Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reading on a Theme: Original Fairy Tales

We love fairy tales in all their iterations. Today we've gathered a group of stories that we're calling original fairy tales. They involve princesses, magic, destinies, and mysteries. They are set in fantastical fairy tale settings, but they have they aren't your traditional fairy tales.

A Magic Castle:
Castle Glower is no ordinary castle. It changes, on a whim. Princess Celie, the castle's youngest occupant spends her time tracking the changes and creating an atlas. Her knowledge of the castle becomes invaluable when the castle stops changing and Celie and her siblings find themselves in great danger. Tuesdays at the Castle is a charming read. The castle is almost a character in itself, and I loved watching it change. Jessica Day George had me on the very first page and didn't let up until the end. Princess Celie is smart, spunky, and the best kind of princess.

The One Other:
While spending Christmas with her father and sister in a foreign city where it always snows, Ophelia discovers the Marvelous Boy. He tells her of his destiny to find the One Other who has the power to defeat the Snow Queen. Ophelia helps the Marvelous Boy and uncovers her own destiny in the process. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy has a tangible setting. I could feel the cold and the mystery as I read it. I loved the Marvelous Boy's confidence and faith in his destiny and Ophelia's purity and goodness. I loved that she did everything she could to help the boy. Karen Foxlee has created a haunting world, and I loved this original fairy tale.

Short Stories:
From stories of a princess who knows she's more than a gown, to a girl who saves her entire valley, and on to a princess who changes her dragon; The Ravenous Gown (titled Inner Beauty on Goodreads) is about powerful girls who recognize that their power comes not from being like the boys, but by being girls. Steffani Raff's stories are heartwarming with depth and humor. The Ravenous Gown is the perfect snowy day read. It has the kind of stories that beg to be read with hot cocoa and a cozy blanket. I look forward to reading it aloud to my daughter. Review copy from Familius.

Neglected Royals:
The Forgotten Sisters is an absolute delight. Miri is on her way back to Mount Eskel when she is ordered by king to go to Lesser Alva and establish a princess academy where she will prepare three forgotten royal cousins to wed the king of a  hostile neighboring nation. Shannon Hale's story is full of really poignant emotions, and I loved this best about the book. It's also not without its share of high-stakes drama. Soldiers. Pirates. Snakes. Caiman. Bandits. Epic Escapes.  It's all in there plus a new cast of fabulous characters in Astrid, Felissa, and Sus, linder magic, and stalwart Peder. Princess Academy fans couldn't ask for a better finale. I also loved the later applications of Miri's education lessons. As Miri says, "Think of learning as storing up supplies you may need for a harsh winter." The Forgotten Sisters is out February 24th. Review copy from NetGalley.

Threatening Volcanoes:
Elodie, Masteress Meenore, and Count Jonty Um have arrived on Elodie's home island only to learn that the Replica, a magical object that keeps Lahnt safe, has been stolen. Detection commences. Stolen Magic introduces a whole new cast of characters and suspects. Elodie, once again, must deduce, induce, and use her common sense to solve the mystery. Stolen Magic is a cute sequel to Gail Carson Levine's genre-mixing A Tale of Two Castles series, and I, for one, love a good fantastical mystery. This book also reminds me a little of Tamora Pierce's Melting Stones because the crew is working to keep a volcano from exploding, and it is never a bad thing to be reminded of Ms. Pierce's work. Stolen Magic is out April 21st. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Tuesdays in the Castle, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, and The Ravenous Gown  reviewed by Paige.
The Forgotten Sisters and Stolen Magic reviewed by JoLee.

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