Such a fun book! I really enjoyed this one, and I can't wait for the next books to hit the shelves.
If you are a fan of fairy tales-- or in this case...moreSuch a fun book! I really enjoyed this one, and I can't wait for the next books to hit the shelves.
If you are a fan of fairy tales-- or in this case fractured fairy tales-- you will LOVE The School of Good and Evil. It has everything a great adventure needs: romance, villains, and lots of dry humor.
I must admit though, I have mixed feelings for Sophie and Agatha. Well, really I have issues with a certain prince (Tedros) that shows up. Here it is in a nutshell: Sophie and Agatha get mixed up (or so they think) on their way to the school for Good and the school for Evil. Sophie spends most of her time trying to convince everyone she is meant for good instead of realizing how selfish she is. Agatha agrees with Sophie and plots to get into the school of Evil as well. Until...
You can guess the 'until'. I was really disappointed with that aspect of the story. It just felt wrong. I"m not saying the prince should choose the 'bad guy', but for two besties to fight over a guy like that just doesn't cut it in my book. If Agatha was such a great friend, I feel like Tedros should take more of a back seat to Sophie. Maybe I'm the only one that feels this way, but I ended up thinking Agatha was a good bit selfish herself.
Now, don't get me wrong. I really liked Sophie and Agatha. Agatha was a riot! She had me laughing all throughout the book. Sophie mistakes were also pretty entertaining. In addition to the two girls, there were a smattering of other characters that added to my enjoyment. I personally like Dot-- the witch with the chocolate touch.
I read something that said this might become a movie. That will be awesome, and I will be there. There is an epic battle scene that will leave you on the edge of your seat. You will not be disappointed! (less)
Well this was just fun! It's the perfect combination of graphic novel and fairytale anthology. In this book, you will find the well-known fairytales,...moreWell this was just fun! It's the perfect combination of graphic novel and fairytale anthology. In this book, you will find the well-known fairytales, but you'll also find a few you might not know about.
For instance, I had never heard of "The Boy Who Drew Cats" or "The Princes and the Tortoise." The stories are well told; they are simple but do not leave out the major elements. I think the format of this book makes each of these fairytales accessible to all readers. The combination of illustraions is also enjoyable. Some stories are ellaborately illustrated, while other take a more simplistic approach. Either way, it's going to be a hit with any fan of fairytales. (less)
Amazing. Simply amazing. Another hit for Sarah Beth Durst. Ice was one of a kind and exceeded all expectations.
This has to be one of the best setting...moreAmazing. Simply amazing. Another hit for Sarah Beth Durst. Ice was one of a kind and exceeded all expectations.
This has to be one of the best settings for a story that I have read in a long time. It was highly original. You would think that a story that takes place in the Artic tundra would be lacking in descriptive details and originality, but you would be wrong. The descriptions were amazing, and the setting was phenomenal. I have to admit that I was drawn to this book partly based on the location since I visited Alaska this summer. I was able to identify some of the elements mentioned in the story because I saw them with my own eyes. If the author has never traveled to this area, I am highly impressed with her ability to capture its essence. A+ in this department.
The characters were very uniques as well. Cassie is your typical strong-willed teenager, but she is different. She's the granddaughter of the North Wind and the future wife of the Polar Bear King. Yeah, you read that correctly. I will admit, as far as depth goes, there wasn't much. Cassie does grow and develop throughout the story, but that's the extent of things. I didn't really connect with her, but that's ok. The story line was so good that I didn't need to feel that personal connection. Ice read like a myth, which had me engrossed until the very end.
Sarah Beth Durst is known for her original stories. It never ceases to amaze me how she can write books that are so different from one another. Ice is not like any of her other books that I have read thus far. In fact, I would challenge someone to find a book similar to Ice.
If you are a fan of mythology, get ready! You will love all the subtle (and not so subtle) references to mythology hiding among these pages. On the surface, this is a highly original tale of Cupid and Psyche. Complete with the West Wind (in this case the North, South, and East winds) wisking Cassie (Psyche) off to a secluded location. The invisible servants in the original myth are very uniquely described trolls in Ice. There is also Inuit mythology scattered all over the place. You see mentionings of Sedna and Inuit soul keepers.
Simply put, read this. That's all I can say. It's amazing, and it will knock your socks off. (less)
I didn't dislike the book and I didn't love it either. Some of the stories seemed to be missing that key spark that makes me get all tingly inside. I...moreI didn't dislike the book and I didn't love it either. Some of the stories seemed to be missing that key spark that makes me get all tingly inside. I thought-- for the most part-- that the stories were a very interesting interpretation of Mother Goose's nursery rhymes. In fact, I thought some stories were awesome. (i.e. versions of Little Boy Blue and Hickory Dickory Dock)
But, some stories were really lacking in the fundamentals department. They felt like a classroom creative writing assignment that never went anywhere. The stories start great, they are original, and then the pizzazz fades away. In the end, I was left with smoke... and stinky smoke at that.
As with most short stories, there is no room for deep character development. You get a little insight into some of the characters' thoughts and actions, but that's it. It's hard to make connections because the stories average around 10-15 pages. There are no intricate plots, but the stories were entertaining.
If you enjoy short story anthologies, you'll probably enjoy this one. A+ to all of the authors for their creativity. This is the first book of nursery rhyme retellings I have ever seen, and I thought that was worthy of a big hoorah. (less)
I love this series. It is so super cute. Annie is such a great character! She is Gwendolyn’s (Sleeping Beauty) non-magical sister. Annie received a gi...more I love this series. It is so super cute. Annie is such a great character! She is Gwendolyn’s (Sleeping Beauty) non-magical sister. Annie received a gift from her fairy godmother at birth that would not let any magic affect her, unlike everyone else in the kingdom. Because of this gift, Annie can sense when magic is near. Her power can also cause someone’s magic to falter. I found this to be one of the best parts of the story. I loved the descriptions of characters that suddenly found themselves without their magical qualities and gifts. One of the other qualities that make Annie so endearing is her resourcefulness. Because she has grown up without the help of magic, she has had to learn how to do many things on her own. Her sister, Gwennie, is described as “the most beautiful princess in the world” (with the help of magic of course), but Annie is often overlooked. While this could be lonely and a bit annoying, it makes Annie a great character. She is smart, stubborn, and extremely clever. The perfect underdog heroine.
The plot also weaves together familiar fairytales with slightly altered storylines. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood all make appearances—just not in the ways we are familiar with. How the author used these stories and characters was very creative.
This is a middle grades series, which means it is squeaky clean. A little kissing, but appropriate for younger readers. Older readers would probably find it too wholesome. Maybe I’m a big nerd, but I loved it. Of course, I liked the first book (The Wide Awake Princess), too. Personally, I think all fairy tale fans should read this series. It is charming. (less)
What I think about this book in one word: Hilarious. Two words: Absolutely brilliant. As a whole: one of THE best fractured fairytales ever. Seriously...more What I think about this book in one word: Hilarious. Two words: Absolutely brilliant. As a whole: one of THE best fractured fairytales ever. Seriously. Let’s start with the plot. Bumbling heroes, an evil witch, a diplomatic giant, vegetarian trolls, and princesses that don’t need rescuing—a perfect combination for a fast-paced plot full of hijinks and adventure. I fell in love with this story on the first page. The opening line says, “Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn’t know that did you?” The light-hearted tone from the opening line runs throughout this book. I literally laughed out loud in places. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, you will love this book. I guarantee it. There are so many twists to the original tales that this book becomes its own version of a fairy-tale. How great is it to make Snow White slightly off her rocker and Cinderella like a ninja? The characters are extremely enjoyable too. The Princes Charming (there was a grammar lesson attached to this name in the book) are pretty ticked off that they go nameless in all the tales. They want people to know who the “Prince Charming” in the story really is. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But when Cinderella goes “missing,” a true hero senses the opportunity for a rescue. And so this team of misfit heroes is formed (in a rather entertaining way). Gustav is one of my favorite characters in the book. Nicknamed “Angry Man” by a troll, he undergoes the greatest transformation throughout the story. Short tempered and often irrational, he is more of a liability than an asset. But he does learn a few lessons along the way. His slowly developing friendship with Frederick—the OCD Prince Charming belonging to Cinderella—is rather endearing. Of course, Frederick is hilarious in his own right. He’s the smooth talker in the group, which is a good thing because he can’t do anything else. Then there are the princes Liam and Duncan. Liam seems to have things together, except that he thinks he’s unstoppable. But Duncan is the life of the party. There is something “off” about Snow White’s beau. The man names animals that randomly appear in the forest! That’s not normal. I would be wrong to discuss characters and not mention the leading ladies in this story. They were independent, strong-minded, and better heroes than the men. Not your stereotyped princesses by any means. Cinderella could be a super ninja. I enjoyed the side stories that told of her adventures sans the Princes Charming. When the stories finally merge, it forms a great team of heroes that I can’t wait to read more about. (And I do hope they will be recruiting more princesses into the team.) I’m happy to say that this book is the beginning of a series. I am anticipating this book becoming a favorite. It should be read aloud so everyone can appreciate the witty humor and antics in the story. Otherwise, people nearby will wonder what’s wrong with you as you laugh out loud with every turn of the page. (less)
This was such a cute book. I think E.D. Baker always does a fabulous job with her fairy tale retellings. The Wide-Awake Princess did not disappoint me...moreThis was such a cute book. I think E.D. Baker always does a fabulous job with her fairy tale retellings. The Wide-Awake Princess did not disappoint me at all. It had a voice all its own. I loved Princess Annie. I thought it was such a nice touch that the heroine of the fairy tale had no magical powers at all. In fact, at her Christening, her "gift" was the gift of no magic. How appropriate, right?
As you would expect from E.D. Baker, the humor was timely and well played. Annie was a sassy and independent thing--which I loved. I get so tired of princesses being portrayed as dependent and helpless. Annie was strong-willed and resourceful. She didn't need anyone's help. In fact, she saved most of characters in the story--herself included.
The other thing that I loved about this book was the subtle (and sometimes more obvious) mentioning of other fairy tales. There was Hansel and Gretel (very original take on this story) who were dining with a witch suffering from dementia. The witch had to leave reminders for herself on conversation hearts plastered to the walls of her cottage. (She also had a large pet rat named "Fluffy" that she thought was a dog.) There was the story of Rapunzel which was pretty ironic. If you think about a girl trapped in a tower with a prince that visits everyday, but never rescues her, you can't help but wonder what the draw is. Then another prince shows up on Thursday. You start to get an idea of what kind of girl Rapunzel really is with her weekly visitors. There was also a mentioning of The Princess and the Pea and a few other lesser known tales, all of which were uniquely incorporated into the story. I loved it.
I'm a huge fan of E.D. Baker after reading her The Princess Frog series. It doesn't come as much surprise that I highly recommend this one. It's perfect for middle grade readers. It was quick and witty, but it didn't offer many twists and turns. Honestly, though, the complicated plot twists aren't needed. They story reads perfectly well being straight forward and predictable. I do hope that this will become a series. I would love to find out what happens between Annie and Liam (love them). Plus, there were a few other "items" that could develop into another book or two. You'll have to read the book to discover those, however. (less)
I was all into this book on my e-reader on our way to Epcot, and then my e-reader died. I was a little ticked off (understatement) that I couldn't fin...moreI was all into this book on my e-reader on our way to Epcot, and then my e-reader died. I was a little ticked off (understatement) that I couldn't finish the final 30 pages. Oh well. I feel like I read enough to be able to write a short review.
Since I can't comment on the complete plot, I can just give my opinions about a few things. First of all, this is not what I would consider YA. It is more of a middle grades read. With that being said, I must say that I thought it was charming. It's a clean story with an arrogant dragon (which I thought was funny). Any character that shows a huge amount of pride and gets humbled by a young child wins brownie points with me. The plot is quick and a little predictable at times. I don't think it's a flaw; after all, I'm an adult reading this book that is best suited for the 11-13 year old group. I would hope I could stay one step ahead of the plot.
Like I said, this review is short and sweet. I couldn't finish the book because my ereader content was wiped out. (Did I mention my computer crashed AGAIN and I can't even back up the files?)
I liked the book. It was simple and clean. I think young girls (tween age) that enjoy fairytale type books would enjoy this book. (less)
**spoiler alert** After 62 years of “sleeping” in a stass tube, Rose Fitzroy is awakened. To her horror she has found that everyone she once knew has...more**spoiler alert** After 62 years of “sleeping” in a stass tube, Rose Fitzroy is awakened. To her horror she has found that everyone she once knew has died. She is a foreigner in a new time. She doesn’t fit in with her new surroundings. She’s terribly out-of-date in fashion and speech. For a 16-year-old girl, she seems more like someone’s grandmother than the long-lost daughter of the prestigious founders UniCorp. But then again, Rose is nearly 100 years old.
The new life that Rose is faced with is difficult for her to come to terms with. She suddenly realizes that she is still a teenager, faced with all of the troubles a typical teenager has to face. She has to attend high school and try to assimilate in to a new culture. Her childhood was spent moving from one school to another, so it’s hard for Rose to adjust. Bren and Otto—an “experiment” conducted by UniCorp that produced an alien like human being—are her only friends. Talking with Otto helps her sort out her thoughts, but it doesn’t provide peace. Additionally, her feelings for Bren complicate things.
It seems that adjusting to her new life is taking a relatively normal path until she is attacked by a walking human corpse-like robot assassin. Suddenly, Rose realizes that someone wants her dead. But who? She’s too young to take control of her dead parents’ company (and she doesn’t really have an interest in it anyway). Everyone that she’s ever known is dead… or are they? Will Rose be able to survive her new life, or will the assassin complete his mission?
My original impression of this book was that it would be some type of a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. There were plenty of hints to make me think that. A reviving kiss (ok, CPR), the lovely girl named Rose, etc. However, that is not the case. Instead, I got a great science-fiction read. Maybe the underlying hints of Sleeping Beauty were present, but that was the only resemblance. This book was certainly unique on its own. I’m afraid I’ll have to give some spoilers because it’s too hard to tell what I liked about this book without telling some of the (complicated) plot.
The first thing that made me like this book was the characters. There were so many unique characters in this book that added a lot to the story line. For instance, the protagonist, Rose, is very complicated. She starts off seeming like she’s completely helpless. She’s passive when she should be assertive, and she is always apologizing. She seems to be plagued by self-loathing. Rose was such a great character because she changed throughout the book. By the end of the story, she had accepted her fate. By coming to terms with her awful childhood and the present state of things, she seemed to grow stronger. It was a very strange coming of age moment that seemed to take nearly 100 years to reach. I also loved Xavier and Otto. As a young boy and teenager Xavier seemed to be Rose’s strength. He was always understanding and supportive when her family constantly stashed her off in stasis (a suspended sleep state). Their passionate first kiss was extra steamy. You could sense the passion between the two. I personally liked the fact that Xavier could see Rose’s parents for what they really were—“vampires.” Metaphorical vampires, that is—not the paranormal type. I enjoyed both characters so much that I felt both his and Rose’s pain when Rose had to break up with him. I felt like a little bit of myself was crushed with them. Some of the other characters are charming as well. Even though they are only mentioned briefly, the description of Bren’s family gave the impression of a family filled with love. I wish they would have had a stronger presence in the book. Finally, there is Otto—the alien-like boy with bluish skin and glowing yellow eyes. I couldn’t help but picture Nightcrawler from the X-Men when I read the description, minus the tail and weird hands. Otto seemed to be the only person in Rose’s group that truly accepted her from the beginning. He openly admitted that she was strange and frightening, but he also admitted that he was the same way. Even though they are complete opposites, they had a connection that wasn’t felt with the other characters. It seemed that Otto brought out the best in Rose and helped her to become the (new) person that she needed to be.
Another thing that was great about this book was the plot. It had its moments when it hopped around a bit—especially when it would go from present to past actions—but overall it was very well paced. The majority of the book was very fast paced. Aside from pacing, however, the content of the plot was what really stood out for me. I was haunted and deeply disturbed by the parents in this book. Although they were dead when the story began, they kept creeping up in Rose’s memories. I found myself getting infuriated with them at times. It seems they just put their child in stasis whenever she became an inconvenience to them. I couldn’t help but think about the parents in the world today that ignore their children unless they have some self-centered reason for giving them attention. You hear stories about this all the time. The parents in the book seemed the exact same way, except they were super rich. They paid off anyone that might bring attention to their actions in order to keep their perfect public image. How many times do we actually suspect that happening with the celebrities that flood the media? I felt so sorry for Rose. Her entire childhood was stolen from her because of someone else’s selfishness. Actually, her entire life was stolen from her. She lost sixty two years in stasis because of her parents!
I would certainly recommend this book. If you like science fiction you would probably enjoy this book. I don’t call myself a science fiction reader, but I really enjoyed this book. It has restored my hope in the genre. On a basic level it’s a good story with a fast paced plot and likeable characters. On a deeper level, however, it’s much more than that. I would love to read this with a group of students (or a class) and see what kind of discussions would come from it. The underlying layers are so deep.
Just for fun, this is how the book ends: “I dream that one day I’ll truly believe in my place in this world. I dream that I am strong. And I have three best friends who dream with me. My name is Rosalinda Samantha Fitzroy. I am one hundred years old. I am free. I am haunted. But if nothing else, I am wide awake.” LOVE IT! (less)
There are several things in life that I find hard to resist: shoes, free books, and retellings of fairy tales. A True Princess (Diane Zahler) was a qu...moreThere are several things in life that I find hard to resist: shoes, free books, and retellings of fairy tales. A True Princess (Diane Zahler) was a quaint retelling of the classic fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” Unlike the well-known fairy tale version, however, this retelling is packed full of adventure and “girl power."
The story begins when Lilia, the adventurous protagonist of the story, finds herself in a very difficult situation. She has to decide whether or not to run away from the only home and family she has ever known. If she stays, her stepmother will sell her to the local Miller. If she runs away, however, she will be on her own in a strange land without any protection. The decision may seem daunting to some, but Lilia does not falter from her choice: she will run away.
While on her way out of town, Lilia is met by her adopted brother and sister, Karina and Kai. The two siblings tracked Lilia easily using the family’s dog as their guide. Together, the three companions set out to find Lilia’s true parents. Unfortunately, their trip would not go as smoothly as they had planned. A close call with a group of robbers in Bitra Forest leaves the group lost in the Elf-King’s territory. Knowing the horrible danger they are in, they become even more distraught when Kai falls under the Elf-King’s daughter’s evil spell. Luckily, Lilia is a fast thinker. She makes a deal with the Elf-King, but he gives her only two weeks to carry out the bargain. Thus, Lilia and Karina find themselves posing as servants in the local castle while they desperately try to devise a plan to save Kai.
Keeping with the genre of fairy tale retellings, the remainder of the plot holds true to the story of “The Princess and the Pea.” However, there are a few twists in the new version. As the title hints, “a true princess” will be found; she’s just not what everyone expected. This retelling shows that a princess can come in any form. It’s very pleasing to find a strong female character for young readers. Lilia is confident, courageous, and loyal. All of her honorable traits become evident throughout the book, and develop to make her an enjoyable character. Also, the development of the characters is fantastic, and makes the reader imagine they are a third party in the conversations between Karina, Kai, and Lilia. Fans of fantasy and fairy tales will enjoy this novel.