If you follow my reviews you'll know that I'm not very fond of romances, I feel like our literature is oversaturated with it and you end up not really caring for it in the least. Why caring for two people in love if their being in love is as cliché as cliché itself? But anyway, when I picked Love Fortunes and other Disasters I was actually in the mood for something cheesy and cute, sometimes even the Grinch's heart grows two sizes! Love Fortunes and Other Disasters was about this fictional city, Grimbaud, and its descriptions were far too dreamy not to fall in love with it instantly:
"Most houses were brick with paneled windows in shades of teal or coral. Cupids lounged above doorways."
"Grimbaud was made up of webbed canals and buildings dating back to the medieval era. Stone cupids and storks, sometimes painted and generally gaudy, huddled in the spaces between windows."
"Smokers spilled ghostly hearts from their mouths."
Grimbaud is a city fully based on romantic love. Each year, before school starts, every teenager seeks its own Love Fortune at Zita's shop. She's a renewed Love charmer and never fails to give exact Love Fortunes. She's also the reason why Grimbaud is full of bachelors and spinsters, once condemned by Zita's Fortunes they just resigned to a life deprived of romantic attachment. When Fallon, and her friend Nico, are given gloomy Fortunes they join a resistance against the charmer to try and oust her.
"Heartache makes you stronger. Misery is the stuff of good poetry. You’re denying yourself much more than the bad things in life by listening to Zita’s fortunes."
At first I thought that the premise was quite original but it had its flaws. First of all the supernatural element was underdeveloped. There's magic in this world but it's never addressed as such, every character gives for granted that the reader knows what we're dealing with, I found myself being kept out from entire conversations simply because I wasn't given the means to understand them. The storyline about the resistence was quite messy, everyone wanted to defeat Zita but no one had clear plans, we'd just go round and round trying and guessing what to do next. I could have made do with these issues of mine if the last quarter of the story hadn't just been an absolute trainwreck. Everything seemed to happen so out of the blue that ended up being simply too unbelievable to be taken seriously. It was like signing up for the a Disney movie to then being thrown in the most twisted episode of Supernatural. Conceptually it sounds great, but on paper it doesn't really work!
The romance was ok but didn't really made me root for the characters. I found the storyline between Nico and Martin more engaging instead. Give me angst, give me people genuinely and naturally caring for one another, give me a reason to believe these people are in love!
In conclusion I'd still recommend this book to whomever was interested, it's still a cute and light read, not too demanding, that can easily pull in the right reader.
Last but not least, OH MY GOD. THAT COVER IS JUST... TOO MUCH. To whom have you sold you soul, dear Kimberly??