The first in a new trilogy set in medieval Rus’, The Bear and the Nightingale tells the story of Vasilisa Petrovna growing up in the northern forests with the ability to see the spirits and creatures that others believe to be only fairy tales. Conflict arises between Vasya (a pet name) and her new, devout stepmother, Anna, who refuses to follow the old pagan customs from the fairy tales Vasya loves and knows to be real.
Sarah J. Maas’s novel, A Court of Thorns and Roses, is a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The world is divided by an ancient treaty into two sections: human and fae. There is a magic wall that divides the realms. Feyre and her family live along that wall. They lost all their wealth, and rely solely on Feyre for survival. Feyre is out hunting when she kills what turns out to be a high fae, disguised as a wolf. That night a fae in beast form, Tamlin, comes to her house and demands her life for his friend’s. Feyre finds herself living in the luxurious fae Spring Court where she will have to live out her days, but all is not as it seems. Everyone at the estate has a masquerade mask on, which Feyre learns is a symptom of a much more serious problem, that she might be the answer to. Continue reading A Court of Thorns and Roses Review
If the names Anderson and Grimm ring a bell, you probably already know that their stories were cautionary tales detailing the most creative of punishments for disobedience. However, with the ever growing popularity of everything Disney, it’s hard to remember fairy tales being anything but happy. Today’s post seeks to amend this by drawing attention to three works that manage to find beauty in both light and darkness.
While the dark may not be your cup of tea, it certainly makes for some interesting twists and turns along the way.
Once again, I was starting to get curious about new and exciting museum exhibits. Upon completing a little research, I discovered that there are a host of shows around the country that look super promising!
Last time, I found a nifty exhibit at the Bata Shoe Museum that some of my friends and I were lucky enough to visit, and we’re already scheduling a trip for the summer of 2016 to visit another exhibit at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.
Fables, one of Vertigo’s most well-loved series, ends this month. The series, written by Bill Willingham, started in 2002, spawned three spin-off series, a crossover with Unwritten, a novel, and a video game. It has been a gateway drug to non-superhero comic books and a catalyst for change in the comic book industry. Willingham and Mark Buckingham, the series’ main artist, chose to end Fables with a giant last issue, Fables 150, or Volume 22, for those of you who read the trade paperbacks.
The book is two different entities: the end of the story currently unfolding and the last stories of a plethora of beloved characters. In Volume 21, readers started to get a few of these, “The last story of…” pages, and it was the perfect way to wrap up the series.
Disney released a trailer last week for their new live action Cinderella movie more or less based on their animated version. Yes, it looks beautiful. But plot wise, is it anything new? It honestly looks part like Disney’s animated film and part Ever After. The only thing about this movie that looked exciting to me is Helena Bonham Carter as Cindy’s Fairy God Mother. Who wouldn’t want that?!?!
Cinderella has proven to me time and again to be a really tough cookie in books, and I have no idea why this hasn’t translated to screen yet. Think about it: she lost both her parents and had to care for three selfish women for years. Not only would this give her crazy physical strength, it would also give her the toughest skin and patience to deal with anything. There are five books that I love way more than any film version of Cinderella (or t.v. OUAT, you did depressing things with your untapped well of Cinderella plot) I’ve seen.
With the recent release of the Into the Woods trailer, it’s a good time to reflect on the ways in which fairy tales have become such an integral part of our cultural mindset. They have always been a popular medium; from their roots as moralizing oral tales to their most well-known present form as the notoriously circumscribed adaptations of Disney, fairy tales have fascinated and enchanted audiences of all ages. They have created beloved characters and imparted lessons about the world around us – though all too often these characters and lessons are simplified to an extreme degree, resulting in stereotypes (passive princess, evil stepmother) and dichotomies (good/evil) that support harmful ideologies and show us a biased (most often against women) view of our society.
Better minds than mine have done extensive feminist literary criticism on the work of Jane Yolen, and a quick search of your public library’s databases (or even Google) can lead you to many resources. But I will give you a brief introduction, and suggest specific titles to seek out. Though neither as articulate nor quite the scholar as Jane herself, I offer my humble opinion. There are WAY too many to discuss them all in depth. I urge you to read them all yourself!
Jane was a young adult in the sixties, and as a liberal, feminist, and political activist, it is no surprise that her works display a feminist slant. She has explained in numerous interviews that she couldn’t write anything BUT strong female characters — it seems less a concerted effort than an ingrained philosophy. Her brand of feminism isn’t a simplistic reversal of gender stereotypes. She doesn’t just substitute a girl for a boy hero, leave boys out, or eschew love and romance, and doesn’t preclude men being heroes, too. Jane is a fully human woman who portrays her female characters, and her male ones, as fully human beings. Her female heroes are intelligent, clever, flawed, brave, scared, determined, strong, layered people (even when they are not human), navigating life in all its convolutions.
Continue reading Reading Jane — Sisters Doin’ it For Themselves
I love to read; it’s been a hobby of mine since I was a wee tot, and, while I’ll always enjoy a good novel full of interesting, well-developed characters, intriguing themes and an entertaining plot, I’ll never say no to a good short story or poem. It’s remarkable what sort of emotional impact of some artfully-composed stanzas can have, or how an intelligently-written narrative in prose can grip the reader despite its brevity.
In addition to her children’s and young adult books and tales, which range from factual to fictional, Jane Yolen has also crafted some incredibly thought-provoking and poignant little treasures in both her short stories and poetry; I’d like to share some of my favorites with you.
Neil Gaiman’s done it again.