Fairy Tale Retelling

I like fairy tale retellings because it’s always interesting how an author can take a well-known story and make it her own. A few years ago, I discovered Simon & Schuster’s Once Upon a Time, which is a series of fairy tale retellings. I think I have most of the books in the series because I collected them before reading them. I stopped collecting after reading the books because I was disappointed. I’ll post what I wrote in Goodreads about two books from the series that a friend gave me recently.

Belle: A Retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” by Cameron Dokey

Summary:
Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters’ awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one’s true love.

During a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood – and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.

My Thoughts:
I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale so I’m always curious about retellings about it. I’ve read most of the books in the Once Upon a Time series but I felt like they weren’t really for me. I don’t know why, maybe because they were trying to keep the books short, I felt like that stories weren’t fully developed. The same was true for this one.

The beginning reminded me of Robin McKinley’s Beauty I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale so I’m always curious about retellings about it. I’ve read most of the books in the Once Upon a Time series but I felt like they weren’t really for me. I don’t know why, maybe because they were trying to keep the books short, I felt like that stories weren’t fully developed. The same was true for this one.

Cameron Dokey deviated from the usual story by coming up with the Heartwood Tree. Instead of a rose, Belle’s father took home a branch from the Heartwood Tree. Overall, the book was just okay for me. I would’ve probably liked it better if the story was more developed. I didn’t really feel that the Beast and Belle connected during the short time that they were together.

The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of “The Ballad of Mulan” by Cameron Dokey

Summary:
Wielding a sword as deftly as an embroidery needle, Mulan is unlike any other girl in China. When the emperor summons a great army, each family must send a male to fight. Tomboyish Mulan is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call. But Mulan never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in the commander of her division, Prince Jian. For all of Mulan’s courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with Prince Jian?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading a book about Mulan because I only know her story because of the Disney movie, which I really liked because I love warrior women. I really like the beginning of this book but my usual complaint with the Once Upon a Time series still stands, I think it would’ve been better to add more meat to the bones. I felt like the latter part of the book wasn’t fully developed. The events felt too abrupt. It’s still a light and fun read for those who’re interested in Mulan and those who just enjoy retellings in general.

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12 thoughts on “Fairy Tale Retelling

  1. Philia wrote a short story retelling of Beauty and the Beast which has been published on-line. I don’t know where to find it exactly, but she would probably love to have you read it. I really really liked it!

  2. I picked up one of these a few years ago – Golden I think – and like you just wasn’t terribly impressed. Too short and not very developed.
    But I am with you – McKinley’s Beauty has got to be the greatest retelling of all time. I just bought *another* copy of it the other day because I cannot control myself when it comes to that book.

  3. I know! I regret not reading at least one book before I rushed on to buy as many books in the series as I could.
    I love Robin McKinley’s Beauty! I have two copies of it, one in hardcover for keeping and a paperback copy of lending. By the way, have you read Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl? That’s another retelling that I loved.

  4. Yes – I have really enjoyed Shannon Hale’s series. Although I’ve haven’t picked up her latest – but Goose Girl was by far the best IMO.

  5. Me too! I haven’t read Forest Born because I’m waiting for it to come out in paperback. All my other Bayern books are in paperback. When I recommend Goose Girl to my friends, I tell them that it’s part of a series but it can definitely be read on its own.

  6. Pingback: The Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey Retro Friday Book Review

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