Category: Re-telling

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Jane Steele

March 16, 2016 Fiction, Gothic, Re-telling 19 ★★★★★

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Jane SteeleTitle: Jane Steele
Author: Lyndsay Faye
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: Everything I had hoped for in a dark, exciting classic retelling!

“Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors. A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?” (source) Read more »


More YA in Mini-Reviews

December 27, 2014 Fiction, Gothic, Re-telling 4 ★★★★

More YA in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Ironskin
Author: Tina Connolly
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Retellings are a trend that never gets old for me and I often especially love books like this, which are more inspired by the original than they are faithful retellings. The names are obviously inspired by Jane Eyre and there are some other close parallels – Jane Elliot as the governess of a child she’s uniquely qualified to understand, falling in love with her dark mysterious employer. My favorite parts are the less obvious inspiration this book takes from the original, turning the slight references to mystical activity in the first into a world in which the fey are very real for example. There are a few other less obvious connections which I can’t share without spoiling the story, but I will say that I found the whole thing a very fun and playful way to interact with the source material. The book was enjoyable on its own as well, with interesting characters and novel world-building. I enjoyed it and while I’d particularly recommend it to readers looking for a unique twist on Jane Eyre, I think most fans of YA will find something new to love here.
Read more »


Alias Hook

July 9, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 22

18404312Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This was a truly delightful story, with the setting and emotional impact amped up into something awesome for a perfect, adult fairy tale.

Before he was sent to Neverland by a curse, Benjamin Hookbridge was a ruthless privateer. Now he’s simply a storybook villain, at the mercy of his childish opponent. His hatred has kept him from imagining any way out but death until Stella Parish enters Neverland. Although Hook fears this is just another trap of Peter’s, her faith in him and in the magic of Neverland might be exactly what’s needed to set him free. Read more »


The Serpent of Venice

May 12, 2014 Re-telling 9

The Serpent of VeniceTitle: The Serpent of Venice
Author: Christopher Moore
Source: from publisher for TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Summary: Plots from several classics mingled in a delightfully clever way and parts of the story made me laugh out loud, but other parts were vulgar without being funny.

The Serpent of Venice draws on a number of classics, including The Merchant of VeniceOthello, and The Cask of Amontillado, and then adds a large helping of irreverent humor. The fool Pocket has made enemies of the merchant Antonio, senator Brabantio, and soldier Iago by opposing a war which would make them rich. In order to get Pocket out of the way, these three men invite him to a party with an assassination attempt in mind. However, Pocket is not as easy to kill as they might think and he’ll be back with revenge in mind. Read more »


Northanger Abbey (The Austen Project)

April 20, 2014 Classics, Fiction, Re-telling 12

18778806Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Val McDermid
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Like the original, this book doesn’t have much of a plot or a proactive protagonist, but I liked that it was more atmospheric than the original and strongly disliked the changes to the ending.

The plot for this book is identical to the original Northanger Abbey. In fact, the book is basically just the original, modernized sentence by sentence. Surprisingly, I really liked that about it. I didn’t love the original book. I probably wouldn’t re-read the first book. Yet something about a retelling that just changes the setting while staying otherwise true to the source material appeals to me. This does, of course, mean that the plot was still largely nonexistent. Unlike Joanna Trollope’s writing in the Sense and Sensibility retelling for the Austen project, Val McDermid’s writing didn’t match how I imagine Austen would write if she were alive today. However, she did keep the writing tricks I liked the most from Austen’s writing in Northanger Abbey. This included her humorous under-selling of the heroine, her occasional breaking of the fourth wall, and her impassioned speeches in defense of the novel. Read more »


While Beauty Slept

February 22, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 23

18079665Title: While Beauty Slept
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: This was exactly what a grown-up fairy tale should be – dark, hauntingly beautiful, emotional, complex, but still with a fairy tale ending.

We all know the fairy tale story of sleeping beauty, but have you have ever wondered what that story would have looked like in real life? What would cause the king and queen to avoid inviting a powerful woman to their daughter’s baptism? Was the woman who cursed the princess really a fairy, a witch, or just a very bitter woman? And if not by magic, how was the princess cursed and then saved? Elise is able to tell a tale to answer all those questions from her time as a servant in the castle. She’ll also tell a tale of her own, including love she won and lost and the sacrifices her loyalty to the princess demanded. Read more »


The Fairytale Keeper

February 8, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 6

13603568Title: The Fairytale Keeper
Author: Andrea Cefalo
Source: from author for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Although I was disappointed by the way fairy tales were randomly tossed into this story, I thought it was unusually accurate and enjoyable historical fiction.

In Germany in the 1200’s, much of life revolved around the church. However, pre Martin Luther, many people in small towns still rely exclusively on sometimes corrupt officials to interpret the bible for them. When Adelaide’s town suffers a plague, the church abandons the people. Although tithes continue to increase, few priests are brave enough to provide the funeral services they claim are necessary for a happy afterlife. After a bribable but cowardly priest disrespects her mother’s funeral, Adelaide is determined to bring down the corrupt priests, despite having to work within the many rules restricting women’s rights in the middle ages. Read more »


Sense and Sensibility Re-telling

November 1, 2013 Classics, Fiction, Re-telling 25

Sense and SensibilityTitle: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Joanna Trollope
Source: from publisher for TLC book tour
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book was an incredibly similar experience to reading the original and it feel fresh again because of the change in setting.

There are two kinds of re-tellings. There are those which use the original as an inspiration and which become awesome by using the original material in creative new ways. Cinder is one of my favorite examples of that kind of re-telling. This is not that kind of re-telling. This is the other kind, where the source material is preserved almost entirely with just a setting change and this is by far the best example of that kind of re-telling that I’ve ever read. Read more »


Crux – Classics Retold Review and Giveaway

September 29, 2013 Fiction, Re-telling, Thriller 7

3523188Title: Crux
Author: Richard Aellen
Source: bought on Amazon
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: By far my favorite Count of Monte Cristo re-telling, this book kept all the most important things about the original and in doing so became a great thriller with a lot of depth.

Keith Johnson is happily married and pursuing a career as a helicopter pilot when he’s sent to Vietnam. When evidence suggests his sergeant has killed one of his own men, Keith is unable to keep silent. Unfortunately, one of his friends is willing to betray him for a chance at a safer posting and his sergeant is desperate to get rid of him. Sent on a mission meaning almost certain death, Keith is reported as missing in action but actually survives only to be thrown into a prison camp for 20 years. When he eventually escapes, his only thought is of revenge. Read more »


The Sultan of Monte Cristo – Classics Retold

September 13, 2013 Fiction, Re-telling 8

15740918Title: The Sultan of Monte Cristo
Author: The Holy Ghost Writer
Source: bought on amazon
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Review Summary: The writing style was similar to the original, but the plot was boring, unbelievable, bizarre, and not true to the spirit of the original.

This book is supposed to be a sequel to The Count of Monte Cristo. My review contains some spoilers for this book but none for the original.

Initially, I actually had high hopes for this book. From the first few pages it was clear that the author had done a good job capturing Dumas’ writing style. The language was flowery, Dantes was arrogant, and Hadee subservient. Not my favorite things about Dumas but integral to his work and well represented here. However… The book opens with a blatant sex scene between Dantes and Haydee. Now, I don’t have a problem with sex scenes in principle, but nothing like this happens in the original. More than that, I thought the ambiguous nature of Dantes’ relationship with Haydee was part of the first book’s appeal. Read more »