I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
by Lexa Hillyer Published by HarperCollins
on April 11th 2017 Genres: Adaptations
, Fairy Tales & Folklore
, Young Adult Fiction Pages:
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king's headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora's blood--and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.
I was sure I was going to enjoy Spindle Fire based on the pretty cover and the synopsis, but unfortunately, that didn’t hold true.
There were several issues that bugged me when I was reading. First, the writing style was not for me. I’m not familiar with reading present tense in books. Though now I can say I don’t really like it. The writing was poetic, too flowery at times—almost impersonal when important, but bad scenes happened. I couldn’t feel anything for these characters. If another style was used, maybe I could have. Secondly, certain things within the story irked me.
“Really, it had always been her own obedience—her desire to please, to do everything right, to follow instead of lead—that has stopped her from truly living. The thought urges her to kick harder, with more confidence. She is not just swimming toward safety now but away from her former, meeker self” (ARC).
SO, most of you probably won’t be bothered by this. It, however, rubs me the wrong way. What is wrong with being meek and agreeable? NOTHING. My personality is like this and I’ve heard so much crap from people throughout my life that I should be different or like them. You can be strong and courageous and still be meek—and still truly live.
Besides the writing style and that particular thing above, I also thought the extra chapters with the random faerie viewpoints weren’t all that necessary. Only two added anything meaningful. Overall, besides some minor irritation—I was just bored with Spindle Fire. I will not read the sequel.
by A. G. Howard Published by Amulet Books
on January 10th 2017 Genres: Adaptations
, Fairy Tales & Folklore
, People & Places
, Young Adult Fiction Pages:
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.
I don’t know anything about The Phantom of the Opera, but the kindest thing I could say about Roseblood is that it has inspired me to want to read Leroux’s version despite not being curious enough to care before.
RoseBlood started off okay (more of a meh instead of a wow). I wasn’t hooked on the storyline or as Rune as a main character. She was all right in her good, levelheaded moments (rare as those were), but really bratty and self-centered about a majority of the time. Didn’t see a legitimacy in her friendships or in that cheesy how-is-this-even-romantic romance. And one recurring, annoying aspect in the plot was the usage of ‘gypsy’ in a negative, stereotypical light (“Cursed gypsy blood”). It was so unnecessary and cheap.
The writing, I thought, was beautiful in the first few chapters. But it became too much. Everything, even the most ordinary things, was described in long over-the-top flowery paragraphs that I just wanted to skip over. I’m almost certain that if all the overwritten fluff was taken out, the book would be half its size and probably more pleasant to read.
The romance was tedious. I didn’t care for Rune and Thorn’s relationship. It all felt very forced and convenient. I’m not saying that I don’t like soul mates or destined lovers, but not like this. It was so cheesy it could make a cheese manufacturer sweat. When I finally reached the ending, I read it with the blankest face ever. It was supposed to be cute and make you feel things—but ehhh. I would have rather seen the two suffer at the hands of the Phantom (what a total pushover he was).
The Golden Braid
by Melanie Dickerson Published by Thomas Nelson
on November 17th 2015 Genres: Adaptations
, Fairy Tales & Folklore
, Love & Romance
, Young Adult Pages:
The one who needs rescuing isn't always the one in the tower. Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry. Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel's hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again--this time, to the large city of Hagenheim. The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight--Sir Gerek--Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position? As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life.
Rapunzel is a young woman of many talents, but the one thing she cannot do is read. Her mother, Gothel, forbids her daughter from learning and moves them both from village to village in hopes of keeping Rapunzel away from men who may want to steal her away through marriage. Already older than many young brides, Rapunzel wonders if men are as terrible as her mother believes. Soon, however, after being rescued by a knight Rapunzel begins to question her mother’s suffocating influence and finally takes control of her own life.
The Golden Braid is a unique take on the Rapunzel fairytale. While I haven’t read very many Rapunzel retellings, this is one my favorite. Rapunzel has been manipulated and lied to all her life, and when she learns she may not actually be who she thinks she is, Gothel can no longer hold onto her. At least, not without a fight. Strong, brave, and naive because of her sheltered upbringing Rapunzel makes an ideal heroine, and with her hero the knight Sir Gerek, she’s able to reclaim her life and discover what she’s been missing all along. And perhaps even learn to read.
If you enjoy cute, heartwarming fairytales The Golden Braid will not disappoint. On side note, while this is a perfectly good standalone, it wouldn’t hurt to read the five Hagenheim books in this series.