Tag: Retelling

Book Review: Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

Posted February 20, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Title: Scarlet

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Publication Date: February 2012

Genre: Young Adult Adventure/Retelling

Series or Stand Alone: n/a

Synopsis can be found here.
Netgally Review.


Review:

Will Scarlet is tough, fierce and unlike any other brother in Robin Hood’s gang of merry men.
Will Scarlet, is actually just Scarlet, a girl with many secrets. Falling into Robin’s gang, she helps them steal from the rich, give to the poor and rescue the unjustly accused.

But when Guy of Gisbourne enters the scene, the danger is amplified. Scarlet is terrified of him and with good reason. He is a thief hunter, the best in the land, and there may be more secrets swirling Scarlet than she cares to admit, and Gisbourne is the key.

I love Robin Hood. I love Prince of Thieves Robin Hood (yeah, I said it), I love Men in Tights Robin Hood (and how could you not as I have a soft spot for Cary Elwes, who will always be my Westley) and I might even love the Robin Hood BBC version done a couple of years ago. (There my loyalty falters as I might have been rooting for Guy, played by the ridiculously handsome Richard Armitage).

Anyway, yeah I like Robin Hood, so when I found this retelling on NetGalley, of course I jumped on it. JUMPED.
And it did not disappoint. 


Scarlet is every bit complicated, heroic, fragile and stubborn as I’d want her to be. She’s young, confused and having buried all of her feminine qualities deep inside, she it totally confused about her feelings for Rob and Jon. Her life has been hard and while he may not believe she deserves love, she is hopeful that maybe with enough good deeds, she’ll achieve the redemption she so very much needs.

Robin is the hero, and thankfully, more interesting and complex. He could have been the flat cardboard cutout of Robin Hood, but Gaughen’s writing is wonderful. We see a layered, tortured Robin Hood, seeking penance for his deeds in the Crusades, trying to be the man he thinks he should be. He reminded me of Angel, in Buffy and not in a bad way. (Team Angel, kids.)

Robin’s band of merry men are solid supporting characters, each with their own distinct voices. Especially of course, John. The big teddy bear whose open heart and past make him wary and vulnerable, but more warm and openly affectionate than any of the other boys, including Robin.

There is so much to love about this story. The adventure, the romance, Scarlet’s voice, the twists.

I figured out stuff a bit early on, but that wasn’t bad. It was so much fun to watch it all unfold, with a few AHA! moments. Well written, fast paced, I couldn’t put it down.

Fantastic debut Ms. Gaughen.
Will there be more? I hope so. I can’t wait to dive back into Sherwood Forest again.

Rating 10 One of The Best

Posted February 20, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments


Book Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

Posted January 30, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 8 Comments

Title: New Girl

Author: Paige Harbison

Publisher: Harlequinn Teen

Publication Date: January 2012

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Horror/Mystery

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone


Synopsis can be found here.
Netgalley review.

Review:
One of my favorite books of all time is Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier. My middle school librarian recommended it to me, promising me a tale of intrigue, dark secrets, murder mystery and love. It is that and much more. Since then, I have sought out tales that create a new spin on Rebecca.

New Girl is the latest retelling of this Gothic tale.

As in the original Rebecca, our nameless narrator is thrown into circumstances she feels unable to control. New Girl is sent to boarding school in her senior year of high school, only to be overshadowed by Becca, the beautiful, fun and popular girl who went missing earlier that year. Becca is mysterious and adored, leaving her presence around the boarding school. The other students wait faithfully for her to return. Here is our new girl, living in Becca’s old room, with Becca’s old roommate. And even, gasp, crushing on Becca’s old boyfriend Max.

The tale is creepy, slowly moving through Manderley boardings school like an old movie. The unfolding of the past events, the ghost of Becca everywhere from the photos in her room to her name on everyone’s lips. New Girl cannot get away from Becca. The roommate, Dana, is every bit unhinged and wicked as I hoped she would be. (Seeing as how she represents Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper in the original).
Though there are similarities between the books, I found it to be a captivating read. Harbison changes things just enough that she keeps readers on her toes.

Luckily, New Girl has more self awareness and a stronger backbone than our dear Mrs. duWinter from the original. New Girl slowly develops into more than just a wallflower, fighting for what she wants, making her a refreshing heroine.

I love the chapters about Becca. An uneasy feeling crept over me, reading about the past, this manipulative girl wandering the halls of her boarding school, using her power and influence over everyone. Harbison makes this Becca more defined and real than duMaurier’s spirit. But that’s not bad. I love both time lines of the story, eager for the other to start again.

Be warned: there are a few sexual situations in this book. Good for you, Harbison! They’re juniors and seniors at a boarding school! Of course there’s going to be some “adult content” going on! It really added to the story, not only shining light onto Becca’s character but also onto her relationships, manipulating those she loves, and those she doesn’t. There is also sexual abuse. It didn’t take me out of the story at all, and I think it added a lot of depth to Becca’s past.

The only moments of the book that lost me were towards the end. One I won’t disclose, but it seemed too far fetched for me. And the second was when our beautiful vixen makes a long speech. It seems good to explain everything, but I feel like this was out of character for Becca and more for the reader.

The ending is just right.

Overall, if you aren’t a fan of the original Rebecca, you’ll be swept away by New Girl. And if you are, you’ll be happy to visit this new Manderley. Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Rating 8 Cookie Worthy

Posted January 30, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 8 Comments


Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Posted January 26, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 7 Comments

Title: Everneath

Author: Brodi Ashton

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 2012

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal, Retelling

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book One

Synopsis can be found here.
Netgalley review.

Review:

In her time of desperation, Nikki Bennett makes a plea with dangerous musician Cole. She asks him to take her pain away. Little does she know what that really means.
Six months after her entrance into the Everneath, where she was used to feed Cole her human emotions, she emerges from the dreamlike state back to Earth, her town and her family. She only has six months to say goodbye until she is sucked back forever. Unless she can find a way to stop it.

I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading all the hype surrounding this book. I love the story of Persephone and Hades and it seems a more than a few authors are turning to retelling mythology these days.

Everneath is so much more.

Beautifully written, the tension in the story strikes your heart. Nikki counts down not just her time back to say goodbye, but also recounts her time before the Feed, and what circumstances lead to her going to Cole and asking for his help.

In the current time, Cole is after her for reasons of his own. Could he have real feelings for Nikki? They did spend a century together in the Everneath, as time runs a lot quicker there than Earth. Or is he up to something more sinister? Cole doesn’t play nice, or fair.

Nikki is a brave, complicated and fragile girl. I love how her character develops through the book, becoming stronger and more sure of herself. The girl she was before the Feed is very different than the one counting down her six months.
I really like all of Nikki’s scenes with Cole. He’s a hard one to read, making his interest in Nikki and his own feelings a complete mystery. He is Danger Boy, tempting, handsome but not good for you in a motorcycle riding don’t bring home to Mom sort of way.
And of course Jack, the boyfriend she left behind. The one she came back for to say goodbye.
It’s not really a love triangle. Ashton does a superb job narrating Nikki’s conflicting feelings towards Jack, and her complete dislike for Cole.

The story flows fast, turning and keeping you hooked until the last page. As the tension grows and the clock winds down, the story kept me guessing all through the end. I sat down to read it a few chapters and finished the whole thing.  No kidding. All day.
All. Day.
It was brilliant.

How long do I have to wait for the sequel!?

Rating 10 One of The Best

Posted January 26, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 7 Comments


Book Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Posted October 27, 2011 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Title: Abandon

Author: Meg Cabot

Publisher: Point

Publication Date: April 2011

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Retelling

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book One

Synopsis can be found here.

Review: Well, Meg Cabot has done it again.
I’m a big fan of her Young Adult series The Princess Diaries and her Insatiable adult novel. (If you haven’t checked those out, please do. I especially enjoyed the first three audio books in the series, which are read by Anne Hathaway. Classic.)
This trip down paranormal lane, Cabot has decided to follow the life of young Pierce. Having died when she was younger and brought back to life, death seems to follow her everywhere. Death in the form of a good-looking boy who hangs around cemeteries.
But this is no ordinary girl falling in love with death. Oh no.
This is more than that.
This is a retelling of the famous story of dear Persephone and her kidnapping to the Underworld. You know Persephone, right? Girl catches the eye of a god, Hades, and he kidnaps her, forcing her to live with him in the Underworld. Finally, the other gods intervene. Persephone must live outside of the Underworld four months of the year- corresponding to the seasons.  You can find more info on dear Persephone here.
Cabot does a wonderful job retelling the story, fleshing out her characters and creating fun “I didn’t see that coming” twists. I do have a soft spot for Greek mythology and this retelling does not let me down. Light and funny bits sprinkle the book in typical Cabot fashion. And her hero is one to root for.
John is tortured, difficult and may be more than he appears. But what else do you expect from a … well, I can’t tell you. But he does seem to have a soft spot that will show itself more and more as his armor falls apart.
Pierce is a pretty typical teenager, you know, besides the whole death thing.  I got a bit annoyed with her going back and forth, back and forth about John, about death, about what she should do, etc. But overall, that didn’t sour the story for me.
I believe Pierce starts in such a whiny place because she is going to grow immensely in the series. Even by the end of this first book, her character has developed into a deeper person. The plot leaves a little bit to be desired, but I have faith in Cabot that more will be revealed in the coming installments.   

A good start to a new series. Ii was still thinking about the story after I put it down. 


Rating 7 Pretty Good, Would Recommend

Posted October 27, 2011 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 4 Comments