Showing posts from April, 2020

The Final Season of She-Ra Is Upon Us

The fourth season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power ended on a massive cliffhanger with Adora rejecting the destiny of "the She-Ra" and destroying her enchanted blade that had been the source of her powers since the show began. Glimmer's shocking betrayal of her friends threw the magical world of Etheria into harm's way as Horde Prime made preparations to invade. The show has veered so far from its '80s predecessor that it's now anyone's game what might happen next. Today, DreamWorks released a new trailer depicting the epic scale of the fifth and final season, which will drop on Netflix on May 15th. Over the course of its roughly year-and-a-half-long run, this inspired reboot has struggled with some unnecessary filler seasons scattered throughout its otherwise brilliant on-going plot. If this trailer is any indication of what we are going to expect in two weeks, the new season will have little to no filler and focus entirely on the ramifications of …

Love Never Dies: A Tale of Two Musicals

This may seem like an unusual topic for my blog, but it felt appropriate after Andrew Lloyd Webber streamed The Phantom of the Opera for free last weekend followed by its sequel, Love Never Dies, this weekend as part of his The Shows Must Go On series. I had seen Phantom of the Opera twice on stage and watched this recording of Love Never Dies online when it was first released nearly a decade ago. I have strong feelings about both productions and how they demonstrate why making a sequel to a princess story is generally a bad idea. You might try to argue that Phantom is not a princess story, but Christine DaaĆ© is just as much of a musical theater princess as Johanna is in Sweeney Todd. She is a feminine ingenue who is gifted with a beautiful singing voice and coveted for her kindness and gentility by all who are fortunate enough to know her. Phantom of the Opera is a beautiful allegory for love and obsession and the complex psychological effects of physical deformities. Love Never Die…

Review: The Spoken Mage Series

Last year, I wrote a review of Voice of Power, the first book in Melanie Cellier's Spoken Mage series, and decided I wasn't engaged enough in it to read the rest. Then she released all four books at a discount, and I decided to put them aside until I felt the time was right to complete the rest of the series. That time came this week. The recent pandemic has us all locked away in our towers, and we now have more free time than ever before. Even though it had been over a year since I read the first book, I still remembered it vividly. The tale of a girl who can cast magic spells using only her voice in a world where the written word is the only way for most people to access power is hard to forget. I have to give Melanie Cellier credit for keeping each book fresh and interesting while maintaining the same overall tone. Still, I had many of the same issues with the other three books in the series as I did with the first one. I began reading The Spoken Mage because I was a fan of…

Everyone Is Singing Princess Songs!

In these tough times, we could all use a smile and a song to cheer ourselves up. Hollywood and Broadway are shut down right now, but the people behind them still want to bring joy to the world. That's why the past few days have been filled with beautiful musical performances for everyone with a computer to stream online from the comfort of their own homes. Various stage shows such as the Disney Cruise Lines adaptation of the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie and weekly recordings of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest hits that used to require an expensive ticket and carefully planned trip are now available to watch from the comfort of our own living room for free thanks to the magic of the internet and the generosity of entertainers. Many of the people who performed in these glorious productions still have the urge to entertain people from quarantine, so we were also treated to more recently recorded serenades of various Disney songs that follow the stay-at-home guidelines b…

Review: The Jinni Key

I dove right into The Jinni Keyafter I completed The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazadeh. This book is an adaptation of "The Little Mermaid," but it doesn't work as a standalone story as well as other series adaptations do. Instead of switching perspectives between the two new love interests, the book continues the story from Arie and Kadin's points of view from The Stolen Kingdom along with introducing us to Rena. As much as I liked this book, I would have loved to see some Gideon or Bosh chapters to offer more clarity and perspective on Rena's story. It also felt like Arie's story was dragged out into this book when it could have concluded in The Stolen Kingdom, but that's a minor gripe. I enjoyed The Jinni Key even more than The Stolen Kingdom overall since I'm a bigger fan of "The Little Mermaid" than "Aladdin."

The Jinni Key picks up right where The Stolen Kingdom left off except that now we see the point of view of the "Me…

Story Saturday: The Veiled Princess

"The Veiled Princess" Once upon a time, a princess was born while her kingdom was in the midst of a terrible plague. The royal healer was able to protect the newborn princess from the ailment, but sadly, the queen passed away shortly after. It was the queen's dying wish to name the infant princess Miri. The king loved his wife so much that he refused to ever marry again and was determined to make Miri the heir to the kingdom. Yet, he was concerned. The plague had taken the lives of so many. If he lost Miri, the kingdom would be without a successor. So the king did what he thought was best. Miri was locked away in a tower to avoid catching the illnesses of the outside world. To further ensure her safety, the king decreed an order that any servant who attended Miri in her tower must cover their face when they visit her, and she, in turn, must wear a veil that covers her nose and mouth in the presence of others. As a result, no one in the kingdom ever saw what Princess Mir…

Review: The Stolen Kingdom

The Stolen Kingdom is a retelling of "Aladdin" by Bethany Atazadeh. It was recommended to me by one of my readers. Praising it can feel a little self-indulgent due to the many coincidental similarities it has to my own book, The Stolen Jewel. That said, I found the setting and story of The Stolen Kingdom very enjoyable overall. Even though it focuses on the princess from the tale, it is not a gender-bent "Aladdin" retelling like Lucy Tempest's Thief of Cahraman trilogy. It switches to the "Aladdin" character, whose name in this version was Kadin, later in the story. Similar to the Tangled novelizations, the character whose perspective you're reading from changes depending on the chapter. This can get a little jarring because their inner voices weren't all that different even thought their personalities were. I had to go back a few times to check which character was telling the story in that chapter. Aside from that minor nitpick, it is a uniqu…

COVID-19 Updates from the Kingdoms

We've been locked in our towers for weeks now with no word from Mother Gothel on when we can go back outside. This is a hard time for everyone, including fairy tale princesses. If you've been too stressed to keep up with the ever-changing schedules for upcoming princess movies and events, don't worry. I've got you covered. As we all know, the Disney Parks are now closed indefinitely around the world. However, Disney cast members are being placed on furlough so they can still have a job after these uncertain times. Movie productions have been delayed as well. The live-action Mulan, which was supposed to come out in theaters on March 27th, is now set for theatrical release on July 24, 2020. Another upcoming princess remake, The Little Mermaidstarring Halle Bailey, has also halted production indefinitely. The project was supposed to start shooting earlier this month in London. There are photos circulating of a boat set in Pinewood Studios that has been temporarily abandon…

Review: Dagger's Sleep

Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink is the last book I had left to read from National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. It's the first in a series called Beyond the Tales, which seems to be similar to Aya Ling's Reversed Retellings in that they both contain gender-bent adaptations of popular fairy tales. Like Aya Ling's The Cursed PrinceDagger's Sleep is a gender-bent retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." Aside from the basic premise, the two books are different enough to enjoy separately. Dagger's Sleep is a more progressive take on the classic fairy tale. The setting is loosely Native American and incorporates some cultural and religious undertones. It was quite unique for a "Sleeping Beauty" retelling and uses some less popular aspects of the story, such as the 100 year passage of time.

The best way I can describe Dagger's Sleep is that it felt like a cross between Charles Perrault's "Sleeping Beauty" and Disney's Pocahontas. Prince…