Snow White & the Seven Angels by Rhys Christopher Ethan (Queerky Tales #1)

CW: Suicide, transphobia

Title: Snow White & the Seven Angels
Series: Queerky Tales
Author: Rhys Christopher Ethan
Illustrator: Ethereal Ealain
Date Added: August 23, 2017
Date Started: November 7, 2018
Date Finished: November 9, 2018
Reading Duration: 2 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Romance, LGBTQ+, Short Story

Pages: 54
Publication Date: April 28, 2012
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle

The classic tales you know, the characters with secrets you don’t
White has a secret. One he has shared with his family to no avail. When he meets the Prince of his dreams, he decides he can no longer live a lie, but in order to do so, he will have to face his worst nightmares.

Queerky Tales is a series of classic fairy tales retold with LGBT characters. Snow White & the Seven Angels is about fighting for your happy-ever-after, whatever shape it comes in.

For children and adults alike.

Snow White is one of the most popular fairytales for revamping possibly because it contains so many of the tropes and motifs we’re familiar with: the evil mother/matron, the maiden lost in the woods, the forbidden fruit, the magical/lucky number seven, and some I might be forgetting.  Ethan’s version adds an aspect I think is even more vital since the titular character is trans, and he (the author) dedicated it to Leelah Alcorn, a trans teenager who committed suicide due to lack of familial support, leaving behind a heartbreaking note asking for something to change so people like her would actually want to live in this world.  To this day (so far as we know) her family continues to deadname and misgender her, taking zero responsibility for what they drove her to do and it’s disgusting.

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The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Title: The King of Elfland’s Daughter
Author: Lord Dunsany
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Started: May 16, 2018
Date Finished: June 15, 2018
Genre: Classic, Fantasy/High Fantasy, Fairy Tale

The King of Elfland's Daughter coverPages: 203
Publication Date: 1924
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Media: eBook/Kindle

The poetic style and sweeping grandeur of The King of Elfland’s Daughter has made it one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists. The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess is a masterful tapestry of the fairy tale following the “happily ever after.”

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany was considered one of the greatest writers in the English speaking world during the 1910’s.  More than 90 of his works were published in his lifetime, but today he’s best known for The King of Elfland’s Daughter, a novel that explores life after the “happily ever after.”

The lord of Erl is told by a parliament of his people that they want to be ruled by a magic lord so that their land could go down in history, so the lord sends his son Alveric to fetch the titular fairy princess, Lirazel, who goes with him willingly.  As time passes slower in in the fey lands than they do in the real world, Alveric returns many years later to discover he has inherited the lordship after his father’s death.  Alveric and Lirazel have a son, Orion, and Lirazel tries to adapt to a mundane life, while still keeping some of her fae traditions.  Alveric; however, discourages this and admonishes her for her “un-Christian” ways.  He tries to make her less fae and more like the court ladies, but she is what she is.  Eventually, Lirazel uses the rune her father gave her, returning to him in Elfland.  Lovesick Alveric goes after her, leaving their son to be raised by his witch nursemaid.  Abandoning his kingdom for the hopeless quest, Alveric is eventually betrayed by his own men who hold him hostage and keep him from Elfland out of their own jealousy.  Meanwhile, Lirazel becomes lonesome for her mortal husband and son, and, seeing she’s unhappy, the king of Elfland uses up the rest of his runes to engulf the land of Erl, transforming it into a part of Elfland and bringing about half the wishes of the old men who wanted Erl to have a magic lord, but as the land passed out of the human history due to this act, no one in the mundane world would ever remember it or know.

This was…interesting, oddly interesting though the writing was so dry and plodding (a common “complaint” of classics).  You are still drawn into how it all will end.  Will Alveric find Elfland?  Will Orion heed the call of its horns?  Will Lirazel return of her own accord?  The story is a literal classic “Be careful what you wish for” tale with the elders of Erl wishing for a magic lord so that Erl would be remembered for its greatness, but in obtaining their desire, they lost what they hoped to gain from it.  Erl passed out of all living memory in its absorption by Elfland.  To this end, as well, all of the years of Alveric’s searching are washed away as Elfland finds him instead of the inverse.

The King of Elfland’s Daughter was incredibly hard to read at times.  If Soulless was endowed with dry humor, this novel was just dry.  The text functions more as poetry in the language used, as well as in how it repeats.  Dunsany frequently mentions “the fields we know” and “the fields we don’t know” to reference earth and Elfland respectively.  It’s not annoying, but the prose has a winding way about it that can be hard to follow if you’re not paying attention.  The value of this novel comes more from the foundation it laid in showing the modern subversion “happily ever after” is older than I thought.  The happy ending occurs in the first two chapters where the rest of the book is dedicated to the aftermath.  It’s the difference between conquering a kingdom and ruling one, which is not my most feminist metaphor, but it serves to show how enamoring a princess isn’t the same as maintaining a relationship.  Since this was published in 1924, over a decade before Disney’s release of Snow White (1938), Elfland proves that subversion of fairy tale tropes predates the mouse’s co-opting of them.

This is worth exploring for the sake of education, research, or posterity, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the casual reader.

4 stars.

The Golden Apple by Michelle Diener (The Dark Forest #1)

Title: The Golden Apple
Series Title: The Dark Forest
Author: Michelle Diener
Date Added: February 25, 2016
Date Started: February 20, 2018
Date Finished: March 12, 2018
Reading Duration: 20 days
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tale, Young Adult (YA)

The Golden ApplePages: 298
Publication Date: March 23, 2014
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle

Kayla’s world has been turned upside-down . . . 

Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake.

Rane’s honor is torn in two… 

In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to–including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy.

Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together . . . 

Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla’s actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.

The Golden Apple is loosely based on the fairy tale The Princess on the Glass Hill.

Per the blurb The Golden Apple starts with “The Princess on the Glass Hill,” which is not a fairy tale I was familiar with, but it follows the typical fairy tale rules.  The unlikely hero is Cinder Lad, the youngest brother of three who’s ridiculed, bullied, and forced to live among the ashes.  However, he was the only one brave enough to stay in the barn the entire night when the noises outside frightened his two eldest brothers away.  The source of the noise was a copper laden horse the first night, a silver chased one the second, and a gold bound one the third.  When the king offers up his daughter to the man who can climb the glass hill and retrieve three apples, the two older brothers mock Cinder Lad for even thinking to participate, but then they and all the other men are bemused when a knight in copper armor on a copper laden horse rides up a third of the hill before backing down again.  The princess tosses him one of the apples before he rides away.  The next day comes the silver chased who goes two-thirds of the way up for a second apple, and finally the gold bound goes the full tilt to win the third fruit and princess’ hand, half the kingdom, and his brothers’ shock because SURPRISE it’s Cinder Lad.

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The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson

Title: The Diamond Tree
Author: Michael Matson
Date Added: January 26, 2016
Date Started: September 28, 2017
Date Finished: October 1, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Short Story, YA/Mid-Grade

The Diamond Tree coverPages: 70
Publication Date: July 12, 2010
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Media: eBooks/Kindle

Dall is eager to prove himself a worthy prince, but what do you do when your older brothers have already slain every dragon and rescued all the princesses? You heed the advice of an old woman and set off on a quest! When Dall starts finding diamonds along the way, he discovers his quest may have a more unique ending than he had planned. Ages 6-12 and great for parents to read with their children.

This is a cute, little fairy tale with all the proper elements.  I could’ve done with a bit of something different from the typical Rescue Romance, but there might have been some Tarot references within concerning main character Prince Dall (The Fool), a literal Hanged Man, and a wise old woman who could play the part of The Hermit.  Regardless of its foibles and cliches, it was a fun, quick read.

3 stars.

Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton (Flipped Fairy Tales #1)

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: Shadows on Snow
Series Title: Flipped Fairy Tales
Author: Starla Huchton
Date Started: July 30, 2017
Date Finished: August 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 16 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Romance, Young Adult

The cover of Shadows on Snow by Starla HuchtonPages: 250
Publication Date: November 3, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Media: eBook/Kindle

Once upon a time, a dark evil crept into my kingdom, stealing my loved ones and the happy life I knew. The world turned against me, and I swore to become stronger, to keep myself safe.

Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince, hair dark as ebony, skin as pure as the freshly driven snow, and I became the only one who stood between him and death.

Once upon a time, our stories intertwined, and now, healing my heart may be the only way to save us all from the evil that threatens to destroy what little we have left.

I’ve always loved fairy tale retellings, so much so that I write them myself and infuse the all to familiar tropes in all of my works both fanfiction and original.  Starla Huchton has taken it upon herself to delve into terrain fairly well trodden in order to present the old in another new way.  Since this is the first of her stories I’ve read, I’m going off of assumption here, but it appears as though what she’s flipping is the gender of the participants.

The seven dwarfs are now seven sisters (who still manage to be princesses in their own right), the evil queen is an evil king, and Snow White is an ebon-haired, snow skinned prince named Leo who is a kind capable ruler that any man would be willing to follow and many a princess would want to marry, but he’s not the main character; the Rae is.

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The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey (Twelve Realms #1) (DNF)

Title: The Beauty Thief
Series Title: Twelve Realms
Author: Rachael Ritchey
Date Added: February 5, 2016
Date Started: July 13, 2017
Date DNF: July 19, 2017
Reading Duration: 6 days
Percentage Read: 25%
Genre: Fantasy, Christian, Young Adult (YA)

Pages: 346
Publication Date: March 20, 2015
Publisher: RR Publishing
Media: eBook/Kindle

In the Twelve Realms there lives a man who covets life. He lurks in the shadows, intent upon stealing that which sustains his perpetual existence: true beauty. Princess Caityn’s loveliness reaches from what the eye sees to the very marrow of her soul. The thief’s covetous heart desires the life her beauty possesses and will stop at nothing to take it all.

I really wanted to like this.  It had characters in royal/leadership positions who were actually decent people.  The main character Princess Caityn and her brother Prince Adair were raised with the philosophy that though they were royal, their duty was to serve their country, and though the people of the kingdom might be their subjects, they would never be subjected to corrupt rule.  Caityn often visits and comforts widows in addition to reading or teaching lessons at the orphanage, and her boisterous brother Adair was once punished for playing a prank on his sister by having to work “scullery in the kitchen for a week.”  This was an excellent way to show that the king and queen not only raised their children to show compassion towards the needy, but they didn’t hold with the elitist idea that they couldn’t perform “common work.”  Nor is this attitude unique to the royals of one kingdom.  When Caityn’s fiance Prince Theiander arrives for their nuptials, his mother chastises his sister the Princess Eliya for treating a groom unkindly, especially considering he was doing not only his job, but the job of another man who’d recently fallen ill.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

A Court of Thorns and Roses

<–ACOTAR #1                                                                                              ACOTAR #3–>

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: January 26, 2017
Date Started: May 1, 2017
Date Finished: June 11, 2017
Reading Duration: 41 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 626
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Media: Hardback (Library)

Shares Paradigms With: The Mabinogion Tetralogy (Welsh Mythology), The Poetic & Prose Edda (Norse Mythology), Classic Mythology (Hades and Persephone), The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. LeGuin

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

*******Spoilers for A Court of Thorns and Roses*******

I have learned to eat crow.

Sometimes you have to admit when your expectations about a trilogy are completely wrong.  When you saw through one of the author’s ruses, but completely missed another and far more important one that would’ve utterly changed your point of view about a character.

This book demolished my beliefs about Rhys even as it completely validated my feelings about Tamlin.  I tried as hard as Feyre to hold onto my hatred of the High Lord of Night, but once the truth about someone is revealed there is no going back.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)

A Court of Thorns and Roses


Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: November 19, 2016
Date Finished: January 22, 2017
Reading Duration: 64 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 416
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Media: Paperback

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

When I first started this novel, I was immediately hooked by Ms. Maas’s compelling writing style.  Each chapter ended in such a way to nearly force you to read the next, and I devoured the initial offerings in a very short amount of time.  The realm of fairy and the human world were starkly delineated, though the former and far more powerful High Fae were a constant threat to humanity held at minimal bay only by an oft mentioned treaty.

I’m beginning to hate this phrase now, but Feyre is (initially at least) a great example of a “strong, female character,” the sole provider for her broken and impoverished family that she’s sworn to care for based on a promise she made to her now deceased mother.  Her father was severely injured by his debtors, and her sisters  are far too softly raised to do what she does, though I was impressed by how Maas threw me for a loop with her one, Nesta’s, true nature.

It’s not quite accurate to say that things go awry after Feyre kills he wolf, because subsisting hand to mouth in a run down cottage is not exactly prime living, but Tamlin taking her away means that Feyre’s family has lost their only means of survival, and the 19 year old huntress is now supposedly forsworn.  The lord of the Spring Court; however, eventually assures her that her father and sisters are now well provided for, relieving Feyre of both her vow and life’s burden in addition to allowing the young woman time and opportunity to pursue the painting endeavors she so loves.

Despite using the name “Tamlin,” Thorns and Roses has more of a Beauty and the Beast vibe to it rather than the fore mentioned.  Though Tam isn’t trapped in beast form, there is a nefarious spell laid upon his Court and its people that only Feyre can break.

Unfortunately, Maas’s exceptional writing cannot make up for certain lacks.  In Chapter 18 out of the blue, Feyre suddenly ceases her rampant hatred for Tamlin in the rose garden and is suddenly attracted to him.  There was no build up to this (that I could see) in any of the chapters before.  The enemies to lovers trope can be a beast to pull off, because it’s so common, but generally you have one if not both parties torn between their physical attraction against rampant hatred or mistrust of the other.  Then when the person does something that flies in the face of hatred/mistrust, the other begins to see them in a new light, bolstered by their already established attraction.  Or you do it as a slow, gradual change of heart.  It’s so quick in this story it comes off as unauthentic.  It makes Tamlin *spoiler* sending her home in Chapter 27 *end spoiler* so no one will hurt her due to what she means to him have less of an impact, because it really hasn’t been shown.

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The State of the Writer: 8/20/16

<–The State of the Writer: 8/13/16          The State of the Writer: 8/27/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 273,620
Prior Word Count: 273,244
Word Difference: +376
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 3

Dream House Living Room

There has been a great deal of revision in this portion of the edit, since I’m prepping to add a new chapter.  It’s been equal parts editing, equal parts writing, but I’m happy I’m doing it in the first edit.

The above picture shares similarities to how I imagine the living room, though the view would of course be the sea, and the window is more like a bay.  It’s obviously near impossible to find perfect pictures for the images in my head.  I was trying to locate a good dining room since that’s where I am right now, but I suppose you’ll just have to rely on my descriptive skills…as they are I suppose.

Quote: The great glass lights above ornate steps were now lit like a calm holiday.  Black boots made no sound on their scattered dance in display upon marble veins.  He carried her through the living room that dwelled off the stairs’ right side.  The carpet here looked just as soft to what crinkled her toes in her room. 

Evening was falling behind the bay window that framed his dining room.  Though the kitchen had a table, this was fancier.  *She deserves that,* Sephiroth thought, setting Aeris down.  She sank in soft cushion, her head still a-whirl for the arms were upholstered and soft.  Undoing his coat with the pin back in place, he swung it from broad to frail shoulders.  The Cetra caught her breath to keep back tears for the velvet warmth shielding her now.

Project: Story
The Threads of Sorrow
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Retold Fairy Tale
Type: Original Short Story
Prior Word Count: 6940
Current Word Count: 6887
Word Difference: +53
Status: Editing
Progress: First Edit 3/4 Complete

I have three more pages left to edit so I’m near the climax of the tale.  I’m starting to get anxious about this, because after I edit and polish it, I’ll have to submit it, and submitting stories sucks.  I just…sucks.  That’s all I can really say about it.  It contorts my stomach like a twisted sheet.  I hate the threat of failure, and it always falls, it always falls, ironically without fail.  My last resort is just posted it here on my own social media, but I would like some validation that I’m a halfway decent writer.  We’ll see what happens.

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The State of the Writer: 8/6/16

<–The State of the Writer: 7/30/16          The State of the Writer: 8/13/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 273, 963
Prior Word Count: 273,942
Word Difference: +19
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 3

Tiara Crown

So I’m super fucking pissed off right now.  I’d just completed this post and was in the process of proofreading it when Mozilla crashed and I lost all of my work.  I’m in the process of importing pictures from my iPhone so computer resources are low.  I have no one to blame but myself I suppose.  So now I need to write everything again because I can’t restore it, and that’s over an hours worth of work down the drain.  I’m probably not going to write out everything I had before, because I’m tired, I have a lot more to do tonight, and there’s nothing I hate worse than wasting my fucking time.  This is why you should make sure you save your drafts.

I haven’t started really editing Chapter 3 yet.  I just updated some writing per my notes.  The tiara picture is not the cover for the chapter, but since at the end of it Sephiroth orders Aeris all manner of clothing and jewelry (since she has nothing), I thought such would be appropriate.  It also demonstrates how the former general is going to treat her.

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