Category Archives: Magical Realism

*Review* The Fairest of Them All – Carolyn Turgeon

The Fairest of Them All Cover The Fairest of Them All

Carolyn Turgeon

288 pages

ISBN: 9781451683783

Read 8-10-13

Format: Paperback

Source: The Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours

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What if Rapunzel was Snow White’s evil stepmother? From the author of Godmother and MermaidThe Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.

Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who betrayed her.

One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another.

Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen.

But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.

I was so excited when I found out I was going to be a stop on the book tour for The Fairest of Them All, and when I had the beautiful book in my hands, I think I squealed some.  This book was really quite incredible and a masterful rewrite and combination of two popular fairy tales.

The two main women in this story are Rapunzel and Mathena, who is the witch that cares for Rapunzel.  Both are strong and complicated characters with layers and secrets a bit darker than most.  Between the beginning of the book and the end, you will not look at either of these characters the same again.  We see Rapunzel over the course of several years and her transformation from an innocent young adult to the shadow of herself she becomes.  Layers are added onto Rapunzel, where as with Mathena, layers are removed and we learn her secrets later in the book.

The writing is beautiful and very much like a classic fairy tale.  The author paints us incredible scenes full of emotion and turmoil.  The descriptions are also lovely as is the cover of the book that gives us a beautiful picture of Rapunzel.

Generally, it is pretty hard to surprise me, but the twists this story takes was definitely not what I was expecting, especially the really big “Whoa, really?” moment.  Thank you Carolyn for actually surprising me.  I loved seeing the realistic magic, plus a bit of unrealistic magic mixed in, with the plants and herbs being used.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to people who enjoy fairy tale retellings and magical realism.  The book is listed as young adult, but I would suggest it for the older teen and up side because of the sexual content.  Definitely an author to add to my favorites!

Complex characters, beautiful writing, creative, older YA audiences.

4.5 bookmark

 

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Fantasy, Fiction, Magical Realism, Retelling, Review, Young Adult

*Review* Jinx – Meg Cabot

 Jinx

Meg Cabot

262 pages

ISBN: 9780060837648

Read 8-2-12

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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It’s not easy being Jinx.

Jean Honeychurch hates her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just . . . Jean). What’s worse? Her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes even to New York City, where Jinx has moved to get away from the huge mess she caused in her small hometown. Her aunt and uncle welcome her to their Manhattan town house, but her beautiful cousin Tory isn’t so thrilled. . . .

In fact, Tory is hiding a dangerous secret one that could put them all in danger. Soon Jinx realizes it isn’t just bad luck she’s been running from . . . and that the curse she has lived under since the day she was born may be the only thing that can save her life.

Tory’s secret wasn’t what I was expecting it to be, and neither was the book really, but not in a bad way.  This story was a quick, enjoyable read; it would make a good book to sit and read in a day. Continue reading

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Audiobook, Fantasy, Fiction, Magical Realism, Supernatural, Young Adult

*Review* The Girl Who Chased the Moon – Sarah Addison Allen

 

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Sarah Addison Allen

265 pages

Read 5-14-11

ISBN: 9780553385595

     Mullaby, NC is a mysterious and secretive town where Emily Benedict has come to live with her grandfather after the loss of her mother.  Not only did her grandfather know of her existence until recently, but he is also a giant, towering over everyone in the town.  Emily discovers the overly tall man is not the only oddity in Mullaby, but also little lights that dance around in the woods near the house and other strange happenings.  Emily has to find her place in this bizarre town and uncover secrets about its residents and even about her own mother.
     This is another fantastic novel from Allen, and it was actually the first by her that I read and I instantly fell in love with her style of writing.  It’s so beautiful and poetic with a lovely flow and she has an amazing way of making magic seem realistic.  The cover is what attracted me to this book originally with its dark background, contrasting subject and fluttering butterflies.
     Emily is a strong character that has to cope, not only with the death of her mother, but also the harsh way some of the townspeople treat her and make her feel alienated.  I didn’t have a single favorite character because they were all so well written.  By the time the book ended, there was an opening left to be able to continue a story for a different character, and I am hoping the author does decide to write one for this character.
     Everything is nicely wrapped up for this novel and nothing is left in question.  This is a truly wonderful story and I can’t wait for more from this author.  Highly recommended for those who enjoy an element of magic and a literary novel.

Poetic, mysterious, meaningful, beautiful, absolute pleasure to read!  4.5 stars!

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Adult, Fiction, Magical Realism

*Review* The Peach Keeper – Sarah Addison Allen

The Peach Keeper

Sarah Addison Allen

288 pages

ISBN 9780553807226

Read 6-17-11

     In Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper, Paxton and Willa are the granddaughters of two women who founded a local women’s club that will be celebrating its 75th anniversary.  A gala is to be held for the anniversary gala at an old historical home that Paxton has had renovated into an inn, but when a tree on the property is removed, a skeleton is discovered, and family secrets that tie the two girls together start coming to the surface.  This is a wonderful story about friendship, love, and self realization. 
     I absolutely love Allen’s style of writing; it is very lyrical and beautiful with such a smooth flow.   She is able to paint such a clear picture of what is going on that you don’t have to try hard to imagine the story playing out.  The characters are very strong and likeable; the author puts them through situations that many people experience in real life that are not just found in fiction, making them relatable to the readers. Each character has their own personality and they mesh well with the other characters.  I really like the relationship between Willa and Paxton and I enjoyed how their friendship grew and became a strong bond, not to mention their relationships with Colin and Sebastian. 
     The setting is in a small NC town called Walls of Water, and it feels like it is its own little world; cozy and close-knit (mostly).  There is also a small magical touch to it that adds to the mystery of what happened in the past.  This novel is so well-written that you can’t help but to be sucked into it and become involved with the characters.  The Peach Keeper is such a beautiful novel; beautiful style, beautiful story, beautiful cover, and I highly recommend it to any and every reader. 

 Lovely, engaging, meaningful, highly recommended, 4.5 stars!

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Adult, Fiction, Magical Realism