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Showing posts from 2023

Is Disney Retconning Their Little Mermaid (Again)?

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We have to wait a bit longer than initially anticipated for the new trailer of  Disney's live-action remake of  The Little Mermaid . To ease the wait, fans were treated to a surprise yesterday in the form of an excerpt from the upcoming prequel novel , Against the Tide  by J. Elle . Typically, books like these are considered side stories that don't need to fit perfectly with the main canon of the films, but that would be difficult in this case. It would be impossible for the little that has been revealed of this book not to have any effect on the upcoming May 26th film release. So much of it is different from what Disney has already established about Ariel's backstory in both the prequel series and the 2006 direct-to-DVD movie, Ariel's Beginning , which already contradict each other to an extent. According to this upcoming novel, Ariel and her sisters are granted responsibilities as Protectors of various territories in the sea as teenagers, which would make her later

Review: Princess Power (Netflix)

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Princess Power  is a new animated Netflix series for preschoolers based on the celebrity-endorsed picture book Princesses Wear Pants . I would like to state up front that I am definitely not the target audience for this series, but there has not been a new American animated princess series in at least three years, so we're doing this one. To be fair, one of my favorite shows of all time, Sofia the First  has the same target age group, but I would argue that series was written with a wider breadth of audience in mind because it spent so much more time than it needed to on worldbuilding, music, and character development. Princess Power is a lot more obvious about its demographic, and that's fine, but as a result, it has little to offer for adults, parents, or older kids. Princess Power focuses on four girls from the "fruitdoms," whose names all start with the same letter as their kingdom's fruit. Penny comes from the Pineapple Kingdom, Rita from the Raspberry Kingdo

Review: Song of Ebony (Singer Tales)

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From the cover alone, it's clear that Song of Ebony  is a creative take on your average "Snow White" retelling. Instead of the traditional skin as white as snow and hair as black as ebony, this story presents a protagonist with skin as black and ebony and hair as white as snow. This rare combination insinuates innate supernatural abilities like Storm from the X-Men . The unique properties of this book go beyond mere aesthetics. Deborah Grace White 's earlier books were somewhat generic fantasy stories, which is why I never read past the first book in her Kingdoms series of fairy tale anthologies. Since then, she has really managed to hone her craft, especially with her top-notch mermaid series, The Vazula Chronicles  that I've been shamelessly recommending to anyone who likes mermaids. When I found out that Deborah was starting a new fairy tale anthology called The Singer Tales , I couldn't wait to find out what was in store. Song of Ebony  is the premiere b

How Andrew Lang's Fairy Books Started the Princess Craze

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Though it feels like fairy tales have been around forever, the popular versions that we know today have actually only been circulating in English-speaking countries for a little over a hundred years. Much of this is thanks to a name that we rarely hear associated with fairy tales, Andrew Lang . Lang didn't write any fairy tales himself, but he was one of the first people to translate stories from the Brothers Grimm , Hans Christian Andersen , Charles Perrault , Madame d"Aulnoy , and others into English to introduce them to a wider audience of fantasy lovers with the Fairy Books of Many Colors , a 12-volume encyclopedia of fairy tales from all over the world. Lang was a scholar who published a number of periodicals, poems, and fiction, but he was most famous for annotating these stories that were translated by his wife and illustrated with beautiful ink drawings by H.J. Ford . Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to acquire a full set of the Fairy Books at a relative

Story Saturday: The Village Girl

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"The Village Girl" Sonia knew that she didn't belong at the magic school that had miraculously accepted her despite her lack of a noble background. Typically, an ordinary village girl like her could never qualify to learn magic, but she had a lucky break when a wizard showed up in her hometown to defend it against a monster when it fought back, and his wand flew out of his grasp. He was incapacitated, so Sonia picked it up and repeated the same spell she saw him use. Somehow, it worked despite her complete lack of training. The village deemed her a hero that day and enrolled her in the magic school, but the other students saw her as anything but. Despite her one lucky break, Sonia was no magic expert. She struggled in her classes a lot more than the other students who could refer to their friends or family members who already knew how to use magic when they were having trouble. The only class she enjoyed was enchanted fashions, where she could design beautiful outfits and

Review: Time Princess - The Moravia Express

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The latest Time Princess visual novel is a good old British murder mystery around the turn of the 20th century that takes place aboard a train. It incorporates plenty of popular tropes while also adding some new twists the genre. It is most similar in tone to the previous release from this game called  Have You Seen Claudia?  right down to the "gotcha" twist ending. The character and plot development are some of the best this game has released in recent months, which shows appear that their writers all have different strengths. I would have loved to see this level of worldbuilding in one of their fantasy stories. The visual novel was well-written and would have been very enjoyable if it hadn't been for the secret ending. You play as Bianca Finch, a businesswoman and aspiring actress who purchases a VIP ticket for the wrong train at the wrong time. She soon finds herself wrapped up in a conspiracy revolving around the murder of another actress named Chloe Swann that had t

Review: Voiceless - A Mermaid's Tale

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Seeking out books I see in Facebook ads can be hit or miss , but I'm glad I picked up this one. Voiceless: A Mermaid's Tale  by Anna Finch  is a uniquely modern take on "The Little Mermaid"  that is feminist without being too misandronist . It is not a true retelling of my favorite fairy tale, but more of a "What if?" scenario that explores what could have happened if the story took place in a different type of setting and if the main character had made a different decision when facing the sea witch, kind of like selecting a diverging branch in a visual novel . Though it uses some direct dialogue from the Disney movie during a key scene that many authors seem to enjoy referencing , there are few references to the Disney movie or even the Hans Christian Andersen story overall. Instead, this is a well-researched book about trauma and manipulation built around a fantasy setting. Voiceless  tells the story of an ambitious young mermaid named Moriah who is trap

Disney Releases More Diverse Princess Products!

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There have been a lot of new merchandise and announcements popping up about the Disney Princesses as of late. The company has added plenty of diversity  through their past films, and now they are going at full force in their merchandise with the upcoming  new  Little Mermaid  movie , cosplayer dolls , and more Tiana-themed park attractions . I am eager to see more Disney Princess products and entertainment and hope that the original animated classics that started the brand don't get lost in the shuffle. It's nice to see that Disney is releasing new princess merchandise even though their push for diversity is overpowering a lot of the storytelling that made the brand so enticing in the first place. The first announcement is a series of Disneybound/ cosplay  dolls designed by veteran artist Steve Thompson . Referred to as "ily" dolls, which I believe stands for "I love you," this new fashion line depicts a diverse group of Disney Princess fans who dress in ca

Anime to Watch in the Winter 2023 Season

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Lately, it's been much easier to find new princess anime  series than  Disney movies . Every three months, a slew of new anime shows are release, most of which blend fantasy worlds with reality , and there's almost always at least one new series about or related to princesses. The winter season has just begun, and I have discovered three shows that fall into what I would consider the princess genre. Since I have only watched the first episode of each, I can't speak for the quality of these shows to determine whether they will be worth sticking around for until the end the season, but I can say that this new season has a large variety to offer no matter what type of anime you enjoy. First up is The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady . This is a yuri (girl love)  anime that is way more fast-paced than Revolutionary Girl Utena , despite both shows having "revolution" in the title. In the first episode, the main character, Prin

Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

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The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh  is an Asian-inspired book that was recommended to me by a friend. It does not have any princesses in it per se, but it is (very) loosely based on a Korean fairy tale called "The Tale of Shim Cheong."  It incorporates the concept of sacrificial brides, which overlaps with the common princess trope of forced marriage alliances and the desire to be free . Typically, these types of stories end with the princess or maiden either falling in love with her captor, which can come off as toxic unless it's done well , or escaping, if her betrothed is truly irredeemable. One such book I reviewed was  The Princess Curse , in which a girl was forced to marry a demon and eventually came to terms with their relationship. This book did not come off as romantic to me in the slightest. However, I also read Stolen Midsummer Bride  by Tara Grayce a few weeks ago, about a girl who voluntarily chooses to get kidnapped as a fae bride for personal r

Story Saturday: The Amazon Dagger

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*This is a sequel to last week's story, "The Prince Competition"  based on a suggestion from one of my favorite readers. Thanks, Sugar! "The Amazon Dagger" A few years after a peasant boy named Ellis won a competition that gave him the rare honor of becoming an Amazon prince, Princess Jacqueline was crowned Queen and gave birth to a new heir, who she named Dagger. Dagger was expected to be as mighty and clever a warrior as her parents, but a problem soon arose. Whenever Dagger was invited to spar with her fellow Amazons, she would run off to chase butterflies and climb trees, and no one could ever find her until it was time for dinner. One day, Dagger's mother asked her why she always ran away from her sparring lessons. "I don't want to fight," said Dagger. "I'd rather chase butterflies and paint the beauty I see in the world around me. Our island is so beautiful, yet no one ever seems to take notice of it." Jacqueline found this

Review: Cinderella and the Secret Prince

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It seems like every time someone wants to make a low-budget fairy tale movie, their first thought is to come up with a new take on "Cinderella."  One might think that after the extremely poor reception of Happily N'Ever After , this idea would have lost some traction. Yet, it seems that is not the case. Cinderella and the Secret Prince  is a novel take on the classic tale that managed to escape my notice when it was released in 2018. Produced by a humble animation studio called Gold Valley Films , which only has four movies under its belt, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt like I did with Charming , another low-budget fairy tale film that came out around the same time. I discovered  Cinderella and the Secret Prince  on Plex , a free streaming service with a number of obscure shows and movies. Though I wasn't expecting much, I found it surprisingly charming. It is very reminiscent of the Barbie movies from the early 2000s  that take classic fairy tales