Friday, November 9, 2012

Bonded Book Tour: Book Review

The Innocent Flower

I have loved fairy tales since I was a child, and enjoy finding/reading new visions, retellings, or fairy-tale-inspired stories. When Michelle asked for reviewers and bloggers to participate in her Bonded Book Tour, I jumped at the chance to review this intriguing collection of dark fairy tales...

The Book...

by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Genre: Fairy Tale/ Fantasy/ Upper Adult Young
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Publication Date: November 1, 2012

"What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the evil sorceress in Sleeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled with magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all— the fairies —in Bonded, a collection of three fairy tale inspired novellas.

CINDERS: A Cinderella sequel. Money can’t buy love, but magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella, now officially a princess, finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a mysterious elf from her past stirs up long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love beneath the spell that captured her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.

THIRDS: A retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes. Issina is surrounded by magic, yet none of it belongs to her. Despised and abused by her mother and sisters, she finds comfort when she meets the beautiful elves living in the nearby woods. The elves want to help her discover her own magic, but it’s not the kind of power she hoped for, and she learns there is more to magic than getting what you want.

SCALES: A Sleeping Beauty prequel. The sun never sets in the realm of the fairies. When the young fairy Serina looks into her sister’s eyes, she sees darkness for the first time. After her mother is murdered, Serina defies fairy law to follow her sister to the human realm. There she discovers the strength of a bond, the weight of a promise, and the darkness in her own heart.
" (via goodreads)

My Thoughts...

Bonded truly is a collection of three fairy tales with one bond...three woman from one world...three paths sealed by one decision...three hearts ruled by one emotion: love...

Each novella told a magical tale full of detailed descriptions, realistic characters, and heart-wrenching emotions. While the three stories were originally based on classic fairy tales, they have their own unique twists and darknesses. The stories all take place in one magical world where humans, sprites, elves, and faeries exist together but they do not always interact. Magic is a common thread among the novellas and I enjoyed the author's concept of magic. Magic has its cost and its rules, much like any ability or talent. And ignoring the costs or disregarding the rules can have severe consequences for all involved (if not the whole world). But one could also compare love in the same manner as magic while reading these tales. Themes of love, loss, heartache, discovering one's self, forgiveness, family, seeing a different perspective, and learning from one's mistakes weave their way through each of the tales.

Cinders: Beautifully tragic and thought-provoking! I love the story of Cinderella, so I was interested in reading a version that questioned Cinderella's decision and explored life after her marriage to the prince. I can't say I liked Christina (Cinderella) on a personal level, but I understood her feelings, her struggles, and her decisions. I did enjoy the side characters, like two servants who befriend Christina. The story also kept twisting and turning, certainly holding my interest in what would happen next. The ending surprised me in some ways but not in others. The lessons Christina learns are heart-breaking, but they give both her and the reader a new perspective of things.

Thirds: Beautifully elegant and endearing! This was my favorite story of the three novellas. I'm familiar with the original story it's based upon and I enjoyed the new elements Michelle added to it. I was instantly drawn to Issina (Two-Eyes) and really felt for her. I couldn't put this story down and read it quickly in one sitting. Tears filled my eyes as I finished it as Issina learns about forgiveness, trust, and love.

Scales: Beautifully dark and mesmerizing! This story blew me away with its details, plot-twists, and delicious romance. I wasn't sure how I felt about Serina in the beginning of the story, but as she grew, I grew to understand and enjoy her presence. (I also might have developed a slight book crush of her love interest in the story!) And while all the stories deal with family in some way, I felt this tale delved the deepest into what family means and the bond that binds  family together. Is it just a bond or blood...or something more mystical?

Meet the Author...

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.


(Elvish Farewell)

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