Retold Fairy Tales

Book Review: After Alice

Author
Maguire, Gregory
Rating
1 star = Yuck!
Review

The book follows Ada (Alice's friend who does rate a mention in the original) as she tumbles down the rabbit hole after Alice (see what Maguire did there?). In between chapters about Ada in Wonderland, we follow the goings on of Ada and Alice's families above ground. I wanted the book to be Alice in Wonderland meets Downton Abbey, and that is definitely not what I got. The parts in Wonderland were ok, though Ada's character was never developed, and as such, I didn't actually care if she was stuck in a zoo forever with the White Queen or whatever. The above ground parts were painfully boring - even though Maguire added Darwin as a character, which could have been fascinating! We basically follow various housekeepers and Alice's sister Lydia as they traipse around searching for the lost children. Exciting it was not. There was also a ton of completely pointless social commentary - for example, its not exactly shocking that there would be lots of racists in Victorian England.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, Maguire writes as though he's just ingested a thesaurus.

This is the second Maguire book that I've read and hated (I was not very fond of Wicked either), so I believe it will be my last. 1 star.

Reviewer's Name
Britt

Book Review: Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein

Author
Hemphill, Stephanie
Rating
1 star = Yuck!
Review

Hideous Love is a verse novel about the life of Mary Shelley, the woman who wrote the iconic Frankenstein. Mary Shelley ran away with her lover, Percy Shelley and traveled around Europe, getting inspiration from the scenic surroundings for her writing.
Mary Shelley had led a very interesting life full of tragedy and drama and with award-winning Stephanie Hemphill writing it, it'll be great, right?
Ha... no. All I got was disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Reading Hideous Love was a chore. I kept on thinking it would get better, but it didn't happen.
The poems were choppy and I feel like Stephanie Hemphill just tried to make her sentences as short as possible, put them in a pile, and called it poetry.
Horrible Love didn't even scratch the surface of the emotions Mary Shelley must have felt, I couldn't relate to her at all; it was hard not to skim through the poems. I can't help but think that Hemphill didn't even try putting any structure or effort in her novel. A few poems in Hideous Love were written fairly well, but that meager amount can't make up for all of the rest of those tedious and boring poems.The verse novel was mostly about Mary Shelley worrying about the faithfulness of her husband and her actual writing was just tacked on there like an afterthought.
I don't recommend this to anyone, and Hideous Love is possibly the worst book I have ever had the misfortune of reading. The Wikipedia article on Mary Shelley was more interesting and gave more information.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Miriam X

Book Review: Egg & Spoon

Author
Maguire, Gregory
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

Elena is a peasant living in Miersk, a village in Russia. Ekaterina is a noble that was passing through Miersk on her way to a ball. Due to an unfortunate accident, Elena and Ekaterina switch places and need to set things right again.
I first took notice of Egg & Spoon because of the aesthetic of the cover. I was about to choose not to read it after seeing the summary, but then I saw that it was written by Gregory Maguire, so I decided against not reading it.
The writing style is truly beautiful, and I can't really find the right words to describe it, which is frustrating, to say the least. To me, the story is slightly reminiscent of having a (very long) conversation with someone; it kind of goes off into tangents, it gets unusually descriptive on small things that don't really matter, and it talks about a little bit about everything. I find that really enjoyable, but for some people, it can seem long and tedious. I had to really concentrate while reading it because I kept on admiring how amazing the writing was instead of actually processing what was happening.
The characters were incredible! Everyone had different and unique personalities and reacted to things differently. I found all of them quite charming in their own ways. They all just had so much character!
The humor had me dying of laughter and really lightened the mood of the whole story.
One thing I didn't like about the novel was its pacing. Everything happened too slowly, and I was always waiting for something to happen to push the story along; Egg & Spoon is definitely not for impatient people, especially since it has almost 500 pages. It was really hard to get through.
Egg & Spoon was based off of Russian folklore and really gave off a fairy tale vibe, which is always a plus.
Egg & Spoon is definitely not for everyone, but, in my opinion, it was phenomenal.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Miriam X

Book Review: Cinder

Author
Meyer, Marissa
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Linh Cinder is unusual. Her stepsisters and stepmother hate her. Her best friend is an android. Oh, and she’s a cyborg – and she wants to go to the ball. Politics, adventure, and a deadly plague all play roles in this book.

Cinder was fun and exciting. Cinder is a protagonist you can really root for. Prince Kai is complex and interesting – he’s more than just the love interest. Queen Levana is a great creepy villain. The futuristic sci-fi world of New Beijing is expansive and really quite interesting. The plot moved at a very fast pace.

I only have one complaint: the plot twists were a little predictable. But, besides that, it is a fun and interesting book! I have yet to read the rest of the series, but I really think they’re going to be spectacular based on what I’ve seen from this awesome book.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name
Gillian P.

Book Review: Cinder

Author
Meyer, Marissa
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This is one of my favorite book series of all time. Overall, it is a mix between star wars and princesses, perfect for both genders. Rather than set in the past like Cinderella, though, Cinder lives in the future. International affairs on Earth are not so much a problem as the impending war with the Lunars, ruled by Queen Levana. Cinder and Prince Kai have to squash their feelings for each other for more serious matters such as the epidemic spreading quickly across the world as well as how to keep Levana happy, in order to prevent a war against all of Earth. Read this book for an epic, unique dystopian along with a fantastic, surprising ending.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Madison H.

Book Review: Fairest

Author
Meyer, Marissa
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

This book focuses on the main antagonist of The Lunar Chronicles series: Levana, before she became the queen of Luna. This book explains many things that were mentioned in The Lunar Chronicles, and shows Levana’s journey from an unfortunate youth into the powerful queen. It was interesting to see the world through the younger Levana’s eyes, and understanding her past. This book also describes drastic steps she took in order to become the ruler of Luna. The setting for the story, the moon, was described and built from a unique perspective, which made it interesting to see Earth from the moon’s.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Camille A.

Book Review: Cinder

Author
Meyer, Marissa
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Similar to the old tale, Cinderella, Cinder follows a cyborg with a mysterious past. Living with a horrible family, much like Cinderella, in the midst of the blue fever, she works as a mechanic and considers herself as useless as her family accuses her of being. That is, until she meets Prince Kai and the Lunar people. What follows is a love story of unbelievable proportions, with action and climax, and every chapter a cliff hanger. A must read for the lovers of the old Cinderella and anyone who wants to experience the story coming back to life in a way that is wholly unexpected.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Alyxandra S.

Book Review: Far Far Away

Author
McNeal, Tom
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This is and isn't your typical fairy tale. It is haunting, but not because Jacob Grim is the narrator ghost that only Jeremy can hear. Jeremy's mother may or may not be dead, a child may or may not be missing, the sheriff may or may not be evil, the baker may or may not be jolly, the girl may or may not be gotten and it may or may not have a happy ending. But read it and see if you can predict what happens in Far Far Away...

Reviewer's Name
Renee

Book Review: Serafina's Stories

Author
Anaya, Rudolfo
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Serafina's Stories shares the folklore of the southwest through the story telling template of Scheherazade's One Thousand and One Nights. Rudolfo Anaya focuses on the time of the Pueblo revolt against the Spanish Conquistadores. The captured Serafina weaves tales from both Pueblo and Spanish tradition that illuminate the similarites and differences of the peoples struggling to coexist in the same land.

Reviewer's Name
Maria