Hello All! Happy December! I can hardly believe that we are just around the corner from bringing in the new year of 2011. Ridiculous. I think I'm getting old.
Anyway, this time around, I read a series of books called the "Fairy Tales Retold Series" by Regina Doman. There really is too much to say about these books. Maybe over time we should discuss each one individually. Anyway, the series consists of five books, set in modern times, that are based off of a traditional fairy tale. They are:
-Shadow of the Bear (based off of Snow White and Rose Red)
-Black as Night (based off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
-Waking Rose (based off of the classic Sleeping Beauty)
-The Midnight Dancers (based off of the 12 Dancing Princesses)
-Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyber Thieves (based off of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves)
The first three books follow the story of sisters Blanche and Rose and their adventures with two mysterious young men who call themselves Bear and Fish. Shadow of the Bear focuses mainly on the beginning of their adventure when they first meet the two young men. Black as Night was centered largely on Blanche, and Waking Rose about Rose. The other two, The Midnight Dancers and Alex O'Donnell focus on characters that are introduced in Waking Rose, but no longer really follow the story of the original four characters.
As for the plot... it's pretty complex. The stories are mystery mixed with fantasy, and I thought it was beautifully done. The characters were very real and relateable, set in modern day New York. There is a great mixture of fascinating elements like criminal activity, mistaken identities, dark pasts, secrets, and mysteries. At the same time it is filled with the fairy tale lover's bliss of love, fantasy and princes and princesses, evil witches and frightening spells. It's hard to explain how that can all fit together without having a serious continuity issue, but somehow, it happens. By the end of the book, you're thinking, "Oh my gosh... that is SO clever! I never would have come up with that!" Also, there are many many references to classic literature that my book loving comrades will appreciate. There is also a strong thread of rich Catholicism throughout all five, which I thought was impressively done because it was not over the top at all, which I appreciated.
Now, some girlfriends of mine recommended this book to me and I was like "Fairy Tales Retold? Yeah. Right. Chick novel, NOT for me or any other guy with any dignity." But, I read it, and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't entirely "chick" oriented. Much of the story is told from the guys' points of view, and there is enough "real man" stuff in there to keep us interested. While I do think these books are probably most popular for teenage girls, I do admit that guys shouldn't be embarrassed to check them out.
On a precautionary note, however, I do want to point out that there is some "older kid" content in some of the books. Drugs, jail, criminals, violence and messed up people are met and dealt with. Nothing immoral is ever looked upon as a good thing. The author is a pretty staunch Catholic, and on her website has a "Picky Parents" guide to her books, so that you can find out just exactly what kind of stuff is in there. So, if you're younger, maybe have an older sibling or mom or friend read it first for you.\
Here is Miss Doman's website: http://www.fairytalenovels.com/index.cfm
I really encourage you all to read these books; once you start, I promise you WON'T be able to put them down!
Shadow of the Bear - 4/5 Recommended
Black as Night - 4/5 Recommended
Waking Rose - 5/5 Recommended
12 Midnight Dancers - 4/5 Recommended
Alex O'Donnell and the 4- Cyber Thieves - 4/5 Recommended