Ordinarily, I love anything in the Fables universe and the Fairest comics tend to be no exception. Until now. It’s not that the story arc is terrible, it’s just not that great. It’s also really tough to overlook the fact that the Fairest series was meant to shine a spotlight on the women of the Fables universe. Who takes center stage in this volume? Prince Charming. Yes, there is a female protagonist. Yes, she is capable of kicking butt. But it still reads like she’s there to be yet another love interest for Prince Charming. If this were Fables proper, this story arc might have worked all right, but in the context of Fairest, it’s almost insulting and definitely disappointing.
Once upon a time…A kind sister and a cruel one. A charming prince. A spiteful fairy. A hundred-year snooze. A pea under a pile of mattresses. A kiss.
All the familiar ingredients, but why is the punished sister happy? Where did that extra prince come from, and what does a flock of balding sheep or a fleck of tuna in a chocolate cake have to do with anything?
Gail Carson Levine has waved her magic wand over three well-known fairy tales, and presto! They are transformed — and sparklingly funny-in these delightful retellings:
The Fairy’s Mistake
The Princess Test
Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep
Happily ever after has never been so hilarious!
Alyssa Gardner has spent her entire life trying to separate herself from the legacy of her grandmother, Alice Lidell (i.e. the Alice of “Alice in Wonderland” fame). It’s bad enough that Alyssa hears the voices of insects and the occasional plant, she doesn’t need to be reminded that crazy runs in the family. Each generation of women in Alyssa’s family begins to go mad shortly after coming of age. Alyssa has been dreading what seems to be the inevitable. After a visit to her mother in the mental hospital, Alyssa becomes convinced that madness might not be at the root of all this. She instead finds herself stepping through the proverbial looking glass and stumbling into Wonderland. She accidentally drags her best friend/crush, Jeb, through with her. Once in Wonderland, she has to perform a series of tasks in order to break the curse that has been wreaking havoc in her family for decades. Unfortunately, it’s very seldom that anyone in Wonderland will tell her the whole truth about anything and there’s this gorgeous Morpheus character making things more confusing…Can Alyssa break the curse and free the remaining female members of her family?
I liked this re-imagining well enough. Many of the updates from the original were rather inspired. The plot tends to get bogged down in endless details and the sexual tension, while entertaining at first, wears thin quickly. I really wanted to see Alyssa strike out on her own, but it didn’t really pan out like that. Slightly formulaic and a bit on the angsty side, Splintered is more a book for the die-hard paranormal romance fans looking to branch out from the high school setting.
Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Cinder and her fugitive crew are focused on evading capture while simultaneously attempting to overthrow the evil Queen Levana. Their only hope lies in getting Cress, a professional hacker, to help them. Their plans go awry when the group is suddenly separated, leaving them crippled when they need each other most. Will they manage to stop Kai’s marriage to Levana, thus saving Earth from utter devastation?
This book was fast paced and a great read. My only complaint is that this book ended on a major cliffhanger when I thought the series would be over. I am now anxiously looking forward to the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
Continues the story of Cinder and introduces the reader to Scarlet and Wolf. But is he a Big Bad Wolf or a hero in the making? How is Scarlet’s grandmother involved with the Luna princess and who kidnapped Grandma? Can’t wait to read the third book in the series!
A fairy tale-like story. The rulers of Montagne have been rumored to possess and use magic. But this has been only a rumor. Grandmonther (queen mother) Benificence, her two daughters Wisdom and Temperance, along with an orphan named Fortitude and a miller’s son Tips all end up at Wisdom’s wedding to the neighboring and coveting kingdom. Its a pretty fast paced, fun tale, written mostly in letter, epistolary format.
Poor Amy Gumm. She lives with her mom in a dusty old trailer park somewhere in rural Kansas. Her mom, when not too depressed to leave the house, is always out drinking. At school, things aren’t much better. Amy’s pregnant arch-enemy, Madison, likes to start fights and blame “Salvation Amy” for them. On the day that Amy is sent home from school for fighting with Madison, a storm is brewing. The storm turns into a tornado and whisks Amy, her trailer and her mother’s pet rat, Star, off to another world – Oz, to be specific. The first thing Amy notices when she crash-lands is that Oz looks nothing like it’s supposed to. As Amy begins to meet the inhabitants of Oz, she quickly finds out that her more famous Kansas predecessor, Dorothy, is the ruler of Oz. Her loyal companions are still loyal, but corrupted by greed and power. Dorothy has become something of a dictator dressed in gingham. The use of magic has been forbidden by all save Dorothy and her counterparts. The rest of Oz is suffering dearly. Amy is quickly apprehended by and then saved from Dorothy by a Wicked witch, Mombi, who represents the resistance. Amy has no choice but to join the resistance and they have only one main goal: to kill Dorothy.
This is a fun take on the Wizard of Oz story. Amy makes a good foil to Dorothy’s false cheeriness. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Dorothy portrayed as a bad guy (the Fables comic series by Bill Willingham comes to mind), but she and her Oz counterparts are genuinely evil. I’m still a bit unclear as to how she made such a complete 180 from her original goody-two-shoes persona. Ostensibly, it’s the possession of magic that’s made her turn so evil, but for all I know, there might be more exposition coming in the subsequent novels. Either way, Dorothy and her entire gang make for some really creepy baddies. There’s plenty of action from beginning to end, but the pacing lags through the second half of the book. Some murky potentially-romantic entanglements drag the plot down further. It’s not nearly as much fun (nor as rooted in the original story) as Gregory Maguire’s work, but it will certainly still find a readership among readers who enjoy both a spunky female protagonist and retellings of classic stories.
Wild and willful Brownwyn Hyatt is back from the Iraq war. There are omens that her mother is likely to die, and a haint is wanting to talk to her. Will it be possible to change the future and keep her mom alive. Or if her Mom does die, will Brownwyn be able to remember her musical skills in order to learn her Mother’s song. Will she be able to resist the temptation of her old boyfriend, bad-boy, Dwight? It also includes the storylines of a Christian minister trying to make inroads into this isolated community of people called the Tufa. And it includes the storyline of Don Swayback, 1/8th Tufa, who comes back to his roots.
This is the story of Jorinda and Joringel, twins who were born to a dead father and an absent mother. They move throughout the fairy tales as the lead characters. And these are not your Disney fairy tales, these are the ghastly, repellent, and sinister Grimm tales. These tales will give you nightmares and make you sleep with the light on. Both children die repeatedly throughout the book and in gruesome ways. There is death and destruction and mutilation and monsters. Good doesn’t always triumph in the end. Some facts I learned: Cinderella or Ashputtle actually means toilet cleaner! The people who fell asleep with Sleeping Beauty aged as they slept. Satan lives with his grandma in Hell. I really found these gruesome stories just as awesome as the narrator said they would be and I am sure kids will really enjoy that aspect of it. The one negative I have is actually about the narrator. For the most part the interjections are funny and don’t take away from the story. However, there is a section of the book where Jorinda and Joringel meet the narrator in Brooklyn and he reads the other two books in this series to them. I thought that section really broke up the story and wasn’t necessary. The rest is awesome…especially Hell. I might have to go back and read the others in this series.
Delphine tells the tale of an unnamed man searching for his estranged girlfriend. The girl, Delphine, had gone back to her hometown to help with her ailing father, but never returned. The protagonist has managed to track down the town, but is immediately beset by a string of bizarre and creepy occurrences that seem to conspire to frustrate his efforts. He encounters witches, monsters, secret passages, mysterious woods and other stuff of fairy tales. This is, ostensibly, a spin on Snow White (told from the perspective of the prince), though I failed to see the connection until it was pointed out to me. The fairy tale allusions are clearly intentional and Sala’s dark and haunting artwork lends itself well to the atmosphere of the story. It takes awhile to get a grip on the process of events, but that appears to be part of the journey.
An instruction book for any adventure you might want or need to take into fairyland or fantasy. Aimed at children and very brief with beautiful illustrations. I enjoyed the story though and think that adults will recognize fairy tales where the main characters didn’t follow the rules and bad things happened.
A creative retelling of Cinderella – with a little Tam Lin thrown in. Ash becomes an indentured servant to her stepmother when her father’s debts come due. She sees fairyland as an escape from her drudgery and abuse. The fairy Sidhean who could steal her away from mortals is reluctant to do so, seemingly because he is cursed to love her and have his heart broken. Eventually, Ash falls in love with the Kings Huntress, and realizes, she might want to stay in the mortal realm. Enjoyable, fast-paced read.
Not all goes as planned, first, they weren’t sure the dragon still existed, since no one had seen him. Then it turns out the dragon really didn’t want to deal with humans, he was too old, and humans too dangerous. Then it turns out that dragons horde very different items depending on their own particular interest. This particular dragon hordes shoes. The protagonist Creel, gets a pair of shoes from the dragon, shoes with special powers. A delightful tale, I did think back to the Stolen Child, about the theme, enjoying what you’ve got, when Creel was living in the dragon’s cave, eating well, pleasant company, and able to embroider to her heart’s content. To someone who would love more time to craft, it sounded idea.. Not as good as the other 2 books I’ve read by Day, the pacing was a bit too intense towards the end for me.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes examines archetypal themes in fairy tales relevant to unleashing creativity and letting your unique talents blossom. Estes uses a combination of Jungian psychology together with family wisdom to explain the significance of various tales. I learned that she had been held at gunpoint down in Guatemala, during a period of civil unrest, listening to her inner voice/angel, she eventually started singing to her kidnappers, who let her go, saying the singing was driving them nuts. She finishes each chapter with a blessing. I really liked this title, As it was so deep & rich, I wouldn’t want to read several back to back. I really enjoyed this book, & feel like I benefited from her wisdom.
This was a mixed bag of tales. Some lived up to the advertising, others were less successful. One of the problems I had with some of the tales, is telling me how smart the protagonist is, and then all she did was sprinkle magic fairy dust that she had from somewhere to solve all the villages problems. I realize it is more difficult to show instead of tell, in short tales, but maybe you can’t have short fairy tales that cannot be shown, but must be told. I did enjoy the story Janet Burd (a Tam Lin variation), as well as the Mollee Whoppee story.
The Pevensie siblings travel back to Narnia to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.
A battle is about to begin in Prince Caspian, the fourth book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone novel, but if you would like to see more of Lucy and Edmund’s adventures, read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth book in The Chronicles of Narnia.
This was an enjoyable steam-punk retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg mechanic who can’t remember her life before the accident that claimed her parents and made it medically necessary to replace her leg and other parts with machinery. She was adopted but her new guardian dies before he is able to bring her home to his wife and daughters and tell them why he has adopted a cyborg child. She works to make money for her stepmother and keep their household afloat though they treat her like a servant.
A plague is running rampant throughout their country and attacking young and old, rich and poor alike. Her favorite sister becomes ill days before a ball is planned. She tries to encourage her sister by telling her how she met the prince when he brought an automaton to her shop for repair and how he invited her to the ball. She promises to get the prince to dance with her sister if she will just get better and be able to go to the ball.
The prince has troubles of his own. His father is gravely ill with the plague. The ruler of Mars is on her way with an entourage to discuss peace talks that all his advisers believe is a prelude to war. Of course, the prince could marry the queen of Mars and make her his Empress ensuring peace but would that really be the best thing for both planets?
When an evil magician needs Aladdin to fetch a magic lamp, Aladdin is too smart for him. But the magician soon wants his revenge. And, the Youngest-of All tried to please her two sisters. But they want to spoil her happiness. Can she still marry her beloved prince?