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Review: The Princess (Hulu)

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The Princess  has arrived on Hulu. Due to my exceeding low expectations for this stereotypical modern princess movie , it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. There were some contrived themes about overcoming the patriarchy  and women being stronger than men , but the protagonist was surprisingly relatable thanks to Joey King 's stellar performance. Although  the trailer gave a good baseline of what to expect, there were a few things that were misleading such as the irreverent comedy aspect, which was heavily downplayed in the actual film. I appreciated that the movie took itself more seriously than the trailer led me to believe. There's nothing ironic or innovative about seeing a delicate-looking woman kick everyone's ass in a modern film. It was the more serious elements that provided an opportunity to enjoy at least some parts of The Princess . Someone working on this film thought it would be a great idea not to give the main character a name, and I think that w

Review: Time Princess - Hela's Compass

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Hela's Compass is the shorter of the two visual novels that were released this month in Time Princess . In a surprising change of pace, this was not another story about demons . Instead, it opens up a new cross genre that combines science fiction and Norse mythology. The book is only one chapter long, which is a shame because there could have been a lot to unpack within these two genres. The shorter format made it felt rushed and difficult to follow at times. I loved the whimsical world and costumes as well as the fact that it was the first story in a while in this game to incorporate royalty, this time in relation to gods and goddesses like they did with  Helen of Sparta . This story could have been even more enjoyable than it already is if more time and effort had been put into it. Hela's Compass is about a navigator named Kelly who works on a futuristic ship called the Iron Wyvern that shares the unfortunate fate of the Titanic. Kelly embarks on a quest with her crewmates,

Review: Love of the Sea

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Love of the Sea  by Lauren Masterson  is an indie mermaid princess book I learned about through Twitter. As an ardent love of "The Little Mermaid," I decided to check it out. Even though it isn't a fairy tale adaptation, it has more in common with "The Little Mermaid" than other original mermaid boos I've read such as Rescue Sirens , The Tail of Emily Windsnap , or Deep Blue . Unlike these stories, which contain little to no romance,  Love of the Sea  is about a mermaid who falls in love with a human and visits his kingdom in the hopes of winning him over. However, there are a few key differences between this novel and the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. In Love of the Sea , the mermaid princess intends to recruit the human prince to rule her underwater kingdom and become part of her world instead of the other way around. I found the story to be a bit lacking in the romance department, but the world-building was exceptional. Princess Asrai has been hid

Netflix Is Adapting The School for Good and Evil, So I Read the First Book!

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The School for Good and Evil  is a middle grade book series released in 2013 with a similar plot to Ever After High  and Descendants  and with all the ambition of Harry Potter . Considering how popular this fairy tale-inspired series seems to be, I'm surprised I never heard of it until a little over a week ago when I learned that Netflix is turning it into a movie . Perhaps one of the reasons it was so overlooked is its super generic title, which sounds like it could be about literally anything. Most fictional stories are about the battle between good and evil. A better title would have been The School for Princesses and Witches , which would have been more eye-catching to lovers of fairy tales. Maybe the vagueness is good, though, since this book contains many horror elements that could scare off young fairy tale aficionados or particularly sensitive older ones like myself. When I began reading The School for Good and Evil , I had many questions that were mostly resolved by the en

Review: Time Princess - Miss Kitty's Antiques

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At this point, I think the game should change its name from Time Princess to Time Demon because it has a significantly higher number of stories about demons ( but not the evil kind ) than princesses, the latest one being no exception. Miss Kitty's Antiques begins as a murder mystery  and evolves into a story about ancient Japanese mythology. I was surprised by many of the twists and turns it took and pleased with the touching romance. The main character is a cat yokai, which  means she is a cat spirit who can transform into a human, and she has some kawaii over-the-top cat-inspired outfits to match. Lady Mangetsu is a cat spirit posing as a human who runs an antique shop as a cover for her quest to find the Origin Pearl to save her dear friend, Yuta, a ninetails fox yokai. Her life is already pretty interesting before she gets framed for murder when she discovers a dead body. The first half of the book is set up like a typical murder mystery, but the plot takes a drastic turn in

Review: Court of Swans

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Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson  is a book that was recommended to me a long time ago that I just got around to reading it. I was impressed by Melanie's vast array of fairy tale retellings , especially as a traditionally published author. Her books are classified as Christian Fiction, which gives her a pass for telling more traditional versions of these stories instead of the obligatory contemporary spin  that requires women to become warriors and swear off men. What makes her books unique is that they retell these stories from a historical perspective of how they could have actually happened. The magical elements have been removed and replaced with metaphorical interpretations. It was interesting how she retold the story of "The Wild Swans" without anyone transforming into a swan. This book takes place in 14th century London and tells the story of a young woman named Delia whose brothers were arrested by the king on false charges. As the only one who was not placed

Love After World Domination Flips the Modern Princess Trope on Its Head!

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What if princesses were not daughters of kings, but members of an army trained for the destruction of mankind? That would explain why they are always  such powerful fighters these days. The new anime series  Love After World Domination  does just that, but with a twist. It has a  Power Rangers -inspired setting with a plot reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet . In the same way that Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle  parodies the trope of princesses getting kidnapped, this anime takes the modern trope of princesses being skilled warriors  and takes it in an unexpected direction. That's just one of the reasons that Love After World Domination is my favorite new anime this season. The show starts like any other Power Rangers series with a team of five color-coded warriors (sentai) fighting against a female-led legion of monsters. It is then revealed that this rivalry is a ruse, at least on the part of the Red Ranger, Fudo, and the opposing Reaper Princess, Desumi. Though Desumi is a pow

First Trailer for The Princess

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It's been nearly two months since the official announcement that The Princess  is coming to Hulu on July 1st, and we finally have our first trailer. It looks, well... pretty much exactly how it sounded in the original press release. The trailer is filled with snark about how this is an R-rated princess movie. The tone is reminiscent of Shrek , even  using the song "Bad Reputation,"  which was also featured during a key scene in Dreamworks' princess parody . The discrepancy here is that Shrek  was released during a time when fairy tales were clean and princesses were gentle , so it was a fresh take on the genre in the year 2001. The Princess  is being released in 2022, a year when butt-kicking princesses have become the standard , yet the trailer presents it as an irreverent novelty. The first 30 seconds of The Princess  trailer begin with fairy tale imagery (or the closest thing they could find in this film) with a narration that states "Once upon a time in a ma

Review: Spindle Fire Duology

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There are few books that I would equate the experience of reading to physical torture, but Spindle Fire  and Winter Glass  by Lexa Hillyer managed to accomplish just that. I would never have expected to dislike an adaptation of "Sleeping Beauty"  so much after reading so many good ones , and yet here we are. It isn't that Ms. Hillyer doesn't know how to write. Indeed, it's quite the opposite. She seems to think of writing as a way to show off her impressive array of the English language and very little else. With no sense of story structure, the plot and characters in these books fall to the wayside, leaving no motivation on the reader's part to complete them. I received both books from the Spindle Fire  duology as a gift and felt obliged to finish them for the sake of completion but took no pleasure in this task. Spindle Fire  is a re-imagining of "Sleeping Beauty" in which the cursed princess, Aurora, has a half-sister named Isbe. Isbe is blind be

Review: Time Princess - Gourmet's Journey

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The latest visual novel in Time Princess  is an interesting concept. However, it has little new to offer compared to the other stories in the app. Gourmet's Journey is a cooking-related story that takes place in ancient China. This is the fourth Chinese story in the game, and all of them are about spirits befriending the protagonist . I realize must be a common element of Chinese mythology and storytelling, but after seeing it so many times in a game with such a large variety of other stories and cultures, it is beginning to feel trite. The cooking aspect adds something new with tantalizing descriptions of delicious delicacies and spices that I wouldn't recommend reading about if you're hungry. The clothing was pretty, but not too different from what we've seen in the other Chinese stories so far. Players enter this book as Lai Wanzhou, a young chef who studied food preparation, cooking, and presentation under her father. One day, her father went to work at the palace

Review: Ever Cursed

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Ever Cursed  by Corey Ann Haydu  reinforces the reasons that I enjoy indie fairy tale books more than books released by mainstream publishers over the past decade or so. This book was released by Simon and Schuster , a very well-known publisher of both juvenile and adult books that I used to read often when I was a child. Yet, it is so woke and borderline inappropriate--even for teenagers--that I'm shocked they would allow such a story to sit on bookshelves in the Young Adult section of stores. Maybe shocked isn't the right word. I'm  disenchanted with the modern mainstream portrayal of fairy tales in general. Like most contemporary media, this book contains a clear political message that is stronger than the plot or characters who reside within it. One of the most common criticisms of classic fairy tale princess stories is that they are misogynist . Princesses are always targets , witches and queens are always evil , and brave heroes always save the day . Over time, thes

Is This Snow White's New Look?

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I thought I said everything I had to say about Disney's upcoming remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  starring Rachel Zegler  until  this set leak happened and took the internet by storm. While I'm no stranger to set leaks , this one really takes the cake. Maybe it's the lighting in these shots, Rachel's unfinished hairstyle in the process of being set, or her unnatural expression, but something seems very off about these photos. Can you spot it? It's probably the bright yellow skirt. As accurate of a depiction this is to the dress Snow White wore in the original animated film, these colors are horrendously bright and do not look good on our young actress at all. Don't worry, though. I'm sure they'll fix it with CGI. Rachel Zegler sports a surprisingly screen accurate rendition of Snow White's iconic dress with a blue bodice, white collar, yellow skirt, and red teardrop-shaped accepts on the puffed sleeves. And yet, it looks wrong. Could it