As always, please visit the Amy Mebberson’s tumblr for more.
As always, please visit the Amy Mebberson’s tumblr for more.
An ancient fairy tale, a contemporary heroine – and cracking good read.
One day, without warning, Jasmyn’s husband died of an aneurysm.
Since then, everything has been different.
Wrapped up in her grief, Jasmyn is trapped in a world without colour, without flavour – without Liam. But even through the haze of misery she begins to notice strange events. Even with Liam gone, things are not as they should be, and eventually Jasmyn begins to explore the mysteries that have sprung up after her husband’s death… and follow their trail back into the events of his life.
But the mysteries are deeper than Jasmyn expects, and are leading her in unexpected directions – into fairytales filled with swans, castles and bones; into a tale of a murder committed by a lake and a vicious battle between brothers; into a story of a lost past, and a stolen love. She’s entering a magical story.
Maybe I ask for too much in my protagonists but I have noticed that I do not gravitate toward timorous (and annoying) main characters as much as I go for outspoken ones. More than that though, I am very strident that there be logic in the books I read. It does not have to be a linear logic but I would like it if the most obvious questions, the ones that poke a hole through the narrative be addressed if not resolved absolutely.
With an introduction like that, I am sure you must be aware that what follows is less a review and more a musing of sorts where the novel is concerned. I cannot tell you conclusively whether to read the novel or not but I will tell you what I thought about it so you can make up your own mind. On the surface, Jasmyn looks like a fairytale addict’s dream come true. The novel has fairies, a white horse, castles, betrayed love and tragedy and an eventual happy ever after.
What doesn’t work for me at all is the protagonist: Jasmyn. She is annoying. Okay fine, she lost her husband so she has a reason to be abrasive in the beginning but when things start cracking, you would think that she’d start asking questions instead of being an overly emotional twit. I could tell the twist about a hundred kilometers away so I don’t know why she doesn’t stop and just think. Consider. Yes she has a spell on her but the spell only affects a certain portion of her brain not the entirety of it. Why doesn’t she question? Okay, she thinks her “husband” is two years older than he is…how did she never figure out his real age?
And she continues to be so incredibly annoying. Seriously. I wanted to reach into the story and smack her a couple of times. Then the ending, spoiler warning, the true love who was always there and not dead as she had thought, he signed up as a Swan Night…and that’s a one way ticket, as in you do not opt out. How can they still be together when that is explicitly forbidden? What happens to his whole turning feathered once in a while? Why isn’t that addressed?
The novel is like whipped cream. It looks good on top of a cake and it tastes good for a while but ultimately you are forced to realize that it is not the cake and it will never be the cake and therefore it will never provide the same satisfaction the cake would. The novel is entertaining in a very superficial, Hollywood way. Entertaining but incredibly forgettable.
Sleeping beauties? Not Clever Gretchen or Kate Crackernuts or Manka or any of the other young heroines in this wonderful collection of folktales. Active, witty, brave, and resourceful, these girls and young women can fight and hunt, defeat giants, answer riddles, outwit the Devil, and rescue friends and family from all sorts of dangers and evil spells. These stories and many others like them were gathered by scholars from all the countries of Europe, but are usually left out of the popular collections of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when women were supposed to be beautiful, innocent, and passive.
Alison Lurie presents a collection of fairy tales that have not found popularity widely. In the collection are versions of Cinderella, Snow White and all other popular and canonized tales with strong female characters who are much more than objects revered for their beauty and little else. The most intriguing part of this collection is Lurie’s foreword that explains how these tales have existed or rather, were told in the same time as the popular versions but since they did not showcase women as obedient and helpless, they were rejected in favor of those that did. It makes you question whether popular belief that women and their social status were really as low as the history books would have us believe. The collection is worth a read especially for the female version of Snow White.
A friend of mine share this with me the other day and it’s too funny not to share with you guys. Enjoy.
This post comes from the artist *Shoomlah and I encourage you to visit her page and read for yourself the explanations she gives of each of her work. Basically she has drawn each princess in clothes that are historically accurate.
Shadows fall across the beautiful, lush kingdom after the queen is attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger, a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land. But Alexandra has more gifts than she realizes as she confronts magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces, and is unflinchingly brave as she struggles to reclaim what is rightfully hers. Fantasy lovers will be held in thrall by this tale full of visual detail, peppered with a formidable destructive force and sweetened with familial and romantic love.
I really liked Marriott’s Shadows on the Moon and considering her superior writing skills, happily dived into The Swan Kingdom expecting the same kind of crisp narrative, plotting and character development that made me like Shadows on the Moon so much. However, while the writing skill is undeniable, I cannot say I enjoyed the novel as much as I liked Shadows on the Moon. I don’t even think it’s the novel’s fault. I just felt that it lacked the complexity I had expected of it.
Perhaps it was intended for a younger audience because while the threads were available for a much richer tapestry, I found the novel to be simple and resolved too neatly to have any lasting effect on me. This is not to say the novel was bad. It wasn’t. It was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it to a certain degree. It just wasn’t the awesomeness I was expecting. I think this has to do with how easily the romantic angle is resolved in the novel. The main character also treats her future mother in law with a laxity that is at odds with her position both as a queen and as her future mother in law. The villain-ness is defeated too easily and as I said, the conclusion is too pat and simple. I wanted something more.
That said, you may enjoy it way more than I did, though, so try it out and make up your own mind.
The artist’s website: http://amymebberson.tumblr.com and if you’re going to be at comic con, you should check her out there. Apparently she has pocket princesses available in some tangible form.
Once upon a time, there was a strung-out match girl who sold CDs to stoners. Twelve impetuous sisters escaped King Daddy’s clutches to jiggle and cavort and wear out their shoes. A fickle Thumbelina searched for a tiny husband, leaving bodies in her wake. And Little Red Riding Hood confessed that she kind of wanted to know what it’s like to be swallowed whole. From bloodied and blinded stepsisters (they were duped) to a chopped-off finger flying into a heroine’s cleavage, this is fairy tale world turned upside down. Ron Koertge knows what really happened to all those wolves and maidens, ogres and orphans, kings and piglets, and he knows about the Ever After. So come closer
- he wants to whisper in your ear.
Readers and fans of collections such as those of Emma Donoghue and Angela Carter will delight in the short retellings of the canonical fairytales by the multi-talented Ron Koertge. His stories are pithy, slightly acerbic, with a refreshing tongue-in-cheek flavour that will have readers giggling or smirking in response. Koertge resituates several of the stories and one of the more memorable ones is the retelling of Red Riding Hood, with the main character conveyed as a sulky teenage girl recounting the events after they have happened. I’d recommend this collection for readers who are not too attached to the traditional versions.