Book: While Beauty Slept
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Recommend: If you like retold fairy tales from another point of view then definitely.
I have been wanting to read this book for weeks. I started in on it at a Barnes and Noble and got about a fourth of the way in before I got tapped on the shoulder and was kindly but firmly reminded that the store, in fact, was closing in five minutes and they would be happy to help me at the register. While I love my bookstore, I simply didn’t have the cash that day to pick it up and so I walked out, sadly empty-handed, wanting to read more.
I finally got my hands on a copy this week and devoured it in one sitting. What a great retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale that is devoid of all the fairy nonsense and instead paints a much more realistic picture. Think of this as the Sleeping Beauty version of the movie, Ever After. In fact, I wonder if the author got the idea for this book from the movie.
The only issue that I had with the story was that while it definitely didn’t focus on the girl of the fairy tale, I do wish Rose had been in it a bit more. it felt a bit rushed in a way. The events that had factored into the tale we know don’t come into play until at least halfway through the book and the central line of the story isn’t in place until the last thirty pages.
I absolutely loved the main character of this book. She seemed leap from the pages of the book. This book accomplished what so many can’t, the words seemed to disappear and instead of just seeing it, it was like being a part of it.
I dove in expecting Rose and got lady-in-waiting which was actually a find than what I had expected. Definitely worth the read!
Buy it new 🙂
Book: One Good Knight
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Recommend: Yes, this is a great follow-up to The Fairy Godmother.
I picked up the first book in the series yesterday and I’m already through book number two. This one centers around a girl named Andromeda who is a Princess but isn’t exactly what her mother thinks a princess should be. Just as she finally gets the attention she had always craved from her mother, who is beginning to see her value at last, a dragon begins to terrorize the kingdom and everything spirals out of control.
I am really loving these books because they manage to smash a whole lot of fairy tales together, show the characters fighting against what the tales want them to do, all while attempting to do the right thing. Fractured fairy tales are some of my favorites to read and this series really doesn’t disappoint. From beginning to end you find yourself rooting for Andie, hoping that somehow she’ll get her happily ever after, after all.
The writing in this book is much improved over the first one. The whole thing feels tighter and like it had better editing. The only thing that mad me roll my eyes were the dragons. However, while I was rolling my eyes I was also laughing so the pun wasn’t too terrible. The ending was sweet but could have used a bit more build up. Other than that, this was a great read.
Get it used…
Don’t let the cover keep you from picking this one up!
Book: The Fairy Godmother
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Recommend: If you enjoy a classic fantasy tale with a fairy tale twist, this is the starter of a series that has been fun so far.
I have been told by a bunch of people that this author was right up my alley. The thing is, she had written a ton of books, which is great but figuring out where to start was going to be difficult. So when I saw there was a series of books based on fairy tales, I decided that I would start there. I love when a fairy tale is retold well and this series seemed to do exactly that.
The first book in the series explained exactly how fairy godmothers become what they are. It follows a girl who was supposed to become a Cinderella type tale but there was no available prince the right age and so she was stuck with her stepmother, living out a life of slavery without a chance of relief in sight. At least, until a fairy godmother comes along looking for an apprentice.
I loved how the writer explained this fairy tale based world. The characters are interesting and the pacing is really good. The characters were easy to connect with while still maintaining their archetype characteristics, even as they step outside the bounds of their fairy tales.
The only thing that I wish was that the writing quality had been a bit higher. While it definitely wasn’t bad, it lacked a level of energy that I think the story needed to be more effective. Not to say that it wasn’t enjoyable, I just feel like it was so close to being amazing and missed the mark just slightly.
Really good, solid read and I can’t wait to get into the rest of the series.
Get it used…
Author: Jackson Pearce
Recommend: If you are a fan of stories very loosely based on fairy tales and set in modern times.
I picked this one up because somehow I hope someone will write a decent mermaid book that won’t feel cheestastic (yep, it’s my own made up word, I know). This one was actually not half bad although there were some issues that kept it from being something that completely leaves the realm of cheesiness.
The story centers around a girl named Naida/Lo who lives in the sea. She desperately wants to return to her life on the land but cannot without killing someone else and taking their soul because she doesn’t have one. She meets a girl name Celia who has secrets all her own when they save the life of a boy named Jude from drowning. Then this follows more along the lines of Anderson‘s original tale as the two girls try to help each other all while falling for the same boy.
Yep, most of the story is really good. I do mean really good. The idea behind how these two girls end up thrown together and the fight of both of them having feelings for Jude is great. However, The Little Mermaid should NEVER have a happy ending. This needed to end the way the fairy tale does originally instead of the bizarre twist the author throws in at the end. The whole idea of them becoming some other kind of monster really ruined the ending of the book for me. I actually wanted to see Lo sacrifice herself believe it or not. It needed the slightly tragic ending in my opinion to ring true. The ending of this book feels completely forced and honestly ruined the story for me.
So close to having a good modern take on the Little Mermaid and yet so far due to the ending. I was glad this one was a library find honestly
Get it free
Book: Dreams and Shadows
Author: C. Robert Cargill
Recommend: This is definitely not something for everyone.
Okay, I picked this one up simply because it seemed different from most of what I’ve been reading lately. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the first reader of the book. How could I tell? The scraps of paper from the pages being cut fell out as I read. While I like old books, there is something cool about begin the first person to dive into the pages of a brand new book as well, especially when it is a library book that will end up in the hands of many others. I enjoy books set in hidden worlds that run parallel to our own and this one is definitely that. However, if you are not a fan of fairy stories (and I’m not talking the sanitized Disney ones like Tinkerbell), this one is definitely not for you. It is dark and a bit bleak.
The story centers around two boys whose lives have been irrevocably altered by their introduction to this world. Ewan is taken as a baby and is replaced by a changeling. Colby meets a djinn and requests to see all the hidden things in the world including becoming a magician. When Colby saves Ewan from becoming a blood sacrifice, the two boys’ lives are chained together in a series of events that will leave them both changed.
I really enjoyed how flat-out spooky this one was. This is not a happy fairy tale by any means. It actually reminded me a lot of reading The Child Thief by Brom. This one is not for the squeamish or faint of heart though. It is gory and violent. Not children’s fare by any means.
While I really enjoyed this one, I wouldn’t want a steady diet of this kind of book. Read at your risk.
Get it used…
Author: Marissa Meyer
Recommend: Definitely! Check out Cinder first though…
I have been waiting for this one rather eagerly since I read the first book in this series.When I lucked out and got an ARC of the book, I was thrilled that I was going to get to read it before it came out.
I loved the futuristic retelling of a classical fairy tale with a metallic twist. The second book does a wonderful job balancing the continuation of the story from the first book while introducing more to the storyline with a retelling of Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. I love that while the fairy tales are noticeable, they have a very original spin with a storyline that echoes but is not confined by the constraints of the original material.
The only thing I could say about this series is that now that I know that this was originally a work of fan fiction, I was able to see the threads beneath the redone material and was able to see how it was originally based on something else. To be fair though, there is only one series that it is hard to find the source material underneath for me.
I really can’t wait to see what the rest of this series has in store.
Buy it new 🙂
Book: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Recommend: If you are a fan of fairy tale rewrites, this is great. If not, run the other way…
I picked this one up, being fairly certain I knew what I was in for and was pleasantly surprised how absorbed I was. I have always been a bit confused by this fairy tale honestly and found that this version made it make more sense. Instead of being really confused by the Princesses it made much more sense and I found myself wondering how in the world they were going to get out of the horrible situation they were in. Galen was a great male lead because he seems so normal. I liked the princesses as well because they weren’t obnoxious. I found the back story interesting enough to not be annoyed with it, although I wish there had been a bit more to it.
This is definitely a fluffy indulgent piece of reading which was a great change of pace after reading about vampires/zombies and tons of adult situations. This was a nice change of pace. I think I need to start throwing in teen fiction after intense reads as a habit.
Get it used…
Book: Tiger lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson’
Recommend: If you like Peter Pan…
The cover of this one actually was what made me pick it up. I figured that this was about Tiger lily from Peter Pan and was thrilled to find out I was correct. I am a big fan of all things fairy tale and Peter Pan is one of my favorites. Who doesn’t like the idea of not growing old? Whether is be werewolf, vampire, zombie or lost boy the idea of never growing old appeals to that basic fear of aging and death.
Overall this book was a fresh perspective on Peter Pan long before the appearance of the Wendy bird. I never thought I would dread the appearance of Wendy in any version of Peter Pan. The author explains Tiger lily in such a way that makes you want to reach out and hug the girl as well as hope that somehow she will escape the impossible situation that she is in.
I did have a couple of things I did not appreciate about this book. The overall attitude towards the power and worth of Christianity was obnoxious. Second, the fact that she allowed a character to be raped and did nothing about it. If she is writing teen fiction, she needs to set a good example for the teens she is writing for. Teens should never hear not to report abuse and rape. Ever. Even if it isn’t culturally accurate, they need to hear the important message to report these things and get help. Sometimes authors need to remember the audience a bit more.
It was an interesting story and extremely engaging but definitely not one for the overly impressionable teen.
Get it used…
Author: Marissa Meyer
Recommend: This is a great read!
I have been curious about this book since it came out a few months ago but just hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I’m a sucker for rewritten fairy tales and I thought the cyborg bit was a different twist. I found it at the library this week and picked it up immediately.
I think I like this cover better…
This is the fairy tale of Cinderella set in a futuristic earth where the people on the lunar colony have developed gifts and cyborgs are second class citizens, belonging to their guardians. Cinder has nothing and her guardian controls everything she does. However, when she meets Prince Kai, everything changes.
While this book definitely had all the elements that make up the Cinderella story, the author doesn’t seem to feel tied down to the traditions to the point where the story suffers. This book is the start of a four book series. I can’t wait to read the next book and am frustrated that I have to wait a whole year for it!
This one should be on any YA fan’s reading list!
Need more than one copy!!