Fairy-tale retellings have, as of late, exploded unto the pop culture scene and as an avid fan of fairy tales, largely the classic Disney versions, I have been doing my part to explore this up and coming genre.
Like every little girl, I was surrounded by fairy-tales, Disney version and otherwise. You weren’t cool if you didn’t identify with at least one Disney princess and for me, it was always a toss up between Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas. I was even rocking the merchandise.
I’m (theoretically) all grown up but I still hold a soft spot for these characters. So, when I stumbled upon the following novels, I couldn’t help my curiosity.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
YA fans would know Sarah J. Maas from her previous series, Throne of Glass. I became familiar with the name many years earlier when she was a writer for the FictionPress website. The site may have just been a practice ground for her to officially launch her series–who knows? She still created an instant internet fan-base that grew once she published Throne of Glass.
This year, she introduced us to another series: A Court of Thorns and Roses which is retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Belle is a solid number three on my top five Disney/Fantasy characters. She’s humble and a bibliophile. What more could you want from a Disney role model?
An accomplished author, Sarah J. Maas did not disappoint. Strong female protagonist, a well-flowing storyline and a swoon-worthy, beastly leading man were the perfect ingredients for this retelling.
However, I was frustrated by Feyre at some points. She’s a brilliant huntress who has been forced from a young age to make ends meet for her destitute family. We knew off the bat that what she lacked in academic knowledge, she made up with brute strength and determination. I admire that. What I don’t admire is her unnecessary resistance at times to Tamlin, the ‘beast’. There are times when this resistance almost costed her life.
But I’m still looking forward to more of the series because whatever Sarah J. Maas writes is always so good.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Marissa Meyer went and did something brilliant: she brought fantasy and science fiction together.
She may not have been the pioneer, but it was the first time I had ever seen my favorite Disney/Fantasy characters being portrayed in a futuristic era. Cinder (three guesses which retelling this is) was the first installment in the series. It follows the story of Cinder, a half cyborg–yes, I said half cyborg–mechanic living in New Beijing. As a sci-fi fan, I’m not surprised with the location. Futurists really seem to believe China is going to rule the world.
Cinder finds out she’s more than a mechanic with unbearable relatives and throughout her journey she encounters Scarlett and Wolf (Red Riding Hood), Cress and Captain Thorne (Rapunzel) and Winter and Jacin (Snow White). Cinder along with her friends is attempting to gain her birthright, defeat the evil Queen Levana and save her prince charming aka Prince Kai.
I’m not going to lie, it may sound cheesy. But the intricacies of the plot are anything but. Marissa Meyer not only retold the fantasies and introduced another era, but she also created an entire lunar civilization. Meyer was on a roll! Her imagination was breaking all the rules. I can’t wait to experience more recklessness from her.
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Stitching Snow is similar to The Lunar Chronicles but not as similar. It integrates a number of science fiction elements but it is not set in our future timeline. Think Star Wars. Understand now?
It follows the story of Essie, a technician (?) who codes a number of drones for a mining planet. Meanwhile, the ruling planet has been searching for Princess Snow the daughter of King Matthias and stepdaughter of his wife. One day, Essie encounters a young man who crash lands onto the mining planet and she soon learns that she can’t run away from her past forever.
I like Essie. She was spunky, smart, ruthless and in the end, ready to be a martyr for her cause. Even her little drones caught my heart. Dimwit, Cusser…sound familiar?
I will say that it took me a while to find the chemistry between Essie and her own ‘prince charming’. There was a scene that didn’t pan out too well for me…but I won’t nitpick. Overall, it was great portrayal of the classic story. I approve.
From what I’ve seen so far, I’m ready to really dive into this intriguing genre come 2016. Look out for more mentions.