Cover Image: The Tearsmith

The Tearsmith

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Member Reviews

This one was tough to get into and I don't know if it's because with translations somethings are lost or that they were changed to better fit the English language, but I couldn't get into it.

I could predict what was going to happen very early on, and I just didn't enjoy the book the way I thought I would. Overall the story is not bad but it wasn't my cup of tea.

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I want to start by saying that a lot of my issue was with the translation, and I'm having a hard time judging how much I disliked the book itself because of it. The prose was very clumsy and juvenile--it sometimes read like it was written by a middle schooler. Again, that could have been a translation issue, but when I realized, at the 20% mark, that I was only 1/5 of the way through and still had an estimated 7 hours left, I just couldn't push myself to keep going.

The book was definitely more character-based than plot-based, and I did like how sweet Nica was and her focus on saving animals, and I liked how Rigel was such a contrast to that. I was curious to see how their relationship would play out, but ultimately I just couldn't get into the book enough to finish it.

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This book was just not for me. The plot progressed too slowly for me, and I didn't think I would finish it but I did. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Dell for a copy of this book for an honest review.

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The Tearsmith by Erin Doom

This dark YA romance follows the story of Nica and Rigel, two orphans that had a toxic relationship growing up together in an Alabama orphanage and then are placed into the home of the Milligans at seventeen to potentially be adopted together. They begin a forbidden love affair and try to hide it from everyone around them.

The characters are emotionally stunted, dealing with abandonment issues, child abuse, and many other traumas. This causes many problems in their interactions with people outside of the orphanage as well as with each other.

The book is translated from Italian to English. But it is written as British English, so culturally, some of the words and scenarios do not make sense since the setting is supposed to be taking place in Alabama, USA. The way the dialog is written for the characters does not translate to Southern dialect. The dialog did seem very eloquent. However, in some cases, the verbiage seemed a little too mature compared to how a seventeen year old would express themselves.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for the eARC for my honest review.

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DNFd around page 20. this one was not for me unfortunately, no offense to the author. nothing else to say, just needed to hit the character limit

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This was an intense novel. The author does a great job of portraying the tension between Nica and Rigel. They have both suffered trauma and abuse, but have reacted in outwardly different manners. Nica seems strange with her multi colored bandaids and her concern for small animals and insects. However, she is also tenderness personified. Rigel can be charming if he wants, but he has a propensity for cruelty and violence. He intentionally pushes people away. He believes he is a disaster and incapable of love or being loved. The problem is that Nica is the person he most wants to push away and yet also keep close to him.

The story prominently features abuse, trauma and abandonment, but also love and resilience. The story also deals a lot with fairytales and whether happily ever after is possible. In the Graves, the institution where they were raised, the primary fairytale was that of the Tearsmith, an artisan with eyes clear as glass which produced crystal teardrops. People came to him for his tears, which introduced the deepest and darkest emotions to them. More sinisterly for children, if you lied, the Tearsmith would take you away.

There is a great supporting cast (Adeline, Anna, Billie, Miki, Norman, etc.) who have their own fears, traumas, longings and loves. They will benefit from their involvement in the lives of Nica and Rigel, just as Nica and Rigel will benefit from them.

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A huge thank you to the author, NetGalley, and Random House Ballantine - Dell for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you like dark YA romance between two damaged teenagers, where eventually they find their way to one another and learn to grow and change to remain together, this book might be a good fit for you. We follow two main characters who are 17 and about to be adopted into a new family - Nica and Rigel - who have a contemptuous relationship at the orphanage. Rigel is cruel and mean to Nica, who is extremely sensitive and hides from his treatment - but when they are forced to live in the same home their relationship is forced to change.

This book didn’t quite work for me as I felt our main character Nica was almost TOO sweet and innocent, to the point that she just annoyed me as a person. In the same way, Rigel was almost TOO mean (and somehow amazing at fights? Is he an anime villain?). I wasn’t invested in either character, nor their “relationship,” and to be honest if I hadn’t also been gifted a physical copy to more easily flip through I might have DNF’d this book.

In a way, they felt like stock characters for most of this book, where their entire interactions are “Rigel is mean to Nica, Nica runs to avoid him/cries/finds some random animal to help and talk to, Nica realizes that Rigel is kind of attractive?, we get a smash cut to Rigel’s POV where it’s revealed he’s horny 24/7 and obsessed with Nica.” Rinse and repeat. Quite literally nothing else had happened by 250 pages in this book.

I couldn’t get into their “love” or relationship, as even with the reveal that Rigel is trying to force Nica away from him because he thinks he’s too damaged for her, nothing between them ever really changed. The only advancements they get is when Nica decides to confront Rigel for his abuse, until eventually she decides she’s into him and forgives him - without him ever having to confront or change his negative behavior. It’s kind of alarming that there’s a negative love interest in this book for Nica, but yet basically all the red flags found in this boy (this is pointed out, many times) are found in, if not worse, in Rigel. Rigel spends the entire book as the same character he started as, except now Nica likes his “bad boy” self and isn’t bothered by his refusal to treat anyone else as a person.

In fact, Rigel so refuses to change at all, that even as the book ends he’s still obsessive and willing to/threatening to beat up any man that talks to Nica - which she just finds attractive now? Despite this being the reddest red flag of abuse there could be. The entire book Rigel is finding and beating up boys who say or do anything to Nica (bad or not), and then the book ends with him still threatening this same behavior to a classmate of hers. And it’s just seen as fine and a “quirk” of his, despite that being a negative earlier in the book. In the same way, Rigel refuses to talk or tell Nica anything, to the point that there’s a reveal about a character he used to sleep with during the LITERAL last like 5 pages - and when she’s like “hey it’s fine since that was before we were together, but I’m with you and her friend, why didn’t you tell me” and his response is the classic avoidance “I’ve been in love with you since I was 5.” ???? That. That answers absolutely nothing, my boy. Except of course this is the end of the book so Nica has to accept it.

I understand it’s a darker YA romance, and that Rigel can’t be suddenly “changed” or “redeemed” by the end - but an ounce of change wouldn’t be amiss. It just made me roll my eyes when he did the same thing to Nica’s classmate (as they’re now adults in their early 20s) that he did at 17. It almost made it completely pointless to have chapters of them as young adults - especially as there IS an epilogue at the end, and it’s strange that these chapters aren’t included as they felt VERY epilogue “nothing is going on and we’re living happily after”.

In the same way, this book avoids the whole “Rigel was cruel and abusive to people other than Nica” so much, that when they bring in another character who was harassed by him (in the last like 5 pages of the book) and he’s like “???? What do you mean you’re dating him?” it’s kind of just glossed over entirely. I think the ending of this book wouldn’t have bothered me quite so much if there was any actual development in their relationship, but as it is the only reason they get together is because one character almost dies and then when they wake up they’re suddenly like “well I guess we’re soulmates now” and now with the entire rest of their relationship they’re just riding off this belief while also not communicating to each other.

However, I think my biggest gripe is that this book was boring and nothing happened for the majority of the runtime - and then, near the end, suddenly the author decided to add some plot events (literally the last like 50 or so pages) and then just ended the book. And then, SPOILER, but had the dumbest ending possible where it’s implied that this book is a STORY told to her daughter about how her and her father got together (are we assuming the sexual stuff wasn’t told to her like 3 year old, or?) Also, the entire name of this book, and the “fairytale” of the “Tearsmith” was so barely there that I think removing it would have made this book make more sense.

I will admit that a big issue might have been that I don’t typically like just plain romances, but I think I might have enjoyed this if either character was anything other than a flat piece of cardboard and literally anything at all happened in this book. However, there are many people who enjoyed this book and I can see the appeal of self-inserting as a shy insecure girl who eventually gets together with the big mean bad boy - just as long as you can deal with like 300 pages of nothing before that.

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The Tearsmith was a dark YA romance between two very damaged teenagers.

I liked it, but the prose might not work for everyone and it’s quite a long book for a dark YA romance.

I feel like the demure character of Nica also might not work for everyone, but I knew this was a translation and Americans are very outspoken compared to other cultures. I liked her, but sometimes found myself wishing she’d be more demanding.

With that being said, this was a dark contemporary romance which 99% of the time meant it was riddled with situations that were huge red flags, but the kind that tend to work out in fiction. So just… know that about the book before you decide to read it. Rigel was awful to Nica for the majority of the book and yet he was clearly the love interest.

The Tearsmith reminded me of books like the After series, My Fault, and other kind of Wattpad sort of unhealthy romances that are my sometimes guilty pleasure, so if you’re in the mood for that, this book was great! I’ll definitely watch the Netflix movie, too. But if that’s not what you’re expecting, this might not work for you.

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This is an intense story of a love that grows out of desperation. Nica and Rigel grow up in an abusive environment. This shadows their formative years and later relationships. The story has great characters and good dialogue between them. It has some very poignant scenes as the two characters interact and go through a period of self discovery.

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The Tearsmith is about two children, one abandoned at birth, one who lost her parents. They grow up in a children's home called The Grave, run by a horrid woman. Eventually, when Rigel and Nica are 17, they are finally adopted into a loving home. There is only one issue - Rigel is a dark soul in love with Nica. Nica is a shining, innocent light, not aware of Rigel's feelings.

Throughout the book, Rigel protects Nica by pushing her away from him, but also standing up for her when she gets into tough situations.

Eventually, they end up together and have a happily ever after.

I had high hopes for this book but was sorely disappointed. The storyline was interesting so I stayed until the end, but other than that I wasn't impressed. The writing was terrible; the dialogue was extremely stilted and didn't seem plausible, especially for 17-year-olds.

This book is likely better suited for young adults (I'd say 14 and up, but there are a few "sexual" scenes - nothing too graphic, but I wouldn't want a younger kid reading it).

Overall, this book was just "meh"

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this romance was gothic, dark, at times quite... toxic and so on. the adopted brother thing should have tipped me off i think. it's definitely not the average NA/YA romance. but it definitely has its audience. thanks for the arc! 4 i think.

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Where do I even start with this review? My mind is just blown! In a good way. Nica and Rigel will go down as one of the top couples of time. These two characters were meant for each other. Even the stars knew this!

Nica will pull at your heartstrings with her tenderness and naivety. It melted my heart when she was moved in with her new family. Just watching her experience things we see as normal. I really related to her in the fact that she showed such care with living things. She personified them which some felt was a bit strange. There's an incident where she attempts to save a snail that is crossing the road. She doesn't think twice about it and almost is hit by a car.

Then there's Rigel. At first I wasn't sure what to think about him. He almost appeared like a siren in the fact everyone was so entranced by him. I felt like he was a bit more privileged than Nica until I was able to dive more into his life. Turns out he held a lot of guilt for being treated differently than the other children. While they suffered under the hands of an abusive matron, the woman kept him on a pedestal that could not be touched.

I do have to say Rigel is the strongest character I've ever seen in a story. The things that are brought out at the end we find out was to protect Nica. When she recounts the different scenarios in the past when she thought he was just being Rigel not realizing he was doing it all for her.

The only negative I have to say about the book is the length but I'm not sure if this beautiful story could be told in less words.

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Sadly I couldn't connect to the book. Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. I am excited to watch the movie. Hopefully then I can try again and connect.

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Didn't like the book.. if was very goth like and the vibe felt off... I just didn't like it... I wanted to but it wasn't the book I thought it was going to be

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The Tearsmith Review
3/5
Release Date February 6th 2024

I don’t have much to say about this book, because I couldn’t get into it that much, but I did love each story telling between each characters, the growth. The book did start to seem predictable after awhile, and this is more of a YA romance book. I am excited to see it turned into a book!

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This book wasn’t for me the book sounded interesting and it being made into a program for Netflix sounded like something I would want to read. The book is translated from a Italian author I was disappointed the good reads reviewes were not translated book just wasn’t for me

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The Tearsmith by Erin Doom was an emotional but captivating story.
I found the writing to be so compelling. The characters are unique and intriguing. And the storytelling was really interesting.
A great coming-of-age love story that kept me reading till 1am.

Thank You NetGalley and Random House, Ballantine & Dell for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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This book was a unique dynamic of storytelling. It has beautiful tension and a lengthy composure of journey. The author is new to me and was thrilled at the opportunity to read such a complex book. I received an ARC from NetGalley.

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*Thanks NetGalley for the digital ARC!*

This is the first time I’ve read a translated book. I thought it was a really lovely coming of age love story, with a sweet FMC in Nica. I did feel that it could be overly descriptive, causing the novel to be perhaps a little longer than necessary. But I loved the fairytale metaphors so much. I also thought the romance was well done and not overly descriptive based on the characters ages at the start of the story. My biggest issue is that the setting did not translate well for me and I’m not sure that Alabama was well researched when switching from Italian to English. And I say this as an Alabama native.

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I really wanted to enjoy this book but I just couldn’t get into it!! I couldn’t stay interested in the the book. It just wasn’t for me.

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