I really like this approach to the Rumpelstiltskin tale, but like some of the other stories in this series, things just happen too quickly. The short...moreI really like this approach to the Rumpelstiltskin tale, but like some of the other stories in this series, things just happen too quickly. The short story/novella format is perfect for the Fairy Tale Genre, and I can't say how much I appreciate a quick little read. I just wish they were a little more polished.(less)
I'm beginning to realize that I don't judge the fairy tale stories nearly as harshly as everything else. I think it's because, by their very nature, f...moreI'm beginning to realize that I don't judge the fairy tale stories nearly as harshly as everything else. I think it's because, by their very nature, fairy tales are absurdly unrealistic.
The childhood acceptance of these stories is hard to abandon, even in adulthood, because they are so firmly ingrained as to be almost a permanent willing suspension of disbelief. So yeah, no big deal if they fall in love at first sight, because that was set down as standard for the genre hundreds of years ago.
But this is allowed only as long as the story stays sufficiently tale-ish. The minute it starts to get realistic or relevant, there are no more exceptions-- it's all or nothing.
So yeah, this book is complete frippery, but it works, and its adorable.(less)
Having just come off the massive disappointment and bewilderment of Spindle's End, I figured another Sleeping Beauty retelling would help me get over...moreHaving just come off the massive disappointment and bewilderment of Spindle's End, I figured another Sleeping Beauty retelling would help me get over it.
I didn't have very high expectations for this one since I've only read one other of Cameron Dokey's books, The Storytellers Daughter, and it was just ok for me.
At any rate, I think both of these preexisting conditions (so to speak), have a great deal to do with how I'm rating Beauty Sleep (isn't that always the way?).
All the things that bugged me about Spindle's End were conveniently absent: loooonnnnggg, drawn out story, confusing magical dimension, lack of much romance, and seriously unsatisfactory conclusion. By default, that means that Beauty Sleep was a quick read, transparently predictable, with a cheesily happy ending.
I'm not sure I would consider those positive attributes if I hadn't read Spindle's End first, but for me, at this moment, it was exactly what I needed it to be.
Alright Dokey, we had a bit of a rough start together, but you have unequivocally won me over. After Midnight is beautiful!
I love how you give your st...moreAlright Dokey, we had a bit of a rough start together, but you have unequivocally won me over. After Midnight is beautiful!
I love how you give your stories sadness and hardships and the characters don't just overcome them, they triumph over them! It turns the story completely on its head and makes the happily ever after that much better!
And again, compared to Robin McKinley's brand of mysterious magic that even she doesn't seem to understand nor contain (but still presents as if that automatically gives it moral weight), your mysterious magic is maybe not so complex, but infinitely more accessible and therefore applicable.
More to the point, After Midnight was hopeful and even a bit inspiring. And not in the profound, challenge-your-beliefs sort of way. It's as if the theme throughout all your books is to acknowledge that darkness exists, but that we don't have to dwell there (as Uctdorf aptly put it). Seriously, how often does fiction do that?
Let me start by saying that like many other readers, I read Beauty when I...moreUgh, Robin Mckinley gets on my nerves.
Also, this book is stupid.
Let me start by saying that like many other readers, I read Beauty when I was younger and absolutely loved it. McKinley seemed so revered in her genre that I assumed that same standard continues in her other books. This last week I finally got around to reading three of then back to back: Chalice, The Blue Sword, and Spindle's End.
Two facets of her writing consistently stood out throughout: her arcane, convoluted, long-windedness, and her capacity to write underwhelming conclusions.
Let me give you some examples:
"Looking at them made you dizzy and gave you a headache and you suddenly felt you no longer knew which way was up and which down, and you wanted something to hold on to, except that there wasn't anything to hold on to, except each other, and that wasn't any good because all the rest of you felt exactly the same....Flinx was still sitting, but sitting to attention, watching the things come (if come was quite the right word) closer, for closer they undoubtedly were" (Spindle's End, 362).
"These things looked rather more human: upright, swinging what might be arms, walking with two legs; although what they walked on and from where was a little obscure, since they seemed to be walking out through the doorless wall of the castle, and across the moat on a level with the ground, although there was nothing there for them to walk on" (364).
Ok, granted these are from a chapter wherein the characters are greatly confused by their magical surroundings, but this rambling and back-tracking and cross examining (did you notice the two 'although's in one sentence in the last excerpt?) is pretty much her preferred mode of writing. It is so blasted tedious.
This circuitous narration was tolerable for most of the story, but was compounded in the last quarter of the book as the action itself grew more and more random. What started off as a really great interpretation of the Sleeping Beauty tale, evolved into something backward and bizarre.
Ok, so switching places with Peony at the end did seem like a logical move, but even after everything happened, to continue the farce with the prince and the royal family and the entire sovereignty of the kingdom for the rest of their lives? That's crazy! So many lies!
And she falls in love with NARL? Seriously?? Isn't he at least 20 years older than her? ( I presumed he was way older than 20 when she was born, but who knows).
Anyway, I get that she was atypical, so really it's awesome that she was able to see past the age difference and his weird, grunty, bachelor-ness, but it seemed such an anti-climactic ending after so much build up.
I don't know, I could go on and on about how confusingly backwards this story ended up, but there's so much it's just making my head hurt.
One final note, though: At one point Rosie is recalling her favorite stories, including "many of the tales of Damar against the North, especially of Harimad-sol at the Madamer Gate," which, in case you didn't know, is the story in The Blue Sword. Ha! Sly cross-over there, McKinley, except wait...that totally messes with my head: wasn't The Blue Sword like 19th century and Spindle's End pretty much medieval? Ugh. Robin McKinley, you are no Orson Scott Card, so just leave all that time manipulation stuff alone. Sheesh.(less)
Started reading this about the same time I picked up a similar fairytale parody, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. The fact that I haven't gott...moreStarted reading this about the same time I picked up a similar fairytale parody, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. The fact that I haven't gotten very far in Hero"s Guide, but have finished The Wizard, The Farmer, and The Very Petty Princess, shows which one drew me in more. Might have something to do with Hero's Guide being aimed at middle grades, while Wizard is more YA, and so a little more sophisticated in writing and humor. Wizard has some pretty funny stuff, but the story just seemed to wander around and I got to the point where I didn't care much for the plot and just looked for the jokes. It was worth it just for those. (less)
It totally annoys me that the flower on the cover isn't an amaranth at all! It's in the stinking title and they couldn't bother getting it right? Unbe...moreIt totally annoys me that the flower on the cover isn't an amaranth at all! It's in the stinking title and they couldn't bother getting it right? Unbelievable! Plus, I feel swindled, because Love Lies Bleeding is one of my favorite flowers and so under-appreciated as it is. It's a travesty, I tell you!(less)
This is pretty good for being a second book. Manages to hold it's place in the story arc without sacrificing interesting developments or a steady pace...moreThis is pretty good for being a second book. Manages to hold it's place in the story arc without sacrificing interesting developments or a steady pace. Lots of character growth too.
Getting a little gaggy in the romance though.(less)