Has Rapunzel Gone Goth?

It would be impossible for me to write this post without spoiling the latest episode, so go ahead and watch Rapunzel and the Great Tree if you haven't seen it yet before reading on. I was surprised that this hour-long episode was not promoted as a major special at all as far as I could tell. Rapunzel and the Great Tree was a crucial turning point in the plot and should have been treated as such. It brought back all of the things that we have been waiting since the season premiere to learn more about, such as the character of Adira, the significance of Varian's father, the meaning of the moon symbol next to the Sun Drop symbol on Adira's scroll, and the black rocks, which created the events that kicked off the series from the very beginning. Rapunzel and her friends are traveling to a place called the Dark Kingdom, which is where the mysterious rocks originate from. If that doesn't sound foreboding enough already, Disney also took some pretty big risks in the latest spe…

Review: The Princess and the Pea by A.G. Marshall

I was fortunate enough to receive a free ebook of The Princess and the Pea by up-and-coming fairy tale author A.G. Marshall from a promotion on Facebook. Since the book was named directly after the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, I was expecting a fairly direct adaptation. Instead, I was blown away by A.G. Marshall's originality. The book is a "fish out of water" story that delves into the creation of mythology and legend. The protagonist wakes up in another time that she knows nothing about, which allows the reader to explore this new world with her. I am a huge proponent of "fish out of water" stories, so the Fairy Tale Adventures series is one that I will be following closely from this point on.

A.G. Marshall's The Princess and the Pea tells the story of a girl named Lina who wields a magic ring and fights goblins in the shadow world. Due to a sleeping spell that allowed her to stay in the protect the world from some dangerous threats, she wakes up t…

Sequels and Remakes and Trailers, Oh My!

Is Disney ever going to slow down? You would think with all the live-action remakes and sequels that they are releasing this year, they would want to save something for the next year or two, but you would be wrong. It isn't enough that 2019 is jam-packed with live-action remakes and animated sequels because Disney announced last week that they are pushing up the release date for a sequel to one of their live-action remakes. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the next chapter to their 2014 flick that told the story of Sleeping Beauty from an new perspective, is coming this October. To be fair, Maleficent is different from Disney's other live-action remakes because it is not an unapologetic carbon copy that is doomed from to be inferior to the original from conception. With a script by the Disney Princess of screenwriting, Linda Woolverton, the movie puts a feminist spin on a fairly outdated tale about a damsel in distress who needed true love's kiss to restore her vitality. With…

Review: The Tower Princess

The Tower Princess by Shonna Slayton turns the Shakespearean story of "Romeo and Juliet" into a beautiful fairy tale. Outside of a certain famous Taylor Swift music video, Shakespeare is not the first place most writers turn to when looking to adapt a fairytale, so it was a breath of fresh air for me. Shonna is a huge fan of fairy tales in general and has a wonderful Facebook group for other fairy tale lovers. Her passion is clear in this book through her intricately fleshed out medieval world and original mythology surrounding it. The prologue alone told an expertly crafted fable that developed an intriguing backstory for the troubled kingdom of Morlaix and those who reside within it. Her poetic use of language and world-building drew me into the story before I even met the main characters.

The setting of The Tower Princess reminded me a bit of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Both stories have protagonists whose lands are blocked by a mysterious forbidden wall. In this story, t…

Rapunzel Is Back!

At long last, today marked the return of Tangled: The Series or Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure or whatever they've decided to call it this month. This show has a history of taking long breaks with no rhyme or reason. It's a shame because it's such an engaging series that surpasses some of Disney's previous movie spin-off shows by miles. The last episode to air until now was "Happiness Is..." which was over six months ago! Today's episode, "Peril on the High Seas" finally saw the main cast escape from the weird island they were trapped with the silly talking German leaves. After leaving its audience stranded at sea for so many months, Disney has finally thrown Rapunzel a bone. Instead of just one episode a week, most Sundays in March will boast two new episodes of the show, allowing us to quickly catch up with the rest of the second season. I assume this is due to their production schedule being so far ahead of the episodes that have actually a…

Review: Pathways

Pathways by Camille Peters is a new series of fairy tale adaptations that is currently on sale for $0.99. I couldn't argue with that price, so I decided to check it out. The book is loosely based on "Rumpelstiltskin" and "The Princess and the Pea." It's different from the other fairy tale novels I've been reviewing in this blog because it lacks the suspense and adventure that they had and focuses entirely on romance. In fact, the story has no villain at all and very little conflict, making it a slow read. It seems like something that would be right my alley with my love of princesses and romance, but none of the characters were particularly appealing, especially the love interest. By the end of the book, I had absolutely no desire to see Eileen get together with Aiden.

Like many princess stories, the main character in Pathways starts out as a peasant girl. Eileen is a skilled artist, a lot like Elaine from Goldheart, another "Rumpelstiltskin" …

The Little Mermaid Anniversary Edition Is the One You've Been Waiting for!

Back in 2006 when Disney released The Little Mermaid on Platinum Edition DVD, I wrote my concerns to their marketing department about the dim colors during certain pivotal scenes of the film's restoration as well as the lack of behind-the-scenes footage in their bonus features. A few years later, the film was restored again and released on Blu-ray for the Diamond Edition. That version cleaned up the colors and contained a few behind-the-scenes bonus features. However, I did not own a Blu-ray player at that time. Today, my ship has arrived because the PlayStation 4 I purchased to play Kingdom Hearts III on also works as a Blu-ray player, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy the latest Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release of The Little Mermaid. With Disney's marketing department on overdrive this year, there are three versions available of this release. The Target edition features exclusive cover art and a gorgeous booklet containing concept art, trivia about the film, and an illustra…

Review: Pirouette

I finally completed the third book in Kenley Davidson's Andari Chronicles, and I am pleased to say that Pirouette had everything I felt that the first book, Traitor's Masque, was lacking. Not only is it my favorite adaptation of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" that I've read so far, but it also boasts a disabled princess as the book's main heroine instead of making her a friend or supporting character. The biggest surprise to me after reading the other two books was that the world of the Andari Chronicles does indeed contain magic. It's just that no one in Andar knew about it because their kingdom had magic-blocking properties that they were unaware of. This opened up a whole new set of conflicts that made the story of Pirouette the most engaging, exciting, and suspenseful one in the series so far. I savored every paragraph and finished it wanting more.

Most adaptations of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" alter the original fairy tale by turning …

Review: Traitor's Masque

Traitor's Masque by Kenley Davidson is the first book in the Andari Chronicles. I enjoyed Goldheart, the second book, more than this one thanks to a more concise story and a more relatable protagonist. Traitor's Masque is an original adaptation of "Cinderella." It feels like I enjoy every consecutive "Cinderella" adaptation I read less each time because it's so overplayed. Every storyteller thinks they're being more unique than the last by incorporating a bunch of new twists and turns. If they really wanted to be original, they would use one of the hundreds of other fairy tales out there that hasn't already been adapted to death. That said, Kenley Davidson is still a fantastic author. She wrote A Beautiful Curse, which was my favorite book from the Entwined Tales series. Her Andari Chronicles stand out from similar series of fairy tale adaptation novels because she incorporates a more realistic spin. The world contains no magic and a wealth of k…

The Frozen 2 Hype Is Real

I had barely woken up this morning when I discovered that nearly all the fan blogs I follow had already posted an update about the trailer for the highly anticipated Frozen 2 before the sun had even come out. Either Disney is really good at building hype or most bloggers don't sleep. This movie has been teased since the last D23 Expo back in 2017, but the details were shrouded in mystery until today. A few images of Anna and Elsa's new look got leaked early, but today we were finally able to see where these leaked images came from. Wreck-It Ralph 2 played fun with the way Disney had been keeping this project under warps by teasing a preview of it after the credits and rickrolling the audience. The real teaser trailer pulls Frozen fans further down the rabbit hole of Arendelle by making us ask more questions than it actually answers. With its adrenaline-fueled score and lack of dialogue, it poses the question "What is Frozen 2 about?" See if you can figure it out bel…

What About Kairi?

*The following post contains spoilers for some of the final cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts III. For a less spoilery post, please refer to the review I posted last week.

Kairi is the only original Princess of Heart in the Kingdom Hearts series. She has been there since the very beginning when we saw her playing on the Destiny Islands with Sora and Riku. While Sora and Riku demonstrated enormous growth since the first game, Kairi still remains very much static. It's been 13 years since the first game, but her role still follows many of the same outdated tropes as much older video game princesses. While being a damsel in distress is not necessarily as bad as it's cracked up to be, a princess character does need to have some sort of redeeming quality to make up for her lack of physical prowess. For Cinderella, it was her unwavering loyalty to her stepfamily and her late mother despite the tragic events of her life that would have turned anyone else into a bitter cynic. For Snow White

Review: Kingdom Hearts III

Thirteen years after the release of Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts III is finally available for us to peruse. With over a decade of buildup and hype, this game is a massive undertaking both to play and to review. There's just so much of it. There are a lot of cutscenes, a lot of new abilities, a lot of Disney characters, a lot of hidden Mickeys, and a whole lot of backstory to catch up on if you haven't played all nine of the previous games in the series. It's just a lot in general. Fortunately, Kingdom Hearts III definitely lives up to all the hype. It is beautiful, emotional, and fun to play, but because of its enormous scope, it never lets the player take a breath. Between the endless array of minigames and the endless array of bonus abilities popping up on your screen during battles, it's very difficult to find time to sit back and enjoy the rich and tranquil environments of the Disney movies that you are playing in. For the purposes of this review, I will be fo…

Breathtakingly Tranquil Princess Environments

A common misconception among princess haters is that princesses and the people who admire them are selfish and greedy because they live in a castle and have enough money to get anything they want. True fans know that this isn't the case. Princesses from fantasy worlds are portrayed as kind and selfless and often want to escape the confines of their castle or tower. This desire for freedom often brings them to the most beautiful secluded environments of peace and serenity. Disney's 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty set the standards for this with its gorgeous anamorphic background paintings of rectangular trees and woodland creatures who feel right at home alongside the lovely Briar Rose, who embraces the tranquility of her little cottage in the woods. Since then, princesses have often been associated with flowers and nature as a reflection of their own natural beauty and innocence.

Recently, I discovered a Chinese drama on Netflix called Ashes of Love that brilliantly port…