Sunday, May 2, 2010

The first list - yes, the first- Fairy Tales part One

Yes, this picture has very little to do with actual books but I couldn't resist. Any receipt (the old-time term for recipes) that tells me to bake candy on a sunshiny day is a keeper in my book.

Anyway, I came across a list of fairy-tale imaginings on Sur La Lune and thought to myself, FABLES should be prominent on this page. So, I took up on myself to come up with a list of a few good Fairy-Tale re-tellings that are worth your time and effort.

Please allow me to direct your attention to the below list of Fairy-Tale Re-Tellings. Part One.


Bill Willingham and his crew of amazing pencillers, artists, letterers and the lot bring new life to the world of Fairy-Tales. In this re-imagning, the Fables are on the run from the "Adversary" after their Homeland has been razed, destroyed and subjugated to his blind, arrogant hateful whim. Fables such as Snow White, Rose Red, Bigby (the Big Bad Wolf), Boy Blue, Prince Charming, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, the witch from all those scary Hansel and Gretel type stories (Frau Totenkinder if you please) and Jack of all Fables, are now nestled into NYC, living on a peaceful stretch of Manhattan and hoping for a day that they can reclaim their homelands.

There are several rules in which one must abide by in order to be accepted into Fabletown but one glorious caveat to joining  - all your past sins are erased and you can start anew; Tabula Rosa.  Of course, there are those that just don't understand what it means to not commit crimes and intrigue and the first installment deals with the 'death' of Rose Red.

For those that aren't human enough to dwell within Manhattan, there is the Farm in upstate NY. Further adventures happen up there and animals such as the Three Blind Mice, the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs and the Cow that jumped over the moon are all hanging out up there. Sure, there are times of unrest but what unites them all is the constant threat of the Adversary on their new home and the thirteen installments (thus far) deal with the war, the characters and the intrigue that lies behind every Fable door.

Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber"

I never did a proper review of this on Goodreads but trust me this book is good. It is a volume of new takes on such tales as Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood. Any sort of synopses would ruin the stories, so trust me. Read. This.

The Princess Novels by Jim C Hines

This was my review for the first book: "Very good first book in a new series. If you like fantasy, fables and fairytales, legends and magic and you enjoy interesting takes on the classics- you'll appreciate this book.

You have Talia (Sleeping Beauty) a master warrior, Snow (Snow White though her real name is Ermilina) a skilled sorceress and Danielle - otherwise known as Cinderella.

A husband gets kidnapped, a son is to be born and a vengeful duo of stepsisters as well as some very not-nice faeries are all front and center in this story.

The damsel may be in distress but this book shows that damsels can take care of themselves. With a touch of "The Tenth Kingdom" and a bit of other elements of re-done fairytales, the book stays true to the plot of the classics. Good versus Evil. Light versus Dark.

Trust me. Just read it."

What I failed to mention is that these characters get further developed in the next three books. Talia - a name that comes from the Italian incarnation of the Sleeping Beauty in which SB gets raped and has twin sons - is in love with Snow, who is straight and completely ready to sleep with anyone that is cute because she's still stuck on her one true love - the hunter that spared her life, and then you have Cinderella, newly married and adjusting to being a princess. It seems that though she is the only one who is happy, there is a shitstorm of constant threats that are coming down on her kingdom. Luckily, she has her friends which is what this book is about. Female solidarity, empowerment and a good balance of duty vs heart.

Night's Rose by Annaliese Evans

Ok, this was my review: This is a 4.78 for me. The reason for the nearly arbitrary number is the fact that there is a romantic triangle that seemed to be resolved during the first one hundred or so pages but then sprung up on us poor unsuspecting readers about twenty pages toward the end. As a slight spoiler - there is no chemistry (IMHO) between Ambrose and Rose. Sorry, but Gareth takes the cake here.

This book, in terms of romance/sex/relationship, was, for those that know me,a double YUM! OMG, the sheer sexual magnetism in this book was disgustingly amazing. The plot, at some point I think I ignored the plot in favor of the sexual tension, was actually pretty good but a little confusing as anything having to do with a prophecy is bound to be.

Rose, otherwise known as Briar Rose - to us known as the Sleeping Beauty, had been violated, used and abused and due to the inaction of a trusted friend has been left, for the past one hundred years, to suffer the loss of her family, her land and her innocence. There is a family and a world out there that Rosemarie Edenberg has left her mark on but that she cannot ever know. Aiding her are two men, one her fae mentor who actually may be more than he seems and her a vampire trainee who is an indelible rake but who also is more than he appears to be.

This book is really about appearance and how things that are taken for granted are simply smoke screens and are deeper than one realizes. Rose has to suffer many betrayals, revelations and secrets than your average heroine. Though she is independent and brilliant and kick ass, she is still a woman, eh, let's rewind here, still human enough to crave the touch, trust and honesty of another person. It is almost obvious who she picks but the ride, well the ride is one of those things that make you blush during the 45 minute train ride from Manhattan to Queens.

This book is not only sexy but also dark but not a pointless dark, there is a lesson to be learned here before the last twenty pages and that is; even the strongest person needs someone to lean on and that trust is not given freely but love that is given freely should not be taken advantage of.

The last twenty pages, with the silly love triangle that makes me want to puke, can be ignored but if carries on to the next book I'm going to be annoyed. It reminds me of Dawn Cook's "First" series - which by the way, just found out that Dawn Cook is Kim Harrison -- what the???- in which there is a stupid and pointless love triangle (however there was more chemistry ... eh, I'll leave that alone).

Anyway, this book surprised me, was a double yum but still couldn't manage to make the 5.00 due to the love triangle. However, still a good spring read. Especially if you want to see a re-imagining of the Sleeping Beauty tale.

This is a good one to read if you want a little steamy with your fairy-tale. Granted, I'm a fan of monogamy in books so any potential love triangle better end up in one person sobbing a corner with a drink in one hand and a possible sex-toy in the other (in which to console themselves) but I fear that since I was warned off the second one, I don't know how this one ends. However, the first one is worth it and if you like it, read the second and let me know what you think.

Juliet Marillier's Wildwood Dancing

Yes, Ms. Marillier has an awesome series that expounds on the Seven Swans/Swan Lake mythology but this book delves into the world of the twelve dancing princess' without having 12. Set in the Eastern Europe county of Transylvania, a group of sisters fight for their freedom, their family and their world. Jena is the main character of this book, the sister with a level head and good with numbers, she has a pet frog that she carries everywhere with her. The sister's dance and revel with Fae and Vampires and when there is a serious threat, Jena must keep her head and follow her heart.

There is a sequel to this book that is also worth reading called "Cybele's Secret". 


1 comment: