The Tower Must Fall, by S.E. Bennett


The last fairy-tale ended a hundred years ago, and one thing is certain: the monsters lost. In the world beyond the Bay of Glass, humanity has an overwhelming majority, and the creatures that go bump in the night – the Cryptids – live in hiding. In some lands, discovery by the government spells death, while in others whole tribes are exterminated by knights in shining armor: the Animus. Marek Tobar, a handsome, clumsy traveller, dreams of independence and uprising. It isn’t long before his beliefs drop him in extremely hot water, and he somehow finds himself at the tender mercy of Enyo Namenlos. A reformed knight of the Animus with many faces and no allegiance but to herself, Enyo has spent years hiding from the life she left behind. Determined to somehow salvage the best parts of herself, she needs to repay a blood-debt: she pledges to deliver Marek to Sanctuary, the hidden city of Cryptids. With war brewing in smoky cities and wicked woods, Enyo and Marek find themselves woven into a story that began centuries earlier. But when happy endings are myth and goodness is relative, what does it mean to find your heart’s desire?

What happens after “happily ever after?” Not a new idea, but S. E. Bennett does a pretty good job telling the story. I didn’t even know I was a fan of Fairytale retellings, and other fairytale aftermath stories until I read The Ugly Stepsister, by Aya Ling. I’ve read a few here and there and even wrote one myself.

Every time I see a fairytale retelling on Netgalley, I almost always request it. The main protagonists are fleshed out well, and the fairytale legends have a twist that happens in the real world – history is written by the victor. Clues and outright retellings are sprinkled throughout the story to let the reader know that not all is as we are aware.

The writing is good, and the story flow is as well, but the chronology had me puzzled. More than once in the story there seemed to be a jump in the narrative, with important things happening behind the scenes. I feel these missing elements were integral to the story, and I’m disappointed they were glossed over.

I read some good fairytale retellings and some bad ones. The Tower Must Fall falls into the good category. The odd chronology, missing parts, and the cliché that Enyo just happens to have all the skills to do pretty much anything keep this lovely tale from the five-star rating. Definitely, a fun read, and worthy of four stars.


SE Bennett is a biology student from London with an inability to stop writing stories during genetics lectures. She grew up in the desert in Africa, where she read everything and anything she could get her hands on, and she is passionate about inspiring young people to love science and explosions as much as she does. Her debut novel, Cipher, is published by Curiosity Quills.


About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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