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Showing posts from July, 2024

Review: The Silver Prince

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There are three books left for me to read in the Once Upon a Prince series , placing me at the 3/4 mark. Each book in this series retells a different fairy tale with alternating perspectives between the prince and princess characters. There has been a variety of books in this series depending on the author and how they chose to adapt the story, so I am looking forward to reading the rest. The Silver Prince  by Lyndsey Hall  is a retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."  Although not my favorite in this series, it follows the same formatting as the other books alternating between dual perspectives and adding some extra worldbuilding. This book incorporates an "enemies to lovers" element by making the featured prince and princess be from enemy kingdoms with opposing powers that relate to shadow and light. As a "Silver" soldier who just fought in a war, the last thing Prince Anders wants is to be noticed in the kingdom of his enemy. However, he finds it

Review: A Wingless Hope

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A Wingless Hope  by Sydney Winward  is a retelling of "Thumbelina" from the Hope Ever After series , which supports Operation Underground Rescue  to help fight against child sex trafficking. This is the fourth book I've read from this series and the second adaptation  I've read of "Thumbelina." One reason authors tend to shy away from this story could be that it contains more high fantasy than the average fairy tale, which makes it perfect for Hope Ever After. All the books I've read in this series so far  plant additional magic lore into the fabric of the stories they tell, and this book is no exception. Where the original fairy tale was simple and doesn't always make sense, this version creates an entire culture around Thumbelina's race including two different types of pixies to explain why she was born without wings. Briar is a lost princess  whose flower seed was stolen away by a bird before she was born, causing her to grow up alone in th

Disney's Descendants Makes Even Less Sense Thanks to The Rise of Red!

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I have never been a fan of the Descendants franchise , which was originally created by Disney to take down Mattel's semi-successful Ever After High line of dolls, books , and webisodes. It succeeded in this endeavor thanks to  Disney brand recognition  despite being an inferior product. Coming out nearly a decade after the original , we have a fourth Descendants movie entitled The Rise of Red . This movie introduces a new generation of fairy tale offspring with countless changes to the classic stories, most of which are for the worse. Its only redeeming factor was a heartfelt tribute to Cameron Boyce , who played the son of Cruella de Vil in the original films. The Descendants franchise had very little working in its favor from the start, but it at least had a leg up over The School for Good and Evil  by basing the backstories of the Disney characters on their films instead of superimposing an artificial school setting where they learned to be heroes and villains. This film retcon

Slay the Princess Is the Most Confusing Visual Novel You've Never Played!

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If you think princesses are meant to be rescued , you might just be the perfect victim  hero for Slay the Princess , a horror visual novel available on Steam . Although it's classified as a horror game, the endlessly branching story arcs make the game whatever you want it to be. It is a psychological thriller based on player perspectives. If you want the princess to be a damsel in distress , she will be. If you start second-guessing her integrity based on the slanderous claims of the narrator, she will turn into something just terrifying enough to validate your fears. At the end of the day, this visual novel is a complicated web of time travel and existential symbolism where nothing is what it seems. No matter how confused you are while playing, it's impossible not to appreciate the ever-expanding number of routes that are available as well as the detailed pencil drawings, multi-faceted voice acting, and haunting score. Every chapter starts the same way. You're on a path i

Review: A Last Hope

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The aptly titled A Last Hope  is the final book in the Hope Ever After series. I received an ARC from the author, Verity Sandahl to read before its release date on July 17th. This book is a gender-bent retelling of "King Thrushbeard"  and contains a unique take on the story in a fantasy setting. Like all the books in this series, proceeds on sales will go toward Operation Underground Railroad  to help fight against child sex trafficking and protect children from exploitation. This book has more Christian messaging than the other Hope Ever After books I've read, but it was still enjoyable as someone from a different religious denomination. The story focuses heavily on star-crossed lovers, which is my favorite type of romance. Princess Arianna hails from the Thrush kingdom whose royalty has the ability to fly. Prince Marc, from an enemy kingdom, is an empath, who can read people's emotions by touching them. When the two take an illicit flight as children, they form a

Review: The Beauty and the Griffin

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The Beauty and the Griffin  by JM Stengl  is the thrilling conclusion to the Faraway Castle series  that I started reading  during the first year of my blog . It's been a long wait for this sixth installment, but it was worth it. The ARC I received serves as a cathartic conclusion to the stories of all these royal modern-day teenagers who stayed at the enchanted Faraway Castle resort as an escape from day-to-day life. This book is a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"  that adapts the fairy tale uniquely, incorporating elements that are rarely used in other adaptations including the beast's nightly proposals and the beauty's dreams of him as a prince. It is firmly ingrained in the setting of Faraway Castle and contains all of the magical properties of this world that have been set up in the other books. I would not recommend starting the series with this one, but it is well worth diving into these six novels and two novellas from the beginning with Ellie and the P

Deconstructing the Wicked Stepmother

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It was common in the early days of fairy tales  for the enemy of a princess or future princess to be her vain stepmother. There were many reasons for this, most of which are no longer relevant by modern standards, causing that trope to fall by the wayside. One outdated reason is that girls rarely left the house (or "tower" if you will) in the old days because they were expected to do housework and eventually become mothers. Therefore, meeting an enemy outside of their own homes would have been unlikely. Why do you think so many princesses long for freedom ? The other reason is that fairy tales are meant to encourage children to love and obey their parents, so it would be counterintuitive for them to go up against their biological caretakers. There are  a few rare exceptions , but these disturbing stories about horrible parents never made it into the mainstream media for good reason. Giving them stepparents who were brought into their lives at a later time solves this problem