Book Review: Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell

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*** I originally posted this in April, but since the book came out this week wanted readers who might have missed it to get pumped for this fantastic, feminist Cinderella retelling … also I’m still on vacation and didn’t want to write a new review. Hope you enjoy!***

As some readers (especially those that knew me when I was ten) know, Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is pretty much the most important book I ever read. It totally converted me from from being a kid who could barely read, and absolutely hated it, to someone who LOVED books (not just with a capital L, but with capital O, V, E, and D as well). It solidified my interest in fairytale retellings, especially ones focused on Cinderella. So as you can imagine, when I found out my friend Betsy Cornwell’s Cinderella retelling Mechanica was coming out this year, I was beyond excited. And even though it can’t take the place of Ella in my heart, it is now definitely my second favorite Cinderella story … and I’ve read a lot a lot of them. Here’s why (and it’s not because Betsy is so nice and funny and blogs about important things like writing and PTSD, being a friend to yourself, and making goat cheese): Continue reading “Book Review: Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell”

Marry, Date or Dump: The Princes from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 4.01.02 PMWhether its from the most recent live action films, the animated ones from our youth, the traditional fairy tales, or YA retellings, I feel like everyone has an opinion on these three fairy tales. I’m excited to find out which princes you would marry, date, or dump. Use whichever version of the stories you like and explain your reasoning in the comments! Thanks in advance for playing! Continue reading “Marry, Date or Dump: The Princes from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast”

Marry, Date or Dump: Ella Enchanted, Ash, and Cinder

imagesDoes anyone else feel like there are YA and MG adaptations of Cinderella everywhere they look? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not complaining about it either way. I love reading them. The first book that made me love reading was a Cinderella adaptation (Ella Enchanted) and one of the first things I wrote was a play based on Cinderella for my 4th grade class to perform. In honor of the plethora of Cinderella stories, I’m giving you three Cinderella’s to marry, date or dump. My choices are Ella from Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, Ash from Ash, by Malinda Lo, and Cinder from Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. All three Cinderella characters transcend the traditional princess, fairy tale role. I’m excited to see who you choose!  Continue reading “Marry, Date or Dump: Ella Enchanted, Ash, and Cinder”

Cinder: A Cyborg Cinderella Story

cinderI totally understand why so many people loved Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. I didn’t love it, but I did find my self engaged and interested in the story. It kept me reading because I wanted to find out what would happen next. I wanted to know how Meyer would wrap up the book. Surprise. Surprise. It didn’t wrap up. As with most YA books that come out, it is the first in a series.  While I thought the concept was innovative – a cyborg Cinderella with a robotic foot – Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine will always be my Cinderella retelling of choice. Continue reading “Cinder: A Cyborg Cinderella Story”

Wordless Wednesday: Disney Film Inspirations


Continue reading “Wordless Wednesday: Disney Film Inspirations”

Marry, Date or Dump: Prince Charmings

Cinderella is one of the most retold stories in literature and film, hence the term “Cinderella story”. And where there is a Cinderella, a Prince Charming can’t be far away. They are often tall, dark, and handsome – but that doesn’t mean they are the perfect for you. List which version of Prince Charming you would marry, who you would date, and who you would dump in the comments below.

If you say you would just be friends with all three, you might want to try and find some gumption. This is not real. It is just a game. I promise you might find someone you consider your Prince Charming, but there is no way you will ever get the chance to marry any of the options below.

Prince Charmont “Char” from Ella Enchanted
Prince Charming from Shrek 2 and Shrek 3
   Disney’s Prince Charming

Ash: Not your average Cinderella story

Ash, by Malindo Lo, is certainly the most unique retelling to the Cinderella I’ve come across. Unfortunately, unique is not always a positive attribute. My mother once told me that in Oklahoma, her state of origin, when people see an ugly infant they tell the mother, “well that is some baby.” For me, Ash was certainly “some book”.

I think Wikipedia explains the plot better than I could:

“The novel is about an abused teenage girl who longs for fairies to take her away from her terrible life. A seemly gentle and protective fairy promises to do so as payment, but shortly thereafter the girl falls in love later with an athletic, respected noblewoman and hunter. The girl struggles with finally going to where she had wanted to be or staying and making it work.”

The interesting concept, combined with beautiful prose approaching lyrical poetry, should have been enough to carry this book. For me, it never came together and there were too many problems to enjoy it. I never connected with Ash. I didn’t know what she was feeling, or what she really wanted. I guess that is because she didn’t understand either of those things either, but because of this I never settled into the reading experience.

The book is supposed to be this LGTB must-to-read, but we never see Ash actually fall in love and we can’t understand why. It’s like one day she isn’t in love, and the next day she is. The reaction of the society is also never explained. It seems like same-sex relationships are commonplace, but that is never addressed and in doing so misses a great opportunity to build tension. This lack of tension is pretty consistent throughout the book. Lo only tells, and never shows. And she doesn’t even tell that much! The Cinderella comparison felt forced.

I did like the fact that the story read very much like a legend or fairytale, and took on the idea of fairytales as an important theme with in the novel. Overall, I think the book had tremendous potential but has little to actually offer other than some elegant writing. It’s gotten lots of critical acclaim and prizes though, so maybe I just didn’t get it.

For further reading and reviews (all of which will probably be more positive than mine):