Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (6/16/20)–Ash

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Ash had been on my TBR for quite a while, and I’d read a few of Malinda Lo’s stories in an anthology or two, so I figured that I’d give her solo works a try. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the least–this retelling reads like a true fairytale, and is a wonderfully subversive take on the classic tale of Cinderella. And, it’s a perfect read for Pride month! 🏳️‍🌈

Enjoy this week’s review!

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash–Malinda Lo

After the death of her parents, Ash’s life changes forever. Gone is the loving family she once knew, replaced by her cruel, domineering stepmother and her two daughters. Her only solace is the book of fairy tales that her mother read to her as a child. A walk in the woods at night, however, makes her realize that her fairy tales are more than tales for children.

Now under a pact with a formidable fairy, she finds herself falling for Kaisa, the king’s royal huntress. As the pair fall in love, Ash must choose between her newfound love and the pact that binds her to the wicked forest.

Cinderella is already plum-full of gilt and brocade and magic; it ...

We all know it–Cinderella has been retold so many times that it has almost become stale. But reading this, I realized that Ash may have been one of the first of its kind–a YA retelling, groundbreaking not only for the higher stakes and subversion of the tale, but with the sapphic aspect of the romance. And without a doubt, Ash is a retelling to be reckoned with.

Lo’s writing reads like a well-loved fairytale, filled with lush prose and the air of a seasoned storyteller. Every description, from the woods outside of Quinn House to Ash’s enchanted gown, is lusciously written. It almost reminded me of the classic style of narration used in films like Pan’s Labyrinth, and other fairytale media.

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Aside from the borderline, almost annoyingly edgy quality of the blurb on the cover and the Goodreads synopsis, Ash is a wonderful example of a fairytale retold in a darker way, staying true to the original tale while having fresh, dark, and lyrical elements that make it stand out from the volley of other retellings on the YA market today.

And can we talk about Ash and Kaisa? I. LOVED. THEM. They were both such relatable characters with poignant struggles, and they had chemistry to die for. SAPPHIC POWER COUPLE SUPREME. BEAUTIFUL.

All in all, a groundbreaking retelling, and one that will surely stand the test of time. 4 stars!

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Ash is a standalone, but there is a prequel set in the same universe, Huntress, which is set many years before the events of this novel.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (5/25/20)–A Touch of Gold

Happy Monday, bibliophiles, and a heartfelt thank you to all of those who served on this Memorial Day. 💗

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I’ve had this novel on my TBR for quite a while, and it seems like an inventive addition to the YA subgenre of retellings. Here’s hoping that it turns out as well as I think it will…

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (5/25/20)–A TOUCH OF GOLD by Annie Sullivan

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Blurb from Goodreads:

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

So why do I want to read this?

In the past decade, there’s been a whole slew of new YA retellings, but often, they spin the same stories–I’ve seen dozens upon dozens of retellings of Cinderella, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, and a whole host of other classic tales. And though I’ve seen a handful that have dealt with Greek mythology, the tale of King Midas isn’t one that I’ve ever seen retold before. So props to Annie Sullivan for taking on a retelling that hasn’t been done many times before.

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I forgot about the bit in the blurb about the love interest, though. All things considered, it seems fairly cliched, but I suppose there’s a positive light on it, seeing that this…ah…”charming young duke” sees past/accepts the part of her that she desperately tries to hide, so I suppose that’s a step up. We’ll see how this all works out.

Setting that aside, if done well, I believe A Touch of Gold could be a novel that stands out in the world of YA retellings. Fingers crossed. 🤞

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/9/19)-Last of Her Name

Hello, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

 

I’ve begun to notice that I’m a bit of a sucker for retellings. Most of my library “hauls” include at least one retelling them. Sometimes I read them consciously, sometimes I don’t know that they’re retellings until I read somebody’s review on Goodreads. Some I absolutely adore, some I loathe with a passion. Some are very well executed, and some fall embarassingly flat. You get the idea.

I’ve also begun to notice that I’m immediately attracted to sci-fi retellings of the story of Anastasia. (*coughcough*HEART OF IRON*coughcough*) As far as retellings go, these ones are few and far between, but when they’re good, they’re good. Heart of Iron might just be my favorite book of all time (coming close with Frankenstein, Carry On, A Monster Calls, Neverwhere, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few others), and Last of Her Name was no exception. Beautifully crafted and action packed, this one left me on the edge of my seat, grinning from ear to ear.

Enjoy the review!

 

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Last of Her Name

 

Stacia has heard the stories many times over; sixteen years ago, the ruling family of the Belt of Jewels were all assassinated, and from the ashes rose the tyrannical government that still stands to this day. Stacia has led a quiet, peaceful life in her parent’s vineyard, with her two childhood friends, Pol and Clio. But that quiet life is soon disrupted when the director of the cruel Union government arrives on her planet, intending to snuff out the loyalists-those who still support the murdered empire. What’s more is that the director claims that the princess of the empire is still alive, and she has gone by Stacia ever since.

Now on the run from the Union, Stacia and Pol mount a daring mission across the galaxy to save Clio–and to discover Stacia’s true identity.

 

 

Oh, where do I begin?

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First off, I ADORED the world-building. The Belt of Jewels is such an intricately-crafted galaxy, with a rich history, and…alright, not quite aliens, but we’ve got a pretty fantastic myriad of “adapted humans”. Although I wish that we’d gotten a more in-depth look at the various species, I loved seeing their individual cultures, planets, and how they fit into the grand scheme of the Belt of Jewels.

Plus, there’s an aquatic species of adapted humans that…okay, yeah, I imagined them all looking like Abe Sapien.

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The characters were all so lovable, and I found myself nearly crying for them-on multiple occasions. I didn’t love some of them at first, but almost every one of them grew on me quickly. The plot was wonderfully fast-paced, intricate, and engaging, with a perfect ending that tied everything together quite nicely, I’ll say. All in all, a solid 4.25/5, which lands at about an 8.5 to a 9 on my book rating scale. Highly recommend it!

Last of Her Name is a standalone (*single tear slides down cheek*), but I think that the ending is satisfying enough. It’s a shame that the galaxy probably won’t be explained in more detail, but I’m happy with what we’ve got.

 

Thanks so much for reading this review, and have a great rest of your day! And for those of you in the path of winter storm Wesley…please stay warm and take care of yourselves.

 

And for those of you who want another retelling and haven’t read this book/review, check out my review for Heart of Iron (see 8/14/18)!