Tag Archives: Cinderella

The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tartar

19 Feb

The Classic Fairy Tales

editor : maria tartar

pages : 416

summary :

Gathering together 44 tales from around the world, from the 5th century on, this critical edition examines the genre, its cultural implications and its critical history. She has focused on six different tale types, and includes multicultural variants and literary rescriptings.

review :

Yes, I needed to read this one for school, but it was so interesting that I thought I’d tell you all a little about my thoughts on it. The Classic Fairy Tales is about as bland of a title as you can get when it comes to this collection. Edited and selected by Maria Tartar, most of the book contains fairy tales while about a fourth of it is articles and criticism concerning fairy tales both modern and ancient.

The fairy tales are all separated into different sections in the book so that the reader can compare several versions of one story–for instance, five different ways of telling Little Red Riding Hood–all at once. There may be what is considered the ‘original’ tale, the first written down, and then several others recorded from oral tradition, as well as modern takes on the old story. I liked comparing how the traditional stories we all know and love differ from more violent, older stories. They’re completely different from modern interpretations as well, which tend to be more feminist, less concerned with eradicating eroticism, and sometimes seem to turn the fairy tale completely upside-down for the fun of it.

While the criticism tends to get a little dull–and may begin to blame Disney for overtaking the fairy tale market–the collection does make some interesting points that I think any fan of traditional (or modern!) tales will enjoy. I know that I’m not the only one out there who’s a sucker for any great fairy tale retelling to hit the market these days and this book explains some of the fascination humanity seems to have lingering over the idea of these tales Pick this up and read it for yourself, then discuss with me because I want to hear what you think of the different versions of stories, which may be the true original, and which may be your favorite!

4/5 stars

The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett

22 Dec

The Stepsister’s Tale

author : tracy barrett

pages : [hardcover] 272

favorite character : will

summary :

What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She’s tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother’s noble family-especially now that the family’s wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It’s hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane’s burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family’s struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane’s stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.

When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate…

From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett’s stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.

review :

I don’t think that I’ve ever read a Cinderella retelling from a stepsister’s point of view, though I have frequently heard about them. I wasn’t sure how this one would be a new take on the classic tale but was eager to give it a go when I saw it at random in the library. To be honest, it was sheer luck that I saw it was a fairy tale retelling, because when I saw the cover I immediately wanted to put this back on the shelf. I know, I know–don’t judge a book by its cover. I’m assuming the one young woman on the cover is supposed to be Jane, our main character. Probably. But it looks nothing like her. The whole premise of the story is that she lives in poverty and looks nowhere near as glamorous as she should, according to her family name. I’m a sucker for any fairy tale retelling so I knew I’d give this a shot, despite the unfortunate cover.

To be honest, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. While The Stepsister’s Tale did have some interesting ideas to it, none of them were executed in the right way. Actually, the story ended up being pretty boring. There would be good scenes, ones that would get me excited about the story again, and then it would drag. Nothing would happen to further character development–in fact, at the end, some characters seemed to spontaneously change their attitudes for no real reason or motivation from what I could see. And it wasn’t that the book was monotonously predictable; obviously, knowing Cinderella, any reader has certain expectations of where the story will go. I knew that. I just didn’t enjoy myself on the familiar fairy tale ride.

I still feel disappointed with this book because I feel like the characters, who were fairly interesting, weren’t enough to save the story. I needed a little oomph to invigorate the plot, something that never happened. If the book hadn’t been so short, I’m not sure that I would have been able to finish it.

I don’t think that I’ll be recommending this book because I have many other fairy tale retellings that I would recommend over this.

2/5 stars

 

Cress by Marissa Meyer

20 May

 

Cress

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.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

12 Jun

Scarlet

Lunar Chronicles #2
Book 1: Cinder

author : marissa meyer

pages : [hardcover] 452

memorable quote She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.

favorite characters : wolf & scarlet

summary:

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth…

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

review :

Oh. My. Goodness. I could NOT wait to read this book after I read Cinder. I took such a long time getting my hands on the first book that I didn’t delay in running off to get the sequel as soon as I was finished. Now, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not because I can’t quite read Cress, book three, yet. Not until 2014. 2014. 

This book introduces another set of main characters, the two most exciting to me being Scarlet and Wolf. Again this sci-fi take on a fairy tale surprised me. Wolf . . oh! He gave me all of the lovely, fluttery, agonizing emotions that make me wish his character was real so I could date him. He’s just so adorable, even though he’s also lethal and mysterious and did I mention lethal? Prince Kai never gave me so many feels in Cinder but I can forgive him because Wolf more than makes up for that!

But even before Wolf was fully introduced to the story I was in love because there was another kick-ass heroine to love. Scarlet isn’t going to let anything stand in the way of her rescuing her grandmother even when she realizes that investigating this further could get herself killed and doesn’t even guarantee her grandmother’s freedom. It’s really awesome how she’s been through so much and is such a great girl. Plus she never loses her signature red hoodie!

Cinder’s story picks up just where it left off in book one and I’m so, so happy to see how tough and awesome she is. Not that she wasn’t before but it’s so easy to see how she’s growing and changing because of all of these events and revelations. Even if she has to deal with an annoying partner in crime, who I thought was hilarious!

You really, really need to read this book and you won’t regret it. I promise! Stars, it’s great.

5/5 stars

If you loved this, you might also like Tyger Tyger or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

Check out the book trailer!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

1 Jun

Cinder

author : marissa meyer

pages : [hardcover] 387

favorite characters :  cinder & peony

memorable quote I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.

summary :

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

review :

I’ve book looking forward to reading this book for so long! I’ve always had a soft spot for retold fairy tales and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Cinder. As soon as I started reading it I was immediately hooked by the story and the wonderfully developed characters. So addicted that I read the entire thing in a day!

Cinder is definitely a strong character who I immediately came to love. She’s faced hardship throughout her entire life-well, the part that she can remember-not only because her stepmother dislikes her but because everyone has a prejudice against cyborgs. So much so that cyborgs are singled out to test the antidotes for the plague . . and none have survived. I love how Cinder continued to fight for herself and for what she wanted, even when it seemed like the entire world was against her.

There are so many things going on in this book! Handsome Prince Kai, cyborg problems, the plague rising, people on the moon threatening war with the entire Earth. It’s crazy, how many things are including and how wonderfully they all go together so that no part of it sounds absurd and the reader and is still left cheering Cinder on.

I really can’t wait to read Scarlet. I went into this book thinking that it would be fully concluded and that Scarlet was only a companion book but I was wrong; Cinder ends in a way that immediately leaves you clamoring for more. With an ending like that, I’m definitely picking up the next book as soon as I can.

I give Cinder 5/5 stars and recommend it to all fairy tale lovers and people looking for a great, quick read.

Fractured: Happily Never After? by Joanna Karaplis

25 Jul

Fractured: Happily Never After?

Author: Joanna Karaplis

Pages [paperback]: 128

Summary:

Everyone knows a fairytale or two. They’re the kind of stories that seem to stick with you. Maybe it’s the magic. Maybe it’s the handsome prince. Or maybe they’re just the absolute perfect place to lose yourself for a little while.

But what would happen if Snow White were around today? Would Cinderella still need a fairy godmother? And would the Little Mermaid show up on YouTube?

Joanna Karaplis has put an unexpected spin on Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid; she’s quietly fractured the stories and then reassembled them for the 21st Century. So, while there may not be a whole lot of horse-drawn carriages and magic potions, you can be sure that there will be at least one evil witch and maybe even a handsome prince (or two)…

Review:

I am in love with any and all retold fairy tales. I’d give any of them a try. Thankfully this very quick read was not a waste of time, but rather a delightful way to revisit three well-known tales (Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid) in new and different ways.

The first story in the book is “Snow White and the Seven Dorks”, and I think you can figure out what tale that is based on. This was quick and smart. I loved reading about Yuki, how she was trying to figure out her life and find where she fit in. The seven dorks were adorably geeky, Kevin most of all. And while the new ‘Evil Queen’ wasn’t as impressive as they could have been, it all worked. I really liked this version of Snow White.

Second came “Cyberella”, which has to be my favorite of the three. It’s written completely in blog posts and instant messaging. At first I assumed the story would be a train wreck because of this, but it actually worked, and made it better. The entire thing was hilarious, had me laughing to myself, and wondering what could happen next. Very well done!

The final story was “Swan Song”. I’ve no idea why it was called that-it doesn’t make me think of mermaids at all. Nevertheless, the story was good enough, until the end. It held great impact, was jarring, but seemed rushed. Perhaps a few more pages would have smoothed it out and done some good.

Overall, I loved Fractured. It’s a very fast read that I’ll turn back to again and again, if I’m looking for something to pass the time. I give it 4/5 stars, and really recommend it to those looking for something short to blaze through or who love fairy tales.

Ash by Malinda Lo

2 Jun

Ash

Author: Malinda Lo

Pages [paperback]: 291

Favorite Characters: Ash & Kaisa

Summary:

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

Review:

Ash is a retelling of the old tale, Cinderella. It definitely takes an entirely different approach at it, forgoing the Prince Charming pathway, and focusing on alluring fairies, brave hunters, and enchanted forests. While this new take worked for me in some ways, it detracted from the story elsewhere.

While Ash was a well-defined character, some things she did seemed out of the blue. Some actions were never explained, for her as well as other characters. I never really understood Sidhean, no matter how hard I tried. His motives, his actions, all confused me, and I never got a good feel of who he was or what he wanted. He just seemed to be . . . there.

I loved the setting, and the atmosphere made this feel like a forgotten classic tale brought to life. It was easy to read, and didn’t drag at any one part, but it wasn’t exceptionally gripping, or ultimately great. It was okay.

One thing I loved was the ‘love’ aspect of the novel. Ash doesn’t fall for some ideal person, or a fantasy. She realizes that that could never make her happy, and even pokes fun at times to those who do that. Instead, she develops a relationship that eventually leads her down that pathway, banishing the instantaneous love attraction found in so many tales.

I give Ash 4/5 stars. It’s not one of the best books I’ve read, but it’s a good retelling of an old story. It didn’t meet my expectations, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading.

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