Book Review - Once (an anthology)


December 4, 2016



(since this is an anthology, I'll be rating it story by story, then giving you my over-all rating)

3 STARS

Title: The Mountain of the Wolf
Author: Elisabeth Grace Foley

   I mus say, for a book set in the old west, I rather enjoyed it. As a reader of mostly fantasy/sci-fi and the like, I normally will steer clear of anything with a country flavor. But I decided that I might as well give The Mountain of the Wolf a try, seeing as I'd been waiting to read this anthology (plus, it was a Red Riding Hood retelling, which sounded pretty cool).

   It was a bit hard to get into right off the bat - but after a couple chapters I started to enjoy it more. The climax was good, and Elisabeth did pretty good at keeping me reading (though the beginning felt a bit slow). I would probably recommend this for 13+ and anyone who likes stories in a country setting. While The Mountain of the Wolf wasn't my favorite in this collection (but I'm a biased little fantasy-reader), I can still say that it earned those stars.

4 STARS

Title: She But Sleepeth  
Author: Rachel Heffington

   First things first. The main character's name was Maria.
   For those of you who've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that I'm writing a book called The Dreamer's Game, and the main character's name is Maria. So it was a little strange for me, just saying xD.

   Anyways. That aside, I loved this story - Rachel Heffigton did so well. I was hooked from the beginning, and I couldn't stop reading once I had started. Rachel's writing style is easy to read, and I though that She But Sleepeth was an amazing re-telling of Sleeping Beauty (I'm a bit partial to that fairytale, seeing as I wrote a retelling of it once). I thought the plot was great, and I loved the characters. And the ending, you guys.
   I'd recommend this for 13+. I almost want to go re-read it right now - it definitely deserved each of those four stars *nodnod*.

3 STARS
      
Title: Rumpled
Author: J. Grace Pennington

   I've never read a re-telling of Rumpelstiltskin (no, I didn't need to look up how to spell that word, why do you ask? *cough*), so I was curious as to how it would work out. Some parts of the plot were confusing, but Rumpled was still an enjoyable novella.

   The Rumpelstiltskin character was interesting - I'd never have thought of such a creative take on him! I would definitely give the author thumbs-up for that. The plot wasn't my favorite, but it was fun to read none the less. The way J. Grace Pennington mixed just a bit of sci-fi, a bit of steampunk, and some historical together was wonderful, I enjoyed that. I would recommend Rumpled for 13+.

4 1/2 STARS

Title: Sweet Remembrance
Author: Emily Ann Putzke

   I never thought I would enjoy a book set in this time period as much as I did - but Sweet Remembrance was wonderful. I have no idea whatsoever which fairy tale it was a retelling of, but I honestly don't care.  
  
   Emily's words and her beautiful, unique way of storytelling drew me in from the start. I absolutely loved the way she told this story, switching between memory and reality. It was beautiful. The characters were so realistic, and I couldn't stop reading the story after I had started it - and the end was satisfying and sad at the same time. I would recommend this book for 13+. It may have been my favorite in this anthology, though it would be hard to pick between Sweet Remembrance and She But Sleepeth.

2 1/2 STARS

Title: Death Be Not Proud
Author: Suzannah Rowntree

   It was a Snow White retelling, and basically the most confusing retelling I have read in my entire life.  Don't know how I even managed to recognize that it was Snow White at all.
 
   The first half was alright, thought it didn't really catch my attention all that much. But it started to get confusing in the middle, and by the end I honestly had no idea what had happened. I would recommend it for 14+, though I really wouldn't recommend it at all, unless you want to read a confusing story. Or maybe you'd just be better at figuring it out than I would be xD.

3 STARS

Title: With Blossoms Gold
Author: Hayden Wand

   I've read some of Hayden's work before, so I knew that this Rapunzel retelling would be good. And it definitely didn't disappoint! I love the idea of a Rapunzel who doesn't want to leave her tower, instead of one who is trapped.

   Hayden's writing style is lovely and easy to read, and the plot she thought of was intriguing and very original. And I just have to mention that she does a great job naming her wonderful characters ;). The overall feel of this story was beautiful, and I enjoyed it very much. I'd recommend it for 12+.   

OVERALL: 3 1/2 STARS

   Some of the stories were amazing (Sweet Remembrance and She But Sleepeth <3) ... some of them weren't quite as good (Death Be Not Proud), but overall I still very much enjoyed this book. The different takes on the fairytales were so much fun.I've almost been inspired to start on another retelling myself :D.

(I was given this ebook in by the author in return for my honest review)

Summary (taken from Amazon)

   Six fairytales you thought you knew, set against a tapestry of historical backgrounds.

A lonely girl plots revenge in the shadow of a mountain. A stolen princess fumbles a century backward. A dwarfish man crafts brilliant automatons. A Polish Jew strikes matches against the Nazis. A dead girl haunts a crystal lake. A terrified princess searches a labyrinth. A rich collection of six historically inspired retellings, Once is a new generation of fairytales for those who thought they'd heard the tales in all their forms.

Featuring the novellas of Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.

Purchase Once here

~ Savannah Grace

   What's one of your favorite books that is a fairytale retelling? What fairytale would you like to see retold someday?  

18 comments :

  1. Definitely sounds interesting! Did you know J. Grace Pennington is who wrote Radialloy?

    "Death Be Not Proud" is such a creative and beautiful title for a Snow White story, it's sad it was so confusing. :(

    Hm. . . I don't read fairytale retellings very often. My favorite one is a version of Snow White, and it's called "Killing Snow". ;) If Disney movies count, Cinderella 2015, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty are also on my list.

    There's several plot bunnies for retellings that have been bouncing around in my head for awhile, which I'm hoping to write one day. (I decided to try my hand at the Little Drummer-Boy first, because I'm weird like that. :) )

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    1. Yup! That's why I was interested in reading Rumpled - because I liked J. Grace's other works :D.

      Isn't it? I was hoping it would be better, but I just didn't enjoy it *sighs*

      EEP HANNA *can't stop grinning* Thank you so much! *hugs* Ooh, Cinderella 2015 is so good, I like that one, too. I'm excited for Beauty and the Beast to come out in March :D.

      Well, you're doing awesome with your retelling of Little Drummer Boy! I'm loving Cat's forest so far :D.

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    2. Did you read the rest of the Firmament Series?

      Your welcome--Killing Snow is sheer awesomeness. #ShamelessCeruleanKaneFangirl #IDontCareThatEllenWillKillMeForThat

      I can't wait for Beauty and Beast either! It looks gorgeous.

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy the rest of it!

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    3. I read the first and the second one - haven't got my hands on the third book yet, but I do hope to read it sometime *nodnod*.

      *flails over your comment* Thank you so much! *also loves Cerulean, but he's my character, so that's to be expected* :D

      I KNOW I'll enjoy the rest of it - it's a HANNA story! *waits eagerly for the next installment*

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    4. Oh, great! I think In His Image is my favorite, but I read it first, so I might be biased. I didn't like the third one as much as the first two, but I'm glad I read it, and it's really neat the way Andi and August's relationship develops in that one.

      Well, I don't love all the characters I've created. *stares daggers at Tyre*

      Thank you! I think it's coming soon.

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  2. Nice review! some of them sounded very interesting to say the lest. I'm currently reading a fairytale retelling :) The Rose of Prophecy by Hope Ann if you where wondering :D I'm also reading a Viking style Peter Pan retelling.

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    1. Thank you, Marrok! Yes, it was a interesting read - I'm glad I decided to try it :).
      Ooh, a Viking-style Peter Pan? That sounds so cool!

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    2. So far it's been pretty cool. But only time will tell if it stays that way (since it's actually a free wed comic)

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  3. This sounds interesting! I think you'd like the Wulver's Rose by Hayden Wand. It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in Scotland, and I'm pretty sure it's free on kindle. =)

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    1. I've read the Wulver's Rose! It was awesome, Hayden Wand is an amazing writer. I'm kinda considering buying one of her other stories ...

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  4. Oooh, I really want to try these sometime! I was super excited when I saw the authors announcing it, because you simply CAN. NOT. have enough fairytale retellings. Gimme alllll the retellings. *hoards them like dragons hoard gold*

    I agree 100% about western/country settings. My least favorite type of setting. I just...meh. I need fantasy! That's cool you enjoyed the story despite the setting though.

    I loved seeing your thoughts on these. I really must get myself this collection someday!

    The Lunar Chronicles are probably my favorite fairytale retellings. (Surprised? XD) And there's a more obscure fairytale called The Six Swans that I would LOVE a retelling of. It has fascinated me since I was a tiny thing. Honestly, I'd love for a lot more obscure ones to be retold. Disney seemed to set the standard of what fairytales are popular. We should break that and bring out more of them!

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    1. YOU SHOULD! I think you'd like them - I mean, fairytale retellings = very happy Christine xD. *shoves book at you to add to your hoard*

      Yeah, western is definitely not my favorite, so I didn't expect to like Mountain Of The Wolf. But it surprised me, which was super fun :D. Glad you enjoyed reading my ramblings!

      Ooh, Lunar Chronicles! <3 (nope, not surprised in the least XD) Cress was your favorite, right? *has the memory of a goldfish*
      Six Swans, Six Swans ... I can't remember if I've read that fairytale, but now I REALLY want to! And YES we need more obscure fairytales retold! *wishes to take on this challenge* xD.

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  5. Ooooo, yes, Sweet Remembrance is SO GOOD!!!! I think it's a retelling of The Little Match Girl. And it's ending... oh my goodness. I cried.

    My review of Once is scheduled to go up on Friday. :)

    I think my favourite fairytale retelling is (how do I choose?!) Hayden Wand's The Wulver's Rose, of the Five Enchanted Roses anthology.

    I really hope to see a Red Riding Hood collection come out, someday! I feel like that story hasn't been retold enough, and I just adore it. I don't know why, maybe because capes = mysterious and wolves = awesomesauce? (Have you seen the ABC show Once Upon a Time, at all? In the first season, they have what is probably my favourite fairytale retelling EVER!! It's another Red Riding Hood story. :D )

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    1. Wasn't it? Emily did an AH-MAZING job - I just loved the whole thing so much! <3 Which is saying a good deal, seeing as I didn't recognize which fairytale it was (until you told me :D). I'm excited to see what you thought of Once!

      Ooh, a Red Riding Hood collection would be awesome! I would LOVE to read that - or write a retelling of Red Riding Hood someday *nodnod*. (and no, I haven't seen Once, but I've heard tons about it. It sounds like it's a really cool show!)

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    2. You did a great job on this post, Savannah!! (oh, and Olivia? I'm siding with you. *wink* PLEASE WRITE THIS RED RIDING HOOD RETELLING, SAVANNAH XD)
      -Ariel

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  6. I've heard about this one! It looks SUPER interesting. And I love love love retellings. I might give it a go! ^_^

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    1. You should try! I think you might like it :D.

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  7. Fun review! I actually enjoyed Death Be Not Proud and wasn't actually confused? But I can see why some might be, because it was subtle and clever and a little hard to follow. :) But I just thought that made it brilliant, so. XD Loved this collection -- it was fun. ^_^

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