Tag Archives: Fairy tale

Wild by Alex Mallory

1 Jul


author : alex mallory

pages : [paperback] 448

favorite character : sofia

summary :

The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving— that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger…

Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy— he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion.

Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it.

As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?

A YA Tarzan retelling.

review :

This book seemed so interesting when I read the summary. I’ve never read something like a retelling of Tarzan before, though I don’t think the comparison to that well-known story does much for this book. Cade was a fascinating character. The only humans he’d communicated with, as far back as he can remember, were his parents. Now that they’re both dead he’s lived alone in the woods for three years, convinced that the rest of the world is dead or dying from a pandemic. That’s the explanation his mother always gave him for why they needed to keep themselves hidden from the world.

Unfortunately, Cade was the only fascinating portion of the story for me. Some of the plot was very easy to predict and I would skip a few pages ahead so that I could stop reading about Cade again instead of the media frenzy surrounding him or how Josh, Dara’s boyfriend, acts as a kind of antagonist and nothing more. Most of the characters lack depth and I didn’t care much for them. Even Dara, the other leading character, felt shallow. Her only ‘special’ aspect was her love of photography. I knew little else about her, except that she liked to defy everyone else to get to Cade because she felt an inexpiable connection with him . . another device that I typically don’t like to read about in YA.

While reading, I realized when there were only fifteen pages left that there was too much to say in that short amount of space. I was afraid that this book would be getting a sequel because it didn’t seem to deserve one; the plot dragged on as it was. No, instead the ending was very rushed and somehow ended up with a perfect, nonsensical ending. It left me unsatisfied.

I wouldn’t recommend this retelling because it was a good idea that was poorly executed. I liked hearing Cade’s story but it was never fully developed and he could not make up for the other, flatter characters. I do not know if I will pick up anything else by Alex Mallory.

2/5 stars


The Child Thief by Brom

25 Jun

The Child Thief

author : brom

pages : [hardcover] 481

memorable quote If you don’t learn to laugh at life it’ll surely kill you, that I know.

favorite characters : peter & cricket

summary :

Fourteen-year-old Nick would have been murdered by the drug dealers preying on his family had Peter not saved him. Now the irresistibly charismatic wild boy wants Nick to follow him to a secret place of great adventure, where magic is alive and you never grow old. Even though he is wary of Peter’s crazy talk of faeries and monsters, Nick agrees. After all, New York City is no longer safe for him, and what more could he possibly lose?

There is always more to lose.

Accompanying Peter to a gray and ravished island that was once a lush, enchanted paradise, Nick finds himself unwittingly recruited for a war that has raged for centuries—one where he must learn to fight or die among the “Devils,” Peter’s savage tribe of lost and stolen children.

There, Peter’s dark past is revealed: left to wolves as an infant, despised and hunted, Peter moves restlessly between the worlds of faerie and man. The Child Thief is a leader of bloodthirsty children, a brave friend, and a creature driven to do whatever he must to stop the “Flesh-eaters” and save the last, wild magic in this dying land

review :

I absolutely love fairy tale retellings and haven’t picked up too many adult novels that feature this. Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories and I was eager to see how that idea was darkened and twisted in The Child Thief. In some ways, it went exactly as I’d expected it would, with the children being led to a world not quite like Neverland, more like an ancient fairy realm no one would really like to visit. Peter is charming enough to keep the children content, most of the time, and he convinces them to fight alongside him in his quest to rid Avalon of the dangerous monsters who used to be men that are turning the magical realm apart.

I’m a little confused as to why this is considered an adult novel. Yes, there is plenty of violence in it (which I’ll get to in a moment) and some sexual implications. But I’ve seen scenes like that in YA novels and the main character of this book is fourteen years old. It was an odd mix for me but it also makes me think this book would be a good one to reach for if you’re trying to transition from YA to adult reading because of the age range of so many of the characters (ignoring the fact that while Peter acts like a teenager he’s over 900) and while this book is well-written, it certainly isn’t overwritten.

That it, if you can overlook the gratuitous violence. I would say that it worked for me, or at least didn’t bother me, until the last third of the book. At that point terrible things were happening so often that I almost didn’t care, which is the worst thing that could possibly happen in a book. I was becoming immune to all of this because I couldn’t read about all of these deaths (sometimes about characters who really weren’t mentioned before they were killed off) and feel emotion about it because by the time I registered that something tragic had happened, another terrible thing was occurring.

I don’t think slower pacing would have helped that because the novel is already over 500 pages. Perhaps if the first half had been much shorter, the actions in the latter half could have been extended. I really loved reading about Peter’s backstory, however, as well as the intricacies of the fairy world, so I wouldn’t have taken that out for anything.

If you can handle the violence and love Peter Pan, I would say to give this book a chance. While I enjoyed reading it, I do not think it is one that I will reread.

3/5 stars

Cress by Marissa Meyer

20 May



The Lunar Chronicles #3
Book 1: Cinder
Book 2: Scarlet

author : marissa meyer

pages : [hardcover] 550

favorite characters : cress & wolf

summary :

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

review :

I absolutely love the Lunar Chronicles and Cress makes me love these books even more.

I’m a sucker for any books that twist fairy tales around and these books combine a few of my favorites, thus far featuring Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. What’s so wonderful about them is mostly the world these awesome characters are set in and the different challenges they face. There’s so much going on with this series I can’t even hope to explain it all. I wouldn’t ever try because I love recommending these books so much and wouldn’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t begun them!

In this third installment to the four book series, new characters are introduced alongside the old. The book maintains the same pacing as the others in the series, with small lulls between great action scenes. The characters are so well fleshed out and I loved that the book switches point of view a few times to show off what might be happening in a different part of the world or, well, to someone floating around in space (in a satellite, not on their own. That would be silly).

If you love fairy tales and stories that are unique, you’ll love Cress. I’ve never read anything quite like this and it’s awesome to have a breath of fresh text when YA novels all begin to feel so similar. Cress is as adorable a character I’d hoped, there was much more told about the characters who were introduced in the last book, and there were plot twists in here I definitely didn’t expect. These are books that will get you dreaming about what could happen next.

I’m looking forward to and dreading the next book, Winter, because it will also be the last. I’m not ready to say goodbye to this fabulous cast of characters, especially not because the beautiful writing in Cress made me love them that much more.

I’d recommend this book to anyone.

5/5 stars

If you liked Cress you might also like Tiger Lily.

Grim: A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings

13 May



editor : christine johnson

pages : [ebook] 480

summary :

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today: 

Ellen Hopkins 
Amanda Hocking 
Julie Kagawa 
Claudia Gray 
Rachel Hawkins 
Kimberly Derting 
Myra McEntire 
Malinda Lo 
Sarah Rees-Brennan 
Jackson Pearce 
Christine Johnson 
Jeri Smith Ready 
Shaun David Hutchinson 
Saundra Mitchell 
Sonia Gensler 
Tessa Gratton 
Jon Skrovon

review :

I needed to read this anthology because one, it’s about fairy tales, and two it contains short stories by writers I love and have read before. This includes Julie Kagawa (The Iron King), Malinda Lo (Ash), Jackson Pearce (Sisters Red), and Jeri Smith Ready (Shade). As with any collection there were some hits and misses but overall I’m fairly pleased with the selection. There was a good mix of stories that were dealt with and I was glad that there weren’t too many repeats when it came to the tales. I was also excited to see some lesser-known stories getting a retelling.

My top two favorites have to be “Beauty and the Chad” by Sarah Rees-Brennan and “A Real Boy” by Claudia Gray. Both are just so fantastic that I’d really love a novel-length version of them to eat up. The first was so hilarious, I really couldn’t believe that Beauty and the Beast could be so entertaining in a new way when it’s already been done so often. “A Real Boy” was both touching and intriguing because it took so many turns that I didn’t expect and, at the end, I was left wanting to know what could happen next. Already my imagination was racing to fill in a bigger ending for myself. Any story that can trigger the imagination is awesome.

Sometimes it can be hard to predict whether a story collection will be worth reading but this is one I recommend, if only so you can check out both of those stories and tell me what you think of them! There are so many great authors included in this book but I don’t think every story was worthwhile to me. The problem I think is that most of these authors have also written novels and have more time in those to explain little details and tie up the stories neatly, whereas in these short stories interesting characters, details, or ideas might be introduced and then abandoned completely. I wanted a more rounded out tale whereas sometimes I was forced to be satisfied with less.

If you like twisted fairy tales, this might be the next book for you.

4/5 stars

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

28 Jan

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

author : karen foxlee

pages : [hardcover] 240

memorable quote And you might think a name is just a name, nothing but a word, but that is not the case. Your name is tacked to you. Where it has joined you, it has seeped into your skin and into your essence and into your soul.

favorite characters : opehlia & the marvelous boy

summary :

A modern-day fairy tale set in a mysterious museum that is perfect for readers of Roald Dahl and Blue Balliett.

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

review :

I have a special affection for children’s stories that are modeled after fairy tales. I think  it’s so important for everyone to embrace their imagination and allow it to thrive. While there were some parts of this novel that seemed rushed for me, I really did enjoy it and hope to read more by this author in the future!

Ophelia was a fantastic protagonist. Not only is she still grieving the loss of her mother, something no girl should have to do, she’s small, asthmatic, and her father and sister have changed and seem to have little time for her anymore. Finding a mysterious boy in a museum opens up a whole new world for her. I loved seeing Ophelia change throughout the story and I felt like I could really connect with her, especially her doubts and her hope that everything would turn out alright in the end.

I did get very frustrated with her family in this book, mostly because it was obvious how much she needed them and they tended to ignore her. Of course she was speaking about impossible things so they assumed she was making it all up, but she’s young and deserved more than they gave her. The end settled most of this for me.

Some of the scenes were bothersome because they were more summary than action and I would have liked to have seen how they played out rather than have them told to me. As with my frustration with Ophelia’s family, this was made up for elsewhere, but kept me from giving this read a full 5 stars.

I really think that younger readers will fall in love with this story and the characters in it. Older readers like me will be able to enjoy this quick read. I think it contains a great message as well as two great protagonists to root for!

4/5 stars

If you like this book, you might also like Catalina or A Kiss in Time.

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

14 Jan

Of Beast and Beauty

author : stacey jay

pages : [hardcover] 391

memorable quote And what good is a voice when so few will listen?

favorite characters : isra & gem

summary :

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

review :

I love twisted fairy tales and I was really interested in this one because it also had dystopian elements and took place on another planet! The fairy tale qualities of the story actually ended up blending with the sci-fi in an interesting mixture I never would have guessed would hook me in. There were so many things going on with this plot that it became anything but a predictable fairy tale.

First of all, the summary says that Isra’s city treats the Banished as ‘second-class’. That’s an understatement when they’re all rounded up and shoved into a camp at the edge of the dome and treated like animals-and much worse than animals should ever be treated-for the rest of their short lives. If that’s what they do to their so-called citizens then it’s easy to imagine the terrible things they might do to the Monstrous outside the dome who are trying to get in. The Monstrous are starving and desperate, looking for answers that will help them survive. Isra needs to find out what are lies and what is true about these creatures before its too late and both sides destroy each other.

I have to say the creepiest part of this story was that Isra was raised to be a human sacrifice. Knowing what kept their city going to me was a lot worse than much of the bloodshed and fighting that went on throughout the novel. It isn’t the forefront during most of the plot but it affects everything Isra is and everything she does. Another creepy element was Bo. At first I was afraid he’d turn things into a love triangle but no, that guy really had a twisted mind.

There were some plot twists in here that I never really expected and as the novel progressed, I just had to keep reading because I never knew what could happen next. Both of them characters were so well-written and at the end I still had no answer as to who was supposed to be Beauty and who was the Beast. Both had good and bad traits and it wasn’t all about appearances.

I really enjoyed this book and it surprised me in so many ways. It’s a quick and memorable read that I’ll recommend to anybody.

4/5 stars

Neverland by Joe Brusha

8 Aug


Grimm Fairy Tales Presents

author : Joe Brusha

pages : [hardcover] 230

summary :

The creators of Grimm Fairy Tales and Return to Wonderland bring you a dark new addition to the Grimm Universe. Pan never wanted to grow up and now he’s found the key to immortality and a way to rule the realm of Neverland forever. All he needs is a steady supply of children to complete his sinister plans. Once a magical paradise, Pan has reshaped Neverland into the ultimate nightmare for any child unlucky enough to visit. Only one child has ever been able to escape. Now as an adult, Hook may be the only person who can put a stop to Pan’s madness.

review :

I’ve always loved the story of Peter Pan and lately I’ve been trying to get my hands on every retelling out there. I thought that this would would be a nice twist to the already altered story because this is a graphic novel instead of a regular story. The summary was more than enough to gather my interest though I think the overall execution of the idea was nothing short of disappointing.

What the weak plot couldn’t make me forget was the hyper sexualized images of every single female introduced into the story. Completely unnecessary, of course, and almost enough to make me put this down without finishing it. Knowing that the library I picked this up from had this in the YA section made it worse, too, because of the grossly disproportionate female bodies, accompanied by as little clothing as possible. It was disgusting. What makes it worse is knowing I like this comic book format but won’t be able to enjoy it because of the way girls in general are portrayed. When Wendy is fighting for her life, the author even goes so far as to explain that the only reason she’s effective is because she needs to save her kids. No explanations needed for the men who’ve never been in fights before, of course.

I really didn’t like this book. Even getting over the images the plot was nothing unique. I’ve read evil Pan stories before and this one was more predictable than scary. At least in other tales where he feeds on the youth of children there are better characters and action, even if the plot is basically the same. Before reading this I considered getting other books, companions to this in the Grimm Fairy Tales Presents series, but I think I’ll leave this art and this writing alone and try to find something much more enjoyable to spend my time on.

2/5 stars

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

24 Jul


Fairytale Retellings #2
Book 1: Sisters Red
Book 3: Fathomless

author : jackson pearce

pages : [hardcover] 310

memorable quote I should be mad. I should hate her. I should judge her. But there is some madness in love.

favorite characters : ansel & gretchen

summary :

As a child, Gretchen’s twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch’s forest threatening to make them disappear, too.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They’re invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past — until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn’t gone — it’s lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak’s infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.

Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.

review :

I’ve had this book to read for a while and am glad that I finally picked it up. Which Hansel and Gretel hasn’t ever been my favorite fairy tale, there’s something about it that’s always captivated me. Maybe because I’ve never wanted to be thrown out of my house and have counted myself lucky because my parents didn’t try to leave me in the woods. Which is a great thing, right?

Gretchen and Ansel started out as pretty generic characters with little to make me relate to them until they start to live with Sophia. I saw more of their personalities as they both related to her. They were able to come into their own and make me enjoy the story a lot more.

I spent most of the novel confused, waiting to hear what would happen next and trying to read further so that I could see the answers to all of the mysteries that were popping up! While there wasn’t a lot of action in this story like in Sisters Red or a unique setting like in Fathomless, this book still had enough in it to keep me hooked. I do have to say that it’s my least favorite in the series (that I accidentally read out of order . . Oops. It’s a good thing they read like companion novels) but I still really liked it.

I recommend Sweetly to all readers who like fairy tales and are looking for a very quick and easy read.

4/5 stars

If you love this book, you might also like Scarlet or Tiger Lily

Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

22 Jul

Snow White, Blood Red

editors : ellen datlow & terri windling

pages : [hardcover] 367

summary :

Once upon a time, fairy tales
were for children . . . But no longer.

You hold in your hands a volume of wonders — magical tales of trolls and ogres, of bewitched princesses and kingdoms accursed, penned by some of the most acclaimed fantasists of our day. But these are not bedtime stories designed to usher an innocent child gently into a realm of dreams. These are stories that bite — lush and erotic, often dark and disturbing mystical journeys through a phantasmagoric landscape of distinctly adult sensibilities . . . where there is no such thing as “happily ever after.”

review :

I really wanted to read this book because it was a collection of retold and twisted fairy tales and I’m obsessed with books like that! I felt like that would be no different, that I’d love the stories in this book, but I ended up feeling like most of them were mediocre at best.

I did like how some of the stories focused on the less well-known fairy tales, so even if I didn’t know the specifics of those stories I could always see the fairy tale feel of the writing. Yet a lot of it didn’t click for me. I felt like most of the tales were supposed to have a darker feel than what actually came off for me and that didn’t really sit well with me. I wanted more, something that most of the writing in this anthology didn’t give me. Some of the parts that were intended to be shocking thus ended up being bland.

One distraction that I had during this book were the amount of mistakes and typos in it! Several times in each story I noticed misspellings or bad punctuation. In a finished copy of a book like this, when it isn’t even the first edition published, shouldn’t have that many errors.

I think that if you’re looking for good fairy tale retellings, even of the darker sort, you can skip this anthology and look elsewhere for something better and more worth your time. I do think that people would enjoy some of the books in this collection so perhaps that might draw more people to this anthology even if all of the stories didn’t meet my expectations.

1/5 stars

If you like this book, you might also like Steampunk! or Teeth: Vampire Tales

The Art of Tangled by Jeff Kurtti

18 Jul

The Art of Tangled

author : jeff jurtti

pages : [hardcover] 160

summary :

A lighthearted twist on Rapunzel, the beloved fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, Tangled brims with thrilling adventure, a distinctive cast of characters, a daring heroine, and, of course, seventy feet of golden hair. Featuring the stunning concept art behind the newest Disney masterpiece, The Art of Tangled also includes a preface by John Lasseter, a foreword by Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, and interviews with the artists, animators, and production team—including Art Director David Goetz—that shed light on the history and artistry of this landmark film.

review :

I don’t think it’s possible to put into words just how much I love Tangled. Ever since that movie has come out I’ve been captivated with the characters, scenes, and the fantastical elements of the movie. I’d love to have a career with Disney myself someday and thought that it’d be really interesting to see how the original concept for the movie altered and developed throughout the time that the artists were working on these now familiar and beloved scenes and characters. From the villain to the wonderful lantern scene, everything is explained and shown in detail. I loved getting to see the different stages of brainstorming for everything as well as the beautiful works of art that led up to the actual making of the movie.

This book would be perfect for any fan of the movie or any Disney fan in general. I can’t draw anything but loved getting to read about what the artists went through to capture the personality of the characters and the general themes of the movie within their settings. A reader and a writer can still get a lot of fantastic information from a book like this, especially if they’re a fan, because it shows that these things that are so well known didn’t exactly turn out perfectly the first time around.

I’m definitely going to be looking into getting more of these art books because this is something that I’ll flip through from time to time and maybe learn something new every time that I glance through it. It’s just such a joy to see all of the hard work and dedication that goes into a movie like this, a movie that inspires so many people, like me, in so many ways. It’s easy to tell in every page just how these artists have put their heart into the project.

I really recommend this book for any Tangled fan. It’s a fun and creative insight into the creation of the film that I’ll keep with me forever.

5/5 stars


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