Another lovely read by Margo Lanagan. Selkies often to seem to be an overlooked creature and to read a novel concerning them was really fantastic. Lan...moreAnother lovely read by Margo Lanagan. Selkies often to seem to be an overlooked creature and to read a novel concerning them was really fantastic. Lanagan's presentation of them was unique to me and her writing was beautiful.(less)
I was absolutely enchanted to find the story had elements of Snow White and Rose Red (an often overlooked stor...moreMany thanks to Dy for recommending this.
I was absolutely enchanted to find the story had elements of Snow White and Rose Red (an often overlooked story, I think, as people's minds swim with Disney's Snow White). The plot definitely kept me turning the page. That Jack Zipes was mentioned in the acknowledgements got me a little giddy, I must admit.
It was also fantastic to read something and find it so engaging that I wasn't analyzing it as I read it, though that only means when I read it again, I probably will.(less)
I'm not a huge fan of Anne Rice, though I did read the obligatory novels when I was younger and just lost interesting. I'm not exactly sure what I thi...moreI'm not a huge fan of Anne Rice, though I did read the obligatory novels when I was younger and just lost interesting. I'm not exactly sure what I think about the Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. Many faerytales are erotic in nature, given the original audience intended and what they happened to be warning against. With Sleeping Beauty it certainly works, particularly when you consider the older versions have Beauty woken by her suckling twins and that's what removes the splinter (though how she got a splinter in her breast, I can only guess, magic seems fitting). So, kudos (I think), for Rice reworking the story, particularly at a time when not many people were.
I still don't understand the spanking thing, though. I'm pretty sure I never really will, and I'm more than okay with that. (less)
When I was a child, my godmother gave me The Wild Swans illustrated by Nancy Burkert. It was one of my favorite storybooks with such beautiful illustr...moreWhen I was a child, my godmother gave me The Wild Swans illustrated by Nancy Burkert. It was one of my favorite storybooks with such beautiful illustrations. It's still on my shelf but not with books that explore the meaning and history of faerytales. I knew she had illustrated other stories, but I could never recall her name.
In January, a friend and I were at our favorite used bookstore (all right, only used bookstore within a shortish drive) and I found this version of Snow White. As ever, the illustrations are just heartbreakingly lovely, but there's fewer of them which I found to be a disappointment. Regardless, I'm glad to've made the find.(less)
This is probably my favorite book for 2011. I've been a huge fan of Valente for a while now and I'm always impressed and intrigued by her lyrical lang...moreThis is probably my favorite book for 2011. I've been a huge fan of Valente for a while now and I'm always impressed and intrigued by her lyrical language and powerful images. This novel doesn't lack for those things, though perhaps it's a bit simplified, and that's rather different from a thing being dumbed down. It's rare that I pick up something and smile just on the first page, but with this I did and tried to draw the story out as it was tempting to read it all in one go. What I loved is that it reminded me of childhood favorites (that are still favorites, no doubt) like The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom Toll Booth, The Neverending Story, Alice in Wonderland and Mieville's Un-Lun-Dun has a close feel. I think this would be enjoyed for anyone of any age as it can be read on different levels. Honestly, just a wonderfully enchanting book and a true pleasure to read.(less)
Overall, I really liked the collection of short stories compiled for this. A few I had read in other places, but that didn't distract from everything...moreOverall, I really liked the collection of short stories compiled for this. A few I had read in other places, but that didn't distract from everything as a whole. What I really liked that the origin of the story or the version used for the retelling was included. I always find it vastly interesting simply because so many tales can overlap in where they came from. Others I simply never heard of because I haven't read a great deal of Eastern stories or whatever the case may be.
My favorite of all of them was the first story based on the idea of Baba Yaga and dealing with John Audobon. I'm not sure why I liked this best of all, but I did.
A couple stories I couldn't get through. The one based on Jack and the Beanstalk happened to be the main culprit. I think I understood what the author was going for and I did like it at first. But the style bogged me down. Perhaps I'll try to read it again another time.
Over all, a good collection of reworked and influenced stories.(less)
I don't remember when I first heard of Peter Pan. My guess is that it was on a Disney record book, which I still have a box of. So, a picture book and...moreI don't remember when I first heard of Peter Pan. My guess is that it was on a Disney record book, which I still have a box of. So, a picture book and a 45 record. When I saw the film, I have no idea either. Only that I know I saw it. And probably have seen it since, but I can't put my finger on where or when. Yet, Peter Pan has always been a strong influence. I admit, though, that it's mostly been the reshaped version that have held court over the original. I want to say that this isn't the first time I've read Peter and Wendy as I do recall reading a version with Arthur Rackham's beautiful illustrations. Ah, for a better memory.
It's so strange to read Peter and Wendy and think: But no, surely it wasn't this violent before, was it? Yet, I've known it was. Perhaps with research into other stories and their crafting or reading a bit of the remaining correspondence between Barrie and the Davies helped reinstate the fact regardless of memory. In Brom's novel, The Child Thief (which I liked a great deal), Peter is presented more in the way Barrie presented him. Ruthless, cunning, self-centered and the rest. For me, there aren't any redeeming qualities to Peter. True, his love for adventure is marvelous. His inventions. His games. But it only matters when the focus is on him. Wendy is...I'm not even sure. The ideal of a girl, I suppose. She's thrilled to mend and sew and have "children". Not that these are bad things by themselves, but considering the century that's passed since it was written, it's odd for me to imagine a girl only wanting those things in her life. Yes, she is Mother Wendy. An ideal of an ideal.
What has always bothered me is the recreation of Tinker Bell. Barrie has her rude and feisty. She calls Peter a "silly ass" on more than one occasion. Her jealousy of Wendy is pronounced. She isn't much at all like Disney's Tinker Bell, who seems to have evolved into some sort of ridiculous creature that's only out to help people or some rot. I do like Barrie's Tink so much better.
I'd never read Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. I don't think I knew it was even out there until a few years ago. And I have to say that I enjoyed it a good deal. I always wondered how Peter got to be where he was. And Barrie's descriptions of the fairies were just lovely. Like Tink, they weren't particularly good creatures, but they weren't exactly bad. It definitely left me feeling that I had a better understanding.
I don't know that Peter and Wendy is a children's story. Not exactly. Or not in the bland way of fairytales and such today. Which strikes me as ironic considering the video games out there, or just even the programs on television. I think, honestly, that Barrie's stories show that kids are made of sterner stuff than imagined. (less)
I remember stumbling across Jack Daw's Pack in some anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and/or Terri Windling years ago. I found it utterly beautiful and...moreI remember stumbling across Jack Daw's Pack in some anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and/or Terri Windling years ago. I found it utterly beautiful and utterly confusing. When I reread it in Cloud and Ashes, I think I pretty much felt the same way. The confusion isn't a bad thing, not at all. It's more that the three stories aren't quick reads (not a bad thing) or particularly easy (also not a bad thing.)
Gilman's mythos is complex, there's no doubt about that, just like her language is complex. There's a marvelous interview (which helped me ever so much while I was re-reading for the third or forth time) with Michael Swanwick that goes into both at a better depth than I'm going to even try. Perhaps complex, in regard to the myth presented, isn't the right word. The myth itself is old, one everyone knows (I'd imagine) in some shape or another. The death of the old year, the old god, the rising of the new year, the new god. There are parallels to Persephone and Hades, but there's just so much more. No doubt I'll have to read it a few more times to even understand what I'm getting at.
Complex might not do justice to the language either. Old, though, might. It isn't very often that I need to make lists of puzzling words, but there were more than a few which required some investigation. I can't say that it distracted me on either occasion, when I didn't know what exactly was meant or when I did. There's enough to understand what's intended, or for me there was, but I simply love language so I can understand where others might not have the same reaction.
All three tales are marvelously done. It certainly helps to have them all together, but I think they could be read out of order or spaced over time without much being lost.(less)
I've always liked Brom's artwork. This, though, is the first novel I've read of his, however I know he has a couple others out there. And wow, what a...moreI've always liked Brom's artwork. This, though, is the first novel I've read of his, however I know he has a couple others out there. And wow, what a ride (and with illustrations!)
I'm a huge fan of reworking fairytales mostly because no one can claim them. There's dozens of versions of Cinderella and assorted others. It just depends on the location and custom of where the story's coming from. I have a harder time with reworkings of stories that are original. Like Maguire's novels dealing with Oz. For whatever reasons those I didn't connect with, but Brom's story of Peter Pan, I did.
Brom's afterward is interesting and maybe that's why I enjoyed the book so much (besides the having pictures part, but really, I'm always thrilled when there are pictures. I always think of Alice looking at her sister's book and claiming it's dull for their lack. Sometimes, no doubt.) Barrie's Peter Pan was a favorite of childhood and is still a favorite. But how can you not wonder about the sinister darkness lurking about? Oh, sure, there's that whole Neverland and not growing up, but at what price? And that, to me, was that Brom worked in wonderfully.
He shaped a truly fantastic world based on mythology and wove a story not only about lost children, but lost lands, lost dreams, lost hopes--so much lost "stuff" that the temptations of belonging to or with others, however wild, to riot among even a dying fae world is certainly better than nothing at all. I think what he does best is show the shadowy side of the story. Fairies aren't all glitter and butterfly wings. Lost boys and girls (as we have more than one and none of them fit the Mother Wendy figure, though there is a longing for mothers) are brutal and cunning. Peter is what the title of the book names him as: a thief of children.
Definitely worth the read if you're looking for something a bit dark and happen to like lost things. (less)
Charles Vess and ballads from Child's collection. Lovely. Vess brings to mind master faery tale artists like Rackham, Neilsen, and Dulac. Paired with...moreCharles Vess and ballads from Child's collection. Lovely. Vess brings to mind master faery tale artists like Rackham, Neilsen, and Dulac. Paired with authors like Gaiman, de Lint, and Bull, they gave a really wonderful turn to the ballads, some which have been favorites of mine for years like Twa Corbies. (less)
A nice collection of really amazing short works. Beautiful images in Imantz Ziedonis's The Yellow Tale and The Blue Tale. Kellie Wells's The Rabbit Ca...moreA nice collection of really amazing short works. Beautiful images in Imantz Ziedonis's The Yellow Tale and The Blue Tale. Kellie Wells's The Rabbit Catcher of Kingdom Come might be my favorite in this issue. I don't ever remember liking The Pied Piper of Hamlin, the traditional version anyhow, though I've really enjoyed reworkings of it in short story and novel form with Tanith Lee and China Mieville coming to mind there. But this...I'm not sure, a different sort of creepiness to it.(less)