Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Once Upon a Time Challenge - Completed

(I die for this artwork, they should release them as a series, I'd buy and frame them!)

I have been totally MIA for the last week or so, and wonders of wonders I managed to break another toe. I am special, very special. However, I completed the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge, on time and everything, although this post is two days late.

I tried to stick with a Sleeping Beauty theme, just because I am in that state of mind, but in the end only 3 of 5 ended up being Sleeping Beauty stories. Here is a quick recap of the books I read:

This is a middle grade fiction book based on Sleeping Beauty. What is fun about this novel is that it focuses more on the story of the prince who rescues the sleeping princess. It's interesting how knowing (or suspecting) that he is the foretold prince who will break the spell affects Prince Sigismund. I really liked the use of the faeries and faerie world in this book, the magic was very believable, I am a huge fan of magic making sense in it's own context and not just being used to get a writer out of a jam. 4 out of 5 stars.

This is the one book on this list I had read before, although it's been a few years. You may as well know that I think McKinley has cornered the market on fairytale retellings. She is brilliant, and as it turns out the only living author listed in my "favorite authors/authors who have influenced me" in the "About Me" section I had to write for my new site. The way she writes magic is amazing. If I could be half as good as her I would die happy. I love the non-traditional take on Sleeping Beauty, I love Rosie as a heroine, I love Narl as a hero, I love Katriona, and her constant internal conflict and love for Rosie. To recap: I pretty much love everything about this book EXCEPT the new cover, the old cover was so much better, and luckily that is the version I have (and have chosen to share with you here, click the title of the book if you want to see the new one, boo). 5 out of 5 stars!

My third Sleeping Beauty novel . . . It was cute, it was fun, so why was I left feeling disappointed? Maybe it's one of those horrible examples of a book not living up to it's (gorgeous, by the way) cover? I'd heard a lot about Beastly, also by Flinn, although I haven't read it, so perhaps I was just expecting a lot? It wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it was definitely fluff. That isn't necessarily bad. Fluff is fun, it just doesn't really etch glorious images into your mind. It just sort of is, and once you're done, it isn't. It was likely a mistake to read A Kiss in Time directly after Spindle's End. It also has a new cover, what is up with these publishers? Ditching beautiful covers for crap? 4 out of 5 stars.

While not technically a fairytale, Wings is a tale about faeries, so I am totally counting it. I had been wanting to read this for awhile, so was thrilled when it was offered free on the Kindle (I'm so cheap). In the first chapter there is a reference to homeschoolers being unsocialized and this annoyed me so much I put it down and didn't pick it back up for almost a month. And while this overused and frustrating stereotype is actually used to further the plot in this book, it still cheesed me off. That being said, I really liked the book. The main character, Laurel, is interesting, the take on faeries is fresh and unique, and there is tension between to equally awesome possible main hero types. Fun stuff! It is the first in a series of three, so don't expect total resolution at the end. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Ok, I admit I bought this for my Kindle iPhone app merely because of the title and the fact that it was 99 cents. It ends up being more of an early victorian romance than having anything to do with fairytales other than that the heroine is constantly, and often inexplicably, quoting them. If you like historical romances it's a decent read. The heroine was likable if a bit naive, and the hero was suitably honorable and attractive. I suppose I could have found another book that met the challenge more specifically, or recapped one that I'd already read, but I ran out of time. 3 out of 5 stars.


  1. Ooh, thanks for these reviews. I liked Spindle's End too, but haven't heard of any of the others. I'll have to check them out!

  2. Kathy, I love Beauty the best of all of McKinley's books, but Spindle's End is also really good :) Thanks for commenting!

  3. This is another whole world of reading that I haven't yet explored. So many books; so little time! Thanks for the reviews!

  4. Jess: You must read Pegasus!!! Only, maybe hold off until the sequel is finished. Although, if you're frustratedly waiting on the end of the story too, we can commiserate ;o) hehe

    Bad homeschooler stereotypes annoy me too, eesh... But love your review/synopsis for the challenge :o)

  5. First time visitor - another Narnia and McKinley fan. Yes you must read Pegasus! And I must catch up with her other books including Spindle's End. Thornspell - from the Prince's perspective - that sounds really good too.


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