The book is a very original re-imagining of Cinderella with a human heroine full of faults, not all of them her fault. She's sweet and spunky and theThe book is a very original re-imagining of Cinderella with a human heroine full of faults, not all of them her fault. She's sweet and spunky and the characters are delightful. Anne Hathaway plays a fine Ella, but they turned the movie into a chick-flick that resembled "Ever After" too close for comfort--especially when the book is great in its own right. ...more
I recently watched the movie and reread the book so I could decide how I really felt about it since it had been more than three years since I first reI recently watched the movie and reread the book so I could decide how I really felt about it since it had been more than three years since I first read it. Alex Flinn creates a modern-day fairy tale centered around the Beast and his quest to find someone to love him--not just his pretty face. His father is obsessed with good looks and exiles his son to a lone Brownstone with a maid and a tutor to cater to his needs. Just when Kyle has resigned himself to his lot, a thief/junkie bribes him with his daughter as long as he doesn't press charges. Kyle does everything he can to make her feel like a princess, but she's had to carve her own way in life and flinches at the riches handed to her. Of course Kyle eventually learns his lesson and comes to love the girl, but it's actually an interesting journey for the reader. The movie differs from the book in a few ways, but the essentials remain intact, even it comes across as a little corny teenage love story. My favorite addition in the movie is the tattoo that reflects the seasons and reminds him how little time he was left--sorry, no awesome tattoos here, only a lion-like beast loose on the streets of New York....more
Based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm (they really earned that name, didn't they?), The Goose Girl is a story of a beautiful princess who journeBased on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm (they really earned that name, didn't they?), The Goose Girl is a story of a beautiful princess who journeys to another kingdom to be wed, only to have her servant take her identity and (try) to take her life. In order to survive, she takes the job as goose girl to the king. One day as she is talking to herself, the king overhears and discovers she is the real princess and the impostor is executed, Grimm style.
Shannon Hale has taken this simple tale and added quite a lot of back story and depth. Princess Ani is the eldest in her family, but she doesn't feel comfortable doing royal tasks. Her aunt trained her in the ways of swan-speech and is constantly frustrated that her family, gifted only with people-speech, does not understand her. In a way she is relieved to be sent to another kingdom, though her enjoyment doesn't last as her escorts' unease and restlessness grow. Days from the Capital, events come to a head and Ani flees for her life into the forest. She is rescued by an old woman who allows her to go with her son to market day so she can get to the city. Originally her plan is simply to meet with the king and tell her of her maid's treachery, but once in the throne room she realizes that's a stupid plot and instead asks for a job. As goose girl to the king's gaggle, she makes friends among the Forest Born, a lower-class of individuals despised by the townspeople. Geese are a lot harder to understand than swans, but eventually she gets the knack, even developing a talent for wind-speech. When she learns the prince's wedding to the impostor is imminent, she decides to rally her friends and try to make the royals see her as the princess she is.
I may read many books in one sitting, but few absorb me like this. The characters were so real to me that I had to see how it ended before I could sleep. I laughed, I cried, I gasped. I was drawn into Hale's take on the power of language and the possibility of conversing with others outside the human race. I was actually glad I had waited so long to read this book because that particular idea meant so much more to me after taking a class in American Romanticism from Edward Cutler at BYU. One Romantic idea that we discussed for a while (and that I particularly liked) was the idea that everything has a name and a language, but man has forgotten all of it. This made sense to me when I thought back to the creation story where God speaks and the elements obey him. This simple idea made me look at the book in a new light and enjoy it all the more for the possibilities it offered. I'm not saying that I'm going to run out and start trying to speak to the wind, but it was fun to think about.
I am a sucker for fairy tale adaptions, but this book was exceptional. The characters were well-drawn and intriguing (though the prince could have had a bigger role) and the story was beautifully embellished by Hale. Do you ever have that truly happy, exultant feeling when you read something truly beautiful and moving? I've had it a few times, but rarely in a novel like this. Few books have that kind of overwhelming power for me and I look forward to her other novels, for I love books that touch me on multiple levels....more
While not my favorite book by Hale, it was certainly enjoyable. Being unfamiliar with the original Grimm tale, "Maid Maleen," I read it to compare theWhile not my favorite book by Hale, it was certainly enjoyable. Being unfamiliar with the original Grimm tale, "Maid Maleen," I read it to compare the two--but there was not comparison. Hale has taken such a simple story and created a beautiful fabrication, centering her tale on the maid instead of the princess. The princess was a frustrating character, whom I wanted to punch in the nose on multiple occasions, but Dashti and the prince were so sweet and endearing. The evil prince gave some suspense and drama, and I applaud the addition. She weaves her tale on the central Asian steppes and I couldn't help but think of another of my favorite tales I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade. Her characters are strong and the story is vastly intriguing. ...more