Title: Rose Daughter
Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 1997
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retellings
My Review (#1)
So I didn’t get the one with this pretty cover at the library. My copy had a plain blue cover with a tiny graphic, which means I had the original 1997 release. But I’m sorry, I couldn’t bear to put that ugly thing on this page. Like Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek, I should do a cover challenge (Friday Face-off) and show you all the different covers this book went through so that we can all decide which one is the best. (I love those posts). This book, since it’s been around for 20 years, has been through its share of covers.
But enough about that. I finished this book awhile ago…but it has taken me forever to want to write this review. I can’t even do this one in my traditional format…so I decided to combine it with another book that was a bit shorter and try something new.
So we will see how this goes!
Are any of you familiar with McKinley’s book, Beauty? It’s more of a middle grade book…it was one of my faves as a kid. Apparently this book was a retelling of McKinley’s book. She didn’t like the way she left off…so she wanted to retell it from another angle, McKinley is known for her retellings, and I had only read Beauty. But I loved Beauty (pictured next). So I gave this one a try, thinking it would be a grown-up version of the original.
Ugh. I was right I guess…it was a “grown-up” version…if you consider a stiff, flowery-prosed, confusing plot a “grown-up” version. This book was trying to be more than it was. It was a YA book trying to play dress up in mama’s heels. It was….just ugh.
The story is this: traditional Beauty and the Beast meets magic (duh), a huge obsession with roses, and a beast that has no personality whatsoever. Same set-up: Rose is the daughter but she has two sisters named (I’m not kidding you) Jeweltongue and Lionheart. WTF? Seriously? And her name is Rose? Why not Rosehips McGee at this point? Makes more sense with the other two bizarre names. And Rose loves…you guessed it! Growing roses! Wow! Father goes broke, they move, yada yada yada he ends up in the Beast’s palace…etc etc he’s forced to send Roe in his place. We know the story by now.
What was irritating was that it was IDENTICAL to B&TB in every way except for long descriptive passages that made me fall asleep and magic that is never explained. No animals but there’s food. The house provides everything you need. Rose misses her sisters so much but dreams about them every night, though it never occurs to her that she’s actually seeing real events. It’s just inconceivable hogwash. I hate to say it, but this is the worst retelling of them all.
I want to tell you the most frustrating thing of the book…but it’s a spoiler. Now, this book is 20 years old, and though I hate to give away spoilers, (if you really want yo read this, just skip the rest of this paragraph bc I can’t keep this to myself: it’s just too weird), I have to confess the ending that makes no sense whatsoever.
Spoiler alert: the Beast STAYS a beast even though he has a choice to become a man!! How is that supposed to work out?? I hated that decision the most of all.
Ok, you can look now.
Example of the writing that drove me absolutely insane:
“She looked up at once, pierced to the heart by the sorrow in his voice and knowing, from the question and the sorrow together, that he had no notion of what had just happened to her, nor why. From that she pitied him so greatly that she cupped her hands again to hold a little of the salamander’s heat, not for serenity but for the warmth of friendship. But as she felt the heat again running through her, she knew at once it bore a different quality. It had been a welcome invader the first time, only moments before; but already it had become a constituent of her blood, intrinsic to the marrow of her bones, and she heard again the salamander’s last words to her: Trust me. At that moment she knew that this Beast would not have sent such misery as her father’s illness to harry or to punish, knew too that the Beast would keep his promise to her, and to herself she made another promise to him, but of that promise she did not yet herself know. Trust me sang in her blood, and she could look in the Beast’s face and see only that he looked at her hopefully.”
I tried. I really did. So no more here for me…I’m just going to cut to the chase. I give Rose Daughter ★★☆☆☆. And I really didn’t want to rate anything that low, but I just…I just can’t.
Title: No Ordinary Star (No Ordinary Star #1)
Author: M.C. Frank
Publisher: Createspace, 2015 (Nov 25)
Genre: YA Dystopia, YA Science Fiction
**I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review**
My Review (#2)
I included this one with the other review not because it was bad, but because it was a shorter book than I’m used to. Actually, this book was quite good! And I mean, look at the cover! 😍❤️😍❤️😍❤️
I met Frank and I think she’s an amazing artist and writer. I am currently reading her newest book Lose Me, which is a contemporary YA novel. But I had this copy for awhile and I just couldn’t put off reading it any longer. It was just too tempting with the synopsis. And since it is a short book, and it has two more installments, I’m going to try to sum it up without giving too much away.
Felix arrives at the North Pole to fix the clock that will be ringing in the New Year, 2525. He has left his military school to respond to a message from The Clockmaster, who says he is Felix’s “grandfather,” whatever that means.
Astra arrives at the North Pole as she runs from the people hunting her, and falls through the ice. She is rescued by a polar bear and taken to the Clockmaster’s shack, where Felix has been waiting. In this new world, men and women are separated, books are eradicated, and pills keep the people in line. Except for Astra, an escapee, and now Felix, who has run out as he waits for the Clockmaster to come.
As Astra and Felix both stay holed up in the shack, waiting for what to do next, they discover a hidden library that tells the story about the old ways…and as Felix watches Astra, he begins to see his “perfect” world is not so perfect if people like her can be locked away from the world.
I loved this. It was short (approx 150 pages) and it ended on a cliffhanger, so I’m dying for the next installment. I love dystopian novels and this one has me completely intrigued and hooked. I can’t give too much away…but I will encourage you to check out M.C. Frank on her Tumblr page, LittleRedDoll, with her amazing art and books! Or go to her author page with her books and blog at MCFrankAuthor.com.
So far, I give No Ordinary Star ★★★★☆. Translated into my rating System, that would obviously be…
So I hope you didn’t mind me combining two book reviews in one. I didn’t want to end on a negative note with Rose Daughter, thr book I’ve been dreading to review, and No Ordinary Star pulled me out of the funk. I can’t wait to read this series and own it for my classroom library. I’d pass on the McKinley book, but I do have other works by her to read that I picked up on sale from Amazon, so I may give her work another try,
On a separate note…
*** On a separate note, last week was my birthday (all bookish presents can be sent to me anytime!) last Wed the 8th, and I’m a little older, a little wiser. I wanted to say I love all my blogger bunnies and I have received so much support through this move and on Twitter! I have been receiving excellent donations for the classroom library and it’s just been so wonderful that I had to thank you all somehow! So I’m having a GIVEAWAY COMING UP (yay!)…first for a cover reveal next week, and then for hitting 1K followers on Twitter (and growing), as well as SO MANY followers on my blog! I’m thinking a book or maybe any choice to BD? Let me know in the comments what you would like to see from me in a giveaway and we will make it happen (thanks to an upcoming tax return!). I want to give back to all of you who have followed me and have had faith in this little blog corner.***
Thank you all and give me feedback! I want to know what would be an exciting win for you!