Quite Contrary

Quite Contrary - Richard  Roberts This book has left me with very different opinions on various parts and aspects. One thing I will say up front. THIS IS NOT A KIDS BOOK. Older teen-adult is appropriate. It focuses on a 12 year old girl named Mary. The combination of the name with the title brought an amused smirk to my lips. She goes off to a party and tries to spite the host by going into the tunneled crawl space of the spooky mansion it is hosted at. She finds herself locked in ans so she ventures around, making various turns through the tunnels. She comes across a talking rat (Rat-In-Boots) who helps her begin her journey. When she puts on the white and red outfit, her fate is sealed to the story of Red Riding Hood. She journey's through various fairy-tales and lands of legends. One thing that really bothered me in this story is that she never questions why. Why her, How did the rat get her, etc. She just accepts everything. While her character gained depth throughout the book (she started of bratty, then we learn she has a chip on her shoulder to learning she actually cares for others), I never once felt she was 12. More like 16-19. And the language, sexual references, etc (going to a brothel, virginity references etc) did not seem right. Yet, to contrast her character I liked Rat-in-boots, even though he doesn't have his boots. The perfect little hero. Cunning, swift, caring and stubborn. I also really liked some of the places we see. One of them is the Viking Lands and the Norse. She meets a boy named Eric who is the son of Thor. This amused me because in the 'Thor' and 'Thunderstrike' comic books, Eric is the name of the man who becomes the New Thor. Another place I enjoyed reading was purgatory, which was set up as a huge ship (and I mean HUGE) that can take years to escape (if you can at all). This part reminded me of the Goonies a bit (children working together, following a code) and Silent Hill with the creatures in the dark and the way things lock and checking various rooms for items. Through all these stories and more, the Wolf is after her. Apparently Red Riding Hood is the strongest story ever. Rat-in-Boots tells her that no one knows of a world outside their story yet everyone knows hers and keeps telling her to take off the hood. The only way to escape the Wolf is to go home. Which is the one place she doesn't want to be.So while there were enjoyable parts, I just could not get into the book itself. Too much unanswered. And her characters personality did not fit any middle schooler I have ever met. Also the ending was a let down. The last 50 pages were rushed, worlds not explained, etc. And the last chapter was a recap of the book. Pfft. Not needed. So while it was kind of interesting to read and started out with some creative thought, it didn't hold the same appeal that I had before I started.