Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bite Sized Reviews: Golden by Cameron Dokey & The Crimson THread by Suzanne Weyn

   Bite Sized Reviews at Debz BookshelfI think it only fitting that we have two such SWEET bite-sized reviews today!

Golden (Once Upon A Time Faitytales)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 1st, 2006
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Purchased
Find it: Amazon | Goodreads

"Once upon a Time" is Timeless...

Before Rapunzel's birth, her mother made a dangerous deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald and without hope of ever growing hair, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future.

After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard years ago and needs Rapunzel's help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely "two nights and the day that falls between" to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed... forever.

Golden takes the classic fairytale of Rapunzel, full of romantic imagery, and takes away it's most iconic element--the Hair. That is the first thing you think of when you hear Rapunzel, as it is so engrained in our culture. How could this story succeed, then, with no hair? Absolutely beautifully.

Dokey wrote a wonderfully deep story that maintains many traditional elements, while making it very much its own. The writing was rich and lyrical, and the characters had surprising depth for such a small book.

Out of all the books I've read so far in this Once Upon a Time series, Golden is by far my favorite for interpreting a personal favorite with such freshness and creativity.

  
 
 
The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 17th, 2008
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Library
Find it: Amazon | Goodreads

"ONCE UPON A TIME" IS TIMELESS

The year is 1880, and Bertie, having just arrived in New York with her family, is grateful to be given work as a seamstress in the home of textile tycoon J. P. Wellington. When the Wellington family fortune is threatened, Bertie's father boasts that Bertie will save the business, that she is so skillful she can "practically spin straw into gold."

Amazingly, in the course of one night, Bertie creates exquisite evening gowns--with the help of Ray Stalls, a man from her tenement who uses an old spinning wheel to create dresses that are woven with crimson thread and look as though they are spun with real gold. Indebted to Ray, Bertie asks how she can repay him. When Ray asks for her firstborn child, Bertie agrees, never dreaming that he is serious...

My favorite thing about this Once Upon a Time series is the fact that it takes these fantastical stories, and sets them in an real place and time, usually with historical significance. The Crimson Thread takes Rumpelstiltskin and places it in the completely unexpected setting of 1880's New York.

The plot followed the structure of Rumpelstiltskin, but added so much more. You wouldn't think it would work, but now I can't imagine a better setting for the Miller's Daughter's story. Still, there were new elements that had me on the edge of my seat.

I was so surprised by the depth of the characters. I felt like I knew all the characters well, and in such a short book (under 200 pages) that is a huge accomplishment.

I haven't enjoyed some of Weyn's other retellings, but The Crimson Thread has shown me I certainly shouldn't discredit her as a seriously brilliant spinner of stories.

2 comments:

  1. The Crimson Thread was on of my favorite in that series!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really enjoy The Crimson Thread, as well. I think Weyn's books were some of the first I read that retold fairy tales in historical settings, rather than in alternate made-up fantasy worlds.

    ReplyDelete

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