I'm not sure I actually liked the direction they were taking past the game. And occasionally, the abrupt change of artwork drove me nuts.3.5/5 stars.
I'm not sure I actually liked the direction they were taking past the game. And occasionally, the abrupt change of artwork drove me nuts. But it was still a pretty good depiction of the second part of the game, even though I could have actually done without so much back story this time around....more
Initial thoughts: Reading this volume really made me want to play the game again, if only to redo some of my crazy decisions (like get certain peopleInitial thoughts: Reading this volume really made me want to play the game again, if only to redo some of my crazy decisions (like get certain people killed, hem hem). That said, this was highly entertaining to read, and I adored the addition of random fairy tale summaries as told by various Fables characters (honestly. Gren's retelling of Little Red Riding Hood was THE best.)...more
Initial thoughts: This was the type of book you needed to read in a slow pace beside the crackling of a fireplace. No, seriously, it's ver4.5/5 stars.
Initial thoughts: This was the type of book you needed to read in a slow pace beside the crackling of a fireplace. No, seriously, it's very reminiscent of old-world storytelling, and it was just so damn lovely. And lyrical. And filled with Russian fae-folk. And a badass girl who is not afraid to stare Death in the face. Literally....more
Initial thoughts: I have some conflicting thoughts about this. On the one hand, Snow White's in the 1920s. On the other, there's not much else that reInitial thoughts: I have some conflicting thoughts about this. On the one hand, Snow White's in the 1920s. On the other, there's not much else that really stood out....more
Strikeouts: - not sure whether to find the storyline juvenile or pervy creepy, considering the protag looks like a kid, acts like a kid, and talks likeStrikeouts: - not sure whether to find the storyline juvenile or pervy creepy, considering the protag looks like a kid, acts like a kid, and talks like a kid, yet somehow we get content about whores and panels where characters are groping or thinking about groping boobs
- the women are slaves, voluptuous prostitutes, defenseless, and/or way too satisfied with their positions in life to do anything about their pitiful situations
- seriously, laylah would have been cool if she'd done something about her predicament and not let some kid with his djinni do all the work
- don't even get me started with morgiana, who seems to think serving her selfish overlord is a good thing (I'll be even more disappointed if her motive is love...like seriously can you get any more annoying)
- Ali Baba's a dumbass
- there seems to be minimal connection to the name of the characters and the stories they're loosely based on, which is another letdown considering I adore the source material itself
I'm probably being overly harsh on the first volume, but it's safe to say I'm going to be staying away from this series....more
Initial thoughts: I fear I've been giving too many books five stars lately, but whatever. This one merits five because IT DOES FOR ME. The second--andInitial thoughts: I fear I've been giving too many books five stars lately, but whatever. This one merits five because IT DOES FOR ME. The second--and concluding--book of The Wrath & the Dawn duology, it delivered all the promises the first book made. And it did so with a language that was a mixture of poetry and song, in a setting that was filled with wonder and magic--both literally and metaphorically. And hot damn. Those characters and their sort of...togetherness. Loved them to bits....more
Sometimes charming. Sometimes creepy (I mean...those sleepers though). Always enchanting in any case, but I kind of expected that from Gaiman. HavingSometimes charming. Sometimes creepy (I mean...those sleepers though). Always enchanting in any case, but I kind of expected that from Gaiman. Having Riddell illustrate the short story was just fabulous as well....more
Sigh. Siiiiiigh. Can I just bask in the fact that theFull squee-character-fest found at Story and Somnomancy.
Initial thoughts: REEEEEVOLUUUUUTIOOOOON.
Sigh. Siiiiiigh. Can I just bask in the fact that there was a moment here where I got to read about cake and people eating it? I know this is probably the randomest detail to bring up and has almost no bearing on the actual story, but THE CAKE IS NOT A LIE.
I’m pretty sure Marissa Meyer is now on my auto-buy list, because I want every. single. bInitial thoughts:
I’m pretty sure Marissa Meyer is now on my auto-buy list, because I want every. single. book. that she’s written so far. I’ve been taking my time with Winter because I have commitment issues and Cress (a 500+ page YA novel in its own right) took me two sleepless nights to finish. Two damn nights.
I don’t normally do that. In fact, I try not to.
But Cress was a drug. An awesome, young-adult science fiction fairy tale-based drug. HOW MUCH MORE AWESOME COULD IT GET.
One of my new favorite readings for children. Because this princess can trick a dragon, save a boy, and refuse her arranged marriage with only the cloOne of my new favorite readings for children. Because this princess can trick a dragon, save a boy, and refuse her arranged marriage with only the clothes on her back....more
For more Cinder and Kai goodness. For Scarlet and WolfFull squee-fest review found at Story and Somnomancy.
4.5/5 sta--actually, no, effit. 5 OUTTA 5.
For more Cinder and Kai goodness. For Scarlet and Wolf and effing Captain Carswell Thorne. For the sum of its parts. For the things to come. For giving me enough feels and reasons to get excited about narrating various scenes to my little voldie students. For fairy tales and science fiction in general. Hot damn.
For the fact that this book did not end in as much of a damn cliffhanger as its predecessor. XD...more
3.5/5 stars. I think I can get behind a zombie Hansel and Gretel XD.
Far Out Fairy Tales should be considered an anthology of fairy tales given particu3.5/5 stars. I think I can get behind a zombie Hansel and Gretel XD.
Far Out Fairy Tales should be considered an anthology of fairy tales given particular twists. Each tale is written by a different author, with a particular care to endear young readers to look at a familiar tale with a different perspective. It’s a neat idea, one totally am enthusiastic over, especially when–as experience has it–my little voldies at school clamor for a familiar tale. My little voldies (charming little four-year-olds…) are particularly attached to Rapunzel (or “Princess Pahunzel” as one of my little voldies call the titular figure), so I was only a little bummed out that there was no variation of it in this volume.
That said! The antho included retellings of Cinderella as a ninja, Little Red Riding Hood as a superhero, the Billy Goats Gruff as a party of three in a fantasy role-playing game, Snow White as a child being raised by robots, and Hansel and Gretel as not so much lovable kids, but brain-guzzling zombie children.
I kind of found this book a cross between Spirited Away, A Christmas Carol, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (mostly because Saki encounters so many colorful characters, some of which are normally inanimate objects). But mostly it’s very much like Spirited Away. Reluctant girl travels with family into the countryside and finds herself in the spirit world of all places. There she changes the way in which she views things and begins to appreciate her family more. Maybe she changes because she has a death curse set upon herself and only with the help of three Christmas ghosts spiritual guides (one for each night of the Night Parade) does she manage to undo the curse. Maybe she changes because, you know, characters tend to do that by the end of the story. In any case, thank goodness for character development, because otherwise I would have liked to have seen Saki eaten up by Yamanba’s no-face monster son.
I loved how the book delved quite a bit into Japanese folklore. The emergence of the spiritual guides was definitely my favorite part of the book, and often I found myself laughing at how the spirit animal interacted with Saki. I’m still not sure which of them I liked best, though the mention of the mischievous kitsune at the end kind of made me go “awwwwww” all over again. The tanuki was meant to be the most humorous of the three spirits, but I kind of liked the tengu’s dry humor much better.
“The swarm will not pay attention to you here,” the tengu replied, his voice much closer. Saki breathed a sigh of relief and turned her head to see the spirit circling the air next to her. “Of course, they will ignore you because they expect other spirits to finish you off before you reach the ground…But do not let that discourage you!”
Yeah. I must have a morbid sense of humor, because I still laugh at that quote.
A lot of scenes creeped me out, too. But I kind of expected that to happen, what with so many Japanese spirits frolicking in the pages. Some of the creatures in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away freaked me out the first time I’d watched the film. Heck, a bunch of them still freaked me out years later.
There were a bunch of other aspects of the story that reminded me of Miyazaki’s film, like the dirty bathhouse task and the emergence of the no-face monster.
Saki herself was a hit and miss character for me. A lot of what she does in the beginning indicated that the story was going to change her for the better. I wasn’t very keen on the fact that so many of the characters were being bullies for the sake of story, though. It was all too stereotypical. I’m all too aware that children get super mean with each other, but seriously, the fact that Saki manages to find herself smack dab in the middle of TWO DIFFERENT bullying rings was kind of obnoxious, and I hated how both situations got handled. On the other hand, I liked how Saki found her own voice, enough that she manages to stand up to both her city bullies and her country bullies. To be honest, I wished she’d sent her spirit friends after them, but that’s just wishful, vengeful thinking, lol!
On another note, this book got me HUNGRY for udon....more
The tale of Scheherazade is a fantastic one. There is the king who finds that his wife is unfaithful to him, and in this unfortunate transgression, he concludes that all women must be unfaithful (one must also conclude that this king wasn’t very adept in logic, but that’s a whole other ballgame, I suppose). As a solution, he kills off his cheating wife, and proceeds to lop off the heads of his consecutive wives after one night because he figured eventually they were going to have sordid affairs right, left, and center. This continues to happen up until Scheherazade, who was tired of the king’s hypocritical and chauvinistic bullshit, volunteers herself as tribute.
What Scheherazade does is clever and self-sacrificing. She risks her neck in the hopes that perhaps she can do what no other bride could: stay alive. As the daughter of the vizier (in most accounts), Scheherazade is a learned woman, and knows her way around cultural, philosophical, and political nuances. She isn’t just a pretty face. And as it were, she succeeds in what she goes out to do. She “tames the beast” with a thousand tales, prolonging her life just long enough that the king falls in love and keeps her alive. She does this without shedding blood. She makes do with her mind and voice as weapons (I mean, imagine if she’d gotten bronchitis or something! That would have been disastrous.). She uses words and stories to win the king’s heart.
That is kickass.
I’ve always loved the idea of Scheherazade, and I’d read a most excellent retelling of her tale in Susan Fletcher’s Shadow Spinner. When I saw the beautiful cover in NetGalley and read the summary, I jumped to the opportunity to read A Thousand Nights. The book certainly shines a different light to Scheherazade’s story.
The protagonist is taken away in place of her sister, and put in Lo-Melkhiin’s palace, where every night she fights for her life. Similarly, the protagonist uses her words to match wits with the murderous king, though in this version, the king is possessed by a demon (I want to say it’s an evil and powerful djinni from the description of the monster). It’s no wonder Lo-Melkhiin keeps killing his wives. Fortunately for the protagonist, she’s got a power of her own, one that could very well battle against the demon and win.
A Thousand Nights was beautifully written. It was a prime example of “painting with words,” because the setting was vivid and descriptive, and often even the dialogue is pretty. I adored the worldbuilding that went along with the tale, and certainly I thought the protagonist and her sister shared a bond that was grand and beautiful and everything you could ask for in a familial relationship.
As I said before, I also expected the slow-burning plot. At times it worked, and I was more than happy reading the descriptions and goings-on of the protagonist’s regular day. There is, however, such a thing as being too slow, and at other times I was skimming the day-to-day drudgery in order to get to the good stuff, only to realize that even the “good stuff” doesn’t amount to much.
I liked the story, it had an aesthetic feel to it that I normally don’t find in much YA (I think this is marketed as YA…). But I’m not in love with it.
I couldn’t sympathize with the nameless protagonist or her nameless family; it was really hard trying to put an identity in any of the protagonist’s family members, so they all became just a huge blob of mother’s mother’s sister’s brother’s cousins and whatnot (gods, don’t get me started on the speech about relatives). The named characters barely show up, and the most interesting ones–Sokath and Firh–have maybe a page or two of conversation with the protagonist and they mostly disappear again in the story. Lo-Melkhiin’s story was the most interesting one of all, and I’d wished his freedom from demon-possession hadn’t been so haphazardly dismissed with a single wish (though admittedly the whole “five words” description was a nice touch).
Also, believe it or not, I could have also used a bit of romance. There was almost nothing of it in A Thousand Nights. I mean, I’m not asking for full-blown Stockholm syndrome romance here, but if the protagonist wasn’t getting much romantic prose going her way, why couldn’t her sister?! I don’t know, it just seemed like an opportunity wasted to me, especially when there was such good writing and no romance to invest in....more
There was a lot of rich, Celtic background going on in this book, which I actually adored, because I loOriginal review posted at Story and Somnomancy.
There was a lot of rich, Celtic background going on in this book, which I actually adored, because I love reading about the fae folk and the Tuatha De. There was certainly a lot of research and folklore put into this book, evident in Aed’s stories throughout the text. So as far as worldbuilding went, I thought it was excellent, and the premise–a woman who used to be a tree tries to find herself amidst the beginnings of a massive war–looks to be interesting going forward.
That said, my feelings towards the rest of the book are lukewarm at best, and most of it has to do with the POVs. There were far too many, especially in such a relatively short high fantasy novel. I think at some point almost every single character introduced had a POV in the book, some only coming up as a couple of pages total and then disappearing again. I didn’t think every POV was needed; as much as I adore female characters, the book could have done without Liaden (because Kai kind of mirrors her viewpoint) and Branwen’s POVs (between Ander and Branwen, I thought Anders had a more interesting viewpoint. Personally, the only viewpoints I really paid much attention to was Finn’s, Iseult’s, and Kai’s (ironic, because I feel the oncoming love triangle between these characters, and I cringe at the prospect).
I didn’t think the characters themselves were fully fleshed out–though this being a series, I can understand withholding much of what makes these characters come alive. Still, I was a little put off by Aed (whose vocabulary later on boiled down to very few derogatory remarks to every. single. character who isn’t Finn). I didn’t see much point in Branwen and Ander until the very end of Ander’s POV. There were other random characters that came in near the last fifth of the book for some reason, which confused me.
The other part of my lukewarm feelings falls toward the pacing of the story. I liked the beginning fine enough: Finn transforms from a tree to a human woman, is picked up by a mystical man much older and wiser than his years, and she undergoes a journey to find out who she truly is. By chapter nine, though, where I expected things to pick up from introductory to action, there was still a lot of talk taking place. I still didn’t know where Finn fell in the grand scheme of things, and while I adored reading the description and stories surrounding Aed’s background and that of the surrounding area, I would have rather experienced those things by reading vicariously through Finn’s eyes.
Things did pick up at the Blood Forest, and I was finally getting some action, what with fae trickery and characters lost in a dangerous wood. That said, it slowed down again soon after, and by the end of it, things got too hectic and confusing, and I came off with many more questions than answers.
Tree of Ages had strengths in the detail and description, and perhaps if the story had been a bit longer, I would have been more endeared to the characters and more invested in the storyline....more
March 2016: I find it both amusing and just a bit upsetting that I managed to finish reading this book in the same manner I did last year: on a bus anMarch 2016: I find it both amusing and just a bit upsetting that I managed to finish reading this book in the same manner I did last year: on a bus and muttering darkly about cliffhanger endings. Buh. At least I have the other books on hand to read the next part at least.
(I still adore this book regardless XD)
February 2015: ....WHAT. WAS THIS. CLIFFHANGER ENDING?!
Lately I’ve been breaking my stories down to things I loved, things I had love/hate relationships to, and tFull review posted at Story and Somnomancy.
Lately I’ve been breaking my stories down to things I loved, things I had love/hate relationships to, and things that didn’t fly for me. It was harder for Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn because while I liked the idea and premise of the retelling (I mean, come on, Ali Baba on an airship–how cool is that?!), I didn’t think much of the tale itself changed because of the steampunk elements. For me, it really did just feel like throwing in steampunk elements in a story that would have gone the same route without the clockwork boxes and automaton djinn. I would have liked to actually have seen Ali solve more of the problems using his tinkering, even though the original turns Ali into a background character by the second half of the story.
Then there’s Morgiana herself. I’ve always been a fan of Morgiana in the Ali Baba tale. Something to do with the fact that she manages to hold her own and rises out of her station as a slave/servant/submissivethingymajig. In this story, she’s a djinni of unknowable powers (no, seriously, I have no idea what her limits are and what she can actually do, since it’s not very clear). Trapped by the “King of Thieves” (he’s actually not called thus, but he’s certainly a leader among the thieves), Morgiana is freed by Ali and willingly serves him in his household. What gets me is the fact that she’s a djinni. With powers. I know she’s grateful to Ali and all, but really? There must have been some other rank in the household that lets her protect Ali without setting herself down as a servant. Heck, her frelling kindred-djinni was a badass clockwork falcon. Instead Morgiana gets stuck in a rather limited female robot body. I wonder as well where her personality went afterward, because she went from “dangerous-flashy-eyed-djinni” to “bland-as-a-rock.” Even Malekeh was more intriguing as a female, and she wasn’t perfect.
Which brings me to the characters. I liked a number of them, but I felt that the retelling was much too short and there were too many characters that got spread too thin as far as development went. I loved the Langstroms, and Babbage was pretty fantastic in the scenes he was in. Malekeh was a standout character, though as I said, there wasn’t much story to flesh any of the characters out besides Ali. And even then Ali wasn’t very inspiring of a character. The only thing I knew about him in the end was that he was a really good tinker and he made the body of a perfect woman in order to hold the terrible unfathomable power of a djinni. Which is a shame, really.
As far as the steampunk went…as I said, I thought it was an added bonus, but I also thought it didn’t quite reconcile with the fairy tale. The story itself wasn’t really altered, everything still happened within the pattern, and I was really hoping I’d have gotten some major changes in the tale. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking....more
Valiant retells the tale of “The Brave/Valiant Little Tailor” inasmuch as it kept the essence of the tale andOriginal review at Story and Somnomancy.
Valiant retells the tale of “The Brave/Valiant Little Tailor” inasmuch as it kept the essence of the tale and expanded on the world of the giants and the backdrop of the tailor. Of course, the Brothers Grimm version was merely a rough skeleton of the retelling, and Valiant itself emerged not so much a variant, but a full-blown story that could very well be a new tale to be AT-classified.
The story is about Saville, the daughter of a tailor who disguises herself as a boy in order to make ends meet after her father gets terribly sick. While posing as a tailor for the king, she is trapped in a city that is about to be conquered by a duke with an army of giants. There isn’t much for a tailor’s daughter to do, right? Well, you would think that. But then again, nobody in Reggen’s met the likes of Saville until now.
What I Loved
The tailor is a young woman named Saville. I’m already a sucker for fairy tales, but a fairy tale with a woman as the hero who gets by on sheer force of will, cleverness, and courage? YES PLEASE. I loved Saville as a character. She had her ups and downs, and there were times she said or did things that I found were a wee bit annoying, but I loved her for them anyway. The word “valiant” clearly defines her journey in the story, but she’d probably tell you differently.
The good, the bad, and the smart giants. THERE ARE GOOD GIANTS. THERE ARE BAD GIANTS. AND THEY’RE NOT DUMB. I emphasize these things because I swear they’re mostly considered bad. And they’re not in this story. In this story, they’re as much human as the humans are. And I loved that. It does remind me a bit of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted in that respect, but obviously both stories are completely different. Also, Volar is awesome.
The little homages to the Grimm tale. I liked how McGuire incorporated that whole stone-cheese and stone-bird trick that was in the Brothers Grimm variant, because it reminded me that the story pulls loosely from an already-established tale. Yet as the story went on, it’s clear the tale will not end exactly as is. Plus, the fact that Saville didn’t exactly go goo-goo-eyed for the king or the princess made for a more interesting outcome in the romance portion.
The characters. Saville was undoubtedly my favorite character, but Will and Galen were close seconds. Will more so because his story was heartbreaking. I admit to having teared a bit at the end, but I won’t say more than that.
The romance portion. SO ADORABLE OMGAH. Okay, fine. Again, I owe this bit to the story itself being a fairy tale retelling. But it’s also probably because of the gradual way the romance grew. Not in a matter of days or weeks, but one that took months to come to fruition. Swoonworthy, that.
What I Was Iffy About
The redeemability of a few characters. Don’t get me wrong, I liked how there was redemption in a few of the characters, the king and his sister-princess in particular. At the outset, both were kind of silly to the point of me asking how they managed to survive so long as monarchs with the way they went about their daily business. It was tiresome to see (yes, I’m using their favorite word, apparently), and I was only too glad when Eldin and Lissa sucked it up and produced their own flavors of valiance. That said, while Lissa’s change had been a bit more obvious, it seemed sudden on Eldin. I guess it would have been nicer to develop him more as a character, but this is just me half-wishing the story had been a bit longer in that respect.
What I Didn’t Love
The Tailor. He’s supposed to be a wretchedly unlovable character, but gods, did I hate him. I don’t know why there was any point to giving him the stroke, though. I thought it would have been just as effective to keep him around as a secondary character who either redeems himself or doesn’t (seeing Saville get around the latter would have been interesting, too).
Overall, I cannot wait to re-read this again upon publication. I devoured this in a day and a half....more
I kind of lost it at the magical toy boat scene. That was definitely when I knew the series was picking up and slightly much better than most of the MI kind of lost it at the magical toy boat scene. That was definitely when I knew the series was picking up and slightly much better than most of the Mister Dark saga. I loved reading about the cubs, and that scene at the end was so disturbing and sad that I ate the last star away from my rating. The two shorts on Bigby were awesome, too....more
I really need to stop reading the Fables spinoffs out of order. Luckily, this Cinderella-centric volume seemed more standalone than the last Fables spI really need to stop reading the Fables spinoffs out of order. Luckily, this Cinderella-centric volume seemed more standalone than the last Fables spinoff I read, so kudos there already.
There wasn't as much spying as I would have liked, but I enjoyed it nevertheless, and I certainly liked it better than the Jack of Fables spinoff.
- Picks up after the North Wind vanquishes Mr. Dark. - With the North Wind incapacitated, his kingdom needs a new ruler, and it's all dJust some notes:
- Picks up after the North Wind vanquishes Mr. Dark. - With the North Wind incapacitated, his kingdom needs a new ruler, and it's all down to the seven of Bigby and Snow's cubs. - Stuff with Bufkin that I don't pay attention to half the time. - Some new development with Mrs. Spratt. Though to be honest, her arc seems underwhelming in comparison to the previous villains that have shown up. - Overall, I'm interested to see how Ozma's prophecy about the cubs plays out, seeing as Winter was a slight surprise--a pleasant one at that....more
Been meaning to pick up some of the Fairest issues after seeing them at the comics store, but settled for a library loan of Fairest in All the Land. GBeen meaning to pick up some of the Fairest issues after seeing them at the comics store, but settled for a library loan of Fairest in All the Land. Girl power, right?
Ever since the issue she had shown up (Fables #22), I've always adored Cinderella, and second to Snow, she's probably my favorite fair-faced gal in Fabletown. That and the fact that this collection of tales was a fairy tale whodunit became the clincher for me. And who doesn't love a bit of murder every now and then, eh?
That said, there really should be a place to tell me what part of the Fables canon the stories are in, 'cause I was running into spoilers of things I did not get to yet in the actual Fables series. Those slightly put a damper on things, especially since I'm still not caught up on what happens past volume 16, and apparently this was supposed to be a standalone. But anyway, other than that, I liked the compilation, certainly didn't mind the change in artwork (I got used to it after The Sandman series), and adored the characters, so yes....more