November 18th, 2004

Retold Faery Tales

I must admit it publicly: I have a fetish for retold faery tales. There. It's out. I really do snap them up whenever I can, whether it's in the adult or young adult departments. This time around I found a fascinating young adult series of retold faery novels by various authors at an independent bookstore in Vermont, when I was visiting gadarene (many hugs for bringing me there). Between the themes, the cover designs (all by Kinuko Y. Craft), the matte finishes, I purchased nearly everything that I could get my hands on, which meant the following:

Sunlight and Shadow, Cameron Dokey
http://www.simonsays.com/assets/isbn/0689869991/C_0689869991.jpg
In a time when the world was young and many things were quite commonplace that are now entirely forgotten, Sarastro, Mage of the Day, wed Pamina, the Queen of the Night. And in this way was the world complete, for light was joined to dark. For all time would they be joined together. Only the ending of the world could tear them apart. In other words, in the days in which my parents married, there was no such thing as divorce....
Thus begins the tale of Mina, a girl-child born on the longest night of the darkest month of the year. When her father looked at her, all he saw was what he feared: By birth, by name, by nature, she belonged to the Dark. So when Mina turned sixteen, her father took her away from shadow and brought her into sunlight.
In retaliation, her mother lured a handsome prince into a deadly agreement: If he frees Mina, he can claim her as his bride.
Now Mina and her prince must endure deadly trials -- of love and fate and family -- before they can truly live happily ever after....

The Storyteller's Daughter, Cameron Dokey
http://www.simonsays.com/assets/isbn/0743422201/C_0743422201.jpg
Once upon a time, there lived a king whose heart was heavy. He had been betrayed by the woman he loved. Though the queen's schemes were discoverd before she could deprive her husband of his life, her dying curse killed something deep within him: his ability to love and trust.
And so he makes a terrible resolution: He will take a bride for one night only. In the morning she will face a horrible fate. Then he will choose another. Nothing can change his course, until one brave woman steps forwward. Shahrazad, the Storyteller's Daughter.
Steeped in the ancient art of her mother's people, Shahrazad embarks upon a perilous course. With words alone, she will seek to restore the king's heart. As she tells her tales a bond forms between them that neither can deny. But will it be strong enough to hold them together when unexpected danger erupts?

Beauty Sleep, Cameron Dokey
http://www.simonsays.com/assets/isbn/074342221X/C_074342221X.jpg
"LITTLE PRINCESS, LOVELY AS THE DAWN, WELL-NAMED AURORE..."
With these seemingly innocent words, the fate of a newborn princess is sealed. For years the king and queen despaired of ever having a child. When Aurore arrives, though the entire kingdom celebrates, not all are overjoyed. They use her christening as an occasion for revenge, and her young life is overshadowed by a curse of death almost as soon as it has begun. Those who can, intervene, but evil has a way of holding fast. A sleep of a hundred years following the pricking of a finger is the best that can be done.
And so Aurore grows up. Forbidden princesslike tasks of embroidery and sewing, she explores the great outdoors, reveling in the flora and fauna that surround her castle home. Then one day she meets a handsome stranger in an enchanted wood and begins an adventure the likes of which she never dreamed of.
This is the story of the Sleeping Beauty, here quite awake and given new voice. Taunted by fate, Aurore soon learns that although she cannot sidestep her own destiny, love itself is actually the most powerful magic of all.

Scarlet Moon, Debbie Viguie
http://www.simonsays.com/assets/isbn/0689867166/C_0689867166.jpg
Ruth's grandmother lives in the forest, banished there for the "evil" that the townsfolk believed she practiced. But if studying the stars, learning about nature, and dreaming of flying is evil, then Ruth is guilty of it too. Whenever Ruth took food and supplies to her grandmother, she would sit with the old woman for hours, listening and learning.
When she wasn't in the woods, Ruth was learning the trade of her father, a blacksmith, now that her brother would never return from the Crusades.
Amidst those dark days, a new man enters Ruth's life. William is a noble with a hot temper and a bad name, and he makes her shiver. But the young man is prey to his heritage, a curse placed on his family ages ago, and each male of the family has strange blood running in his veins. Now Ruth must come face-to-face with his destiny at Grandma's house

Midnight Pearls, Debbie Viguie
http://www.simonsays.com/assets/isbn/0689855575/C_0689855575.jpg
Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Aster a strange thing happened.
They say the prince married a girl who was not what she appeared and that another girl who saved the kingdom vanished without a trace. Some said it was witchcraft. Some said it was only a legend. For those who knew the truth, it was magic....
Rescued from the sea at an early age, Pearl grew up within sight of the water...and the castle. With her pale skin and silvery hair, she was an outcast in the village. Her only friend was a boy she met on the beach -- a young prince named James, who understood Pearl's desire just to be like everyone else.
Their friendship is viewed from afar by many: a disdainful king, Pearl's worried foster parents, a jealous young mermaid, a lovestruck merman, and the powerful sea witch. Now a storm brews in the kingdom, with a tidal force that could keep Pearl and James apart.

Snow, Tracy Lynn
http://www.simonsays.com/assets/isbn/0689855567/C_0689855567.jpg
In a tiny Welsh estate, a duke and duchess lived happily, lacking only a child -- or, more importantly, a son and heir to the estate. Childbirth ultimately proved fatal for the young duchess. After she died, the duke was dismayed to discover that he was not only a widower, but also father to a tiny baby girl. He vowed to begin afresh with a new wife, abandoning his daughter in search of elusive contentment.
Independent -- virtually ignored -- and finding only little animals and a lonely servant boy as her companions, Jessica is pale, lonely and headstrong...and quick to learn that she has an enemy in her stepmother. "Snow," as she comes to be known, flees the estate to London and finds herself embraced by a band of urban outcasts. But her stepmother isn't finished with her, and if Jessica doesn't take control of her destiny, the wicked witch will certainly harness her youth -- and threaten her very life....

From what I can tell, these appear to attempt to bridge the romance and young adult fields, currently, with an emphasis on the current trend of displaying body parts (a la Laurell Hamilton, but far more tastefully). I approve. I'd love to shake the hand of the editor at Simon Pulse who dreamed up these projects.

In any case, having just finished off reading and re-reading a bunch of ya / adult fantasies, including : The Nightingale by Kara Dalkey; a fistful of sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman; Briar Rose by Jane Yolen; BeautyRobin McKinley; The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen; The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli; and The Silver Crown by Robert C. O'Brien, what else might I be reading? (I'm still seeking out a cheap copy of Wicked mind you)

Sean