retelling

Rook – Dystopian Scarlet Pimpernel

rookRook by Sharon Cameron
Scholastic: April 28, 2015 (Young Adult / Dystopia)*

I’ll go there again!
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A re-imagined The Scarlet Pimpernel, Rook wraps the classic tale of espionage, heroism, and romance in the packaging of a futuristic, dystopian and steampunk Europe in the middle of a new French Revolution.

The world-building is grounded in the historical events of the French Revolution and the fictional events in The Scarlet Pimpernel. There is a believable and consistent explanation for the unsettled, broken state of the world (and the city-sized crater in Paris). Paris, dubbed the Sunken City on account of the crater, is a hotbed of political intrigue and revolution. The political outline will be familiar to any who studied the French Revolution in school. The twist: some believe technology is responsible for the ills of their society, while others believe it has the power to transform lives in a good way. Overall, technology has been outlawed in Europe.

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A Homage to Anne Shirley in “Ana of California”

23398869Ana of California by Andi Teran
Penguin Books: June 30, 2015 (Young Adult)*

I’d go there again!
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The reason that I picked up Ana of California is solely due to the fact that it’s a reimagining of one of my favourite books, Anne of Green Gables. As always with retellings there is some (or a lot) of risk involved in taking on a book that is beloved by so many people. For the most part, I think Ana of California says true to the essence of Anne while standing alone as it’s own work.

Ana was orphaned followed the murder of her parents and then her grandmother by gang members in L.A. For years Ana has been bouncing around foster care until her social worker offers her a last chance in a farming program. If Ana works on a farm until she turns sixteen she just might be able to get herself emancipated. Ana knows that she has to make this new situation work, and she knows this means keeping her mouth shut more often than not. Of course, this is not always easy for Ana. (more…)

Ironskin: Jane Eyre Meets Deadly Fairies

ironskinIronskin by Tina Connolly
Tor Books, October 2nd, 2012 (Fantasy / Gaslamp)

My rating: Beach Vacation (3/5)

Ironskin is the first in a fantasy gaslamp trilogy that merges a Jane Eyre retelling with deadly fairies. Only they’re not really fairies… if you’re familiar with a wide range of “fairy” tales, they’re more “fey” than “fairy” – Less Neverland, more … otherworldly beings, pissed off at the humans who have taken over the world. Manipulative and dangerous, they certainly aren’t cute little fairies with wings.  (more…)

Austen with a Hint of Magic in ‘Shades of Milk and Honey’

8697507Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories #1)
Tor Books, August 3, 2010 (Historical Fantasy)

My rating: I’m probably going there again (2.5/5)

I’m feeling a tad stumped for what to write about this book. I feel disappointed but at the same time I know I’m going to read the next book in the series. Shades of Milk and Honey and me, we have a complicated relationship it would seem.

The book is a Jane Austen retelling that falls very close to Pride and Prejudice. I really like classical retellings, so I was quite pleased with this aspect of the book. However, once finished, I’m left wondering whether or not the author stayed too close to the source material.

Jane Ellsworth is a 28-year-old spinster, she lives with her parents and her younger and impetuous sister, Melody. What’s different from Austen’s England is the inclusion of magic; it’s the norm and young, accomplished woman use it as part of their “domestic arts.” Things like enhancing a painting (kind of like the moving portraits of Harry Potter) or hiding flaws in the home are what is expected of women like Jane and Melody. While Jane apparently doesn’t have much going for her in the looks department, she’s a very talented glamourist, and it just may have caught the attention of eligible bachelor, Mr. Dunkirk. Of course, Melody is also vying for Dunkirk’s attentions – as well, as any other single men in the vicinity – so this leads to some strife between the sisters. However, change is afoot when the FitzCameron’s come to town, bringing a handsome young naval man, Captain Livingston and renowned (and brooding) glamourist, Mr. Vincent. (more…)

‘The Golden Apple,’ a Norwegian Fairy Tale

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00030]The Golden Apple by Michelle Diener
March 24, 2014 (Fantasy Romance)*

My rating: Vacation by the beach (3/5)

The Golden Apple is an adult retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale, The Princess on the Glass Hill. I’ve wanted to try Diener’s work for a while , so I was quite pleased to get a taste of her writing style. I loved the writing style but the “teen” feel of The Golden Apple disappointed me.

Kayla is the princess to Gaynor and her father has essentially put her up for auction for reasons she does not understand. At the open, Kayla is sitting at the top of a glass mountain that mysteriously (and magically) appeared. The knights competing in the task have to somehow get up the mountain and retrieve the golden apple that sits in Kayla’s lap. If they succeed, they will win Kayla’s hand in marriage – and become heir to the kingdom.

Rane is one of the knights competing in the contest, and also happens to be the man that Kayla lost her virginity to, in an attempt to beat her father at this ridiculous game. Kayla helps Rane win, but it soon becomes clear that he has his own purposes for entering the contest and none of them have to do with rescuing her. Before Rane can put his own plans into motion, he learns that both he and Kayla have been enchanted and if they don’t set forth and retrieve a powerful jewel they will both go mad. And into the dark magical forest they go!

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