Tag Archives: retelling

Manga Review: Wonderland by Yugo Ishikawa

Seven Seas
October 30th 2015
180 Pages

Teenage girl Yukko awakens to find that she has shrunken in size–but this is no rabbit hole or fairy tale–this is real life! In a desperate and bloody struggle to stay alive, while fleeing giant predators and other twisted dangers, Yukko learns that she is not the only person who has turned tiny.

Can she survive long enough to learn the truth behind her curious transformation?- Goodreads

This is a Alice in Wonderland retelling. But it is no where near your typical retelling. Yukko is the focus of this manga with Alice, technically, the side character (I only read the first volume, so that may be subject to change).

The story takes place in the modern world and Yukko wakes up tiny. She comes to find out her parents are tiny as well as the people of her neighborhood. From the time she wakes up, it is a battle to survive. At first, I thought this manga was going The Borrowers route and I honestly wouldn’t have been mad at that (its a classic movie to me). However, I am glad it didn’t go that route.

This manga is a bit dark. What makes it dark is reading how humanity reacts to this issue. Yeah, you see death. Yeah, there is an emotional pull and yes, you see blood. But you expect some really messed up cover-up from the government but what you don’t expect is how the people around you react. I mean maybe you do but it still isn’t pretty to look at.

In regards to artwork, there is nothing special well let me rephrase. . .  nothing groundbreaking about it. Its good, do not get me wrong but the artwork didn’t caught me; only the story.

The pace of the novel is A+ It moves fast enough where the reader doesn’t feel like the author is adding a lot of fluff and oddly enough the first volume gives you a lot of background information. It is a really good balance and keeps the read interested.

Overall, I liked this manga and plan on continuing it.

3 Pickles

Book Review: A Grimm Legacy (Grimm Tales #1) by Janna Jennings

Patchwork Press
Published Jan 20th 2018
304 Pages

Enchanted castles and charming princes thought to exist only in stories come to life in this classically twisted fairy tale that combines the timeless quality of folktales with the challenges of the modern world. 

The woods of Elorium appear ordinary to Andi… until the birds start to talk and elves answer doors. Whisked out of her world along with three strangers, Andi finds herself the reluctant guest of Mr. Jackson, a perplexing millionaire who claims to be able to help them get home. The secrets he harbors, however, make it difficult to know just who to trust. 

When the group of teenagers discover that in this new world, fiction is anything but, and that they all have unexpected family ties to this fairy tale land, they must learn to rely on each other. The only way to survive evil fairies and giants intent on keeping them in Elorium is to rely on each other. 

Faced with characters short on whimsy and bent toward treachery, Andi, Quinn, Fredrick, and Dylan are forced to play their parts in unfinished fairy tales. But in Elorium, happily ever after is never guaranteed.- Goodreads

This was a wildly creative spin on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and I am for it. Without giving too much away, because for whatever reason with this read it is so easy to do that, these teens are pulled into this world and are connected to each other and the world in some way. It isn’t as obvious as you think it is and I thought that it was really great that the author was able to hide that for so long.

Was there predictability? Absolutely. Did it take away from the book? Yes . . . I say that because without it, this would have been a stronger book.

The book is told in four points of view (each teen). However, some teens have a strong voice than the other. It is as if the author decided although they would all have a voice Andi and Fredrick would be the stronger ones. I felt that this was a weak point because it felt unbalanced. I enjoyed the heck out of reading each voice but it was clear who was favored within this story.

What I would have wanted from this book was more about the world. It wasn’t as detailed as I think it could have been and it was glossed over for the most part. I wanted something rich, bright and something that stands out in the setting. There wasn’t enough.

The author added a lot to the characters but didn’t follow through on those emotions and actions. I am hoping that in book two, she was able to do so. These kids are 16 ( I am pretty sure) so there was things that the author could have took the time to dig deeper on but again hoping that time was put in for book two.

Overall, I thought this was a solid story.

3 Pickles

 

Book Review: Wonder by Christina C. Jones

Warm Hues Creative
Published Jan 22nd 2019
238 Pages

It all came down to me. 

The one who followed the rules, never went looking for trouble – I kept to myself. I just wanted to take care of my family. To not constantly look over my shoulder, worried about the things that went bump in the night. 

I just wanted to survive. 

But that wasn’t meant to be. 

As luck – or fate, or something – would have it, the trouble found me. 

I followed a rabbit through the wreckage of a half-ruined world to get back what was mine, and wound up at the end of it. 

In Wonderland. 

But there’s nothing magical about it. – Goodreads

Now the summary you see above gives you vibes of a cliche story about Alice in Wonderland in a post apocalyptic world. This book is far from a cliche and one of the best Alice in Wonderland retellings I have read in a very long time.

Let’s start with the obvious. How did the author incorporate the classic story into her own? She did it without sucking the life out of her own story. There are a lot of subtle things from the original story that if you aren’t fully familiar with, you will not get it.

For instance, Alice is a woman named Aly (Alyson), the Mad Hatter is a man named Mad (Maddox), Chester is a woman named Ches (Franchesca) and the Queen is a woman named Ruby.

Are there other references to Alice in Wonderland, yes there are but the names didn’t click for me, minus Aly, until after I finished the book and began to rethink the book. And when they did click, I couldn’t stop smiling. I love when authors do little things like this because they turn out to big things.

The incorporation of Alice in Wonderland to the author’s own story was tastefully done. The author stayed true to the story she wanted to tell by adding elements from Alice in Wonderland that enhance what she wanted to portray as opposed to drowning you in  scenes you are familiar with. Alice in Wonderland was what caught my attention to read the book but it wasn’t why I kept reading.

What really blew me away were the characters. Let me first off start by saying, I loved Aly and Mad together. Their attraction for each other grew into something and I was all for it. They were real with each and understanding and the passion they had for each other was on a omg level that we can only strive for in our life lol

I also loved the fact that they remained two individual people coming together as opposed to being Aly and Mad all the time; that whole smothering thing can be super annoying to read.

But what stole the show was Ches & Ruby. They were two of the best women I have read in a very very long time. For the first time ever, I was rooting for the Queen. Ruby is badass and I was so ready to hate her. I was waiting for her to mess up, to ruin everything but at the end of the day I wanted to be her friend.

In regards to Ches, I liked her but like Chester the Cat, she was a complicated soul. I was hoping that the author would give more details about Ches because the author was going around her back story. It wasn’t until the end that I was like OH! Things were implied and even at the end they weren’t bluntly stated and you know what? I am alright with that. Again, this was tastefully done.

The story is told in Aly’s point of view as well as Mad’s. I wouldn’t have enjoyed it any other way. I literally can go on and on about this book, so if you read it and want to chat about it let me know because I am in love.

5 Pickles. 

Book Review: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Imprint
TBP Sept. 25, 2018
384 Pages

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally. – Goodreads

I am at the point in my life that I will read almost anything written by a Black (African American) author in the fantasy genre. I don’t see enough of it, specifically YA, and so I jump at every chance to read it. I was excited for this book. Once I was approved for it, I started reading it instantly. I couldn’t finish this book. It was just not for me and here is why:

The author tries way to hard to make Alice relevant to what is currently going on in the world. From the shootings, to White people and pumpkin spice, the author adds these things in the book and all I could think about was

30 Rock Hello GIF

They didn’t fit but I understand why the author did it. To me, she wanted to make the story realistic even though it is considered fantasy. She wanted Alice to be relate able to African American girls and I could get that. It just didn’t work for me.

Another issue I had with this read was Alice herself. She was uninteresting. She didn’t have any real spark or personality. She would have just been another around the way girl, if it wasn’t for her connection to Wonderland. This is not to say that a plain girl can’t do amazing and interesting things. It literally happens all the time in real life as well as fictional but as much as I feel for Alice about what happened to her in her personal life, I couldn’t actually tell you who she is after that.

Finally, Wonderland. The thing about authors, who do a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, is they try to lay on the crazy, the riddles as much as possible. Ms.McKinney is no different. I just feel like as I was reading the book. . . it wasn’t captivating me. I wasn’t interested and I kept trying since I was approved for the book.

I am not saying that others may not enjoy this book. This book has gotten rave reviews. Its just isn’t for me.

Overall,

1 Pickle

Book Review: Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

Candlewick Press
TBP July 10, 2018
352 Pages

They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier’s cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside.

But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell.- Goodreads

This book has been on my tbr 2018 edition since I heard about it last year. So when I got approved for an arc via Netgalley, I put everything down to take a stab at it.

Man, was I disappointed.

About 30% through the book, I couldn’t stand Lucie’s voice anymore. I understand her revenge and her wanting to see how the revenge plays out. I even understand her slight mercy. But she has this tone that becomes redundant. When she sees the beast changing and becoming the “person” she hoped the Chevalier would have been, she fights with herself to stay mad, to stay hateful. After what he did, it shouldn’t take a whole lot to state in hate mode. I actually was surprised by the change of heart. Yes, they were technically two different people but how Lucie was able to look at the beast and not remember what he has a human had done…. I have no idea.

The book moves fast enough. It doesn’t take a lot of time for you to see his transformation to a beast and to a likeable beast. The story begins off one way but then you’re literally disguised how quickly it turns left. The author wrote a very intense scene, that I had to put the book down for a moment to regain my composure. This is why I didn’t understand how Lucie was able to jump ship.

But what I really enjoyed about this book was how the author spun this retelling. The point of view, Lucie, is completely different from what I have read. She is literally the third party to the classic fairy tale and it was interesting to see her point of view. However, for a story about revenge, there wasn’t enough intensity and anger that I had hoped for.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read but it could have better.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Flatiron Books
TBP: Sept. 5th, 2017
400 Pages

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass.

When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina.

Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all. -Goodreads

This is a Snow White retelling and it doesn’t become apparent til about half way through the book. I do not have any issue with this at all because this book was a really surprising and good read.

Before dipping into the story, there needs to be an appreciation for how the author was able to use magic within this story. It wasn’t a run of the mild magic as stated in the summary one girl has a heart of glass while the other is made of snow. The magic in this story isn’t slap in your face from beginning and end but it was powerful and there was always a thin layer of when the explosion is coming. I liked that about this book; although it had a slow start once Mina’s voice got stronger the book picked up.

I liked Mina better than Lynet. Mina was stronger, she wasn’t sheltered nor did she whine a lot. Mina has a purpose and eventually Lynet finds hers and she does become a different person but there is a strength about her that still isn’t there especially compared to Mina.

But what I really enjoyed about this book was the relationship between Mina and Lynet. There is love… genuine love between them as a mother and daughter and it was everything that I wanted in any Snow White retelling especially in the book “Fairest of All” by Serena Valentino. I really really loved seeing their relationship from the beginning to the end (I guess).

The romance in the story was alright. I would have appreciate more love and less obligation. It wasn’t a strong or even close to the mother daughter fierceness. Therefore, I didn’t feel that the romance was love and more something new,

Overall, this book is creative, I loved how it references the original fairy tale but it isn’t the original fairy tale. Although it started off slow, when it picked up, it got good.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

TBP: Dec. 18, 2017
380 Pages

Alainn’s father has good intentions. As a genius inventor, he is hired to create a robot for a picky client. This is a mistake. Rose, who looks like Alainn is not a robot pretending to be human but is much more. 

To save her father from going to prison, Alainn takes Rose’s place believing that her life will be nothing but serving the reclusive billionaire until a replacement is built. But nothing about this is as easy or black and white, Alainn hopes it to be. 

*Short Review*

I don’t really care for Beauty and the Beast. It is not one of those fairy tale movies that I actually feel is any good. However, I do love a good retelling of it. But this book wasn’t a love for me. Creative but not a love.

I liked this book because it focuses technology to the fullest. Robots are the thing of now and the future and the idea of robots no longer following their program is something you see constantly in the movies. I appreciated this in book, although there were times I found it myself rolling my eyes because it was s stretch that she can pass for a robot.

What I didn’t like about this book and what ultimately made me give it a low score was the fact that the author was trying too hard to make it real. Building the robot and having her not fulfill her intention that is real but having a human, who is loud, not that bright and emotional. The writing overall seemed really basic and although I really enjoyed the idea behind this story, nothing in me believes it was executed in its best form.

2 Pickles