I had originally intended to review Foul is Fair, the first book in The Fair Folk Chronicles by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins. I am still making my way through the book, and so will review it in June instead. Today, I have some exciting news.
I was recently given the opportunity to beta-read* for best-selling author R.L. Weeks. She is launching a new series of short stories entitled The Haunting Fairytales Collection, the first being The Toad Prince, coming out on June 4th. I was fortunate enough to be given an advanced copy for beta purposes, and it is with her permission that I write this review.
The Toad Prince
By: R.L. Weeks
Summary: Edward is cursed, but to be free he will have to pay a terrible price and could destroy everyone else’s happily ever afters on the search for his own. (used with permission from R.L. Weeks)
Disclaimer before I begin: As I was given an advanced copy, I do not know how similar or different the final product will be to what I read. If it is vastly different, I will do a follow-up explaining my thoughts on the final version.
- Unique Start: One of my favorite things about this series is that it starts with a tale that I haven’t seen many adaptations of thus far. Other than the 2009 Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog, this is the only other retelling of The Frog Prince that I have recently come across. Beginning with this fairy tale tells me right away that this will be different than other retelling series I’ve read. The most popular fairy tales and folk lores for authors to reinvent seem to be those featuring female protagonists being rescued by their various princes (i.e. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast. etc.). I enjoy these tales immensely, but it will be a nice change, should the series continue this way, to see the stories from a male point of view for once.
- “Easter Eggs” and Origin Stories: I don’t want to give it away, but one of my favorite things about this book was how it sprinkled familiar fairy tale and folklore faces throughout the narrative. Especially given that it’s a short story, I was pleasantly surprised by how many “cameos” made it into the first tale alone. One character in particular left me quite curious to see how things will progress. Weeks is clever in the way she intertwines various familiar elements, and the different appearances really added to the overall ambience of the story.
- No Wasted Space: Every word on the page served a purpose, and using such concise language is a hard skill to master.
- Pace: The childlike whimsy of fairy tales was definitely present, but I needed a better sense of the world and the atmosphere before I could fully invest myself in the story. There was also a lot going on, given the length. Everything that happened was useful and entertaining, and all the questions that were left set up for the next story, but it needed a larger page count to allow for the extension and complete development of some presented scenes and plot lines.
- Character Development: Likewise, due to the length and speed at which the story progressed, I found it difficult to connect when any one person in the narrative. I did ultimately root for one of the main characters, but it’s not clear whether he was the character to whom I was intended to be attached, or not.
Overall Rating: 3.75/5 stars. Recommended for fans of R.L. Weeks’ previous works, and lovers of fairy tales.
Look out for my press release on R.L. Weeks’ behalf on June 4th; the book will be available for purchase then.
Recommendation: Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles- Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t.
I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age.
You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching. (via Goodreads)
Challenge of the Month: What’s your favorite fairy tale retelling?