Tag: Book

Enchanted Kingdoms: We’re All Mad Here

Written by duo J.A. Armitage and J.A. Cullican, We’re All Mad Here is an Alice and Wonderland retelling that kicks off the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology, paying homage to this quirky classic with several twists.

Style

Together, Armitage and Cullican write in realistic narrative style that is similar to the narrative style to the book The Duff. The two aren’t afraid to throw some slang into the proses, and use witty ellipsis (for example: “…sorry dead lady’s house.”) The descriptions, however, relate to pop culture that anyone with knowledge of the classic and the live-action Disney version of the tale. The setting is well-developed but also left to the reader’s imagination. One setting description that stands out to me is “croquet garden;” it’s the most poetic description of them all.

The authors’ dialogue is interesting. It pays respect to the original characters of the classic and each is unique to the characters.

The authors pay attention to the thoughts of the narrator and the dialogue between the characters.

Characters

There are several characters in this book. The main character is Alice, who goes to help her mom clear an old house for antiques on her eighteenth birthday. The one rule is don’t disturb the mirror on the second floor. However, her mom causes the mirror on the second floor to fall on Alice, transporting Alice back 1852 England. She joins forces with Albus Rabbit, Kit, Kit’s grandmother, and the Mad Hatter to get back to her own time while she helps out in a political campaign against Mrs. Heart.

The Mad Hatter, ironically, is described as having Johnny Depp looks from his Edward Scissorhands era. He’s brightly complex and moody, and has something in common with Alice that forms a romantic bond between the two while external forces (the citizens of the town in 1852, and Mrs. Heart) try to keep them apart.

The mirror qualifies as a character or at least an entity that has powers that are meant to be hidden and not disturbed. But together, Hatter and Alice try to defeat Mrs. Heart.

Overall

If you’re looking for something witty and quirky and unexpected twists, please, read We’re All Mad Here and support the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology.

Enchanted Kingdoms – The Ruin of Snow

In this anthology of fairy tale retellings called Enchanted Kingdoms, there’s one of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It’s called The Ruin of Snow by up-and-coming fantasy author Lacy Sheridan. It’s one of my favorite retellings and creates an empowering, complex female protagonist as opposed to the classic telling in which Snow White is a damsel in distress.

The Style

Sheridan writes descriptions intricately to the point you can envision the world she has created and the emotions coursing through the narrator’s veins. There is clever word choice and the proses are realistic to a human.

Characters

In The Ruin of Snow, Sheridan creates realistic characters that fit into their alignment and makes clever changes to make an appealing twist on this fairy tale. In addition, most characters are written complexly, but if they aren’t there alignment is justified.

The protagonist is a witch named Nevya who was raised to use magic to kill and hide her magic. She has two older sisters named Serafina and Tulia, who are full witches. As siblings, they were raised to compete against each other for their mother’s approval.

In this complex world, things go wrong in Neyva’s world after she kills her suitor. Nevya eventually finds out what she has to do in order to become a full witch and decides to flee her situation after one of her sisters tries to kill her.

In a hefty turn of events, Neyva stumbles upon seven people cursed into shapeshifters, a good twist instead of them being dwarves. In exchange for shelter and safety, she offers to break their curse.

Character wise, there’s an appeal to the LGBT+ audience with one of the characters named Kye, who is also one of the seven shapeshifters. Overall, this is exciting because not a lot of fairy tales rewrite history to allow the LGBT community into the lore.

Overall

For those who are looking for something different and uniquely-written, I suggest The Ruin of Snow to you.

Chapter 1: Part 3

With no conversation lingering between us, she pries her eyes away from me and shuffles over to the marble desk. She slides into the swivel chair with astonishing grace as one of those mythical ballerinas one of my partners mentioned. Her pale hands spread across the marble tabletop, and a spell is curt against her lips: Veiled from plain sight, bring this screen to light.

There’s a chime in the air. As I gather my breath, a thin, glass screen curves atop the desk. In its fog, I have to squint to get a clear view of the undulating, black letters at the top of the screen. AMITY JANE GOTHEL. Under my name, blurry words spread out in perfect rows like a file. 

Scrolling past my picture, the doctor stops and glances at me with a gasp. “Oh, where are my manners?” In the silence, her eyes pierce my soul as if she expects me to answer. “Welcome to Enchancia.” 

Le monde dans les nuages,” I mutter under my breath. While meant to go unheard, Doctor Kingsley seems to have heard; she cocks her head to the side and folds her arms over her plump chest. “World in the clouds. Kids in the Fiery Haven mention it.” 

“Well,” Doctor Kingsley says, “c’est un monde dans les nuages, but we call it Enchancia; it’s a dimension where the new generation can find redemption.” I grab my lip with my teeth at these words. It sounds like reciting a mandated mantra than truly believing what leaves her mouth. Suddenly, this Doctor Kingsley—if it’s even her name—becomes shrouded in mystery. 

Our eyes bulge against one another until Doctor Kingsley returns to the thin screen. Her eyes flicker against the gauzy words before returning to me. With her hands folded primly in her lap, she clears her throat. “Who is your father?” 

“Umm—” 

Doctor Kingsley cuts me off before I can answer. “I can’t find him in your file.” There is some darkness in her eyes that sends a militia of chills crawling down my spine. 

Hail Caylee screeches against my skull. I bite my lower lip to keep the sigh inside my body before saying in unison with the doctor, “Hail Caylee.” 

My eyes waver against Doctor Kingsley’s firm stare. “My father, I don’t know who he is. My mother clams up whenever I inquire such.”

The doctor, now out of her swivel chair, takes a step in my direction. “Do you know why she clams up?” she asks. Her piercing voice has my heart echoing loudly against my chest.

“No.” A quick and faint no. That’s what leaves my lips. 

With another step towards me, her feet made echoing clicks against the linoleum. “Do you know why there’s no mention of a father in your files?” 

Again. “No.” This time, however, the word grits against my teeth as a heat sears my cheeks, and my fingers ball into fists.

“And oh—” Doctor Kingsley glances down at the black mark tracing down my forearm “—do you know why you have that mark?” 

A malediction begins to form in the fog that fills my brain. “No!” This answer shoots out of my mouth like a ball of fire being thrown. Hmm, maybe a ball of fire will suffice for her punishment. 

Pissed me off, so, right here, this stops

In a second, I’m yanked to the wall. Thick vines encase me against the plaster. I grunt and struggle until Doctor Kingsley is right in front of me. Her glassy eyes reflect my fear. I bite down on my lip and compose myself into the image of someone who can survive in the Fiery Haven. Someone without fear.