for the next. These past scenarios aren’t always in a chronological line either. You jumped between scenes depending on what story you needed to hear from Gretel to understand. Usually, I’m not a fan of books that do something like this, but Blaxill did a great job at it. I didn’t like one time more, so I was happy to digest the story the way Blaxill wanted me to.
If you love fairytale retellings or know someone who does, I suggest grabbing a copy of this. Even if you don’t really like Hansel and Gretel. You won’t regret it.
I’m so glad this is a series as now I can pick up the first book whilst I wait to see what fairytale Blaxill gets her claws into next. As this is clearly going to be a fascinating series.
Title: Good Enough To Eat
Author: Gina Blaxill
Age Range: Young Adult
Release Date: 13/10/2022